DEAR HARRIETTE: I just spent the weekend with friends at the beach. We had a great time, except that the host parents do not require their children to wear sunscreen. They blow it off when the kids don't feel like putting it on. Skin cancer runs in my family, so I am very serious about sunscreen. I found myself in the awkward position of forcing my children to apply and reapply sunscreen while the other kids balked and walked off. I don't want to get between parents and their children, but I can't afford to have my children making bad decisions based on an adult's bad behavior. I never said anything to the other mother about this, but I wonder if I should have. She saw me lathering up my kids. -- Needing Protection, Jersey City, New Jersey
DEAR NEEDING PROTECTION: To clear the air, you could have privately spoken to the other mother to explain to her that you are hypervigilant about sunscreen because skin cancer runs in your family. You could have also asked her if she would like you to apply sunscreen to her kids at the same time.
Sometimes, other adults have a bit more leverage than parents do, especially when it comes to peer pressure. Your children wearing sunscreen could turn into positive peer pressure -- but only with the mother's permission.