DEAR AMY: I have a 10-year-old daughter, and we visit my parents about three times a year. A couple of years ago, my daughter told me that my father had kissed her on the lips more than once.
I think it was just short pecks, but it bothered her. On a previous trip my husband had mentioned that he had stumbled upon a teen porn magazine in the basement, but I didn't think much of it. My father, by all accounts, is an upright, churchgoing guy, married for almost 50 years, so these accounts were a bit unnerving. My mom keeps pressing to have my daughter visit them alone. I have been providing excuses, but I feel increasingly guilty having to repel her pleas. I've thought of telling my mother about my concern, but frankly, but she probably won't believe me or will think I'm making much ado about nothing. What should I do?Indecisive Daughter
DEAR DAUGHTER: Accompany your daughter to visit your parents -- but override your instinct about your folks and speak to both of them about this. You aren't accusing your father of anything heinous, but you are saying that this made your daughter uncomfortable, and it makes you uncomfortable, too.
Your father might be defensive, upset or sad about this -- but he must understand that you are being honest and doing your best to navigate a challenging situation. If you deal with it openly and respectfully (and if they respect your role as a mother), then -- as challenging as it might be -- you all should be able to recover from it.
DEAR AMY: Although my husband and I enjoyed the letter from "Madison" (the bride-to-be with the tattooed bridesmaids) for the sheer entertainment value provided by this modern bridal party dilemma, we both agree that your advice missed the mark. You told Madison to be "completely upfront" with her friends, but then you counseled her to weasel out and blame her grandparents. Yikes! Young people who have "multiple large tattoos on their arms, chest and back" in all probability don't care what their own grandparents think, let alone someone else's. More important, stating as certainty that the bride's grandparents "will be freaked out" by her friends' body ink is disingenuous. The grandparents are not making the cover-up request; the bride is. She needs to own up to her preference.
Robyn and Mark
DEAR ROBYN AND MARK: "Madison" did worry about what her grandparents would think of tattooed bridesmaids, but you are right -- her first concern was her own dislike of "ink," and she should not blame the grandparents.