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DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter’s teacher gives me way too much unsolicited advice. My daughter has good grades, she doesn’t misbehave regularly and she has never really been an issue for her teachers. Almost every time I come to pick my daughter up from school, her teacher feels the need to give me some sort of advice on what she believes would help my daughter be a better student. Because my child’s grades are completely fine, her advice is completely unnecessary and unwelcome. How should I handle this? — Don’t Need Advice
DEAR DON’T NEED ADVICE: Rather than continuing to feel defensive and angry at this teacher, schedule a time to talk to her. Do your best to be calm and open to a positive dialogue. Ask the teacher why she sees the need to give you advice every day about your daughter’s education, especially given that she is a good student. Tell her that it makes you feel uncomfortable and that you think it is not necessary. Ask her to explain her rationale.
You describe your daughter’s grades as “completely fine.” I wonder if her teacher sees greater potential in her to reach further, to explore new ideas, to dream bigger. If that is the case, that could be good. But it may also be unnerving if it comes off as a criticism of you. If the teacher suggests that she thinks your daughter can reach higher than she is right now, consider that a great idea. Instead of feeling like the teacher is judging you, perhaps you can team up with her and come up with ideas that will motivate your daughter to do more.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend still supports some of the most problematic musicians of all time. Some of my boyfriend’s favorite R&B artists have a lengthy history of abuse and sexual violence against women. I cannot support any artist who is a known abuser, but it doesn’t seem to faze him at all. He says that just because he doesn’t agree with their actions, it doesn’t mean that he can’t listen to their music. I’m thinking of having an in-depth discussion with him about why it’s wrong to support these musicians, but I don’t want to overreact. Am I overreacting? — Stop Supporting Them
DEAR STOP SUPPORTING THEM: This is an age-old problem that is worth contemplating. Many of the most creative and successful people in the world have had a dark side that is often equally as bad as their greatness. Does that make their bad behavior forgivable? No. But it is common to discover that a beloved artist has a questionable history.
I believe you can have intense and thoughtful discussions with your boyfriend about his artists of choice. You can provide compelling arguments for why you do not support them, and he likely will counter with his ideas for why he likes them anyway. Will you come to a resolution? I doubt it. If you feel strongly enough, you may be able to come to a truce where he does not play the offensive artists within earshot of you. That would be a huge compromise.