DEAR MISS MANNERS: My 13-year-old son is lucky enough to have a large group of friends. Two, in particular, stay at our house all weekend, almost every weekend. They are good boys with excellent manners.
The problem? It’s overwhelming, financially and logistically, to feed two extra boys every weekend. I work nights as a nurse, my husband has a demanding job, and we have four sons (one of whom is a toddler).
I once asked the parents to pick their children up mid-weekend because we were overwhelmed, and one of the fathers told his son that we “didn’t want him there.” Because our house is so busy, we often get takeout, but even cooking for these boys is becoming too much for my budget and my time.
I don’t want to hurt the boys’ feelings, but I’d like the parents to contribute financially or by offering to help feed the boys. How do I do so without repeating what happened last time I asked the parents for help?
GENTLE READER: Every weekend? Don’t these parents ever see their children?
Miss Manners recommends that you politely point this out: “We love having the boys over, but you must miss them when they are gone every weekend. If you want to work out a schedule so that we can share the pleasure, that would be wonderful.” That they should be reciprocating is a given, but it may be more effective to prey on their parental embarrassment.