Dear Margo: I know you do not normally print opinions regarding your advice, but I hope you will consider doing this with your response to the mother of the 7-year-old boy whose 8-year-old friend displayed inappropriate sexualization and reported that he'd performed oral sex on his older brother. You were right about the neighbor/friend, but you totally missed it on advising her about her own son.
Yes, her son sensed something was wrong and told his mom about it, but in no way does that mean that an 8-year-old has the maturity to remain safe in such a situation. He could become curious and uncertain. He could be exposed to the older brother. He may have been, in the manner of a child, asking his mother for help in removing himself from this "friendship." He is at risk. — Midwest Mom
Dear Mid: You are correct about my rarely revisiting questions, but this situation is more dire than many, and I should have gone further with my advice — which a great many readers pointed out. Then, too, I neglected to articulate that many molesters have themselves been molested — and very often by a family member — so leaving things to the family may be tantamount to burying the issue. Here is just one more letter agreeing with you:
Dear Margo: I think you're hoping the other mom will do the right thing, which is to get them into counseling and address the situation with third-party help. This is a hopeful assumption. My daughter was molested by her 15-year-old cousin when she was 4. Thankfully, I called the police and did not leave it to the parents to deal with the situation as they saw fit. It is often the case that a parent may want to keep the whole thing quiet, and therefore no authorities, no therapists. — Been There
Not Much Longer for Virginity
Dear Margo: I wrote you a few years ago about the fact that I was 27 and still a virgin. My sister was telling me to just go to a bar, pick up a guy and get it over with. I didn't agree (and neither did you, lol). Well, long story short, I'm now 31, and guess what. I'm still a virgin. I have a full-time job, and I take care of myself, i.e., I am not ugly or obese. I know how to listen and be kind and loving.
The problem is, I don't even get asked out on dates. I tried Internet dating, and it turned out that the first two men I met were married, and the third was quite literally the ugliest person (man or woman) I've ever seen. I don't ask for much in a man, just that he be open-minded, not a racist or a bigoted fool (I have both black and gay family members) and not too old (my age range now is 25-40).
So, I only have two questions: What else could I do to meet someone, and how much longer should I wait before doing what my sister said and get it over with? — Virgin Be Gone
Dear Virg: Let's focus. I don't think your main objective is to lose your virginity, but, rather, to find a good guy to build a relationship with. I may sound like a broken record — sorry, a repeating CD — but the best way to meet someone who is not perverted, nuts or married (not that they are mutually exclusive) is through affinity groups. Do something that interests you, perhaps as a volunteer. Go to church or synagogue singles' groups. Put the word out at work that you are in the market for a great guy.
As to your second question, I don't think what we're talking about is an item on a to-do list. I hope you will wait for it to mean something. — Margo, hopefully
Dear Margo: My 71-year-old mother moved in with my husband and me several months ago. We invited her to do this so we could help with financial issues and also take care of her. She has an advanced cancer but is stable. She moved from another state to be with us. I realize I'm lucky to have a supportive husband who encouraged my mom to move in with us. She has no mobility or dementia issues; however, our house is small, and this is starting to take its toll.
We have no children, so we're used to having our own space. My husband, who loves my mother, is becoming frustrated that she is here all the time. We rarely get time to be by ourselves unless we leave the house. My mom is also prickly. She can be mean and belittling — although I think she is working on that. My husband's mom is the most generous, loving person, so my husband does not have the same skill set that I do for dealing with her.
I feel I must be the buffer between my husband and my mother and am turning cartwheels to keep them both happy. I shuttle Mom to and from her treatments, as well as some local classes and events to get her involved in the community. I also have a demanding job. I'm starting to become shrewish and don't know how to stop. I do not like the woman I am becoming, but I don't know what to do. — Discomfited
Dear Dis: I hope you take some pleasure in being a good daughter, especially with a mother who is not easy. The time, space and privacy issues can be improved. Hunt up a senior center where there are both companions and activities in the evening for her. Encourage her to live her life. Keep praising your husband for his generous instincts concerning your mother, and remind him (and yourself) of a saying common among surgeons: All bleeding stops. With advanced cancer, I suspect that you, your spouse and your mother will not be a threesome indefinitely. — Margo, philosophically
Favoritism Can Leave Lasting Scars
Dear Margo: I am writing about my 13-year-old nephew. He is being ignored by his mom (my sister) and dad due to the fact that he is not my sister's husband's child. When they got married, "Mark" was wonderful to the little boy. Then they had a child three years later. I've been noticing that the youngest is treated less harshly and more lovingly than "Jake," who gets in trouble for even minor things. My sister lets "the baby" get away with a lot of things, like staying home from school even when she knows he's not sick.
Jake has been acting out in school and is a very angry child. I go out of my way to be extra nice to him. I did learn part of the problem from my mom. My sister thinks that Jake is going to turn out like his biological father. How can I help my nephew? — Sad Bystander
Dear Sad: Jake is (predictably) acting out in school because he is a victim of what's going on at home. And of course he is angry. Your sister and her husband have to be made aware of what their favoritism is doing to this young boy. If your sister fears he will turn out like his father, she is certainly, along with his stepfather, doing everything to make that happen.
You could try explaining this, but I'm not sure your opinion would matter much. There needs to be an intervention by a professional to explain to the parents what is happening, because they display zero insight. Try the school psychologist (if there is one). If not, there are child service agencies that can help. Good luck. — Margo, remedially