Dear Ann Landers, I live in a nice suburb and have two well-adjusted children, a 6-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl. The problem is the 12-year-old boy who lives three doors away. He really is strange. I rarely see him with children his own age. He often plays with kids who are much younger than he is, including my own.
Other neighbors have mentioned this boy's peculiar and unpredictable nature. They do not trust him. He once bit a child and knocked another boy off his bicycle. Recently, I had a basketball hoop installed in our driveway. As soon as the hoop went up, the boy started to play there. After a week of showing up in our driveway, I told him he had to ring our bell and ask permission. After repeated attempts to get permission, with little success, he finally got the message. He then began peering in our windows like a Peeping Tom to see whether anyone was home so he could ring our bell. This spooked my wife.
Frankly, I don't want this boy around my house or my children. His father is a friendly guy but travels three weeks out of the month. His mother is cold and distant. Meanwhile, the boy continues to hang around our property.
Should I discuss my concern with the boy's father or simply continue to discourage his presence around our house? Please help. -- Worried Parent in Illinois
Dear Worried Parent, That child needs to be seen by a professional for evaluation. His behavior suggests that he has some problems that need attention. You should talk to the boy's father about your concerns, which sound legitimate to me. Meanwhile, make sure that an adult is present whenever he plays with your children.