ask toni & josh

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 August, 2009, 12:00am

Dear Josh

I'm from a very 'normal' nuclear family, but my girlfriend's parents are divorced. My mother told me I should be careful dating girls from 'broken families' because they have trust issues, but we've been together for two years and it's been smooth sailing.

One of the reasons I fell for her was that I fell I could give her the family stability she supposedly doesn't have. Is my mom talking sense or should I stick to my hon?


Dear Mamma's Boy

It's understandable that a mother might say something like that to her son. Mums want the best for their kids, and the idea that the girl you're dating may be emotionally out of sorts due to her family background is naturally a worrying one.

But the fact is that our backgrounds do not define our fates. Some great people were raised by single parents or were adopted: such as local artists Cecilia Chung, Nick Tse, civil rights leader Malcolm X, entrepreneur Steve Jobs and musicians John Lennon and Louis Armstrong.

We are not our parents, and many people whose folks have divorced are perfectly well adjusted. Just because your girlfriend's parents decided their relationship wasn't right, it doesn't mean the two of you will have similar issues.

Don't sell your relationship short. Even if she doesn't become famous, your girlfriend may still be the best thing in your life.

Dear Toni

I always hang out with friends at weekends and during school holidays. Recently, I've found that my spending exceeds my monthly pocket money. If I want to save, I can't hang out with my friends.

I'm afraid my friends will leave me out if I don't go out, but I need to spend less. What should I do? Scared to be friendless

Dear Budgeting

With the credit crunch, we all have to watch what we spend. But it's a good thing - it's never too early to learn the value of saving.

There's no need to reduce how much time you spend with your friends. It's just a matter of convincing them to do less expensive activities.

For example, instead of going out for dinner, you could ask your parents to let you host a dinner party in their absence and cook your favourite meals.

During this long summer, plan beach trips or country park hikes - these activities are almost free, but can be as much fun as more costly pursuits like karaoke and bowling.

But you don't have to rule out your favourite pastimes - make the most of special deals. For example, nearly all cinemas in Hong Kong have cheaper tickets on Tuesdays. Restaurants often have lunch sets that are cheaper than dinners. And karaoke during the day is loads cheaper than at night.

Once you discover life's less pricy options, you can continue to enjoy yourself and put some money away for a rainy day.

speak up!

Do you need an answer to a problem and don't know who to turn to? Growing up can be hard, but Toni and Josh are here to help. Whether it's about school stress or jealous friends, e-mail and they'll lend a sympathetic ear.