Dear Annie: My son is a second grader. Over the summer, while he was staying with my ex-husband, a boy touched my son’s private area over his clothes. This was no slight, accidental touch. It was deliberate. My son’s stepmother called child protective services regarding the incident, because the family of the other child runs an in-home daycare.
As I have sole custody, the child services caseworker contacted me about the incident. I spoke with my ex and his wife, and we were all in agreement that our son would not be in contact with the other child again.
It is now four months later, and my son tells me that his father allowed him to play at the home of this same boy who grabbed his genitals. I called my ex, and he doesn’t seem to think the initial incident was serious. He feels his wife “blew it out of proportion,” and they’ve had fights about it.
I have spoken with child protective services about Dad continuing to allow our son to interact with the neighbor boy who obviously has boundary issues. While my son has not reported a second incident, I am left feeling that I cannot trust his father to parent effectively. Dad seems more interested in proving his wife wrong than he is in protecting our son at this vulnerable age.
I cannot in good conscience allow visitation under the current circumstances. I refuse to permit my son to be in a potentially questionable environment, and I can’t trust Dad to make the right call. How can I effectively protect my son when he’s on Dad’s watch? I don’t want to refuse visitation altogether.
— Mom in Nebraska
Dear Mom: First, please don’t demonize this neighbor boy. You were right that the situation needed to be reported, not only because the family runs a daycare program, but also because children who molest others are often being abused themselves. We hope CPS checked it out. Still, if you cannot trust your ex to honor the joint decisions you make, your best recourse is to request supervised visitation.
Dear Annie: I have a very talented younger sister. She creates beautiful greeting cards for every occasion. Each one is a work of art and needs to be displayed.
After all these years, I have accumulated so many that there is just no place to keep them all. They are too pretty to throw away and too personal to “re-card.” Any ideas other than telling her not to send any more cards?
— No Hallmark
Dear No: Your sister likes making these cards. It’s how she shows her love and creativity. Once you have finished enjoying them, however, you do not need to display them. Put them in a box, paste them into a collage, donate the fronts to a local kindergarten or hospital, or toss them in the garbage. You only need to ask your sister to stop sending them if she demands that you exhibit them.
Dear Annie: I would like to respond to “Don’t Hate Those Harleys,” who tried to justify having loud motorcycle exhaust pipes as a safety measure. Nothing could be further from the truth. How are they protecting themselves by blaring their loud pipes at 2 a.m.?
As a motorcyclist for 38 years and a motorcycle safety instructor for the state of Ohio for 10 years, I can attest that the only reason people put loud pipes on motorcycles is to try to be cool. Many of them have never taken the motorcycle safety course, which is offered in all states. The people with the fewest accidents are those with the most training.
— Oregon, Ohio
Dear Ohio: We appreciate your expertise on the subject. Thanks for responding.
Dear Readers: Today is Mother-in-Law Day. Call yours and tell her how much you appreciate her. (We hope you do.)
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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
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