Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Couple's Love Life Reawakens Long After the Kids Are Grown

DEAR ABBY: Boy, do I need your opinion. My wife's youngest daughter has moved in with us, along with her three children: ages 3, 4 and 5. We are having a disagreement about allowing the kids up on the countertops.

My wife and her daughter think it's fine for them to pull a chair over and hop up on the counter. I have seen them on both sides of a stove full of pots filled with hot food. Because this has been allowed, the kids constantly crawl up to the cabinets to help themselves to treats and other things.

I have told them both countless times that this is the worst habit I have ever seen taught to children. I feel it's extremely dangerous and a bad idea. Please help me win this battle, or if you think it's fine, shut me up for good. -- GRANDPA DENNIS

DEAR GRANDPA DENNIS: I'm on your side. Allowing a child to climb up on a counter is inviting an accident -- and to allow a child to do so when the counter is adjacent to a hot stove is child endangerment.

Your wife and her daughter are being far too permissive. Children that young should ask for treats, not be allowed to forage. Rules have to be set and enforced. What is to stop those children from dragging a chair up to a bathroom medicine cabinet and helping themselves to the pills?