DEAR HARRIETTE: My good friend allows a man she is dating to watch her two young granddaughters when she makes small store runs. I have met her boyfriend, and he seems like a nice and trustworthy guy. But the kids' mother has confronted my friend about leaving her babies with him, and I honestly cannot blame her. With everything that has been in the news lately about predators taking innocent children's lives, it is not the best idea to leave two girls alone with this man. My friend confided in me, confused and hurt about the mother's negativity in this situation, and I need a way to explain to her how crucial it is to be extra-cautious with her small granddaughters. -- Off-Limits
DEAR OFF-LIMITS: Your friend’s daughter has the right to put her children in the trust of specific people -- namely, your friend. She also has the right to ask your friend not to leave them with anyone else, including her boyfriend. While he may be perfectly safe, he also may not have the skills to care for small children or the willingness to watch them as needed. And, for pure safety purposes, it is understandable that their mother would not want her babies to be in the care of someone she hasn’t vetted.
The way your friend can handle this is simply to stop doing it. If she needs something from the store, she can ask her boyfriend to go get it. She may not need to say anything to her boyfriend about her daughter’s concerns. Instead, she can just be a responsible baby sitter of small children, meaning she never lets them out of her sight.