Q: How do a mom and dad handle bullies without making it worse on their son? I am ready to start beating some little 11-year-old behinds since their mamas are not doing it.
A: You teach your son to fight back. I mean it. I know it’s heartbreaking and scary, but bullies have to be put in their place. The wussification of our culture (especially in our educational systems) has given the bullies the power; we have to reclaim it, even if it means your son needs to learn how to throw a punch. Look at it this way: One good punch will prevent him from being tormented the rest of his days. And in the grand scheme of life, what harm was done?
I was bullied by two girls in school and had moments of sheer terror. The second girl actually hit me, but I didn’t hit back. I was still punished for being “involved” in the incident. In retrospect, I should have slapped the thug and solved this problem for once and for all.
I worked at a private school in the Atlanta area and saw how insidious the bullying could get; our current solutions aren’t working, so I say it’s time to return to the parental approaches of a few generations ago. Show your son that it’s not OK to remain a victim.
Q: When are thank-you cards absolutely required?
A: Always. Nothing is too small to be grateful for. Being busy is no excuse. Everyone’s busy — including the person who did something nice for you in the first place.
Q: My dear daughter and only child has recently divulged that she has never been happier since she became a dominatrix. She likes to give me details. What’s the best way to tell my darling girl that I don’t need to know things — and how do I accomplish that without creating barriers to communication or sounding judgmental when I have worries?
A: You are her mama: It’s OK to be judgmental. In fact, it’s your job! She needs you to be the parent, not her best buddy. Tell her that this subject is off limits exactly because you are her mother, first and foremost. Your daughter is an adult, and I bet you’ve built a solid relationship with her. Eliminating this inappropriate topic won’t threaten what you’ve built over her entire lifetime. She needs your help to see that boundaries are her friend.
Q: How can a person who finds herself alone and without friends become a friend and have friends, as we all need them?
A: She should start acting like a friend to those around her: doing friendly things for others might just create a friendship. Also, consider joining a club or religious organization; it will be easier to make friendships when she’s surrounded by people with similar interests and perspectives.
Q: Is there such a thing as normal?
A: There is, and it’s highly overrated. Normal is whatever society tells you to buy or buy into. Normal is how you are expected to act, think, or believe in order to conform. Normal never produces innovative ideas, advancements for mankind, or great works of art.
Normal is about the choices you make. If I have to choose between reading “50 Shades of Grey” or a timeless masterpiece, I’ll reach for the literary masterpiece. Therefore, I am abnormal.
Top 40 music is another example of normal. I admit that on occasion something of value does find its way there. But for the most part, it’s well-packaged mediocrity. The same could be a definition of normal: well-packaged mediocrity.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Visit her at thecrackerqueen.com.