Aunty Ag: Look on the bright side. If your work is so grim, it must make the rest of your life seem positively rosy in comparison.
Uncle Ony: Why is a demotion such a loss of face? Surely people will merely admire your honesty for admitting you are not up to your new post. It takes far more grit and strength of character to stand up and say: "I was wrong to think I had any hope at all of being able to fulfil what is expected of me," than simply to muddle along. But if you are determined to pursue your career onwards and upwards, take a long look at what exactly is going wrong. Are there procedures you can change, timetables you can rework, incompetent subordinates you can sack? Also, take a look at spending some of your new salary on relaxation: perhaps some nice aromatherapy massages. Though if all the extra money from your promotion goes on helping you bear the stresses of the job, one really might question the point.
I want to go on holiday to Disneyland but my mum and dad say it's too expensive and they don't want to go anyway. I have tried begging and also some screaming. I am eight years old and I get pounds 1 a week pocket money - at this rate I will be grown-up before I can save enough money to go on my own. I think my mum and dad are pigs and I want you to tell them we should go there.
Aunty Ag: Let's get something straight, shall we? It's the people who pay for the holidays who decide where those holidays are taken. For kids your age, half your life is a holiday: those six-week summer breaks are but a fond memory for the grown-ups among us. For your mum and dad, who spend most of the year slaving away to keep you in Barbies and new trainers and Sunny Delight, their pathetic few weeks of time off are a precious resource, and if they don't want to spend them queuing up for hours to spin round in giant teacups and meet some teenager masquerading as Mickey Mouse then neither you nor I can criticise.
Uncle Ony: I can empathise with your anger and frustration, though it's really not very nice to call your mum and dad pigs. As a small person among adults, you will often experience these feelings of disempowerment and impotence, the sense that your wishes and feelings are not taken seriously. I would like to introduce you to the concept of delayed gratification: that is, getting what you want, but not immediately. Be prepared to wait. Rather than simply making a demand, offer something in return. Perhaps you could say that if you can go to Disneyland in the autumn you will wash up every day between now and then. (If there is some task you know your parents especially hate then this is the one to volunteer for.) This gives your parents more of an incentive than nagging does.
I work full-time and I am trying to train my (fairly new) husband to take on his share of the household tasks. The problem is that, while fairly willing, he just isn't very competent. When he hangs the washing out to dry, he always puts it on the drying rack all scrunched up, so it doesn't dry very quickly and has lots of creases in. How can I train him?
Aunty Ag: At least he is willing. Treat him like a little puppy that needs to be licked into shape. Take him by the little paw and repeatedly demonstrate the tasks under his little nose. Or appeal to his innate male sense of being "logical" and "scientifically-minded", however spurious that might be. Explain, for example, that the washing dries best when the maximum surface area is exposed to allow the optimum evaporation. Most men find that somehow it isn't such a cissy job when thus described.
Uncle Ony: Resign yourself to the fact that men just aren't very good at this kind of thing.Reuse content