Q. Our son is in love with a woman he has been dating for a year and says he wants to marry her. She comes from a different culture. She is Cajun and we are staunch Southern bluebloods. We think our son can do so much better. This is causing trouble with our relationship with our son, and we blame her. Can you help?
A. As a parent, you expect your children to be like you. You hope they choose the things you choose and embrace the values you embrace. This validates you as a parent and a human being. And if your children choose differently? Well, parents often interpret this as a rejection and disapproval.
You can't control who your son falls in love with. But you can control how you act toward his bride-to-be, which will set the course for the kind of relationship you will have with them in the future.
You gain nothing by being antagonistic toward this young pair. You run the risk of alienating your son, which is already happening. Your continuing negativity will force your son to decide between you and her. You might not like his decision.
It seems that you have raised a young man who is independent, open-minded, tolerant and interested in the world at large, not merely one small slice of it. These are all positive qualities.
Dr. Gail’s Bottom Line: Parents often see their adult children make choices they wouldn’t make. It is unwise to let these differences ruin your relationship with your children.
Dr. Gail Saltz is a psychiatrist with New York with New York Presbyterian Hospital and a regular contributor to “Today.” Her latest book is “Anatomy of a Secret Life: The Psychology of Living a Lie,” by Dr. Gail Saltz. She is also the author of "Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts," which helps parents deal with preschoolers' questions about sex and reproduction. Her first book, “Becoming Real: Overcoming the Stories We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back,” was published in 2004 by Riverhead Books. It is now available in a paperback version. For more information, you can visit her Web site, .