DEAR AMY: My son "James" goes to a special school for kids with disabilities. He has a learning disability but is very nice looking, competitive in sports and, most of all, a very nice young man. That is how he was raised.
Now that he is a teen, he gets calls from girls, which is not in itself a problem. The problem is the number of calls, which borders on ridiculous.
The fact that these young ladies also have learning disabilities prompts me to give them the benefit of the doubt, but what I don't understand is why their parents don't teach them phone etiquette.
For instance, one girl called him eight times over the course of an hour.
We have instructed James to politely tell his callers when he is busy or can't talk but no matter, if the young lady thinks she should call him another three or four times, or more on occasion, that's what she will do, leaving me to "save" him by telling him very loudly, that it's time to eat dinner.
I've decided we have to limit his phone calls to one per school night.
I haven't decided about the weekends, but for now caller ID and voice mail are going to start earning their keep.
Why do I feel like an ogre?
— The Ogre
DEAR OGRE: Every parent feels like an ogre from time to time. It's part of the job.
Your son and his friends are at the stage many kids go through, when they become fascinated by reaching out via telephone.
Unfortunately, girls tend to become assertive (or outright aggressive) before many boys are ready — and these girls are behaving according to a basic developmental steppingstone.
You might help them understand basic phone etiquette by answering the phone yourself and explaining that you have a rule in your house that "James" can take only one phone call on school nights.
If the girls don't seem to understand this, then speak with their parents. Stay calm and explain that James' telephoning is limited. Tell them their daughter calls many times a night (they may not realize it) and ask if they could explain to her that that's not a good idea.
DEAR AMY: My aunt split from her husband of 10 years in February.
Then she lived with my family and me for two months.
She seemed so much happier without him. She said she had fallen out of love with him and that this was the right thing to do.
Sometimes she cried because she felt she missed out on so much of our family activities because he wouldn't let her go.
Now they are back together, and I miss my aunt dearly. I rarely see her now, and when I do, she always seems in a bad mood.
I believe with all my heart that he is bad for her. I wish there was a way I could make her come to her senses.
Is it useless to help someone who doesn't want help?
— Missing My Aunt
DEAR MISSING: It isn't useless to try to help someone who doesn't want help, but it can be heartbreaking.
Your aunt has her own life to live, and that means making choices and mistakes. She has to face the consequences of her decisions.
You could reach out to your aunt and tell her that you miss spending time with her. Tell her that sometimes she seems sad, and ask her if there is anything you can do.
Beyond that, you should do your best to keep the connection active. This connection will mean a lot to her, even as she struggles with her choices.
DEAR AMY: A letter from "Desperate for Another" outlined her wish to have another child to add to the two she already has.
Her husband, a stay-at-home dad with another set of grown children, told her he would rather be divorced than have another child.
You told the woman to count her blessings and said she was far too willing to sacrifice her husband's happiness for her own.
Newlyweds, remember: Slaughter not your mate's happiness on the altar of your own wishes!
— Faithful Reader
DEAR READER: Indeed.
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