DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I don’t want to be mean, but there is a little boy in our neighborhood, probably 8 or 9, who is driving me crazy. He is always wandering around, teasing the dogs in their backyards, stuffing the street-side mailboxes with junk he finds in the woods behind the houses, and a whole lot of other stupid and annoying things. His parents both work long hours, so I guess he is on his own a lot, and I feel kind of sorry for him, but I also do not like the stuff he is doing. Do I speak to his parents, or just learn to put up with it? --- FRUSTRATED NEIGHBOR
DEAR FRUSTRATED NEIGHBOR: Beyond the dumb pranks he’s pulling, you say this boy finds things in the woods behind the houses, which frankly, makes me worry for his safety, especially if he’s going there alone.
While many parents don’t or won’t believe their kids are doing something wrong, it may be time to approach his folks ─ ideally without his seeing it happen ─ and let them know he’s been going into the woods. That approach might come off more as a concerned neighbor than as a whiny one.
It’s far from a guarantee that his pranks will cease, but it might raise a red flag for his parents before his adventures become misadventures.