DEAR AMY: I am 18 years old and working two days a week as a nanny to make some money before going to college this fall.
I have baby-sat for the same two brothers, “Billy” and “Bobby,” since I was 13 and have rarely had issues. They are polite, listen well, and we always have a fun time.
This summer, however, a neighborhood boy, “Tom,” often comes to play while I am nannying. It is nice for the kids to have a friend to play with during the day, but sometimes I don’t know how to handle Tom. Because I am not technically his nanny, he doesn’t listen to me.
The brothers, who are usually kind to each other, fight when Tom is playing with them. Tom is very cocky and both the boys and I find his confidence annoying sometimes.
I can deal with Tom for a few hours, but recently he’s been staying the entire day (all nine hours that I am nannying)! I make him breakfast, lunch and a snack, as well as play with and keep a watchful eye on him.
When I signed up for this job, I agreed to watch two boys. I didn’t agree to watch this third child!
The mother I work for says it’s fine that Tom comes to play, but sometimes I’m not fine with it! I also feel like I am providing this other family with free baby-sitting.
When I have asked Tom to go home, he will not comply. What should I do? -- Baffled Baby-Sitter
DEAR BAFFLED: Speak with your employer about this. Tell her exactly what you say above — that when “Tom” is visiting the boys are harder to handle, that they fight more and that you find supervising three boys for nine hours too much.
You also need to let all the boys know that there is a new sheriff in town — and it’s you.
Tell Tom that when he is visiting the household, you are in charge of him. The minute you start to have a problem, it will be time for him to leave.
Walk him home (take the kids with you, obviously). Tell his mother, “The boys aren’t getting along today and so I decided to bring Tom home.”
DEAR AMY: Boy, did you miss the mark in your response to “No Vacation!”
There is no way I would allow some bratty teenager to determine if the entire family gets to take a vacation. That is unfair to the rest of the family and sets a rotten precedent for the younger kids.
My response would have been, “We are going and that includes you. Period. If this is too difficult for you to understand then you can kiss your car keys, electronic devices and social life goodbye for some time.”
My husband and our four kids just returned from a weeklong vacation that, of course, our 14-year-old daughter did not approve of. She threatened not to go with us.
Guess what? We all had a wonderful time (she did, too, even though she will never admit it). I caught her giggling and playing with her little sisters.
Also, when we are on vacation, texting and video games are limited and Facebook is banned.
She may think I am an ogre now, but in a decade or three she will probably look back and be thankful. -- Not-a-Pushover Mom
DEAR NOT: Many people responded to this letter with stories about dragging sulky teens on family vacations.
I think you’re right that the memories tend to be good ones. Get back in touch when that sullen 14-year-old is sulky-17.
DEAR AMY: My in-laws live half the year in a warm climate and the other half in our home town and make no effort to see us.
They have invited us to visit this winter when they go south. I have a limited amount of vacation but my husband is retired.
I have no desire to spend my vacation and airfare to visit people who live all summer five miles away who we never see! Can I ask my husband to go alone? -- Wife
DEAR WIFE: Sounds like a great idea!
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