Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#1 Feb 16, 2013
DEAR AMY: I have a niece who is 18. She and I are “friends” on Facebook. The other day on my news feed, a video she posted of a pornographic nature (nudity and sexual activity involving a male stripper) popped up.

This is not the first time she has posted such things, but it is the worst. Another time she had a conversation with a male friend about “having his baby.”

I am concerned for this girl, but not sure how to approach her. We live far away from each other. Her mother, who I was very close to, died recently. I am not as close to her father. Do you have any suggestions? I do not want to be “unfriended.”-- Worried Aunt

DEAR AUNT: For now, you should not comment on these posts. You might gain some insight, however, by reading through the comments made by others. Other Facebook “friends” and contemporaries may comment,“Wow — that’s a little raw, don’t you think?” or question her taste or judgment.

Facebook comments can sometimes lead a person to self-correct. I do not think it’s wise for you to comment publicly:“I find this highly offensive. Love you, Auntie” because, given your niece’s age and immaturity, she will likely be done with you quite quickly, and you want to keep the door open.

If these posts worry (in addition to offend) you, you could send her a private message on Facebook to say,“Hi, I’m checking in. How are you doing lately?” Keep your own contact benign and open-ended.

You want to learn what she’s thinking about — not just what she’s posting — and develop enough intimacy with her that you can eventually ask her to reflect on how she’s presenting herself online.

DEAR AMY: I am in a quandary about whether I should mind my own business about a situation in our neighborhood.

A neighbor had a baby a year ago, announced with a banner on their front porch. We did not even know she was pregnant. They keep to themselves. That baby has never been seen by any of the neighbors, not even their next-door neighbor.

They never bring her outside, and no one has seen the child (or the parents) in their yard. Other neighbors have had babies in the last three years, and they all play outside with one another.

We have seen them take the baby out in the car maybe three or four times.

Attempts by various neighbors to be friendly are quietly rebuffed at the door. I’m wondering whether to make a call to Children’s Protective Services to request a welfare check on the child. Staying indoors 24/7 can’t be healthy for a baby.-- Worried Neighbor

DEAR WORRIED: This child could have health (or other) problems causing the parents to keep the baby inside; you simply don’t know. You also don’t know what this family’s lifestyle or work schedule is.

Over the years, many people have contacted me to say they grew up in terrible circumstances in a neighborhood where “not one person intervened.” While I do not suggest being a busybody or necessarily judging choices parents make, our child welfare system is set up to be the advocate for children who cannot advocate for themselves.

If you are truly worried about this baby’s health, safety and welfare, and if you have tried other ways and cannot determine whether the child is okay, then you should make the call.

DEAR AMY: Reading about “Perplexed’s” struggles with connecting with her grandmother with Alzheimer’s reminded me of my father. As a child, I frequently played checkers with my dad. Much later, when he was deep into the forest of memory loss, I pulled out a checkers board and placed it between us. He made the first move, using several checkers at one time. I followed his lead and soon we were creating lyrical patterns on the board. It was a new game, new rules and a new way of connecting.

That simple moment of reimagined communication is one of my favorite memories of my father.-- Out of the Box

DEAR OUT: This is beautiful. Thank you!

Since: Mar 09

West Palm Beach, FL

#2 Feb 16, 2013
L1: Ah, Facebook. Can't live with it, can't live without it.

L2: Butt. Out.

L3: Playing fake checkers doesn't sound that great to me, but what do I know.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#3 Feb 16, 2013
L1: My first reaction to LW1 was to tell her to butt out. But I think Amy gave good advice.

L2: A one year old can't be outside by herself. If the parents don't want to play outside with her, she's going to be indoors. And they have the right to be weird parents.

I had a neighbor in my old neighborhood who didn't let her daughter outside. The girl could go to school, and I hope she got to have friends over and visit them, but I have no idea. But the woman was weird. Had nasty signs on her front yard chewing out people who let their dogs poop on the grass (it wasn't about not picking it up, and the signs were more obnoxious than dog poop). That's where my "weird parents" thing came from.

But I agree -- in a "normal" (whatever THAT is!) household, there likely are good reasons why no one has seen the one-year-old. Think of when the baby was born. An April baby isn't old enough to play outside in the snow at age eight months -- he can sit there and feel the snow, but he may not like the cold and wet on his little hands. And not being of walking age, he will sit there and get cold.

And maybe the parents are indoor folks. They don't have to go outside and sit in the grass if they don't want to.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#4 Feb 16, 2013
Not that you guys care about the opinion of a complete stranger, but I liked this response by someone at the washingtonpost forum:

We have a garage. I park the minivan in it. I'm generally in the garage when I get in the car, and when I get out of the car. My neighbors could easily have seen me driving the minivan, and yet never know that I was pregnant.

I hate my yard. We have a million bugs in it. My toddlers are allowed to play in it every now and then, but I never let them sit or crawl in it when they were babies. The grass isn't even soft. We have a baby swing that I'd put them in now and then, but since I have three of them now, I'm much more likely to just stick everyone in the minivan and DRIVE to the park. Yup, once again, the nosy neighbor have no idea that my kids are getting to play outside. Other times, we might DRIVE to a friend's house. Again, just because the kids aren't playing in YOUR neighborhood doesn't mean they never see the light of day. This is particularly true of a BABY, who is more likely to go out to "playdates" that involve mom visiting with other adults.

Many, many children go to day care centers. They do amazing things there, like play and interact with other children, and even go outside. Parents often leave the house at crazy early hours of the morning to take the baby there, and may come home late in the evening, at which point they have dinner and put the baby to bed. Just another reason you may not find that baby playing outside in YOUR neighborhood.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#5 Feb 16, 2013
j_m_w wrote:
L3: Playing fake checkers doesn't sound that great to me, but what do I know.
I think it'd be sad and depressing -- yet another example of how dad's lost his mental faculties (is that the right word?).

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#6 Feb 16, 2013
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
<quoted text>
I think it'd be sad and depressing -- yet another example of how dad's lost his mental faculties (is that the right word?).
That was my first thought. Then I thought she probably doesn't see much at all from him and then she sees this spark of his with the checkers and brings HER back to a better time. If she finds solice in it, there's no harm and it might (probably not but maybe) help create a connection in him. It's bitter sweet but sweet that she finds something good in a bad situation.

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#7 Feb 16, 2013
L1: She's probably not getting bad press from her other "friends" on FB, otherwise she would not post them. I say Amy's idea of messaging her outside FB asking about general things is a good idea.

L2: Yes. I'd MYOB. You do not have enough information at all. There's a lot of truth to what Red posted about from the Washington Post person.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#8 Feb 16, 2013
Toj wrote:
<quoted text>
That was my first thought. Then I thought she probably doesn't see much at all from him and then she sees this spark of his with the checkers and brings HER back to a better time. If she finds solice in it, there's no harm and it might (probably not but maybe) help create a connection in him. It's bitter sweet but sweet that she finds something good in a bad situation.
Good poitn!

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#9 Feb 16, 2013
1- Just post on her page that you ain't raisin her baby.

2- It's winter time. You shouldn't be bringing a one year old out to play. If you still haven't seen it come June, call the authorities.

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