Dear Annie: I’m a 20-year-old woman in love with a 25-year-old divorced man who has a 4-year-old son, “Mikey.”
Lately, Mikey’s mother has been letting us have the child more often because she has to go out of state on business. The problem is, this boy is very stubborn. He’s not a bad child. He just doesn’t like to listen. And for the most part, he always gets his way — from what he eats to when he goes to sleep. When he doesn’t get his way, he throws a fit.
I care deeply for Mikey and don’t agree with this type of upbringing. I wasn’t raised this way, and neither was my boyfriend. I helped raise my younger sister, so I understand discipline. I am not harsh, but I do want Mikey to listen to me. The other day, we took him with us when we shopped for a new TV, and he kept running around the furniture. At one point, I couldn’t find him, and he didn’t come when I called his name. My boyfriend said, “That’s normal. Let him be.”
If I had behaved like this growing up, my mother would have smacked my behind in front of everyone in the store. My boyfriend insists we leave him alone because he’s only with us for a short while. But my boyfriend often is at work when Mikey is here, which means I am the one who deals with this behavior. The least he could do is make it easier for me. Am I wrong to feel this way? — Young but Learning
Dear Young: You aren’t wrong, but you must remember that it is perfectly normal for 4-year-old boys to run around in a store and not listen. That doesn’t make it appropriate or safe.
Your boyfriend refuses to discipline Mikey because he doesn’t see him often. This does a disservice to all of you, especially Mikey. How will he feel secure and know his father loves him if Dad doesn’t care enough to watch his behavior and help him mature? Please ask your boyfriend to come with you for parenting classes. You can check online or at your local YMCA.
Dear Annie: My husband and I just returned from a luncheon following a funeral. We decided not to eat any of the food, as we were told by another person that the food had been sitting out uncovered for a couple of hours.
We felt that the food could be spoiled. Shouldn’t this food have been left in the refrigerator or warming in the oven?
Worse, people who arrived at the luncheon before the family were told to wait, which was another hour because the family stayed at the funeral home deciding what to do with the flowers. Is this proper? — Funeral Guest
Dear Guest: This was a funeral, not a party. It is appropriate to wait for the family, and they are entitled to linger at the funeral home if need be. But yes, the food should have been refrigerated or kept warm. We assume someone was in charge of setting out the food, and this is the person you could have consulted. If the food was inedible, it would have been a kindness for a few of you to offer to get some fresh supplies.
Dear Annie: I’m writing about the letter from “Left-Out Son,” who always did things right while his sister partied and was subsidized by their parents. They earned their money and can spend it as they choose, even if that means frittering it away on his sister.
The idea that parents are obligated to leave an inheritance and reward their children is repugnant. His reward was their guidance in teaching him what was right. It sounds as if he is on track to repeat his parents’ success through his own hard work, and that’s his inheritance. — No Entitlement Mentality
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.