Dear Blake,

We have a neighbor whose adult son has gotten into trouble with the law. His mom and dad are devastated and have withdrawn from all of us. How do we handle it when we see them around the neighborhood? Do we ignore “the elephant” and just say hi? Do we ask them how their son is doing? What do we do?

Signed, Richard
From South Bend, Indiana

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Dear Richard,

If you were around his parents and said nothing, that would more than likely be very awkward. Offering up a few kind words might be compassionate… at least my version of kind words. You can attempt to comfort them by saying “well at least you two aren’t rotting prison”. Or, you can inform that if he is incarcerated long enough, it might take the edge off of him as he becomes increasingly feminine. You can even tell them it’s envious that their son is regularly meeting new people that look similar to him… due to the frequency he is in police line-ups. Finally, you should tell that couple to reflect on the past when their son was just a little boy. And remind them that they never had to tell their child when he was growing up, not to hang around this person or that person because they were a bad influence… mainly because other parents were telling their kids not to hang that couple’s worthless son. I hope this helps.