DEAR AMY: My niece recently caught my sons, ages 12 and 13, entering the R-rated trash movie "Bruno," which is full of graphic sexual behavior.
She was shocked that she saw her young cousins at such an adult movie. I can't imagine a worse film for them to see!
It turns out they were there with their mom's permission (we're divorced) and joined by two of their friends, with similar permission. In fact, one of their moms bought them the tickets and left the theater!
I was very upset and confronted my ex-wife, who claims she didn't know the movie was inappropriate for them. That's not a legitimate excuse, is it?
Shouldn't the theater have prevented them from entering, even though an "adult" purchased the tickets?
I am enraged, but trying to stay cool for the benefit of my sons. Will the adults in this world ever act like adults and pay some attention to the trash they expose their kids to? I see the same thing with TV and video games.
To make matters worse, my ex-wife is a high school teacher. Can you imagine? — Upset Father
DEAR UPSET: I share your dismay over the exceedingly poor judgment of the adults involved in this caper. I'm not sure why you are shielding your sons from your point of view, however. This presents an opportunity to talk to them about their media choices.
No responsible adult provides tickets to an R-rated movie without seeing the movie as well. It is not the theater's responsibility to police your son when the adults in his life are cheating the system.
Your wife saying she didn't know about the movie is no excuse — especially these days when there is a wealth of information available.
My favorite resource for checking out a film or TV show is Nell Minow, "The Movie Mom" (blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom).
Minow smartly distills plots and rates films with kids and families in mind. In two minutes I learned that "Bruno" uses "very strong, vulgar language" along with "extremely graphic and explicit nudity (male and female)."
Minow also provides talking points for families. This might be a good place for you and your son to start your conversation.
DEAR AMY: I am a senior in high school and I've recently learned that my uncle is taking advantage of my grandmother. He calls her constantly begging for money and when she refuses, he continuously calls her until she picks up.
Amy, my grandmother is up to her neck in debt and has nothing left to give; yet she takes out loans just for him.
I've talked to my parents and they say not to get involved, but how can I just sit by and watch this train wreck happen? Isn't there anything I can do? — Worried Teen
DEAR WORRIED: I agree with your parents that you should not get involved in this mess, but they should be involved.
There could be much more to this story than you know, but if your grandmother is being taken advantage of, they should try to protect her, though ultimately she bears the responsibility for making terrible financial choices.
Your parents may have repeatedly cautioned her not to give your uncle money. If so, their only remaining option would be to watch this train wreck happen.
Your grandmother's choices could haunt her for many years, and the money is most likely not helping your uncle to face whatever he needs to face. She is giving him money because she can't stand to watch his train wreck. That's a very sad cycle, and I'm sorry you have to witness it.
DEAR AMY: Responding to the letter from the woman who was so upset because her young nephew named the dog for her daughter, my dear friends gave their beloved dog my name. I was not insulted, though over the years it was not pleasant to suddenly be told in a loud, punishing voice to get down off the furniture or to stop peeing on the rug.
I did not grieve too much when their little mutt went to chase bones in the great doggie beyond. — Sauci
DEAR SAUCI: You have a pretty cool name. I can understand why your friends appropriated it.