Ask Carolyn

  • Sleepless over sleepover

    Sleepless over sleepover

    Dear Carolyn: One of my daughter’s new middle school friends is from a family that is clearly struggling. The girl is loved, but her parents are divorced and juggling a recent death of a relative, another relative with a severe substance abuse issue and some financial setbacks. The girl has grown up quickly and has

  • Avoiding emotional burnout

    Avoiding emotional burnout

    Dear Carolyn: Like other people who provide services to others in trouble, do you ever feel burned out? If you don’t, congratulations, but what do you advise to keep it at bay? — Burnout Sure, I’m susceptible. I do a few things: I take the vacation time I’m given. (Not all of it yet, but

  • Secret wedding creating emotional turmoil

    Secret wedding creating emotional turmoil

    Dear Carolyn: My 22-year-old niece just told me she and her 35-year-old boyfriend are eloping next week. This is a relationship that has been deeply opposed by my niece’s parents for years. They object to the age difference and many other aspects they view as unsavory. My niece told me they are inviting only the

  • Some birthday party rules for kids

    Some birthday party rules for kids

    Dear Carolyn: We have hit the age of the full-class invite to birthday parties. Yet, I am unlikely to throw a full-class party. Or maybe in a few years. Is it bad form for my kid to attend if it’s not a close friend and she didn’t invite/won’t be inviting the kid to her (very

  • Son’s girlfriend is too needy

    Son’s girlfriend is too needy

    Dear Carolyn: Our son is in a serious relationship and I believe an engagement is in the offing. We like this young woman, but have reservations that I am struggling with. It’s clear our son spends a great deal of time and energy taking care of his girlfriend and making her feel secure and content,

  • Punishment and love entwined

    Punishment and love entwined

    Hi, Carolyn: My wife and I have fought over whether I should be giving her open access to my personal email. I’ve had this account for at least twice as long as I’ve known her (going back 20-ish years) and we had a kind of cat-and-mouse type of situation where she would try to trick

  • Can this marriage be saved?

    Can this marriage be saved?

    Dear Carolyn: When my wife and I got engaged 17 years ago, she was a healthy, cheerful, gainfully employed young lady. Two months after the engagement she stopped working entirely and hasn’t worked since except for the occasional part-time job, which she quits in a fit of pique after two months because she “doesn’t care