DEAR ABBY: I gave birth a month ago to a wonderful baby boy. My husband and I originally planned to put him in day care when I go back to work. I carefully researched and eventually found one I was comfortable with. When my mom found out, she said she had assumed she would be watching him, so I eventually told her she could.
My parents watch my sister's young children seven days a week. The children are very ill-behaved due to an absent, immature mother and absent father. I do not want my son subjected to their tantrums and violent behavior, nor do I want him to think that their behavior is acceptable. I love my mom very much, and I feel she deserves time away from children, but more than that, I don't want my baby in that environment. How do I kindly tell her that I've changed my mind? I'm afraid it will hurt her feelings. -- AT A LOSS FOR WORDS
DEAR AT A LOSS: Your mother has been watching those children seven days a week for how long? If she hasn't been able to get them to behave, you are right in thinking things would not be any different with your child. Tell your mother -- firmly -- that you do not want your son to be around his cousins on a daily basis because these are his formative years, and you don't want him to think their behavior is normal. Your thinking is correct, so hold your ground and don't let her talk you out of it.