Your Favorite Stories of 2016

Your Favorite Stories of 2016

By Susan "Honey" Good

As the New Year rapidly approaches, I'm fondly reminiscing about how wonderful 2016 has been. I hope it has been wonderful for you as well and, if not, there is no time better than the New Year to reinvent yourself and rediscover your purpose. 

Today, I'm rounding up YOUR favorite HoneyGood.com stories from 2016. Many of them are worth repeating and worth re-reading. Enjoy! 

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Ask Honey: My Son Forgot His Girlfriend's Birthday

Dear Honey, My 17 year old son has been dating a lovely young lady and things seemed to going quite well for a while but he is now in the doghouse in a very big way. It started when he completely forgot his girlfriend's birthday (she did not forget his). Then, as a belated gift, he bought her a Victoria's Secret bra for her birthday present. I know, cringeworthy to say the least!

She interpreted that as a not so subtle hint that he wanted "more" out of the relationship, and it didn't help that he got her the wrong bra size to boot. She's a 34C and he got a 34D, which she sarcastically referred to as "wishful thinking" on his part. After a heated exchange, she exclaimed "you don't respect women," flung the bra across the room, and then slapped his face and walked off. I think this could be a teachable moment for him, and I also think he can repair his relationship with his girlfriend if he goes about it the right way.

Just wondered if you had any nuggets of wisdom to offer. I'm hoping this is the last time he has to learn a lesson with the ladies via a red handprint on the cheek.

Best Regards, Veronica

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Dear Veronica,

You are the ‘nugget of wisdom.’ There are a million and one romantic and thoughtful gifts a young man can give to his girlfriend. Why a bra? There are many ways an unhappy young girlfriend can express anger. Why a slap in the face? These kids are children who have to be taught the rules of courtship and the value of “respect.” A mom is the person to do this. You are that mom.

I would sit down with my child and explain the rights and wrongs of gift giving and the rules of courtship. I would also explain to him the importance of choosing the right girlfriend. Is it a girl who slaps his face? His choice of finding the right girl is more important than his poor choice of a gift. Perhaps she didn't know how to respond and responded out of anger more because he forgot her birthday than over the gift, but either way, it's something to consider. I would talk to him and evaluate the situation. You are a pro and I know you love your son. You can teach him one of the most important lessons of all -- the art of a loving relationship.

Best of luck!

Warmly, Honey

Ask Honey: How Do I Keep In Touch With My Grandson

Hi Honey, I have one grandson who I love very much, he'll be 11 years old in March. He lives in Florida and I live in New York. We see each other once or twice a year. He visits me every summer for a few weeks and I visit him during the holidays. I look forward to speaking to him on the phone or texting. I call him a few times a month. However, he doesn't text or call me that often. He stays in touch right after we've seen each other then the calls and texts stop. I would like to hear from him more often and have spoken to him about it. I also sent him a card with a few self addressed envelopes to encourage him to write or send me some of his artwork. He never utilized the envelopes. I would like to know, am I expecting too much? Please help, I'm frustrated.

Diane

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Dear Diane,

As a grandmother of twenty grandchildren, whose grandchildren live all across our wonderful country, I know how you are feeling. You are not alone. Most grandmothers living apart from their grandchildren feel as you do. How you manage to handle “the distance of miles” is what counts. The ball is in your court, because you are expecting too much from your grandson. He is a little boy with a full life. I came to this decision with my grandson when I became a grandmother for the first time. I knew it was up to me to make a relationship across the miles. Today, I am his second mother.

You are off to a great start with your visits. How you handle yourself when you are together really matters. My motto is unconditional love. Period. When you are apart you must initiate weekly emails asking him what is going on in his life and telling him how much you love him. I did this and through emails, texts and Skype my grandson and I continued to bond across the miles. I helped him with a problem. I showed my excitement when something great happened. I sent “keepsakes” through the mail. I was “out of site but never out of mind.” I knew the ball was in my court. I rose to the occasion. I have done this with all my grandchildren and because of my effort, I am loved, respected and they all know I am “only a phone call away.”

Be the best grandmother and you will feel “good.”

Warmly, Honey

Ask Honey: How Do I Help My Wife Find Her Passion

Dear Honey, I love reading your work. You are so kind and so professional. I was wondering if such a successful and accomplished woman like yourself would be able give me a little advice for a situation that my wife and I are currently dealing with.

I am a fairly successful restaurateur, and I make a comfortable living. I am in my 50's and my wife is 10 years younger than myself. We have been married for 24 years, and have two children. My wife has never wanted for anything as long as we have been together, and it has always been one of my highest priorities (if not THE highest) to be able to provide her with whatever she desires. She is supportive and kind and loving, so, as a husband, it is the least I can do.

Lately, however, as our children have grown up and gone off to college, my wife no longer has as much of a full-time responsibility in raising our kids, and she seems to have become just a little bit bored. She has expressed the desire to me that she wants to start her own business.

I have been 200% supportive with my wife in her search for her passion, but she seems to get really excited about one thing and then the next week it is a whole new thing. One day she wants to be an interior designer, the next day she wants to write a novel, the next day she wants to be a culture consultant for different businesses.

Without any previous work experience, and without any particular talents, what kind of business could be right for my wife? I'm willing to support her dreams emotionally and financially, but I really want her to find the right fit and to stick with it. What was your secret to finding your calling? Please help.

Sincerely, Mark

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Dear Mark,

Your story is familiar because it sounds very much like my story…a very supportive husband and a restless wife with absolutely no business experience seeking a new purpose. I am going to give you the advice that was given to me by a woman I had just met.

Her advice worked for me and hopefully it will work for your wife. She said to me, “keep a journal for three months writing down what ever thoughts come to mind.” I responded, “I can’t keep a journal. I don’t know how to write!” And then she said, “If you keep your journal, I promise you…you will find your voice!" Her words, “you will find your voice” were so powerful that I made up my mind to listen. At the end of the three months I reread my journal and realized my purpose and my passion.

I loved to write, had earned my phD in life and wanted to share my life experiences with women, of all ages, on the “family tree.” Your wife may realize at the end of three months of journaling she should put all of her effort into interior design, become a consultant or a writer or maybe something she never imagined. Fortunately you have a passion for one another and there is no better purpose in life than that!

My very best,  Honey

Ask Honey: How Do I Enforce a Different Set of Rules?

Hi Honey, When my granddaughter stays at my house we have a different set of rules. Will this confuse our granddaughter?

- Jeannette

---------- Hi Jeannette,

As grandparents your actions should correspond with your granddaughter’s parent’s rules unless they are very permissive parents. I would use this rule pertaining to your granddaughter: When in Rome do as the Romans if… your granddaughter stamps her feet and cries when she cannot have her way. Then you have every right to set down your rules but it is important to come from love. Grandparents are not policemen. The last thing you want to do is alienate your granddaughter…or your daughter-in-law!

- Honey

Ask Honey: How Should I Stay Busy?

Honey, I’m retired and feeling a little bored. How do you suggest I stay busy?

- Linda

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Hi Linda,

Staying busy makes for staying happy. Your first step is to decide upon a favorite interest. This will give you a purpose to pursue a new endeavor. It can be knitting, needlepoint, a favorite charity, a card game or a book or travel club. Then look out into the future and visualize the outcome of tackling something new. It should give you a feeling of excitement. Now you have a goal. Only you can make it happen.

- Honey

Ask Honey: How to Explain a Trial Separation to my Children?

Honey, My husband and I have decided to trial separate and live in separate houses. Do you have any advice for how to explain this to my eight year-old and five year-old?

Ana

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Dear Ana,

I would certainly make a plan with my husband before you tell the children.

I would sit down as a family to explain this separation to the children. Tell them what to expect. The biggest problem for children is the impact of one parent moving out of the house. I would tell them how often they will see their daddy and stick to the promise. Ask them to ask you questions and express their worries. Tell them that mommy and daddy will love them just as much and will always be there for them. Be patient. This will take time to sink in and adjust to.

- Honey

Ask Honey: How to Address my Son Verbally Abusing my Grandson?

Honey, While spending the night at my house, my 10 year-old grandson confided in me that his dad, my oldest son, verbally insults and swears at him daily. He began crying as he told me. I of course was shocked but comforted him and held him close. But my question is, how do I address this with my son. I cannot remain silent about this. How do I approach my son about this serious issue?

- Sandra

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Dear Sandra,

You are right. In this case “silence is not golden.”

I think the first plan is to talk to your daughter-in-law, privately. Do not confront her. Calmly inform her of the situation and ask her to please explain to you, in adult terms, what is going on at home. Make certain to tell her you will keep her confidence. We don’t want your son to further verbal abuse your grandson or become upset with his wife. Once you have a clearer understanding of the situation you will have to make a decision to either talk to your son or inquire about a place to go to for guidance on how to handle this serious problem. Your grandson’s school may know of professional people to send you to for guidance.

- Honey

Ask Honey: How Do I Tell My Son-in-Law I Can't Babysit?

Dear Honey, My son-in-law seems to get really upset with me whenever I can’t babysit my grand girls. I do babysit often. I have watched them up to nine days while they were away on several trips, as well at least twice a week and the occasional sleepover. They’re two and six and while I love them dearly and enjoy being around them I am physically disabled and have days where I can’t walk or get off the couch due to chronic pain and other ailments. I haven’t been able to work since 1995 due to my disability and it hurts me that it always feels like whatever I do, and no matter how hard I push myself (and pay with severe pain for MANY days later), it never seems to be enough for him. How do I tell him how it makes me feel… or do I just keep my mouth shut like I have been doing?

- Anonymous

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Dear Giving Gramma,

You should have a heartfelt conversation with your son-in-law and daughter. Be sure to set your guidelines for taking care of their children. You shouldn't keep your mouth shut. I am curious where your daughter is in the situation.

- Honey

Ask Honey: The Single Mom Woes

Dear Honey, I am a single mother of a wonderful 11-month-old girl, Hope. She has been a blessing in my life, though an unexpected one. Upon becoming pregnant I have devoted myself to her, beginning by moving across the country to live with my mother again after seven years on my own. Since Hope was 3 months old, we have been working part-time; I searched out a teaching job to which I could bring her everyday, and it has been wonderful. In September, however, I am planning to return to graduate school. I am looking into daycare. Hope will be fifteen months old. The idea of being away from her all day is wrenching, but on the other hand, I feel like I need to become self supportive and leave my mother's house fairly soon. I read in one of your articles today that children are not ready to be in the care of another before 3 years old. How can I prepare her for daycare? Or should I find a way to stay with her? Thank you.

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Dear Single Mom,

I think you have the ability to find a solution to your problem. You are intelligent. I agree with you that day care is not an appropriate setting for your eleven month old daughter, Hope. Your child needs YOU! On the other hand you want to become self-sufficient. Can your mother or girlfriend or relative assist you with Hope? Can you spread out getting your master’s degree over a few years? Consider putting your master’s degree on hold and teach so you will have the funds to pay for a baby sitter and Hope can stay in her own home? Put on your thinking cap and let me know your solution. Where there is a will …there is a way! You must get…unstuck.

HONEY GOOD

Ask Honey: How Do I Help My Older Children Understand My Past Decisions?

Dear Honey, I have been reading a lot of information on "parenting" sites since getting connected to the web, and it is helping me with all of the guilt I have at the way I raised my 2 older children. They are now 11 and 13, and I did not show them much love when they were younger (I didn't know how as I was raised in an unemotional family). Now that they are older, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make up for my inadequacies and to help them understand that I only acted the way I did because I didn't know any better. I also have a 4-year-old and probably went "over the top" with her trying to compensate - the trouble is Sara and Josh notice and are full of resentment. I am trying, and every day is easier than the one before, but it's an uphill struggle. Through your site, though, I am learning, and I thank you.

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Dear Guilt-Ridden Mom,

Most mothers feel they should have and could have done things differently. You must remember there are two sides to every coin. In this case it is discussion followed with action. I applaud your positive action with your older children through “discussion.” Your must ask yourself: are you showing your affection through “action.” Are you giving them extra hugs and kisses or taking them, for example, to the dairy queen to “share” the experience of licking delicious ice cream cones with mom? If you are doing both, continue what you are doing and you will eventually succeed. If not “remember there are two sides to every coin.”

- Honey

Ask Honey: Bonding with Newborn

Dear Honey, What can fathers do to build a special bond with their baby, when it is the wife who gets to do all the feeding? Does attachment parenting have to leave out the fathers?

- Left Out Father

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Dear Left Out Father,

I think it is a wonderful you want to connect to your new child. There are several ways for you to “jump in” and bond with your new bundle of joy.

  1. Hold your baby securely as you watch television; have conversation with your wife and family and, if you have a rocking chair, rock your child to sleep at night always letting your baby wrap his or her fingers around your finger. Your child will feel your strength and eventually will feel secure.
  2.  Sing or hum; this way your newborn will becomes familiar with your voice.
  3. Don’t forget diaper duty and bath! Your baby will feel your gentle touch.

As baby grows your bond will grow. How special is that!

- Honey

Ask Honey: 3 Steps To Make Decisions

Our lives are shaped by decisions, but making ones we won’t regret is easier said than done. As mothers and grammas the “value of careful thought” must be drummed into our children and grandchildren’s heads as well as our own, at times. My motto is: Think twice before acting once. And remember to practice what we preach. Here are three tricks of how to make a decision.

1. MAKE A LIST

In one column, write down the positives of the decision you are making. For example, if you are debating whether to move to a new city, being closer to, say, a grandchild, would be a positive. In the other column, write down the negatives; such as leaving behind the home you love. Then, compare the two lists. I believe a list is extremely important, because you are putting your thoughts down on paper. It is “your list” to look at, think about and rearrange after studying them.

2. READ YOUR LIST ALOUD

Hearing yourself speak what you wrote clarifies your written thoughts. Try it. When I do this, I have a much clearer idea of my thoughts and often make changes based on them.

3. SEEK OUT A FAMILY MEMBER, RESPECTED FRIEND OR PROFESSIONAL

When making major decisions do not feel insecure about asking for advice. It is the secure person who questions. Teach this to your children and grandchildren.

I hope this helps. I know you must have some solutions of how to make decisions to add to mine. Please let me hear from you.