ASK AMY: A teenager’s gender identification is confusing

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Dear Amy: My 12 year old granddaughter “Casey” often stays with me on the weekends. Casey has a school friend whom she has visited several times. She had a slumber party at this friend’s house – courtesy of her mother.

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I briefly met the friend’s mother; I only saw the friend from a distance.

My granddaughter made me realize that her friend is a girl.

Now it seems that although this friend was born female, she wants to become a man, but she is also gay, in that the friend wants to be a boy who is attracted to other boys. I’m not comfortable with her having a slumber party with a boy.

Beyond that, I believe 12 is too young to make decisions about sexuality.

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My granddaughter is a handful – to put it mildly.

She regularly lies and is completely untrustworthy, so any information coming from her should be taken with a grain of salt.

I don’t want to offend her friend or the friend’s parents, or make them think that we would stop my granddaughter from going just because their child has a complicated gender identity.

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Today, for example, I said she could visit Casey at Casey’s. She started blasting my phone — and her mom’s — demanding to stay the night.

I don’t know how to handle this.

– Exhausted Grandma

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Dear Exhausted: Let’s leave exploring the gender of your granddaughter’s friend « Casey » aside for now. If this information comes from or is filtered by Casey, then I would say you have a 12 year old’s explanation of another 12 year old’s gender journey.

The question you should focus on is where Casey will spend the night when she is with you, and who will be responsible for her while she is with you: you, her mother, or Casey, herself. .

When Casey is with you, at least in the beginning, the wisest course would be for you to welcome her friend to spend time at your house, or to take them on a date together.

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This would allow you to get to know the friend, get to know his parents, and, by talking with Casey’s mom, make an adult decision about a slumber party.

Casey’s privileges should also relate to her own behavior: it’s basic parenting, and while teenage girls can test their parents’ patience, you should do your best to be open, patient, wise, loving and non-judgmental.

And always…trust but verify.

Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for 18 years.

He had a colleague (woman) who left the area and moved to another state – about five years ago.

I was unaware of this, but recently found out that he calls her quite often to talk about his issues.

I’m afraid he shares his problems with her and not with me. She is also married.

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He and this woman were even sending each other gifts without my knowledge.

I found out when I wrote down his mailing address in my Amazon account.

I wondered if this was normal behavior or if I should be worried.

He seems to think there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m furious.

Could you weigh in?

– Worried woman

Dear Worried: My opinion on this depends somewhat on the types of issues your husband shares with his former colleague and the type of gifts they exchange.

If he’s calling to discuss the Peterson account or to brainstorm ideas on how to navigate a sticky business issue, that’s one thing.

If he shares intimate, private details about his — or your — life, that’s another.

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If he sends her bottles of Shalimar or a gift box from Victoria’s Secret, I’d say that was a clear « say ». (You can recheck order history through your (or their) Amazon account.)

Partners absolutely can have friendships outside of marriage – but it’s important that these friendships don’t interfere with the marriage.

I hope you and your husband can really talk about it. It should be transparent and reassuring, rather than dismissive or defensive.

Dear Amy: I was absolutely shocked by your response to « Protective Bride », where the guy was sexually harassed by a woman in a bar.

You are normally so anti-men – I was surprised when you called out the double standard when women sexually harass men.

– Call me surprised

Dear surprised: Hey Thanks!

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