Q: My 12-year-old son refuses to go to family gatherings. He says it’s boring and the food is always bad. I understand his feelings — I remember feeling that way myself. Still, I feel this is not negotiable. But I don’t want to bring a sulky, ornery kid to the get-together either.
A: Work with your son to figure out how you can make these gatherings more palatable for him. Tell him it’s non-negotiable and you expect him to be polite and respectful. Then ask him what you could do to make it more acceptable to him. Maybe he could bring a friend or be given permission to spend some time in another room playing a video game.
If you engage him in finding a solution, you will be well on the way to happier gatherings.