DEAR ABBY: I am a physician and mother who goes to substantial lengths to avoid subjecting my 6-year-old son, "Brandon," to secondhand smoke. My husband and I feel so strongly about it that we let our nanny, "Edith," go because she persisted in smoking around Brandon. (She had stated on her employment application that she was a nonsmoker.)
Brandon recently returned from a week-long visit with my in-laws, "Connie" and "Fred," out of state. They are both aware of my concerns regarding secondhand smoke. When they visit us, Connie smokes outside or sneaks smokes in the bathroom. Before we sent Brandon to visit, I explicitly asked Connie not to smoke indoors during his visit, and she agreed.
When Brandon got home, I was shocked to hear that while he was there -- and without conferring with my husband or me -- Connie and Fred had invited our ex-nanny to spend part of the week with them. According to Brandon, Edith and Connie smoked in the kitchen and living room in his presence.
I am hurt that my in-laws refused to take our health concerns to heart. My husband wants to keep the peace, but suggests we not allow Brandon any more unsupervised visits with his grandparents. I feel my husband should discuss their lack of candor in agreeing not to expose Brandon to cigarette smoke, and not following through. It also seems odd that they'd invite an employee we had terminated to visit without clearing it with my husband or me. What do you think? -- SMOKING MAD IN ILLINOIS
DEAR MAD: Although you may be itching for a showdown, I see little to be gained by confronting your in-laws for their lack of judgment during their grandson's visit. By allowing your son no more unsupervised visits with his grandparents, you will send a strong, but subtler, message. Listen to your husband.