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home : columns : dear harriette February 26, 2020

12/23/2019 10:15:00 AM
Daughter traumatized by rappers' deaths

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter loves rap music, and she is very upset right now. She says that her favorite artists keep dying. She went to a music festival a couple of months ago, and one of the artists, Juice Wrld, just died, possibly from an accidental overdose. About a year ago, another of her favorite artists, XXXTentacion, was murdered, just like another one who was trying to do good in his neighborhood, Nipsey Hussle.

My daughter is having a hard time processing so much death. She is a teenager, and life for them usually seems more fun than tragic. How can I console her and warn her at the same time? -- Facing Tragedy

DEAR FACING TRAGEDY: Death is hard to handle at any age, but especially when people you admire die so young. Talk to your daughter about her grief. Even though she did not know these artists, she and her friends probably feel a certain closeness to them because of their fame.

Use the moment to teach your daughter about being safe and making smart choices. Young people often don't realize how dangerous prescription and illegal drugs can be. Talk to her about why she should not use drugs. Point out what you can verify about people who have died from overdoses. Don't threaten her. Just call attention to the facts as you know them. Try not to focus on the artists who have died. Leave their memories at peace. Talk to your daughter about her choices, including what she puts into her body and where she goes. Reminding her about personal safety is essential as she spends more time out and about on her own.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm so worried about being with family this Christmas. We are a large family, and we're even larger when you take into account all of the in-laws.

Even in normal times we fight over politics, money -- you name it. One of the grandmothers loves to meddle in the young folks' business. The list goes on and on. My worry is that the discussions and debates could get ugly this year. We have conservatives and liberals in our family, and just as the country is divided, so is our family. Do you think there is anything I can say or do to get the family to avoid fighting? -- Make a Truce

DEAR MAKE A TRUCE: Call to remind everyone of the time that you will gather. Suggest that you will do things differently as a family this year. Invite family members to stay positive all day -- no matter what. Whenever they feel like criticism is bubbling up, recommend that somebody change the subject. You can make it a game. Whoever is able to pivot away from the most fights gets a prize -- perhaps some food item that they love.

If things do get tense during the day, encourage people to walk away from the conversation rather than jump into an argument. If you keep vigilant, preferably along with another cousin or sibling, this just may work!

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