What's your problem?

INDISPENSABLE ADVICE FROM REAL LIFE'S AGONY AUNT AND UNCLE

FAMILY TIES

We recently got back from a three week break in Greece, having hired a big villa with my husband's two brothers and their families, and including four adolescents ranging from ages 11 to 17. The weather was perfect, the island was idyllic and the villa was delightful, but the holiday was a nightmare, mainly due to these horrid children who bickered/snarled/ fought/sulked/drank too much/ didn't want to go out at all/only wanted to go clubbing. My husband's older brother, who organised this year's trip, is already making keen noises about next year, but frankly I have barely recovered from this year's jaunt and would rather not go away at all than go through it all again.

Kathy, Manchester

He says: The storms of adolescence should be looked on by adults with sympathy, not disapproval. After all, presumably you were young once yourself. And surely, with six adults on the scene, you could have found some kind of half-way congenial ways of occupying the time? While you deserve to enjoy your holiday as much as the next person, I'm afraid I can't help feeling it is rather spoilt to sniff at three weeks in the sun in this way; similarly, the opportunity to forge stronger family links is not one to be lightly passed over.

She says: What a frightful waste of time and money, angel. And there are few prospects more fearsome than being coralled for three whole weeks in a confined space with four sulky little beasts. If anyone deserves sympathy, it's you. Start laying the foundations for your excuse now, darling. Whenever you speak to any of your relatives, feign a slight but persistent deafness. Then, when the brochures are brought out by your eager brother-in-law, sadly explain that your doctor has diagnosed a mild but chronic ear infection, and has forbidden you to fly for the foreseeable future. Of course this means you won't be able to go anywhere by plane when you and your husband go off on holiday together, but I'm sure that having to take a cruise instead will be a penalty worth paying. Bon voyage, darling.

KIDDIES CORNER

What is the etiquette about taking one's children along to lunch parties given by the childless? Is it okay or will I find myself ostracised?

Leonora, London SW1

He says: On this question I am with our European cousins: children should be included in social gatherings whenever and wherever possible. It helps to socialise them and teach them how to behave, and at the same time it encourages adults to acknowledge them and their individual wee personalities. Our society is not particularly friendly or patient towards children who, after all, are the little vessels of our future, and any moves towards changing this should be embraced with open arms.

She says: A lot depends on the child in question, angel. A small, immobile baby can be lugged around pretty much anywhere: the worst they can do is scream, in which case they can be taken outside. But an inquisitive, attention-seeking toddler is quite another matter and it is rather unfair to unleash one on the unsuspecting hostess. Quite apart from anything else, the house will not be safely child-proofed, which could have dreadful consequences - for your own social standing at best and for your sproglet remaining personally intact at worst. Imagine how you'd feel if, while you were daintily nibbling your caesar salad and sipping a buttery chardonnay, he or she was jamming biscuits into the video/scalping the cat/investigating the contents of the knife drawer/tottering towards the garden pond. Trust me, darling, it's simply not worth the bother.

COPPING OFF

One of my girlfriends has just slept with my best male friend. Although there has never been anything romantic between us, for some reason I feel invaded and upset, as though she is somehow moving into my territory. Am I being unreasonable or do I have a right to feel annoyed?

Isobel, Chichester

He says: I suspect that what you are suffering from is simple jealousy. I am sceptical about strictly platonic male/female friendships. Could it be that in your heart of hearts you would like to look upon this man as more than a friend, even if you are in deep denial about this? Acknowledge any such feelings, work through them, and let them go. He might surprise you by feeling the same.

She says: Do you remember the episode in Friends, ages ago now, where Monica went shopping with Ross's new girlfriend and Rachel was furiously upset and hurt because she and Monica always went shopping together? Well, darling, this is exactly the same thing, except that it's not quite a question of a quick trip to Bloomingdales. We can be just as possessive of our friends as we are of our lovers; you'd probably feel fed up if your two best girlfriends got together and started going out without you (even if they weren't sleeping together). It's not so much that you feel invaded, angel, as diminished; these two don't need you as a catalyst any more. Try not to feel hurt, and even if you do, don't show it. Believe me, they are both still your friend too.

GOGGLE EYES

I have just been diagnosed with short sight and will have to wear glasses or contact lenses from now on. I hate glasses, but I'm very squeamish about anything to do with my eyes. What can I do?

Maria, Bedford

He says: My dear Maria, there's nothing wrong with glasses! I like to think my own lend me a certain gravitas and a more than passing resemblance to Michael Caine. Lots of attractive women wear glasses. And Scary Spice does, too. Do bear in mind that vanity is a very unpleasant vice; there is, paradoxically, nothing less attractive than a woman who is obsessed with her appearance. Just swallow your pride, take a deep breath and get used to seeing the world through four eyes instead of two.

She says: Well, angel, you have a stark choice ahead of you: either wearing milk bottles lenses over your eyes, or being a brave little soldier and getting to grips with those slippery bits of plastic. The only alternative is bumping into things a lot and getting the wrong bus on a regular basis. If I were you, I'd start thinking in terms of getting intimate with your corneas, darling.

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    RE/Humanities, Sittingbourne School

    Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We urgently seek an experienced ...

    SEN Teacher

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Southampton: Randstad Education are recruiting ...

    Maths Teacher, full time supply role, Medway Academy

    Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Our client school in Chatham, a ...

    Geography Teacher, Dover School, full time role

    Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is urgently s...

    Day In a Page

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?