DEAR HARRIETTE: My 9-year-old son came home from a friend's after a sleepover and told me that his friend's parents allowed them to watch several R-rated movies. Now, I'm no prude, but there is a reason movies have ratings. R-rated movies are not appropriate for young children. My son was thrilled, of course, because an adult allowed him to do something that his parents would never think of doing. But I am outraged. I didn't even think to ask what the movies were that they would be watching when I was told that it was "movie night." How should I handle this? -- Out of Sorts, Princeton, N.J.
DEAR OUT OF SORTS: Given that you were told it was "movie night," which suggests that there was some intention behind the planning for the evening of the sleepover, you should contact your son's friend's parents immediately. As calmly as you can, ask them what movies they showed the children. Tell them what movies your son said he watched. Point out that these specific movies are rated R. (Obviously, verify that they do bear that rating. Don't just trust your son's word.) Ask why they would show young children such films.
Express your disappointment that they did show inappropriate movies to the children. Because your children are friends, if you ever want your son to visit them again, you need to add that you trust that they will be more mindful in the future of what is age-appropriate. And you should check to see what the activities will be before you allow your son to go.