DEAR ABBY: I am a grandmother and I watch my two grandchildren every day while their mothers work. The boy is 5, the girl is 4.
My two daughters do a lot of children's activities in the evenings and on the weekends. The cousins are close. They don't fight, and they really love each other.
The girl's mother includes the boy in every special thing they do -- pizza, fishing, swimming, etc.
The boy says when he and his mother do things, he wants to be alone and he does not want his cousin included. His mother coddles him and tells him it's OK to want to be alone. She tells him to not mention when he's going to the beach, etc., so they will not have to take the little girl along.
I think she is demonstrating to her son how to be secretive and manipulative. I also think it's cruel. Of course, my daughter does not agree. I see disaster ahead. Please advise. -- CONCERNED GRANDMOTHER IN PORTLAND
DEAR CONCERNED GRANDMOTHER: This situation is not a question of all or nothing. Since you watch the children during the day, their time with their mothers is limited, and therefore I see no reason why they shouldn't each spend one-on-one time with their mothers for special outings. There should be no need for secrecy about it.