DEAR ABBY: My daughter "Kayley" has been asking me to set up a playdate for her and her friend "Julie." I have met Julie's parents on a few occasions -- the playground, school events, etc. For some reason, I feel uncomfortable around them. I thought I smelled alcohol on her father's breath when we were at the playground, and he also said some things that seemed inappropriate.
I've been avoiding the playdate request because I know if we invite Julie, she will probably invite my daughter to her house to reciprocate. I don't think I can leave Kayley at their house.
I keep making up excuses, but Kayley is persistent. I don't want to tell her that I'm not comfortable with Julie's parents or the prospect of having her go to their house because I'm afraid she might repeat what I say to Julie. What should I do? -- AT A LOSS FOR WORDS IN MAINE
DEAR AT A LOSS: Stop making excuses and invite Julie to play at your home. When Julie's mother offers to reciprocate, tell her -- sweetly -- that you prefer playdates be at your home. Period. Do not be defensive about it, just firm.
P.S. You may be worried over nothing because Julie's mother may not make that offer you're dreading.