A 6-Year-Old Terrorist
Dear Margo: My four-year-old son was recently invited to a sleepover at his six-year-old cousin, “Josh’s” house. My sister-in-law, “Ella,” arranged the sleepover to cheer Josh up, as he’s currently suspended from school for bringing rocks into the classroom and throwing them at other children. My husband and I are not going to let our son go, and we don’t have any plans to let our kids spend unsupervised time with Ella’s kids, or with Ella.
I know that we can get out of this sleepover, but I also know that these invitations are going to keep coming. My husband and I want to be a positive influence on our nephews and nieces, but we see their behavioral problems getting worse every year, and we don’t want them to influence or put peer pressure on our kids. When Ella or one of her kids eventually confronts us about not letting our kids attend their events, what should we say? —Not Gonna Budge
Dear Not: A six-year-old is bringing rocks to school and throwing them at the other children? This kid sounds like a very short thug. You are right that there is clearly a behavioral issue, and these actions are not “normal.” Even kids who scratch and bite are in need of a little help. And it sounds like he has sibs who are just as harmfully aggressive.
I wouldn’t beat around the bush, because, really, how many times can you say that a 4-year-old has a previous engagement? You and/or your husband, in the spirit of helpfulness, should tell your sister-in-law and her husband that you find their children’s behavior outside the norm, and you strongly recommend they all see a child specialist. Then you might add that you are not comfortable having your children visit until the junior members of their household conform to what you deem appropriate and safe behavior. Be warned that they may take offense and drop you like a hot rock. Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to bring that up again. Be strong. Good luck. —Margo, safely
When the Timetables Are Different
Dear Margo: I am 25 years old, and my boyfriend is 37. We’ve been dating for a year and a half. I want to move in with him so we can take the relationship to the next level, but I think he is afraid of commitment. He says he wants marriage and kids one day, but he’s already 37 and doesn’t seem to be making any moves in those directions. He wants me to wait six more months and then revisit the topic. I love him and want to be with him, but six months is a long time to wait when there isn’t even a guarantee that he would be willing to let me move in then. Also, I am not from this state and would not stay here if it weren’t for him. What should I do? —Antsy Regarding my Future
Dear Ants: What is the hurry, my dear? It is never in anyone’s interest to push things along, especially when there is resistance. “Marry in haste, repent at leisure” is an old saying, but you could easily substitute “move in in haste…”
The ideal situation (for you) would be for him to be the one wishing to hurry things up. His reluctance may be uncertainty, a desire to live alone or some foreknowledge that you are not “the one.” If his timetable does not jibe with yours, take yourself back home and find out whether he misses you. Or not. I’m never in favor of games, so I won’t say play hard to get. But I will say, in this instance, let the timing be his — and if it doesn’t suit you, say au revoir. —Margo, spontaneously
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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