Blake’s Advice Column
My husband and I were recently matched with a child in an adoption. I’m not experienced with children, but my neighbor “Kara” has two kids around the same age as our future son. I like Kara and really want our child and me to spend time with her family. The problem is, my husband has forbidden our son to hang out with Kara’s children because she and her husband let them run wild. They have broken things at other people’s homes so often that some neighbors no longer invite the family over. Kara and her husband are good with their children, except for enforcing discipline. Would it be insensitive of me to tell her how my husband feels and ask if she and her husband can take more steps to keep them under control?
From Mobile, Alabama
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Kara is obviously displaying very poor parenting skills. How I would deal with my kids if they behaved that way would prompt a full investigation by our local Child Protection Agency and would get me tossed into prison. Anyway, here are some of my softer ideas. Every time one of her children breaks some of your property, order your son to go over to their house and to break something of equal or greater value. Or, when her kids enter your house, try to intimidate then by carrying a whip and a loaded gun, while yelling some phrases in a language that they don’t understand, because you made it up. It would also be a good idea to tell your newly adopted son that you still have the receipt from when you adopted him, and if he acts like Kara’s children, you’ll take him back and get a full refund. But the best thing to do is to make sure Kara is fully aware of the consequences of her “energetic’ kids. So, I would encourage you to put price tags on everything in your house, and do not like let her kids in until she has given you one of her credit cards to cover their likely damages. And considering how destructive Kara’s brats are and how much it will cost her to replace the items that they destroy, I hope your friendship survives her eventual bankruptcy. I hope this helps.