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Mother Shares Daughter's Personal Details with Strangers
How do I get my mother to shut up? I am a girl in 10th grade, and I swear that my mother has the biggest mouth on the entire planet, if not in the universe. She is the kind of person who will strike up a conversation with complete strangers, revealing the most intimate details of her life. Then, she tells them the personal points of my life — I am not just talking about obvious subjects like my grades or the teams.
I once came back from the bathroom at a restaurant to hear her talking with another mother she barely knew; they were comparing when her daughter and I first got our periods! This is completely unacceptable to me, and it only makes me want to give her one-word answers to her questions, if I talk to her at all.
Please, Mom. If you are reading this, there are some topics that only should be talked about with friends and family, and then some stuff that shouldn't be discussed at all without first clearing it with me. OK?
— Mortified by my Mother
There's an old saying in the Talmud: “A word is worth one coin, silence is worth two.” Now, long-term readers know that your humble columnist is all about communication. Usually I would say the more the better, but there are people who are friends and those who aren't. And one doesn't need to talk to both in the same way. That's not acting unfriendly; it is being realistic.
Now, have I ever succumbed to telling stories to a stranger on an airplane that I might not tell someone else? Yes, I admit it.
Mom, if you're reading this, I totally agree with your humiliated daughter. Think before you talk. And if you can't stop yourself from talking — hey, it happens, it's psychological — get yourself some help. There's no shame in that, and in the long run, your relationship with your family will improve; that's the one that should be front and center at all times.
I'm pretty parent-friendly here, but I can see why your daughter is mortified.
I'm in eighth grade. Tonight my parents gave me a lecture about walking away from kids who tease other kids, if I don't have the courage to stop them.
One of my friends threw french fries at a kid in the lunchroom today. I didn't think it was a big deal, but my parents went ballistic.
— Sticking With Friends
Please hand me that plate of fries so I can toss one or two at you. The way I see it, you're either participating in the teasing or you're not. If you're watching it happen and you don't do anything, you're participating. Now, not everyone has the courage to intervene and tell the bully he's a jerk. But anyone can muster the courage to walk away.
If suddenly the cafeteria started to clear out, the grown-ups on hand would step in. Please, don't stand by next time. OK?
Cherie Bennett is a best-selling author of books for teens and young adults. Visit her website at www.cheriebennett.com. To find out more about Cherie Bennett and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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