Bestinau got that-
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am an adult child of divorced parents. The messiness of my parents’ divorce certainly affected me well into adulthood.
I am currently watching my boyfriend go through a divorce. The mess he exposes his kids to reminds me a lot of my parents. It’s so hard to watch, and I feel incredibly sad for the kids.
Should I say something to my friend about his actions and the possible effects? I know it may not be my place, but I wish someone had stepped in for me when my parents got divorced.
Not my place
BEST NOT MY PLACE: What you could do is ask your friend if you can get together and talk. If you’re together, ask permission to share your story with him.
Instead of judging what your boyfriend does or doesn’t do, tell him stories about your life. Describe what you remember about your parents’ divorce as specifically as you remember. Tell him how you felt about the things you saw and how confusing and heartbreaking it has been for you, even now as an adult.
Tell your friend what you think would have been more helpful to you if your parents had to do it all over again. Then recognize that even though you know his life and divorce are none of your business, you can’t help but notice some behaviors that remind you of your family, and you wanted to share the memories his experience unleashed for you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My white ex-wife continues to buy white Barbie dolls for our half-black daughter.
I am a black man who shares an extremely impressionable 5 year old mixed race daughter with a white woman. It pisses me off that to my knowledge every doll my wife has ever bought for our daughter has been white. I think it might hurt her self-esteem if she doesn’t have dolls that look like her.
Would I overreact? How should I handle this?
Buy new dolls
BEST BUY NEW DOLLS: Stop blaming your ex-wife for her limited consciousness. Even though you are no longer married, you are still the father of your daughter. Get in and start buying brown dolls for your daughter.
Don’t judge the white dolls her mother buys for her. Just add to her collection with other dolls. Don’t stop there. Bookstores are full of books for curly-haired, round-nosed children and culturally dynamic stories. You can complete your daughter’s experience of her heritage by introducing her to your culture.
As a biracial child, she will learn to navigate many environments. Don’t criticize your ex-wife or shy away from the ideas, images and cultural nuances she introduces. Just make sure you do your part to expose your daughter to your heritage so she sets off with a full understanding of her identity.
This will be a continuous job for you all her life. Be ready to teach your daughter about race, racism, culture, heritage and tradition.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You may send inquiries to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.