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Sat, Sept. 21

Dear Abby: Wife concerned about husband talking to neighborhood kids

Dear Abby: I have been happily married to “Roger” for 20 years and have two kids still at home. They are pretty independent now, but my husband was very involved in coaching and volunteering when they were younger.

Sometimes when Roger and I take walks, we run into children playing in a yard or biking up and down the block. If they initiate conversation, I’ll smile at them and respond with a quick “hi” or “nice bike” and keep walking, but my husband will stop to chat or listen to what they say. I have told him not to do that regardless of whether they seem willing. My fear is that an overprotective mom glancing out the window and seeing a middle-aged stranger talking to their child may assume the worst.

I know Roger loves kids, and we both sometimes miss the younger years when kids could be more open and talk with adults, but times have changed.

Do you agree that adults (and especially male adults) have to be overly cautious about engaging in any communication with an unaccompanied child? – Changing Times In The Midwest

Dear Changing Times: I think (regrettably) that the answer to your question is yes. Because fears of molestation are so prevalent now, males do have to be more circumspect with minor children than they did years ago. Frankly, that’s a shame, because kids gain so much confidence by knowing an adult is interested in what they have to say. Consider staying with your husband during these friendly instances as a “buffer.”

Dear Abby: My husband and I have two homes. We summer in Michigan and winter in Florida. To save money on maintenance, I’d like to sell the house in Michigan and move permanently to Florida. My husband doesn’t want to be in Florida during the summer, but he also does not want to be in Michigan in the winter. He won’t make a decision, but he leans toward living in Michigan full time.

Because I don’t like living up north in the winter, I have told him I’ll be staying all year in Florida starting in January to see how it is. Any ideas on how this could be settled? – Warmer Weather

Dear Warmer Weather: Your idea about living for a “trial year” in Florida isn’t a bad one. After spending a hot, humid summer there, you might change your mind about relocating permanently.

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