DEAR ABBY: I live at a camp in the north woods of Wisconsin. A staff member's kids spend the day at our camp. The kids are annoying, nasty and whiny.
One 8-year-old girl has attached herself to my 7-year-old sister and is pulling her away from our family. She comes up to our house whether or not my sister invites her, and usually makes a mess. She also invites my sister to stay down at the lodge late at night, which makes my sister tired and crabby.
Her 11-year-old brother attaches himself to my 5-year-old brother, and then pushes him around.
I miss spending time with my sister, and I don't like her change in behavior. I have tried to do something about it, but to no avail. If I go out and tell them, they might hate me. What should I do? -- TICKED OFF IN WISCONSIN
DEAR TICKED OFF: Talk to your parents. How do they feel about this? Eleven-year-old boys are too old to play with 5-year-olds. And when the older child pushes the younger one around, it is considered bullying, which should not be tolerated. It's up to your parents to put a stop to it. As to your sister's friendship with the girl, if the time they spend together and the "messes" she creates don't seem to bother your parents, then I guess it's permissible.
Because you miss spending time with your sister, you need to fill it with something else. Camp activities or making friends with some of the other campers your age would be fun, and make you less dependent upon her for company. Please consider it.
DEAR ABBY: My husband's stepsister, "Melanie," visits us from Alabama for five days every year. When Melanie stays with us, she expects to make us a "Southern dinner" one night during her stay. Before she arrived, I told my husband, "Lawton," that I didn't want her making dinner because she goes through my kitchen drawers and cabinets without asking where anything is. She just takes over my kitchen!
I don't mind if Melanie helps herself to something in the refrigerator, gets a plate and silverware or something of that nature. But for her to come in and take over my kitchen and root through every drawer and cabinet truly upsets me.
Lawton went against my wishes and told Melanie it was OK to make the dinner. Abby, I couldn't even stand to be in my own kitchen while she was preparing it. I felt I couldn't say one word in my own home.
Lawton accused me of being "hostile" to her and a spoiled brat. He also let me know it is his home, too, and when his stepsister comes to visit, she's allowed to do whatever she wants.
Am I wrong in feeling the way I do? If I am a guest in someone's home (even my sister's), I never do anything without asking. I was brought up to respect another person's home. I feel my husband should have complied with my wishes. Am I wrong? Please enlighten me. -- UPSET WIFE, POTTSTOWN, PA.
DEAR UPSET WIFE: Your feelings are understandable, and many people -- of both sexes -- feel as you do about their kitchens. However, since "preparing a Southern dinner" has become traditional when Melanie visits, my advice is to ask her what equipment she will need before she starts the preparation, so you can have it sitting on the counter ready for her. That will minimize the amount of "rooting" she has to do, and you will feel less invaded. Bon appetit, y'all!
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