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Dear Amy: I have a family member who lives out of town. She has two children under the age of 4.

Amy Dickinson 

They are completely out of control, screaming, crying, running and climbing on everything in sight. They throw temper tantrums daily.

I work in early childhood education and have seen a gamut of behaviors, but these two are off the charts.

Their parents constantly overstimulate them by tossing them in the air and dangling them upside down. Their mother looks like she is at the breaking point.

Everyone is tired of the situation, and I feel like I can’t extend advice because it will look like criticism.

My grown children have informed me that if this family is present for the holidays, they won’t be coming.

What is the answer to this situation?

Tired before they even get here

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Dear Tired: If you’ve worked as a childhood educator, surely you have seen other parents whose behavior or reactions amplified, rather than mollified, their children. Parents sometimes believe that countering overstimulation with more stimulation will somehow “tire out” their children, but as you know, overstimulated young children can’t focus, and tired children melt down.

There are ways to offer fellowship and support, where you can piggyback some gentle “coaching” onto your compassion in order to offer these overwhelmed parents some commonsense advice.

You might start by acknowledging that two children under the age of 4 is a lot, no matter how you slice it.

Obviously, the children won’t be climbing all over everything in your house, because you’ll calmly stop them and say, “You can’t climb on top of the furniture at my house, but over here is something you can do,” and point them toward a different activity.

If you are able to catch a quiet moment with these parents, you could start by simply asking them how things are going. Is the older child in preschool?

You can say, “Well, I’ve worked with a lot of kids, and I can see that your two are very active. It’s a lot! Let me know if you’d be interested in some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years. I also have a couple of books I could recommend, if you’re interested.”

Watching you interacting calmly and appropriately with these children might make the lightbulb go on for the parents.

Dear Amy: I am a mom with two grown children, a son who is 26 and a daughter who is 23.

My daughter recently let me know that she and her brother were molested for many years throughout their childhood by my sister-in-law.

I am terribly sad that my children thought they could not come to me and tell me this when it was happening. My heart breaks for them that they endured this alone.

My daughter has been in therapy for a while now and is dealing with it. My son, however, has been using hard drugs for several years now.

I would like to tell him that I know what happened and offer to get him help.

I am torn, because this is obviously something that he does not want me to know. Should I respect his privacy, or should I tell him that his sister told me?

I am afraid if I say the wrong thing his drug use may spiral out of control again.

Heartbroken Mama

Dear Heartbroken: You should be honest with your son. Please do not let his addiction control your willingness to face this heartbreaking challenge openly. You cannot control how he will respond, but I hope you will hold fast and stay in his corner.

Holding onto this secret must have been excruciating for both of your children.

You don’t mention any consequences for the adult who abused these children. I hope your daughter will permit you to attend a session with her therapist to discuss next steps, including going to the police.

Male victims of sexual violence are an underreported demographic, and your son deserves to tell his story, to be believed, and to receive help. is a resource dedicated to male survivors, and those who love them. You and your son can be connected with other survivors and with counselors.

Dear Amy: On the subject of holiday meal leftovers, several members of my family show up with carry-out containers, enter the house, fill their containers, take them out to the car, and then come back in to eat with the rest of the family.

Now that’s gall.


Dear Hungry: I’d call that cheeky — as in how chipmunks eat.

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You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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Man Utd legend Sir Alex Ferguson admits to being a party animal as a player that led to heartbreaking fall-out with dad

SIR Alex Ferguson went “off the rails” as a young footballer.

The Scotsman, who grew up in Govan, Glasgow, revealed in the well-anticipated documentary, Never Give In, that he was a party animal as he played for Scottish football team St Johnstone.

2Sir Alex scored 171 goals in 317 games as a forward during his days as a playerCredit: Getty Images - Getty 2Sir Alex reveals all in an emotional documentaryCredit: PA

The iconic Manchester United manager revealed: “I started to… how do I put it? I went off the rails a bit. Out on the town an all.

“I started going out Friday nights even, even the night before a game.”

But Fergie’s wild child antics was at the detriment of his relationship with his father - who was so frustrated by his son’s partying that he wanted to become estranged from him.

Sir Alex confessed: “My dad would say, ‘Where are you going?’, I’d say ‘I’m going out dancing’… He said, ‘You can’t go out dancing if you’ve got a game tomorrow.’

“Well I said, ‘I’m on the reserves and it doesn’t mean a lot, you know’, and that’s when we fell out.

“It got to the point when he said, ‘Go your own way! And we’ll see what happens… and then we didn’t talk to one another for two years between 1961 and 1963 - we didn’t talk.

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“And then one night I went out and I got drunk. I ended up in jail. I went to court. I got fined £3. I was a black sheep.

“It’s always been in the back of my head, at that period. I’ve always regretted it.

“With that sort of background and upbringing I had, I surrendered.”

But despite blaming his party boy antics on his working-class, Glaswegian upbringing, the Man Utd ‘gaffa’ would ask his minor-aged players in his youth team what their grandparents had done for a living - as he deemed working class ethics better suited to success in the sport.

He said: “I used to lie in bed thinking about the teams. Trying to address the players in a way that would make an impact on them.

“I would talk about miners, shipyard workers, welders, tool makers… people who had come from poor backgrounds.

“And I used to ask them, ‘What does your grandfather do? What does your father do?’

“I had to get the feeling inside them that what their grandfathers worked for, their grandmothers, was part of them.

“They had to display that meaning. And take away all the trophies I’ve won. The great players I’ve had. I think, it’s a thing about life. It’s a fact of life that where we’ve come from is important.

“You come out with an identity.”

In the documentary Sir Alex also revealed how he was 80 per cent certain to die in 2018 following a brain haemorrhage.

Read our Football news live blog for the very latest rumours, gossip and done deals

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