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Carolyn Hax: A visiting child kicked your dog. Does she ever visit again?

(Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post)

Adapted from an online

Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend lives with me and everything is great except for his niece, "Amanda." To put it bluntly, Amanda is completely out of control.

Her parents had a hard time conceiving and call her the miracle child, and in her entire five years I don't think she has never heard the word "no." At Christmas Eve at our house, she tried to knock the tree over and almost succeeded, deliberately dumped a cake on the floor and was hitting all the adults with a toy she got, laughing hysterically when they said it hurt — but the last straw was when she hurt one of my dogs.

This dog is a 14-year-old beagle, gentle as a lamb, and was chilling in her bed when I suddenly heard her yelp in pain. I rushed in and asked Amanda what happened, and she said, "nothing." We have cameras to monitor both dogs and when I checked, I saw Amanda had deliberately kicked my poor dog.

Her parents rushed to her defense, saying she didn't understand, meant no harm, but I put my beagle in the bedroom and refused to let Amanda near our dogs. After that I banned Amanda from our home.

My boyfriend's entire family has been browbeating me for months to give Amanda another chance, to let her come to our house, "let her apologize" to our beagle, but I have a responsibility to my dogs to keep them safe, and that comes before that family's "feelings."

My boyfriend is now asking me to reconsider, since we're planning to have his mom's birthday party at our house, but I just can't see ever letting that kid in our house again. Am I wrong?

— Banned the Holy Terror

Banned the Holy Terror: No.

Well, a little, but in the same way everyone else is.

Amanda isn’t the one who needs to be banned — it’s the ridiculous (non) parenting parents who set this whole disaster in motion.

I’m no fan of the broad-brush, tough-to-conceive-miracle-child-has-never-heard-“no” pigeonholing. Careful there.

But you don’t need it, given your abundance of facts: mainly, that no adults stepped in when Amanda tipped the tree, dumped the cake and hit adults. That means many adults are more culpable than Amanda for the ultimate animal abuse that occurred.

Her parents are mainly so, but all of the adults present are on the hook.

And that needs to be named in response to all the pressure you’re getting. “This is not about giving Amanda another chance. This is about the adults not saving Amanda from herself. If no adults are going to step in when she does antisocial things, then, no, I won’t subject my pets and my home to that. I don’t understand why I’m the only one willing to say this.”

Start with your boyfriend. Say this to him. Ask him to say it to his family if he would prefer, or you will. Don’t back down. This is a tragedy in slow motion and you’re right to hold your line.

Re: Amanda: Deliberately causing pain to pets and people has red flags all over it. I hope drawing the line will prompt the parents to start by consulting Amanda's pediatrician, and taking things from there.

— Anonymous

Anonymous: Seconded, thanks.