DEAR ABBY: Every holiday or special occasion that's celebrated in our home involves a certain amount of "horseplay" between the men -- my two adult stepsons and stepsons-in-law. Their ages range from 38 to 40.
When these supposed grown-ups come to visit, open gifts, etc., they wind up wrestling in our living room. The base of one of my lamps has been chipped, and once, my granddaughter (then 10) was pushed into a glass table and her back was scraped through her shirt.
I have asked them nicely to stop or to go downstairs, and this year I asked them to take it outside. They'll quit for a while, but act like I'm ruining their fun by telling them to stop. My husband refuses to say anything to them about it. He says it's a small price to pay because they are otherwise helpful, considerate and caring individuals, which is true.
I should add that alcohol is involved, but to remove it is not an option. It would create huge problems between my husband and me if I suggested it. I struggle between guilt for being upset, and frustration because I'm afraid someone will get hurt or my furniture will be broken. Any suggestions? -- NOT AMUSED IN WASHINGTON
DEAR NOT AMUSED: You're afraid someone will be hurt? Someone WAS hurt -- your granddaughter! If that wasn't a wake-up call for those literally "high"-spirited, overgrown adolescents, it will never happen. At the very least, the "boys" should pay to repair or replace any items they have damaged.
Alcohol isn't "involved"; alcohol is the problem. It appears to have lowered the very inhibitions your stepsons and stepsons-in-law need to maintain in order to behave like civilized adults. Until the issue is brought out into the open in your family, your problem will continue.