OK, OK, I know that reading advice columns is probably a vastly unhealthy pass-time. But what can I say? I love the things. I think because it makes me feel so very normal to read the stuff people write in to them.
Today, though, I have become ticked. The Ask Amy column will often have some wacky advice, but today… I mean, where is this woman’s brain?
Here’s the column…
Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I were watching my 5-year-old niece. She came to me and told me that my boyfriend said he was going to punch her in the nose. I know that when my boyfriend is playing with the kids he plays around and says things, but he is adamant that he didn’t say that.
I spoke with my niece’s parents, and we chalked it up as a misunderstanding.
But now my boyfriend does not want her playing with him, and he refuses to watch her unless someone is with him every minute.
He is in law enforcement and says he sees things like this all the time, situations in which a kid accuses an adult of doing something and the adult gets in trouble. His exact words were, “God forbid she said I touched her.”
I don’t know how to get him to understand that she is a 5-year-old kid with a vivid imagination, and I feel this might be the end of our relationship. -Helpless and Clueless
Dear Helpless: Most of what young children say has some basis in reality. You should believe your niece but also assume that perhaps your boyfriend was horsing around and that his statement was taken out of context.
Your boyfriend is the adult in this scenario, and it is his job to put things in perspective. Being in law enforcement, he should be more – not less – understanding about this incident. The fact that he is so punitive and blames a 5-year-old for this incident highlights his own immaturity.
I do agree with him about this one thing, however: He should not be alone with your niece because he can’t be trusted to treat her well.
OK, now, let’s start with her comment “Most of what young children say has some basis in reality”… I don’t even know where to begin with that, but I have known quite a few young children, and I have heard some stories, by golly, that I don’t think have ever had a passing acquaintance with “reality”.
But that’s not my main problem with this.
My problem is that she is BLAMING this guy for “punishing” kid who has already proven willing to tell tales on him. She says “Being in law enforcement, he should be more – not less – understanding about this incident. “ Is she kidding? Being in law enforcement means that he has seen plenty of people’s lives ruined just by someone making an accusation. He clearly knows the consequences of this. Once someone says “he touched me” or “he raped me”, it doesn’t matter one little bit who is telling the truth… the “he” in the situation is forever untrustworthy and his life is pretty much ruined. (Ask the Duke Lacross Team).
If I was in his place, there is NO WAY IN HELL I would ever be alone with that kid again… Does Amy know how fast the news would pick up the “law enforcement man abuses little girl” story?
Kids know the fastest way to get someone in trouble nowadays is to play the abuse card. They see the news. They know why their teachers are afraid to pat them on the back. And some of them (not all, but some) will use that all over the place to get what they want.
Now I am not saying that there aren’t horrible adults out there who should be severely punished for doing horrible things to children. Because there are. And they should be caught, and have very bad things done to them.
However, I firmly believe that just because a kid says something, that does not make it true, and there definitely are kids out there who will exploit the system just because they can. What’s the best way to protect yourself from that?
Never be alone with ‘em.
In this, I think the guy in this letter is right on the mark… and the first bit of proof is the parting comment… “He should not be alone with your niece because he can’t be trusted to treat her well. ”
Well by golly, here we are… the kid said something about this guy, and now, “he can’t be trusted” – see how simple it is?