My son and his girlfriend broke off their engagement. Was it right to not get involved?

Derik Holtman/
·3 min read

Q. Where we lived before, we always took flowers to my son’s kindergarten and first grade teachers at the beginning of the school year and a gift at the end of the year. Is that something expected here in this metro St. Louis area?

A. Good question, to which I do not have a validated answer. I suggest I/we ask my teacher and parent readers to respond. Please submit your responses to me by Thursday, Aug. 18, so I can include the results in my next column. Please email to or or mail to PO Box 427, Belleville 62222, c/o Dianne Isbell. I will not include the names of those who respond in my follow-up column, but please indicate if you are a teacher or parent in your response.

Q. Our son recently broke off his engagement to his-long time girlfriend. My husband and I are not aware of why and it is really none of our business. His ex-girlfriend called us and asked if she and her parents could come talk to us about the situation or meet them for coffee.

We declined saying we didn’t feel comfortable doing so and didn’t want to get involved without our son’s knowledge. Were we being rude and uncaring by not accepting to meet with them?

A. No, you were not being rude and uncaring. You were being straightforward and honest about how you felt. I might also add you were being very wise in declining their invitation without being able to inform your son about the invitation and getting his input.

Question about ride to school

Q. A nice neighbor is going to take her son to school every day and pick him up every day. She has asked me if my son (who is the same age as their son) would like to ride with them. I told her I would unfortunately not be able to take turns driving if that was what she was looking for.

She said it definitely wasn’t. I told her I would discuss it with my son and my husband and get back to her. She was very nice about it and told me that would be fine. I added that if we allowed our son to go with them, I would want to pay her something by the week or month. She said that wouldn’t be necessary.

The three of us discussed it and my son feels he would rather ride the bus because he gets to see more of his neighborhood friends. My husband agreed with me regarding paying them if we did allow our son to ride along. We decided to write them a note declining their offer — but saying that we appreciated their kind offer.

Since their son likes to come to our house to play with our son, we also told them we looked forward to having their son come over after our son gets off the bus to spend some time playing together. My mother thinks we should have verbally told them. Should we have done that instead?

A. No, it was not necessary to respond to them verbally. You thanked them and I think it was important to remind them you looked forward to having the two boys continue to play together.