DEAR ABBY: I baby-sit during the day for a family with three children -- a 9-year-old girl who's in school the majority of the time, a 4-year-old boy who plays well on his own, and a 5-month-old baby girl who requires a lot of attention.
I think of myself as good at my job. I do not tolerate talking back, whining, kicking, hitting or screaming, or time-outs will occur without hesitation. Needless to say, the kids are well-behaved with me.
When the parents come home, however, that's another story. As I am leaving, I see the children start acting badly and even kick and hit their parents! My concern is that their parents are not doing anything about this behavior. It pains me because these poor children are allowed to act out.
They are great kids, but need a little discipline after I leave the house at the end of the day. I am extremely shy, and it would be hard to confront the parents to show more discipline. Can you help me? -- CATHY IN CLEVELAND
DEAR CATHY: It would not be "confronting" the parents to have a private chat with them and explain that their children don't kick and hit you, nor do they talk back or scream -- and the reason is the penalty will be an immediate time-out. Those parents could use the lesson, and you would be helping the family to speak up. Your shyness will lessen when you concentrate on the importance of your message instead of yourself.