My spouse and our 6-year-old child do not get along

Seek out a good family therapist, a reputable parenting class or both.

  • Saturday, July 20, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

By Carolyn Hax / The Washington Post

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi Carolyn:

My spouse and our 6-year-old do not get along at all. Much of their time together turns into the 6-year-old screaming and spouse withdrawing because they can’t stand being yelled at. I feel stuck in the middle. Is there a way I can help?

— In the Middle

Yes, by getting professional help as soon as possible. You and your spouse both would benefit, either from a good family therapist or a reputable parenting class or both. Ask your child’s pediatrician to recommend some providers and programs.

If you can’t afford counseling or if you live in a therapeutic desert and the first available appointment is months away, the Parent Encouragement Program (PEP) is excellent and has online offerings: Also tell your pediatrician if you haven’t been able to get an appointment; often medical providers are able to cut through these delays by calling directly. They just carry more weight.

If your spouse refuses, then do these things on your own — and recognize that such a refusal is part of the problem in itself.

Dear Carolyn:

Our niece invited us to her destination wedding. After we had already bought nonrefundable airfare and paid a nonrefundable deposit on the place we were staying, the wedding was called off.

We decided to go on the vacation anyway. We had a good time and posted some pictures on Facebook of what we were doing.

A couple of family members told us it was insensitive to our niece for us to show that we were having a good time after her wedding had been canceled. Do you agree with that? If so, should we offer an apology or remove the posts from Facebook?

— Having a Good Time

Does it even matter what I think? More than one person found your posts insensitive, and you think they have enough of a point to wonder if they have a point, so just take the pictures down. It’s backing out of a Facebook post, not a real estate deal.

If you have enough of a relationship with your niece to know what kind of ongoing support she would appreciate as she emerges from her breakup, then please be sure to provide that. Regardless.

I don’t mean to imply with this answer that your vacationing in the rubble was wrong. It was nonrefundable travel, so, what else do you do? I also don’t necessarily agree that posting a picture was a faux-pas; your people say yes, but I saw at least one un-bride say she was relieved to see un-guests make the best of the nonrefundable trip.

However, public sharing of any photos is so thoroughly optional that making a habit of asking yourself, “Should I really do this?” as your finger hovers on the “share” button is probably the best advice there is here. And anywhere else.

That, and don’t agonize over something that requires only a minor and obvious fix. Delete the post and move on.

— Washington Post Writers Group

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