Hax: Raising dogs not the same as raising kids

The Washington PostNovember 4, 2013 

Carolyn: Do you still feel that the way a person handles their dog is a good indicator of what kind of parent they’ll be? Because if that’s true my kids are going to be kitten-throttling serial killers. The dogs have too many toys, I plan most vacations so I can bring them along, and I have a habit of praising them for existing.

This means my kids are going to be entitled, self-centered, unsympathetic, instant-gratification-focused nightmares, right? And they probably won’t run the vacuum, either.

DOG OWNER

I do still think that.

And if you plan to treat any children exactly as you treat your dogs, then, yes, CPS will look unkindly upon your letting the kids outside to poop in the yard.

Treating your dogs in a way that’s right for dogs, though, usually means you’ll treat kids in a way that’s right for kids, so it’s a fine indicator.

Re: Dog Ownership + Parenting: Although I suspect the dog owner was being facetious, I do think it is worth noting that in my experience, not disciplining/training your dog can translate to not setting boundaries for your kids. Personally, I don’t think there is anything more annoying than a dog/child that does whatever it wants.

Both groups benefit from (and want) some boundaries/discipline.

ANONYMOUS

Hi, Carolyn: I do not like my father-in-law. He’s rude, crass, obnoxious, argumentative. He also hugs me a bit too close and too long and has been caught looking at porn on our family computer. How do I deal with my feelings during family get-togethers?

SPOUSE

Share what needs family action. “I don’t like your dad” is not useful information, but “I’m uncomfortable around him” is, when supported by specific examples.

Taking this approach will not only avoid adding needlessly to your husband’s existing dad-burden, but it will be more honest than pretending you’re OK with ol’ Dad.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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