DEAR HARRIETTE: I just read the letter from "Proud Mom," who didn't see the big deal in posting pictures online of her son's class performance.
There is an even bigger and more pressing reason to not post online pictures of kids who are not yours. Unfortunately, we live in a time that is not all roses and sunshine for some families. Many are dealing with orders of protection because of concerns about domestic abuse or fears of kidnapping by noncustodial parents. Often, these families have moved or changed schools to avoid detection. The information posted by "Proud Mom" could possibly lead to all kinds of major problems for families in these situations.
I agree with your advice: Never post pictures of kids other than your own. Unless you live there, you don't know what is going on in the house next door. -- Cautious, Chicago
DEAR CAUTIOUS: You bring even more justification to the privacy requirements regarding the publication of children's photos, including on social media.
By the way, you shouldn't post pictures of adults without their permission, either -- not only for the reasons you just mentioned, but also simply to preserve their privacy.
Just because you want to be a public figure does not mean that your friends, acquaintances or co-workers share your sentiment. Ask before uploading and posting their likeness on social media.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother-in-law is coming to visit, and I'm going crazy. My house is a mess, and I don't have time to clean it to her satisfaction. The last time she visited, about five years ago, all she did the whole time was complain about my poor homemaking skills.
I agree that I should be neater. I will put forth a big effort to make her comfortable, but I don't want to be chastised. What can I do? -- In a Tizzy, Shreveport, La.
DEAR IN A TIZZY: Make a schedule for cleaning up as much as you can from now until your mother-in-law arrives. Ask your husband to help. Remind him of her last visit. Tell him you need his support to survive her next one.
Be sure to make the area where she will sleep neat and clean. Same goes for the kitchen and common areas. If you have a trusted friend who is good at cleaning, perhaps you could ask that person to come over and help.
The preparatory work that you will do for your mother-in-law is actually great for you, too. The neater you can make your home, the more comfortable you and your husband will be in your space. If you commit to putting things away when you use them and discarding things when you no longer need them, you should be able to stay on top of any mess. You may also want to spend one day a week doing a big cleanse if you are facing significant clutter.