DEAR AMY: My mother-in-law often pets or strokes my 1-year-old daughter in a way that makes me extremely uncomfortable. For instance, she will rub her leg all the way up to her diaper over and over, and let her hand rest at the top of her thigh, or will put her hands under her shirt to rub her chest. This makes me uneasy. I feel that if I don't say something now, very shortly those things are not going to be OK. Some of the areas my mother-in-law touches should be off limits. She will also let her hand rest in my husband's upper thigh and crotch. He has talked about how uncomfortable this makes him, but he won't say anything to her. I want it to stop, but I am not sure how to do that in a way that is effective but doesn't permanently damage the relationship. My mother-in-law has early dementia, so whatever I do will have to be reinforced over and over.
DEAR MOM: You must tell the truth about this unwanted touching -- and you should do so in a way that is respectful, gentle and repeatable.
You don't say whether your mother-in-law has always done this, but this sort of stroking might also be a symptom of her dementia.
Be patient, firm and kind.
DEAR AMY: We are a small group of academically successful college students studying for a degree in elementary education. We are enrolled in a very boring class. Our instructor is nice, but doesn't speak the greatest English and has little sense of classroom management. The assignments are not useful. This has caused us to talk in class and engage in other immature behaviors. What should we be doing?
--Bored to Tears
DEAR BORED: I know it is challenging to rise above a teacher's weakness. But you paid for this class; I assume it should cover valuable material. You you have a right to a competent teacher. Raise this with the school administration.