DEAR AMY: Recently I went to visit my grandchildren. I was playing a card game with “Mary,” who is 6. It was a matching game called “Memory,” and it became obvious quite quickly that she had arranged the cards in advance in order to win.

I said to her, “Mary, did you arrange all these cards?” She admitted she had. I then said to her, “Well, then this is not a game. This is cheating, and I don’t play with cheats.”

Amy, I have been reliving this little “drama” for several weeks, and I have asked other people about it. One very wise lady said she would have suggested playing another game of “Memory,” with the cards truly shuffled. Others agreed with me that Mary should learn the lesson that cheaters never win. Was I too hard on a 6-year-old?

Where do you come down on this? -- Concerned Grandma

DEAR CONCERNED: If you had handled this the way you should have, you would not be reliving the drama now because you would be confident that you had done the right thing.

Every 6-year-old cheats, or thinks about it. Cheating is a particular specialty of this age group; my theory is that they are both learning how games work and also exploring how they can manipulate cards, pieces and people.

I still have flashbacks to a fateful game of Candy Land where my pint-size opponent cheated and I reacted basically as you did — the grown-up equivalent of overturning the board and stomping away.

Childhood cheating presents the ultimate teachable moment for an adult. It is right to confront a cheater — but after the confrontation you should display the maturity to demonstrate how much fun it is to play (and perhaps even win) honestly. I agree with your friend who suggested keeping your cool and playing the game again, properly.

DEAR AMY: I just graduated from college and moved to a new city. I’m living with three guys (I’m female) and we all found one another on Craigslist.

My housemates are all nice, well-intentioned people, but one of them, “Kevin,” can become very annoying. The other guys and I agree on this. Kevin doesn’t have a car and frequently asks the rest of us for rides. He tends to ask when we’re headed out the door.

I am tired of having to either go out unnecessarily or go out of my way when I’m leaving the house anyway! Plus, gas isn’t cheap and my old car has too many miles on it for extra city driving.

I don’t want to cause a big issue because until I get more settled and meet some other people, I need to be able to have home be a friendly place where we can all hang out. How should I respond? -- Not a Chauffeur

DEAR NOT: Sit down — all of you — for a house meeting. Use this meeting to establish, as completely as you can, all the parameters for cohabitating. This includes ride-sharing.

Unless you say a firm “no” to “Kevin,” he will continue to ask for a ride. And you can’t blame him for asking, but you should take responsibility for saying yes when you really want to say no. I realize this is challenging, but marshaling the power of “no” is an important life skill.

DEAR AMY: “Grossed-Out Granddaughter” walked in on her grandfather “making out” with one of his girlfriends.

I agree with your advice, and I would like to add that if one knocks on a door and there is no answer, you do not have permission to open the door, if you know the person is inside — especially when you’re not in your own home, and you know Granddad has company.

I’m not excusing him, but the young lady in question will have to exercise adult discretion in order to protect herself. -- Concerned Mom

DEAR MOM: I agree that it is important for kids to learn that they should never open a closed door until they have permission to do so.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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