Clerk questions decision not to report potential child abuse
DEAR ABBY: I’m a 20-year-old college student and have had a job at the same retail store for two years. A few weeks ago, a mother walked in holding a baby that appeared to be about 6 months old. The first thing I noticed was that he had numerous bruises. There were pronounced bruises under both eyes, another large one on his temple, and several more visible on his arms and legs.
I have heard horror stories about parents whose infants have a medical condition that causes them to bruise easily, but the parents are accused of child abuse. This mother seemed attentive to her baby, and I saw nothing in her behavior to make me think her child was in any danger. I didn’t say anything, but I keep wondering if I should have called the police or informed my manager.
I’ve been telling myself that there may have been an innocent explanation for the child’s injuries, but I don’t know if I screwed up. I didn’t want to meddle, and now I’m worried the baby might be suffering because I didn’t speak up.
Any advice on what I should have done/should do in the future would be appreciated.
SECOND THOUGHTS IN KANSAS
DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: Because you were unsure about what to do, you should have written down the woman’s license number, if possible, and alerted the store manager so the matter could be handled according to store policy.
However, if no policy is in place, you could have contacted Childhelp.org for guidance. It offers prevention, intervention and treatment programs and has helped more than 10 million children at risk or in trouble. Childhelp.org has a national toll-free hotline: 800-422-4453.
DEAR ABBY: What is the protocol for divorced parents paying for the rehearsal dinner for their son who is getting married? My ex-wife expects me to pay for a significantly bigger portion of the expenses, yet at the time of our divorce she insisted on splitting the assets 50/50.
My opinion is that because we are equal in the parenting, we should divide the expenses 50/50. I’m willing to concede to her some credit if she does a significant amount of work and planning (over and above my own), but this should be negotiated ahead of time. We are both employed and have good incomes. We are both remarried and our spouses work.
What’s your take on this, Abby?
RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE
DEAR DOWN THE MIDDLE: The parents of the groom traditionally bear the cost of the rehearsal dinner. Because you and your son’s mother are divorced, she should pay for half — unless there is such a disparity in your incomes that it would cause her financial stress. If your ex needs “credit,” then by all means discuss it with her.
This is a time to put aside old grievances and celebrate, if only for the sake of your son.
DEAR ABBY: What do you think of the idea that when you have a decision to make and it’s between your head and your heart, to choose your head?
We are currently trying to find a place to live after my husband retires, and we are having a difficult time trying to decide on a house. It’s tough to say no to a place that your heart loves.
INDECISIVE IN NEW YORK
DEAR INDECISIVE: I’m sure it is. However, investing in a house is different than adopting a puppy. When making a decision that will have financial consequences — such as buying a house — you will have fewer regrets if you think with your head.
To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.