Dear Blake,

I host holiday meals for my out-of-town family. During the last one, my cousin’s 5-year-old son ran up and down the upstairs hallway pretty much nonstop the entire time. The floor is ceramic tile, so when he did this, it made a huge racket and shook the house. The pounding frayed my and my husband’s nerves, but we didn’t say anything because I was afraid it wouldn’t go over well.

In the future, I asked if he can be told we have a house rule of no running inside. I also asked if there is a game or something I can buy to keep him entertained or redirect him if he starts doing it again. I was then informed that “this is just what children his age do, and it is impossible to get them not to run.” Trying to compromise, I asked if it could be limited to the three-season room, the outside or the basement, and was told they probably won’t come then. Was my request out of line? Is there another solution? My cousin and her family say their homes are too small to host, and no one wants to go to a restaurant.

Signed, Ruth
From Denver, Colorado

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Dear Ruth,

It sounds like this kid is related to the Energizer Bunny. If he is, you need to remove his batteries, before you attempt to rough up his irresponsible parents, and you get charged with a battery. Here are some ideas I think you should consider. Make the kid wear some shoes made out of lead. They will be so heavy, that not only will they zap him of all of his energy, after he takes a few steps, he’ll be so tired that he’ll want to rest and take a nap. Or, stomp up and down the stairs, every half an hour after your cousin goes to bed at night. Do it with your husband in half hour shifts, to ensure that the parents of that energetic brat, does not get any sustained slumber. When they become annoyed enough, they’ll demand that there is no running up and down the stairs. Or this idea. Get two pit bulls, and place one at the top and the bottom of the stairs. Then tell that little runt that’s constantly in overdrive, that running startles both dogs, and they immediately chomp down of the first thing they see, that’s moving fast. And finally, this last idea. Wax the stairs before they arrive and tell your cousin that everyone has to walk carefully while going from one floor to the next. Also tell them your homeowner’s insurance was cancelled, because some of your previous guests fell down the waxed stairs and sued them, and you had to pay their medical expenses… and/or funeral arrangements. After telling them that, when they visit you in the future, they’ll bring sleeping bags, and exclusively snooze downstairs. I hope this helps.