DEAR ABBY: I have a big problem. I'm in my 60s and have lived in this neighborhood for 30 years.
A boy on my block has been causing a lot of trouble. I spoke to his mother, but she doesn't want to hear it. He's the type of kid who starts something and then tells his mother the other person started it. I have seen him throw rocks and break a window, and I also saw him climb into a neighbor's yard and steal a toy. The problem is, I'm the only person who's willing to speak up. The other neighbors are reluctant to deal with the mother because of the way she is.
The boy used to say things to me, but now he comes and stands in front of my house. It is very upsetting that when I'm outside planting my flowers, he's always starting something with me. I don't think I should call the police, because he hasn't hurt me.
This has been going on for four years, Abby. What should I do? I'm afraid if I keep complaining it will sound like I'm picking on the boy. His mother never watches him and he's a big problem. I know in a couple of more years, he'll be someone on the news. Help! -- WORRIED NEIGHBOR
DEAR WORRIED: Begin by documenting the incidents, and then attempt to open a dialogue with the boy's mother. Perhaps when she sees a list with dates and particulars, she will be more receptive.
If that doesn't get results, contact your local police and ask to speak with a juvenile investigator or counselor. As police departments become more community-oriented in their approach, they are more willing to intervene before a situation becomes a criminal problem. The officer will probably be willing to talk to both the mother and the boy.