DEAR ABBY: I have a concern as a grandmother about our youngest grandchild, age 10. He is addicted to video games. There has been quite a lot of publicity on how bad this can be for children.
When we visit, he never comes to greet us or even to talk to us. Once when we were getting ready to go out to dinner, he was screaming at his mom and stomping his feet so hard that the ceiling light was shaking.
We love our daughter-in-law very much, but we feel she wants to be her kids' "friend" and not a mom. She's a teacher and is well-educated. Our son, who is also well-educated, does none of the disciplining as far as we can see. We can't figure it out.
This grandson is only 10 now, but it won't be long until he's 13. I am afraid he will get violent with his mom or even hurt himself. Should we mind our own business and just look away? We have never interfered in our children's business. — WORRIED GRANDPARENT IN THE SOUTH
DEAR WORRIED: A 10-year-old child having a full-blown tantrum (which is what you describe) is not normal. He should have learned to regulate his emotions by now. There may be things going on with your grandson that you're not aware of. I do think you should mention to your son and daughter-in-law that you are concerned and why.
DEAR ABBY: We have lived next door to a woman with a short temper for 20 years. Our driveways are extremely long. Hers has a big slope on the side closer to our home, which she cannot mow with her tractor. She asked us to mow that area with our push mower because she doesn't have one, so for the past 15 years, we have. It takes only 10 minutes, so we really don't mind at all.
Last Friday, I was running late to go out of town. I didn't spend as much time as usual on the yard, and I received this text from her: "Good evening. I really appreciate that you and (your husband) keep the strip between our houses mowed, but I just paid $400 to get my driveway power washed. That's a lot of money to get it all moldy again so quickly, so can one of you please come and sweep off the driveway before the rain starts falling tomorrow?" My husband went and spent the 60 seconds it took to sweep it, but I don't know how to reply to her text. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. — MOWED DOWN IN THE EAST
DEAR MOWED DOWN: Is your neighbor so infirm or aged that she is physically unable to sweep her driveway? If the answer is yes, then let it ride. If the answer is no, text her back and offer to buy her a broom.
DEAR ABBY: If I have several guests sitting around chatting, and they start getting loud discussing politics or religion, would it be rude for me to say, "No discussing politics or religion"? Some friends become very loud. I guess they think if they yell, people will abide by what they have to say. — MEDIATING IN TEXAS
DEAR MEDIATING: It would not be rude to say, "Hey, folks, this is getting heated, so let's change the subject. Now."
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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