Dear Family Coach: I'm a stay-at-home dad, and most of my play dates have been with other dads so far. But I'm becoming friends with moms, too. We all have one big thing in common, but I just feel like it might be a little odd at first. If I invite a mom over with her child, are there certain things I should do as a Dad to sort of, I don't know, make them feel comfortable? -- Dad
Dear Dad: In this day and age, moms and dads are clearly taking on more similar child-rearing roles. More and more often, dads are organizing the social calendar, and that means interacting with the moms. Treat play dates with a mom friend just like you would a dad friend. You may not become best friends with all of the mothers, but if you are yourself, you will find those who will feel comfortable around you.
I don't think I need to state the obvious, but just in case, I will. Here's how to make a mother feel comfortable in your house: Don't come on to her. Don't make inappropriate jokes or use sexual innuendos. Use your manners and words, not your hands. Don't complain about your wife either. No one really wants to get in the middle of your marriage. That's about it.
If you are unsure of how to begin having dates with some of the moms in your home, start with visits to the park. Meeting up in a public place could ease your nerves and help you get to know the moms better. Organizing a group play date could also take some of the pressure off. Maybe invite several of your child's friends over for a themed play date.
Dear Family Coach: My teen son stinks. His room stinks. His shoes stink. When he's in the car, he makes it stink, too. I've gently suggested tips for better hygiene and given him deodorant, but he isn't following up. I'm at a loss for how to rid him of his odor. Help! -- Mom With Plugged Nose
Dear Mom: Hormonal changes in puberty are to blame for your stinky kid. He now sweats and smells more than he did in childhood. But he may not be emotionally or physically ready to care for his rapidly changing body. With all of the development, it can take time for new routines to take shape. Think about it. Your boy now likely needs to shave, use deodorant and acne creams, shower more frequently, manage a deepening voice and handle new sexual urges as they pop up.
While you may smell your son 15 paces away, he might not smell himself. Go easy on him. You've given him tips and deodorant. Hammering it home by being harsh will do more damage than good. Gently talk to him again about his hygiene routine. Ask him whether he is aware of his smell. Ask him whether he would like help figuring out how to manage it. If he asks for help, then add reminders and make to-do lists to help him remember to wash properly and apply deodorant. Make sure his dirty clothes are finding their way to the laundry basket, too. After all of that, if he is still stinky, deal with it.
Dr. Catherine Pearlman, the founder of The Family Coach, LLC, advises parents on all matters of child rearing. To write to Dr. Pearlman, send her an email at email@example.com. To find out more about Dr. Catherine Pearlman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.