Sense & Sensitivity

DEAR HARRIETTE: A family with two little girls moved in nearby. The girls are adorable, and the parents ask me to baby-sit often. The first time I went over to watch the girls, the parents were extremely sweet and cool. When they got home at the end of the night, the mom suggested that her husband drive me home. Everything was fine until he started to say a few things that made me uncomfortable; I brushed it off because I thought it was all in my head.

A couple of weekends later, the mom texted me asking to baby-sit for the girls again. I said yes and went over. At the end of the night, the mom suggested that her husband drive me home again. I insisted that it was OK and that I would rather walk because I live around the corner, but her husband was adamant that he got me home safe. This time, the husband started making suggestive remarks to me that made me extremely uncomfortable. I told my mom, and she told me to never baby-sit for this family again. I feel bad because the mom texts me often to baby-sit for the girls. Should I tell her that I am no longer interested in watching them? -- Uncomfortable Baby Sitter, Towson, Maryland

DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE BABY SITTER: Your mother is right in saying you should not work for this family anymore. I think you should take it one step further and reveal to the mother what happened. Do not embellish; simply tell her what her husband said to you and how it made you feel. This could come as a total shock to her. If so, it may prompt her to have a heart-to-heart with her husband.

There is a chance that she is aware of her husband's behavior. This couple may be swingers making an overture to you. No matter what the reason, you should remain clear on your intention, which is to tell the mom why you will no longer baby-sit for the family.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My son is about to turn 7. He is my youngest and the third boy in the family. Ever since he was little, he has been terrified of getting haircuts. When I say terrified, I'm not talking about the nervous feeling most kids get when they go to the barbershop; my son gets hysterical and his whole body starts shaking. This is new to me, because my two older sons never had this irrational fear. Some people say I should take him to a psychologist to see if there's something deeper going on, but others are saying this is just a phase he will grow out of. What do you think? -- Terrified of the Barber, Memphis, Tennessee

DEAR TERRIFIED OF THE BARBER: I wonder if your son got nicked at some point when he went to the barber, or if the sound of the buzz clippers scares him. In any case, try cutting his hair yourself and see how he reacts. Perhaps you can do it until his fear subsides. If that doesn’t help, psychological support is a good next step.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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