Adults hav­ing fun at a child’s ex­pense

The Washington Post Sunday - - DIVERSIONS - AMY DICKINSON Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribpub.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tri­bune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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?

Ag­i­tated Mom

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?

Con­fused

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.