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home : columns : dear harriette November 29, 2020

10/23/2020 7:57:00 AM
Neighbor worries about unsupervised child

DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in a nice gated community area. The neighbors are always friendly, families go on walks and kids play together nicely. I love it here. Recently, there have been a lot of families moving in and out of the neighborhood. I've noticed a little boy that I've never seen before that walks back and forth on my street each day and then heads to the playground. I can see from my backyard. He plays for an hour or so, then leaves. Since the school year has started, this happens every day around noon. He might be only 5 or 6 years old. I have never seen him with an adult. Sometimes there are other kids and adults at the playground, but when there are not, he plays alone, and I see him walk there and back alone.

I am concerned and curious why he is always alone. I've thought about stopping him and asking him or following from a distance to see where he goes, but if his parents did tell him not to talk to anyone, I just want to make sure he is OK,  What should I do? -- Friendly Neighbor

DEAR FRIENDLY NEIGHBOR: The way I grew up, every family looked out for every other family. There would be no child alone and unidentified. Obviously, times have changed, but such values can stay the same. Go up to the child and introduce yourself. Be warm and friendly. Ask him his name and where his parents are. Chances are, he lives in eyeshot of the playground. Just like you can see him from your home, it is likely that his parents can see him too.

Tell him you would like to meet his parents. If he invites you to meet them or asks them to come to the playground to meet you, that would be great. Otherwise, don't press for his address. That could spook him. Instead, do pay attention and see if you can figure out where he lives so that you can ring the bell at another time to introduce yourself, welcome them to the neighborhood and point out that you have seen their son regularly by himself. Being alone at that age is unsafe.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently broke my nose. My doctor told me to consider a nose job to correct it. I am a singer, and he says a nose job could clear a new pathway to breathe and may help me sing better, taking deeper breaths and hitting higher notes. I did some research on the surgery and correction process, and I would love to have an added benefit to help my future career.

My parents are against it. They want my nose to heal naturally. There is a risk I will have a deformed nose from it being broken and not getting corrected. My parents do not want me going under for surgery, but despite my own fear, I know that this is a good option for me. They have made their wishes clear. I am on their insurance, but I am of age to make the decision on my own. Should I follow my wishes against theirs? Am I totally wrong if I do what I think is right for me? -- Nose Job

DEAR NOSE JOB: Get a second opinion. Share that with your parents. Rhinoplasty is a common and relatively safe surgery that can be helpful in allowing you to heal fully. The added benefit of better breathing is a bonus, for sure. Your parents are naturally nervous about you going under the knife. Perhaps a second opinion will assuage their worries.

If you proceed, let them know. Promise to pay any co-payments and deductibles, and proceed.

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