Adults having fun at a child’s expense
DearAmy: My husband and I have a bright, engaging 5yearold daughter. Our problem has to do with how some family members and close friends interact with her.
Examples include people visiting our home and telling her that they are going to take her baby brother home with them, which resulted in my daughter screaming in protest while the other person had a hearty laugh.
Then there was the time an adult relative came to her birthday party and repeatedly said, “It’s my party, and I’m going to cut the cake!” while my daughter progressively got more confused and agitated. This went on until she was in tears and the adult started laughing.
We see no meaning in such interactions. We have tried to steer the conversation elsewhere, and we want to get the message across politely, but clearly, that we do not appreciate people agitating our child.
My daughter says that she hates being teased by adults, and we have asked her to tell people that, but in that moment, she can’t. What can we do to send the message politely that we would like our child to be treated with respect and not teased for fun?
Some adults are able to engage children appropriately by “kidding.” Five-year-olds usually catch on pretty quickly when an adult says, “Hey, wait a minute — that’sMY birthday cake!” if the adult telegraphs that this is a kidding game. The adult conveys this with a smile and body language that signals to the child his intentions.
Teasing a child until she is obviously distressed is just bullying. Laughing at a child you have made cry is disgusting.
I’mnot sure why you are so worried about being polite. While this is happening, you should place your hand on your child’s arm and say, “Uncle Buck is teasing you, honey.” If you don’t catch it in time, after you comfort your child you should ask the adult, “Please don’t tease her. You are the only person who enjoys it.”
Dear Amy: My best friend of over 40 years recently told me that he doesn’t want to be my friend anymore. I was very hurt and shocked.
“Gary” and I met in music school. We were roommates in college, played in a rock band and even took vacations together. He was my best man when my wife and I got married more than 37 years ago.
My wife and I moved to the East Coast some years ago, but Gary and I kept in touch. He is now with a woman whom he identifies as his “wife,” although they are not married. (He has never been married.)
I wrote Gary a fourpage letter and apologized if I ever did anything to offend or hurt him, asking him to be honest with me about the problem between us. He wrote back, saying the problem was more with himself than me. That was it.
Could Gary actually be bisexual and is hurt that I “left him” — emotionally and geographically?
Are you bisexual because you have such a deep attachment to this man?
Obviously such speculation is pointless. When someone tells you, “It’s not you, it’s me,” sometimes it is wisest to believe him.