Doctor Love: Protective Mom

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Readers, email your question to [email protected] Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length.

Dear Doctor Love
My family and I were with a group of friends this weekend and I heard my eleven-year-old daughter screaming in the back yard. One of the fathers of another child was tickling her and by the time I got to them she was fighting for him to stop. I grabbed him and made him let her go. She ran away in tears and he got defensive saying he wasn’t hurting her—he was only playing. I explained that tickling is not always fun for the person on the receiving end and when she asked him to stop, he should have respected her wishes and let her go. His wife told me that he does this to his own children all of the time and they hate it as well but she can’t make him stop.
My husband is mad at me now because he says I got upset over nothing and was rude to a family friend.
Was I wrong to come to my child’s defense?
/s/Protective Mom

Dear Mom
What many people don’t understand is that the laughter response to tickling is involuntary and doesn’t necessarily mean the person is having fun. Tickling was used as a means of torture and interrogation by the Chinese and Romans and when taken too far it can be agonizing.
For a small child, unable to escape a larger, stronger adult, it can be a horrifying experience and you were right to intercede on your daughter’s behalf.
No adult would put up with being touched in a manner they don’t invite, and a child should not be put into a situation where they are forced to endure touching they don’t want or enjoy. Defense against the unwanted touching of her body is something you should reinforce with your daughter over and over. She has the right to say “No” and never submit to something like this out of fear of being rude to a “family friend”.
Discuss this incident as a family and ask your daughter why it upset her so much. When she explains to her father the reason she was so upset he will better understand your reaction.

Dear Doctor Love,
I often see people who get very drunk at the bars and they get into their golf carts and drive home. Is it legal to drink if you are only driving a golf cart?
/s/ Curious

Dear Curious,
It is illegal, stupid and irresponsible to drive any vehicle while drunk. The island is small enough to walk downtown and taxis are happy to drive anyone home after an evening of partying.

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