Dear Abby: My daughter "Anissa" is 3 and has an older cousin, "Billy," on my fiance's side who is 5. Billy has been caught on several occasions showing his "manhood" to little girls, and we recently found out he took Anissa into a pop-up tent and showed her as well. This was not on my watch, because I don't feel comfortable leaving them alone together.
After I learned about the incident, I was told that Billy had done this with another cousin and told her it was a "secret" and not to tell.
Abby, as far as I know, Billy was spoken to at great length and reprimanded after the first few occurrences, but he continues to do this, it seems, at every opportunity he gets.
Is this normal behavior for boys? I think the parents are burying their heads in the sand. They get defensive when the subject is brought up.
Personally, all I can do is keep Anissa within arm's reach when Billy is around. What do you think?
- Not On My Watch
Dear Not: I think that's intelligent. Although children are naturally curious when they learn there's a difference between boys and girls (hence the genesis of playing "doctor"), Billy appears to be overly preoccupied.
Because he is telling the girls to keep what he's doing a secret, he knows he is doing something wrong.
Repeated naughty actions can be corrected only if there are consequences for them, and it appears a lengthy talking-to and a reprimand haven't gotten through to the child.
Fashion faux pas
Dear Abby: I need your assistance resolving an awkward situation. I have noticed other women experiencing "wardrobe malfunctions." In each instance, they were otherwise tastefully dressed but seemingly unaware of the sheerness of their clothing.
For example, one was wearing white slacks through which the patterned fabric of her underwear could be seen clearly.
Is there a polite way to alert them of the problem, or is it better to say nothing? Most of these women were strangers, but I couldn't think of tactful wording even when it happened to a friend.
- Just Trying To Help
Dear Just Trying: If it's a friend, say, "Honey, I can see the pattern of your underwear through your slacks," and it will probably be appreciated.
However, if it's a stranger, keep your comment to yourself because it probably won't be.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.