David’s Dad

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’ve just learned a lot about my son from reading his Facebook page. I
think there was a glitch in his permissions, so that I read about his
exploits and experiments with drinking and dating. The last time I tried
to talk to him about any of this he stalked out of the room shrieking at
me. How can I go from being a very un-cool Dad to someone he’ll
listen to? I saw enough to be worried.

David’s Dad

Dear Dad:

One of the most interesting things about aging is how many of us
acknowledge how right our parents were about a lot of things. The
basics: Don’t drink and drive. Don’t be afraid to be different. Don’t be
afraid to say No. Your reputation matters. Communicate simply and
often. And while your son may think you’re too un-cool to talk to about
things, what you say will get in, especially if you are consistent in your

Sit him down and explain that when he doesn’t talk to you about the
typical issues teenagers face (the proverbial “sex, drugs and rock &
roll”) you can only imagine the worst. Tell him it’s very important that
you have agreements and understandings. Example: No matter how
late it is or how drunk you are, I’d rather you called me for a ride than
touch a car key. Example: No matter what your friends tell you, girls
can get pregnant any time you don’t use protection. Use the following
(or adapt it) as an intro and exit. Keep repeating it until he can quote
it back to you in unison: I love you and will do my best to protect you.
Please keep talking to me so I know what you’re going through and
how I can be there for you. You are my son and I love you very much.