I tried to post this on the Dear Abby website. Needless to say it wasn't allowed. Truth rarely is.
DEAR JERKASS: My in-laws are pressuring me to let them take our small children for overnights and trips around the city. I'm extremely uncomfortable about it because I don't trust their supervision. They obviously love the kids, and I'm happy they're in our children's lives -- as long as they come to our house to visit.
There have been several instances in which they made some questionable decisions with respect to supervising my little ones in public. I have so far successfully dodged their requests, but it will be impossible to do it forever. If I tell them how I -- and their son -- feel, they will be hurt, especially because my parents routinely watch the kids outside our home.
What's the best way to handle this with the least hurt feelings? -- ST. LOUIS MOMMY
DEAR HOVER MOM,
First off you didn't state how old your children are. Small could mean 5. Second, you did not explain what they actually did wrong, you just claimed they didn't meet your expectations.
The best way to resolve this issue is to look at your husband (and any siblings he may have) and think about the kids that died under your in-laws care. I'm thinking none.
You are lucky. Many of my in-laws would like to put bubble wrap around my kids and winter coats on them in summer. I live in an area where hover parents don't let their kids ride bikes until seven, and then only with training wheels. If they get more than ten feet away they are ready to call the police.
The only way to prevent being insulting is to stop being a controlling bitch and trust your in-laws. So they don't have apron strings as tight as yours; That does not mean your kids will die or even get seriously hurt or abducted on their watch.
Let them have an overnight. Let them build trust with you. They may not do things your way, but that doesn't make them wrong.
I understand respecting a parents wishes, especially dietary concerns (giving Pepsi to a toddler is a no-no, no matter how much they beg the grandparents). But your kids are not going to be under your control every minute of every hour of every day. Teachers are going to do things different than you. Camp Counselors. Daycare workers.
You want sheltered kids who can't function in society?
Judas' Advice Column
This is where I take a Dear Abby column, and add my own brand of advice. I started by calling it Dear Crabby, but that's taken and JERKASS seems more fun.