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by Abigail Van Buren

Adults Point Fingers When Nephew Breaks Crystal Glasses

DEAR ABBY: I was recently watching a talk show where the topic of discussion was a couple who brought their 4-year-old to an open house. While they were there, the child broke an expensive piece of art. The parents refused to pay. The panel was split, with three saying the parents were at fault and two saying that if you invite people to your home, you shouldn't put out valuable things. What do you think?

Something similar happened to us when we invited some relatives to our home for a family get-together. One of the nephews kept taking barware and banging our crystal glasses together. His parents never said a word. It continued until the child broke two of them. The parents' response was, "You will learn to put things up if you want to keep them!" What about teaching your children to leave things alone? Or, if you don't want to monitor your kid, hire a babysitter! -- STILL STEAMED

DEAR STILL: Putting aside for a moment the fact that the glasses were expensive to replace, your nephew could have seriously cut himself when he broke them. That the parents would ignore what their son was doing -- putting himself in a dangerous situation -- and not intervene was irresponsible. As to whose fault it was that the objects were broken, I think it lies squarely with all of you for not immediately putting an end to it.

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