While I’m away, readers give the advice.
On getting through to your teenager without harping:
I was very fortunate to have a mother whom I called the “Kitchen Table Psychologist,” because she was able to tap into our emotions to enable us to “vent.” She was nonjudgmental and understood the basic need to express our emotions, and perhaps problem-solve, but as soon as the words were out the “problems” were lessened by just putting them out on the table. She would say, “There is nothing that bad that we cannot talk about,” and it was usually not that bad.
She would usually end the discussion with a humorous anecdote, usually about herself, and we would have a good laugh at the end of the conversation. That was so great to have. – P.
On feeling like the bad luck fairy has moved in with you and is sleeping on your sofa: People with plenty of money have crummy luck all the time, too, but it’s just an inconvenience for them. My parents are millionaires. Last week their heater, car and garage door broke. So what?
If they were poorer, each problem would’ve caused two more problems. People living on the edge are vulnerable to every mishap in a way that is catastrophic. It’s hard to break the cycle. You need a string of good luck that lasts for years.
By the way, I’ve always tried to live within my means and got hit with the housing crisis in a perfect storm that reduced me to zero. So I’m not saying here that poorer people are doing something wrong; it’s just about having more than enough money to be able to recover. – R.