Dear Miriam,

Our eldest daughter is doing her Leaving Cert this summer. Her friends are planning to go to Majorca for a week after the exams and she wants to join them. She will turn 18 later in the year and has asked if we will pay for the trip as her “early” birthday present.

I know that teenagers have had a rough time of it with COVID and have missed out on a lot, but my daughter has never travelled abroad by herself and I’m not very comfortable with the idea of her going with this gang; not to mind bankrolling it!

I want her to have a good summer before she starts college, but I feel that she does not have the life experience yet to handle herself abroad.

Cork mother

Dear Cork mother,

I understand your concern and, as she is expecting you to cover the costs, I think some sort of halfway-point is reasonable to suggest instead of this holiday. For instance, is there something in Ireland – like a music festival or weekend away – that her friends are going to also that you would be happy to contribute towards as a present?

Or perhaps a different trip once she has a few months of college under her belt, like a city break after her first semester or a contribution towards a holiday next summer?

I can’t imagine she will be thrilled with these suggestions at the start; but if she is depending on you to fund it, then she has to meet you where you are. It’s all part of growing up, I’m afraid.

Reader writes

Dear Miriam,

I read with interest the letter from the grown-up lady who doesn’t want to attend mass with her parents as she is now a non-believer (2 April edition). I will address it from a parent’s perspective. We live in a rural community, which is relevant to my point. It is a vibrant community where we are passionate and committed.

We are the proud parents of three adult children, two of whom claim they are now non-believers. Our oldest son has recently become a Eucharistic minister, which was a little bit of a surprise to us as he only attended mass periodically.

However, he is happy for his children to attend with us most Sundays. Recently his boys have joined the children’s choir and he himself has joined the adult choir.

Our daughter, who lives abroad, comes home throughout the year and always at Christmas. We know and accept she doesn’t practice her religion when away, but always attends Christmas masses with us as a family. This is the perfect opportunity for her to meet the neighbours and many of her national school classmates. It is a perfect time and place to meet up.

Our youngest son also says he doesn’t believe, but himself and his fiancée came to midnight mass with us this year and as a result of our young at heart and vibrant priest, have decided on a church wedding.

Prior to then they were planning an alternative ceremony. No pressure whatsoever from us! They even changed their provisional wedding date to oblige the priest. I will add that they all sang delightfully with the choir.

I feel in life there are times when we have to do things to please others and respect their views and I feel she should put her own feelings to one side as the parents won’t be around forever. It’s only for 30 minutes in church out of her weekends. I am sure there were many times her parents did things they didn’t want for her, so a little bit of compromise won’t go astray.

Regular reader.

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