“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 Jun 12, 2014
DEAR AMY: My daughter has a neighborhood friend who lives down the street. They get along well, and the girl is very nice and well-mannered. The girls frequently have "late overs" on the weekends that involve pizza and movies/games.

These sometimes involve other friends of my daughter's. The girls are all 8 years old.

Many times when it's time for the movie, the neighbor girl says she's not allowed to watch it. This has happened with "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," "Harry Potter," "Journey to the Mysterious Island," etc.

Most of the time we find something else to watch. Other times, when my daughter has invited a friend from outside the neighborhood, I can tell they are disappointed.

Should I send the neighborhood girl home when this happens?

We have not exchanged phone numbers with the parents. Usually the girl comes and knocks on the door. I have told her to go ask her parents if it's OK to watch the movie, and she replies that they are not home. I think she is being watched by her older siblings.-- Mom

DEAR MOM: I find it surprising that you would have an 8-year-old girl in your home for hours at a time without communicating with her parents. The very first thing you should do is to make sure they are aware that she is with you. If an older sibling is in charge, then you should contact that sibling.

Once you make the parents' acquaintance and establish that they know where their child is, you can feel them out about media choices. It is a contradiction to exert such strict control over media while at the same time leaving an 8-year-old to socially fend for herself. I suspect this child isn't really conveying all of the information you need (she's only 8).

I think it is kindest to dial movie choices to the most sensitive child in the room, but you shouldn't always have to do this. The next time this happens, you can say, "I understand you can't watch this, but I think tonight we're going to watch this one, so let me walk you home."

DEAR AMY: My nephew recently announced his marriage on Facebook. We are not a close family -- we get together on holidays -- but this was still a shock for us all, including his dad (my brother), for whom it was a complete surprise. They just went down to the courthouse to get married.

It feels like a slap in the face, as if he were saying, "We're a messed up family, so you probably don't care anyway -- so whatever."

I haven't congratulated him/them. I still feel hurt and I don't know how to respond to what seems the underlying negative message. Can you suggest a good way to respond? I certainly don't want to make this worse.-- Troubled Aunt

DEAR AUNT: I challenge your assumption that announcing an important life event on Facebook is the equivalent of "whatever." Maybe your nephew is saying, "Whoopee! We did it!"

In the old days, an impromptu courthouse marriage would be followed by a series of phone calls or letters. Congratulations would be offered through the same medium by which the announcement was delivered. So in this case, you can comment on Facebook or message your nephew: "I'm so excited for you both. We look forward to seeing you sometime soon."

Your brother has a different challenge, and he should share his honest feelings with his son (privately, not through Facebook).

DEAR AMY: While the advice you gave to "Desperate" was good, an even better approach is to take this alcoholic family member to the hospital and let him watch somebody go through delirium treatments.

As a nurse in an intensive care unit, I've seen many alcoholics die horrible deaths. Watching this helped me realize that I was an alcoholic, and I've been dry for a year and a half.-- Dry and Lovin' It

DEAR DRY: I give you a ton of credit for letting your experiences influence you in this positive way.

Although I appreciate the spirit of your response, a person can't just bring a stranger into the ICU to watch someone suffer.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 Jun 12, 2014
If a kid is spending time at your house you absolutely must have a contact number. What would you do if there was an accident?

If it is indeed an older sibling who is watching the 8 year old, that kid might be overly strict because they don't have the experience to interpret what the parents rules are. I am thinking a 12 or 13 year old left in charge of an 8 year old.

It would be a courtesy and a kindness to make the acquaintance of the sibling and the parents, perhaps inviting them over to BBQ or something

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#3 Jun 12, 2014
1- I agree it's odd you don't have contact with her caregivers. Given that she's not even allowed to watch Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you'd think the parents would keep better tabs on her

2- it's all about social media these days, get used to it
Cass

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#4 Jun 12, 2014
LW1 - Why haven't you met the parents or gotten their phone number? This is just so bizarre to me, especially if you suspect that the adults are never at home, and you are sending the kid back to a possibly unsupervised situation at night. You THINK she is being watched by her older siblings, but you don't know it for sure, and you don't say how old the sibling are. If they are old enough to babysit, you should be able to contact them, and the girl should be able to check with them what she is and is not allowed to watch.

LW2 - Based on your letter, I think if you were my aunt, I'd elope too.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#5 Jun 12, 2014
1 If you would just talk to the parents, you could determine acceptable movies, and I think it's cruel to tell a kid they have to leave because you want to watch a movie.

2 It's all about you isn't it?

3 Yeah, scared straight.
blunt advice

Brooklyn, NY

#6 Jun 12, 2014
1. A kid who is that unsupervised can watch whatever she wants. She just doesn't want to watch those movies.
2. So you didn't get a buffet and 5 hours of open bar. You will live.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#7 Jun 12, 2014
For the win...
blunt advice wrote:
2. So you didn't get a buffet and 5 hours of open bar. You will live.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#8 Jun 12, 2014
1: It is indeed strange that an 8 year old would be left in the charge of older siblings so often and at the same time the parents don't want her to watch certain movies. But it's also possible the older siblings are of babysitting age and the parents work evenings. I too would not want to allow my 8 year old to watch some of the movies mentioned. It's a religious thing and perhaps the child does know the parents would not approve. The lw should definitely contact the parents and introduce herself to them - in person. It's entirely possible they don't even know their little girl is wandering the neighborhood and going to other people's homes for whatever reason. I'd say the older siblings are not doing a good job of watching her. At first, I thought the girls were visiting each other's homes for these "late overs" but I think now that it is entirely one-sided with the lw's home being the venue. Yes, she definitely needs to contact the parents. It seems normal to want to meet the parents of a child your own child is spending a lot of time with. Regarding the movie situation, I agree with Amy. But it might be a very good idea to let the child and her parents know ahead of time what movie you will be watching so they can decide whether the girl should go. It would be less embarrassing to her than telling her she has to go home because she can't watch a particular movie once she was already there.

2: Whoop di do. So what? In this day and age, you should be happy they got married rather than just "shacking up" as so many couples do today. So grow up and simply congratulate them and welcome your nephew's wife to the family. Their marriage isn't about you; it's about them.

3: I absolutely agree with Amy. My mom died from lung cancer. The last months and the last few weeks in particular were from the pages of a horror story. She suffered terribly. I often think that smokers, especially teen smokers or teens who want to smoke, should visit a person suffering from the last stages of lung cancer, emphysema, or some of the other diseases that end life early or that lead to amputations, etc. That said, we have laws against this. We can't use another person's suffering as an education tool unless that person wishes it (I've seen some videos of this). We can't take our kids to a hospital to watch someone suffer because we would be violating HIPPA laws and well as human dignity.
Kuuipo

Elizabethtown, KY

#9 Jun 12, 2014
blunt advice wrote:
1. A kid who is that unsupervised can watch whatever she wants. She just doesn't want to watch those movies.
That’s what I was thinking, but you never know. She might have unusually strict parents. Or she could be a very sensitive, easily frightened child who cannot watch the scarier parts of some of the Harry Potter films. I have known children like this. I totally agree with Amy that it’s long past time that LW went over to meet the parents. That’s the only way she will find out what is really going on.

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