Posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My husband’s brother has a 10-year-old son. He’s an only child and still sleeps with his parents. He has a perfectly nice bedroom, but they never got around to making him sleep by himself. My brother-in-law travels a great deal for work, and when he’s away, “Timmy” sleeps in his mother’s bed. When my brother-in-law is home, one of the parents sleeps with Timmy in his bedroom.
During the holidays, things happened that caused problems with the cousins. Timmy doesn’t sit at the table for family dinners. He throws tantrums because he doesn’t want to eat what everyone else is eating. Of course, his young cousins then copy him and act up the same way. Also, the children help with the cleanup — even the youngest takes her plate to the kitchen. Timmy, however, watches TV. No one insists that he lift a finger.
Timmy has been diagnosed with ADHD, but doesn’t he still require structure? His parents have never said “no” to him. He has more toys than a department store. He really is a sweet kid, but has few friends, and because he hasn’t been taught better manners, things will only get worse as he gets older. We all feel sorry for this boy.
A few of us have tried talking to his parents. They know they should set some boundaries and work on his behavior, but they haven’t done so. Any suggestions? — Concerned Family
Dear Concerned: Parenting is a tough job. It requires that parents do what is best for their child even if it is difficult and taxing for them. Your brother-in-law and his wife have decided it’s too much effort to reprogram their son, so they allow him to run the show, and he knows it. Suggest they discuss this with the pediatrician and get a referral for a family counselor who will teach them how to be the parents their child needs.
Dear Annie: I will be 15 in a few days. I need to work up the courage to ask my parents to get me birth control. I don’t want my folks to think I’m a slut or anything. But I also don’t want to make any mistakes with my love life. I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. Can you help me find a way to ask them about it? — The Kid With Angry Parents
Dear Kid: Are you already having sex? Birth control pills contain hormones, and unless you need them, there is no point to flooding your system with unnecessary medication. You are smart to want to be prepared, but we hope you will postpone intimacy for a little while longer. You shouldn’t feel rushed or pressured. Try talking to your mother privately when she is calm and relaxed. Explain that you are thinking about sex and want to be ready. Be sure to tell her that you value her input. If you truly listen with an open mind, you both will get through this.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Going Gray and Loving It,” who is 45 and doesn’t color her hair.
I started coloring my hair at age 40 to please my husband. He said, “It’s not so bad being a grandfather, but it’s no fun being married to a grandmother. Please get rid of the gray.” So, for 30-some years, I was a redheaded “hottie” in his eyes.
Recently, after I got smart and tired of coloring every six months, I quit. Guess what? Not one of my silver-haired friends noticed the difference. They accept me at face value and love me just the same as when I was an auburn-haired “beauty.” And I am sure, from up on his cloud, that my husband does, too.
I love my silvered hair. It goes well with everything and gives me an air of respectability. Nice younger men open doors for me, offer to carry my laundry basket and smile. Silver hair is the key to kindness when it’s needed. — Been There
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.3.10