DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law -- I'll call her "Irene" -- refers to our 3-year-old daughter, "Amber," as "sexy." When she buys clothing for Amber, she will say, "This is sexy." When Amber was younger and would pull up her dress in play, Irene would say, "Are you trying to be sexy?" Luckily, when it has happened, Amber either didn't hear or remember her comments.
I'm afraid if we don't put a stop to it, Irene will continue saying these things. Maybe she thinks it's cute, but I would like to keep my little girl innocent as long as I can. My husband agrees with me, but he's afraid of offending his mother. Why would a grandmother call her young granddaughter "sexy"? Please advise. -- AMBER'S MOMMY IN CLEVELAND
DEAR MOMMY: Your mother-in-law may have a limited vocabulary, or she may be projecting her adult feelings onto Amber -- not realizing that children her granddaughter's age do not experience sexual feelings the way adults do.
Whatever Irene's reasoning, I agree that her comments are inappropriate, and she should be told to cut them out. With marketing, advertising and media the way they are today, your little girl will be bombarded with promotional messages in which sex is a sales tool before she hits kindergarten. She doesn't need to be sexually objectified by her grandmother, too.