DEAR ABBY: What is the proper way to handle a problem with a 4-year-old boy whose parents pay no mind to what he is doing or whom he is annoying? The child is always outdoors early in the morning and also in the evening -- unsupervised. He constantly stops everyone he sees and asks a hundred questions.
He is a nice little boy, and while I feel for him, I wonder how these parents could allow him to roam with no supervision, expecting the neighborhood to entertain and care for him.
I have a 6-year-old son and I never allow him in the front yard unless I am there to watch him. I would never permit him to bother the neighbors. However, when I go out with my son, I always have to deal with the endless questions from the neighbor boy.
It's not fair that when I have time to take my son outside I have to baby-sit this neighbor child. I've asked him where his mother is and have sent him home many times, but he comes back again and again.
It's not his fault, and I hate to be mean to him. I blame his parents. Abby, what am I to do? -- UNWILLING BABY SITTER IN NEW YORK
DEAR UNWILLING: The child may simply be curious, or he may crave attention from an adult.
Instead of asking him where his mother is, check to be sure there is an adult in the home. Introduce yourself to the head of the household and express your concern. A 4-year-old is too young to be outdoors alone with no supervision -- particularly since he approaches any adult who happens to be nearby. If the mother can't watch her child, she should make arrangements for someone else to do it.
Your gesture may be met with some degree of hostility -- but for the sake of the child, you should make it.