Dear Amy: We live in a small, close-knit community. Our family hosts large, fun, family-centered community parties each year.
A set of neighborhood friends has three children. Two of their kids are amazing, wonderful kids. Their oldest child (aged 10) has horrible behavioral problems that are unchecked by his parents.
These issues are not neurological; they are strictly behavioral. Though the other families in our community dislike this child, they tolerate him in the name of community harmony.
At the last party we held, this boy grabbed a girl his age by the neck during a game and screamed, "I'm going to kill you!"
The kids who witnessed this were traumatized. I spoke to the parents about the incident and they ran out of the house with their kids.
I can't get over what their son did.
My husband has said the boy is not allowed in our house, ever (although his siblings are).
I agree, but I don't know how to handle it without ruining the harmony of the neighborhood.
Do I invite the two nonviolent children and specifically not invite the boy? Do I exclude this family?
I'm afraid that no matter how I handle it, it will cost my children the friendships of the two well-adjusted kids. One of the siblings even seeks refuge at our house to avoid his brother. So, is there a way to still have the party without the boy, and preserve friendships? I am so stressed about this I'm about to cancel all of the parties this year.
Dear Worried: I wish you could find a way to somehow embrace -- or at least safely tolerate -- this troubled and troublesome child, the way others in your community are trying to do. Social exclusion might be the natural consequence of his actions, but I don't think it's necessarily good for any of you. For instance, the mere thought of this exclusion has sent you into a tailspin.
You don't actually know what is causing this boy's behavior problems. You obviously assume that his behavior is his parents' fault. It doesn't help to speculate, claim expertise -- or to judge these parents too harshly.
You and your husband are determined to keep this child out of your house, and so you will have to tell the parents: "We are so sorry, but because of Brendan's behavior toward the other kids, we can't have him with us this year. If there is a way for the rest of the family to attend, we'd love to have you with us. However, we completely understand if you can't -- or don't want to -- attend. We're so sorry this issue is so challenging, but we are trying to make sure all of our guests feel safe and comfortable."
Yes, your friendship with them will definitely take a hit.
Dear Amy: My mother is in a care facility. Thankfully, she has the money for that care. Unfortunately, my sister has no source of income and continues to take around $3,000 a month from Mom's account.
While I don't need the money, it is our mother's wish to share anything left equally with my sister and me. I'm not sure how to handle this.
Do we deduct what she's currently taking out of her inheritance, or do we simply split what's left?
I don't see any change ahead as my sister won't even look for a job and will always need assistance.
-- Worried Brother
Dear Worried: Three thousand dollars a month is a substantial sum. Where is this money going? And why does your sister have access to your mother's account?
I think it's important to be transparent about this. If your sister is actually able to work, this income certainly removes any incentive.
There also doesn't seem to be any mechanism in place to prevent her from taking a far greater sum from your mother.
You should see a lawyer and explore establishing power of attorney (if your mother wants). And yes, the amount your sister is taking should be deducted from her inheritance. If you intend to continue to support your sister well into the future, you may end up needing this money.
Dear Amy: Thank you for emphasizing to "Job-Seeking Guy" the need to network to find a new job. I was recently a "job-seeking guy." It was so hard to ask my friends for help. But one of my buds ended up giving me a great lead.
Dear Grateful: Making the "ask" is often an act of social bravery. Good for you.