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Children should be empowered to speak up if someone seems creepy

While I'm away, readers give the advice.

Empower child to tell if she is uncomfortable around relative

Anonymous: On handling a relative who gives your child the creeps: Standing between any "private" moments between your child and the relative is only one level of protection. You need to give your child another level that's possible whether you're there or not — especially if the other parent is not on board, and will see nothing wrong with having the relative and the child watching a movie in the living room by themselves.

Do not point to the relative in any specific way, just make it very clear that you support her right to not be alone with someone who is making her feel weird — in any way. Tell her if she feels uncomfortable being alone with someone, she needs to ask to go talk to (whomever is around), or join them, etc. Give her a variety of options to choose from in how she does that. "I want to call Mom and tell her about the book you got me." "I want to go to the park" (or wherever other people are around).

Tell her that it is okay to tell people they are really creeping her out/disturbing her/annoying her and she wants them to stop. Now.

I can't stress it enough: You need to make it okay for her to be creeped out by someone, and support her in taking steps not to be alone with them herself. Give her the tools of how to do that without making it a big issue unless it needs to be.

I left your pronouns intact, but this is an important lesson to teach sons, too, not just daughters. Thanks.

'Bold' move that deprived girl of full-time father was arrogant

S.: On choosing to conceive a child while single: Some 40-plus years ago, I had a baby without being married or partnered — and without, to my astonishment, the support of any of my "hippie" countercultural friends. Since I was doing something bold, I expected them to hover round with offers of babysitting, home-cooked meals, etc. Didn't happen.

As it turned out, my daughter has reproached me her whole life for depriving her of a full-time father.

I've concluded that one person hasn't the moral right to decide whether another person will have two parents. Certainly things happen, folks change, we marry unwisely, people die, etc. But to make the choice without any input from the person most affected — an unseen child — seems to me now to have been supremely arrogant.

Don't get upset if baby plays favorites from time to time

New Jersey: On babies who prefer one parent to another: Babies are beautiful, mysterious creatures that do not follow our preconceived wishes. I am the father of three, grandfather of 14 and great-grandfather of six. They all love my wife and me unreservedly, but not both all the time or at the same time. There have been many times when one will completely ignore one of us and only want the other, and then vice versa. This is the way of babies and even young ones. Tell people not to take it personally; their time will come over and over and over again. Enjoy your children, love them, and they will love you in return.

Children should be empowered to speak up if someone seems creepy 06/17/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 2:20pm]

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