My daughter is a student at the school

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Dear Care and Feeding, My daughter is neurodivergent and still adjusting to a new school, even though we have been living here for about nine months.
I don’t think this will get better this year and even my daughter says it may be the same next year.
If your daughter can’t pinpoint specific kids she’d like to get to know better, ask the teacher.
Want Advice on Parenting, Kids, or Family Life?
Dear Care and Feeding, My partner and I have been together since 2014.
Dear Care and Feeding, This is a weird question but what is the best attitude to have about passing gas in a household with children?
You can be a farting family or a silent family, a shower-in-front-of-toddlers family or a close-the-door family, a pee-with-the-door-open family or a privacy-please family.
Dear Care and Feeding, I live in an apartment building in New York City.


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Greetings, Feeding and Care.

We have been in this new school for about nine months, but my daughter, who is neurodivergent, is still getting used to it. Although she was very popular at her previous school, she hasn’t eaten lunch with anyone or played during recess for several months. I was probably also neurodivergent, but I only experienced this for a year or two before moving on. This is not getting better, in my opinion, and even my daughter suggests that things might stay the same the following year. I am introverted, recently left a toxic work environment, and I’m burnt out. Would it help her if I made more of an effort to help her socialize after school? I have an outgoing daughter.

—Mulling Over Maryland Socialization.

To Mulling, kindly.

Yes, even though it’s uncomfortable, you probably need to try. It’s unclear how old your daughter is, but parents in the early elementary school years frequently ask themselves the same question as you. So, dare to reach out to the parents in your immediate vicinity. Ask the teacher if your daughter is unable to name specific children that she would like to spend more time with. Ask them if they know of any children who seem to get along better with your daughter or who might be a good fit for her interests or temperament.

However, you don’t have to bear all of this. If your daughter has an IEP, you may want to explore incorporating social therapy into her plan in order to take advantage of this valuable tool. If the school is unwilling or unable to provide it, you might be able to locate therapists and occupational therapists in your area who can help your daughter with small-group social therapy. Developing friends can be extremely challenging, regardless of your neurodivergent or shy personality. It can be learned and practiced, though, just like any other skill. I wish you luck!

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Kindly, Feeding and Care.

I have been dating my partner since 2014. I informed her when we first met that I had been struggling with opiate addiction since 1998, when I was initially overprescribed medication as a result of an accident. Undoubtedly, I was experiencing one of my lowest points ever. She was obviously as well, looking back. Despite the warning, she dove headfirst into my wreck of a life. Against all the odds, we were able to kick the habit of drug use together and move on from our previous way of life. We moved in together during COVID, and she began her master’s program in psychology. She eventually found out that, in order to prevent relapses, I was prescribed Adderall in addition to my medications for my opioid use disorder. This strategy worked, and I took the medication as prescribed. My partner also expressed interest in starting Adderall, but I warned her that if she couldn’t be honest with herself about her capacity to control her own intentions and urge to abuse it, it could become a Pandora’s box.

After four years, I regrettably witnessed her decline to the brink of total brokenness. I feel angry and resentful because of the stress it’s placed on our relationship and how it’s impacted my son. She has finally made the decision to enroll in an intensive outpatient program following years of badgering her and a family intervention. She is putting off going inpatient, even though they want her to. For my son’s sake and my own sanity, I’m ready to end our relationship, but I feel bad that I might be leaving her behind when she needs me. I understand that each person must go through that journey for themselves, and I believe it will be insignificant if she does it to lessen the effects. Am I being overly dramatic because I want to go?

Not in Calabasas, but Somewhere Else.

Greetings, Confused.

I’m sorry about the circumstances you and your partner are in, and I’m congrats on your sobriety. To put it succinctly, no, your desire to leave is not selfish. You have been living with a self-destructive partner for a few years, and on top of that, you have managed to stay sober yourself, which I’m sure has not been easy. In addition, you owe your son a stable home as much as you are able. I do believe there are instances when a person just can’t stay, as painful as it may be to leave someone they care about when they need you the most. Maybe, but maybe this is one of those occasions.

Consider the whole picture before making a decision. I don’t want to talk you out of making the decision, but I do want to make sure you’ve considered all of your options and aren’t just acting on impulse. Are you certain that the relationship has reached the point of no return? If she were to get sober, is there a scenario in which you would want to stay with her? What is the nature of your son’s relationship with your partner and how would that relationship survive the end of your romantic relationship?

Be as compassionate as you can if this is really the best choice for you and your son. Consider who you could call afterwards—a close friend or relative—to offer support if necessary, and schedule it for a time when you know she is sober and/or lucid. Acknowledge gracefully that you may become the antagonist in her and her family’s story. And get professional assistance to work through what will probably be a very emotional time in your life; peer support is available at Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. Wishing you luck.

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Greetings, Care and Feeding.

I know this is strange, but when I picture daily life with a child, I automatically thought of what attitude would be ideal when it comes to passing gas in a home with kids. My partner and I are hoping to have a baby within the next year or two. After nearly ten years of dating, my partner and I still keep our physical activities between us fairly private. If I have to pass gas in the same room, I try not to make any noise, but if we are in different rooms and he is not likely to hear me, I don’t worry. Not only do I detest “potty humor,” but I also don’t want my child to grow up believing that regular bodily functions are embarrassing. I don’t want my child to be the one who constantly makes funny fart noises. Although it goes without saying that we will teach people to say “Excuse me” if they make a noise with their bodies in public, what about at home? Should that be a place where people can pass gas without fear of repercussions, or should we still enforce the idea that some things should be kept as private as possible? I grew up in a fairly intellectually open environment, but my family was very private about any and all body-related matters, so I’m not quite sure what the norm is.

I apologize.

Please pardon me.

Families should generally establish their own “culture” regarding these kinds of matters, in my opinion. You can be a silent family, a farting family, a showering family in front of the toddlers, a peeing with the door open family, or a privacy-please family. None of those are superior to or inferior to the other options. Parenting this can be made easier by framing it as a personal preference rather than an absolute requirement, just as you did with me. Therefore, you could say something like, “It’s okay if you think fart jokes are funny, but they make me uncomfortable, so no fart jokes in this house, please,” rather than telling your kids outright that farts are gross. Comparably, as a parent, you’ll be able to distinguish between instances in which your child unintentionally lets a fart escape and those in which they do so on purpose, allowing you to respond appropriately in each case as it happens. (However, since they won’t have much body awareness before then, I wouldn’t hold a child responsible for discreetly passing gas until first grade or so. ).

I cherished reading to my children picture books that presented physiological processes in a realistic but humorous manner. It helped to de-stigmatize the topic, which eased my conversation with and guidance of my children. Although there are many great books in your library, some classics are The Holes in Your Nose, The Gas We Pass, and Everyone Poops. There are a ton of options available to you to help you decide on and explain your family’s gas policy, including this book and this one that I came across while gathering these links for you. (I know you’re ecstatic. ).

I have an addiction to parenting books. Long before I became a mother, I read books about parenting, and I believe that reading those books helped me anticipate the kind of parenting approach I would like to use. Therefore, if you’re really stumped by this dilemma, pick up some books on body- and sex-positive parenting, such as Growing Up Great and Sex-Positive Talks to Have With Kids. And don’t worry, I’ve found that raising children immerses you in a wide range of bodily experiences. The trial-by-fire aspect of childrearing will undoubtedly lead you to your path.

Kindly, Feeding and Care.

I reside in a New York City apartment complex. I hear the parents screaming from inside my apartment almost every day, and the little girls next door crying and wailing. I keep my apartment door closed. The young girls, who are about three and six years old, are verbally abused and berated by their parents, who often reduce me to tears with their cruel remarks. They say things like, “You are a monster!” and “You are the reason this family is unhappy!” as well as, “What were you thinking?” and “Why the hell would you do that?”. The parents never stop talking and align themselves against the young girls.

I’ve contacted Child Protective Services (CPS), but they haven’t taken any action. What can be done? The supervisor I spoke with says he is powerless to help. The family has been screaming at me when I’ve asked them to please be quieter in the hallway. Though I feel terrible for the young girls, I don’t want to become friends with the family in an attempt to assist them. I can only imagine the children’s psychological toll and how their future is being jeopardized by this. Will you please assist?

Not much wit to this.

To Witty, please.

This letter truly breaks my heart. I’m not sure about the timelines, of course, but Child Protective Services in New York has sixty days to look into your report and determine whether it’s “indicated” or “unfounded,” so it’s possible that an investigation is still in progress. Furthermore, it’s possible that CPS is implementing additional interventions that you are unaware of because there are a lot of options between doing nothing and taking the kids out of the house.

I don’t think there’s a rule prohibiting calling CPS again if the abuse persists, especially if it gets worse. You can also ask the person you are speaking with for advice on whether or not repeated reports are helpful.

This may be your only option in the end, which I know is discouraging. In an attempt to provide you with some inspiration, let me share a story with you at the risk of sounding clichéd: eight years ago, my friend put up inspirational signs on her fence for the middle school students who passed by her property on their way to school. (Consider statements such as “You are stronger than you realize” and “You have a voice.”. She got so many positive written and verbal remarks that she decided to carry on the practice even though she was sure some kids would have laughed at them. Perhaps you could take advantage of these small, unnoticed chances to let your little neighbors know that happiness exists and that they are valuable. And in the end, if you are unable to assist these girls—which very well could be the case—let this inspire you to stand up for someone else the next opportunity you get. Rest well.

— Ingrid.

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