DEAR ABBY: I work at an elementary school, and I help out during lunch, keeping order and making sure the kids are not too loud. Two of their moms work here. The kids are bullies and have no respect for adults whatsoever.
When I try to discipline them or give them a time out, they go to their moms and accuse me of targeting them because they are black. Then the moms come to me and complain and ask me why I'm "targeting" them.
This is causing me a lot of stress. I can't allow them to bully other kids, but at the same time I don't want trouble with the parents. How can I approach this situation without it getting more complicated?
- Schoolyard Mom in Florida
DEAR SCHOOLYARD MOM: Because these women are preventing you from effectively supervising the children, which is your job, you should address this problem with the principal of the school.
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law watches my four kids so I can work outside the home. On the off chance that she can't, she tells me my brother-in-law will watch them. While I appreciate her gesture of trying to "cover her shift," my brother-in-law is irresponsible, suffers from severe depression and smokes pot.
I don't want to be rude, but I don't like her leaving my kids with him. Is there an OK way to tell her that, or do I need to stop being "overprotective" and suck it up? - Mommy of Four
DEAR MOMMY: It would not be rude to tell your mother-in-law that while you appreciate her watching your children, if for any reason she cannot do it, you would prefer to make your own arrangements for who will supervise them. If she asks you why, then be frank with her about your concerns - all of which are valid.
That is not being overprotective; it is being conscientious.