Abby: Son who idolizes dad must eventually be told his crime

July 14, 2014 

DEAR ABBY: My oldest son, "Jeff," is from a previous marriage. My ex was convicted of child molestation, involving his daughter from a previous relationship.

Jeff is now 11. He has had very few unsupervised visitations with his dad over the last few years and is always talking about how great a guy he is. I have tried to explain that his father has done "inappropriate things" that got him in trouble with the law, which is why he can't have contact with his sister.

Instead of trusting my judgment for having moved several states away, Jeff always tells me about how he wants to go live with his dad when he's 18. Being "Big Bad Mama" is no fun. How can I explain to my son that I am only looking out for his best interests? -- Big Bad Mama

DEAR MAMA: I don't know how mature your son is, but most 11-year-old boys idolize their fathers. Jeff has his father on a pedestal, and has no concept of what the reality of living with him would be.

At some point your son will need to know EXACTLY what his father did that got him into trouble. When that conversation happens, he should already understand what taking advantage of a child really means.

If your son still wants to live with his birth father when he's 18, I don't think there is anything you can do to prevent it.

DEAR ABBY: I raised my children to stay with me when we were in a store. They didn't touch things displayed on the shelves because the items were not theirs and we weren't going to purchase them. We didn't have cellphones when my children grew up. However, even now I never remove mine from my purse while I'm in a store.

Is there a nice way to tell other shoppers to put their phones away and pay attention to their children while shopping, and suggest that it might not be safe for their kids to run through the aisles or roll canned goods down them? -- Meme In The West

DEAR MEME: No, I don't think there is.

I agree that children should be taught to respect the property of others and to ask before touching it. I also agree that leaving items in an aisle could be dangerous to shoppers whose attention may be fixed on the store shelves instead of the floor.

But because so many parents today seem to have "forgotten" to convey these important lessons, then caveat emptor -- but in this case, let the shopper beware.

Dear Abby, written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © 2014 UNIVERSAL UCLICK.

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