DEAR AMY: My sister is recently divorced. Her ex has moved in with the woman he had an affair with and is living with her and her three sons. I am concerned about the living arrangements her ex-husband has for my 10-year-old nephew when the boy is with him for his parental visitation.
Each of the three boys has his own bedroom. When my nephew stays at the house with his father, he sleeps on the floor in one of the boys’ rooms.
My sister has voiced her concern about these arrangements and demanded that her son be given a bed and space of his own so that he can have his privacy, space to be alone and read, study or play.
Any advice or thoughts in getting his father to understand that this situation is not in his son’s best interest? My nephew has always had his own room and has told his mother that he does not want to share a room.
I am concerned that all of this change and turmoil will have a negative impact on this wonderful child. -- Loving Aunt
DEAR AUNT: I agree with you that the boy’s sleeping arrangements when he is with his father are very important.
Your sister should review her separation agreement — the contract between the two that states the custody arrangement. Sometimes the custodial sleeping arrangement issue is dealt with in this document; the ex-husband may be in violation.
She should outline her reasonable concerns to her ex-husband and ask him to provide a bed for their son. She should also call her lawyer to review her options regarding legally forcing this father to do the right thing.
DEAR AMY: My 7-year-old grandson is about to participate in tackle football. I didn’t realize it was tackle until my wife said that he would be receiving his pads and helmet next week.
I told my wife that I thought that this was a dangerous idea and bad for him in many ways. Orthopedic or concussion injuries could have lifelong consequences for reasons that have been extensively covered in the media.
When I expressed my intention to inform our daughter of my concerns, my wife adamantly and stridently objected. The reasons she gave were that 1) the family on his father’s side is a big football family, and 2) my “interference” would cause problems in their marriage.
I don’t know what to do and would take no comfort should an injury occur, knowing I could have prevented that from happening. What to do? -- Worried Granddad
DEAR GRANDDAD: Your wife provided you with reasons you shouldn’t express yourself to your daughter.
You don’t seem to agree with her reasoning, and so it might be time for an “end run.”
One privilege of grandparenthood is that you occasionally get to weigh in on your children’s choices as parents, certainly when you believe there is a legitimate health and safety issue.
I suggest that you ignore the history of football playing in your son-in-law’s family and simply say to your daughter, “Tackle football for 7-year-olds doesn’t sound safe. Has the team notified you parents of what steps they are taking to avoid injuries and concussions?”
If your daughter sees this as interference, she can let you know. She may also see this as a prompt to look into an issue that is very important.
After you have expressed yourself, you need to do the toughest thing, which is to let these parents be parents. Be aware that even the most loving and involved grandparent cannot actually prevent a concussion — on the soccer, football, lacrosse fields — or in gym class. You can only try to mitigate the risk.
DEAR AMY: Thank you for your response to “Challenged,” whose daughter had a friend with an unstable, alcoholic mother.
Please thank her for welcoming the child, “Krista,” into her home! I was the daughter of an alcoholic, neglectful and abusive mother, and one of the main reasons I’m a functioning adult today is the families of friends that welcomed me warmly and freely. -- Grateful
DEAR GRATEFUL: Thank you for recognizing these neighborhood heroes.