Q: New neighbors have just moved in down the street. They have not one, not two, but three little bike-riding boys. Not something I would usually consider a problem, but they all seem unable to distinguish the sidewalk from the street and whiz around like hyperactive gnats without so much as a howdy-doo never mind a look-see. With Halloween on the horizon, I’m tempted to hand out gummy bears injected with Ritalin, but I’m truly afraid I’m going to mow one down before then. Horn-honking does not make an impression. Any suggestions?
A: Instead of dispensing the gummy bears, I’d recommend that you take the “chill pill.” I know the bike rats are wrecking your nerves. That tells me you need to work on your own anxiety around this and just continue to be careful when driving in the neighborhood.
Q: Recently my sister decided that parenting her own children wasn’t enough and decided to parent mine also. I learned a long time ago to remain quiet and to be as supportive as possible when she mentioned something her children did or did not do. She, however, is not returning the favor. I have asked her to stop, but she feels that she needs to do what is best for my child by stepping over me. She has caused so much havoc in my household, and now my children want nothing to do with her. While I have nothing but love for my sister, I cannot and will not let this continue. With this in mind, what should I do next?
A: You lay down The Law. Explain that she has gone too far. Tell her how this is disturbing the children and harming their relationship with her. Give notice that the time of her overstepping has come to an end. Remain firm and disallow her bad behavior at every turn. Arm the kids with the right words to use when she tries to “mother” them.
Remind her that you are the authority when it comes to knowing what is best for your children, just as she is the expert on her own spawn and no one else’s.
Q: You spoke to my professional organization earlier in the year. You explained that everyone needs to focus more on “being in the present.” Can you elaborate on that?
A: Leo Tolstoy said it best.
“A wise man was asked what was the most important time person, and thing in life. He answered, ‘The most important time is the present time, because at this time a person has power over himself. The most important person is the one with whom you deal at present, because there is no guarantee that you will ever be able to deal with any other person in this world. The most important thing is to love this person, because everyone is sent into this world with the sole purpose of loving other people.’”
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at www.thecrackerqueen.com.