Content warning for pedophilia! I'm a young adult, so now that I've reached maturity in my parents’ eyes, I’ve been advised of some horrible family secrets.
I now know which family member I’ll never, ever leave alone with my future children.
Any respect for that family member and his wife is gone.
They have several children. I don't think he's done anything sexual to them.
But these kids live in a home kept in disgusting conditions, and they're constantly left alone without sufficient food.
His wife left him when he was arrested for possessing (illegal) pictures, then she went back to him and they had another child!
How can I help their kids? Anything we do is seen as "interfering" and the family pulls away.
I don't want to lose contact with these kids forever – the older ones who’ll be leaving home will need proper support, and I want to be available.
But what am I supposed to do about the youngest of them?
I struggle with whether I should call children’s services. It’d probably lead to breaking up the kids.
Also, if I call and nothing happens, the family might withdraw and the kids will be stuck with them without any access to family. Any suggestions?
You’ve learned an ugly truth about a relative’s past. But you don’t know any hard facts about present treatment of his children, other than a somewhat neglectful household.
In some jurisdictions, e.g. Canada, anyone who witnesses, or suspects child abuse or neglect, has a duty to report it to child welfare authorities.
If you want to be involved with those children, gently increase your contact. Visit, take them for a walk and a treat, build a relationship. And listen.
You’ll soon know if you need to take action, or just keep a wary eye on what’s going on.
I work in an open office with low partitions. I think someone sitting near me likes to hear his own voice.
Sometimes it’s about work, but more often, it’s not.
He talks to himself or just keeps talking nonsense to someone or no one in particular.
It’s not very loud but still, it’s a bit annoying and distracting. I also think it’s unprofessional.
Even in meetings, he frequently goes off on a tangent on off-topic stuff.
And when a conversation doesn’t really involve him, he still always has an opinion.
He’s otherwise friendly and okay to deal with.
Yes, we all socialize and chit-chat once in a while, but not all day long.
I’ve tried noise-cancelling earphones but they seem to only filter out the background hum, not human voices so much.
I don’t want to be rude but am not exactly sure how to deal with this.
I could ask to move desks but our teams are supposed to work closely together so I cannot sit too far away.
Too Much Chatter
Sounds like you’re dealing with a nice guy who has something like a “nervous tic” for talking.
He may not even realize that he talks to himself. If you were friendlier with him, you could gently ask him if anyone has ever suggested that to him.
Meanwhile, your main issue is distraction and you don’t want to be rude. Especially since, otherwise, he’s a decent team member.
(A manager could be encouraged to interrupt when he’s “off on a tangent.”)
Some things that others have used: Old-fashioned ear plugs; a white noise emitter that blocks out other irritating sounds.
FEEDBACK Regarding the mother involved in her teenage son’s relationship (July 25):
Reader – “Think about your role as a parent regarding what’s in the best interest of your son, 16.
“It’s to help him make good choices in his life. This situation isn’t healthy for him.
“You shouldn’t be trying to foster the teens’ relationship, but instead encouraging him to meet girls who are confident and outgoing.
“Currently, you’re enabling his connection with someone with very low self-esteem and destructive dynamics in her family.
“You’re treating teenage romance as if they’re committed long-term.
“Stop helping them to see each other, and your son’s feelings will surely change in time after he meets someone new.”
Ellie – Abandoning the girl because of her difficult mother isn’t a great lesson either.
Helping to build her self-confidence while not alienating her mother, is.
But I agree that this mom’s over-involved in their actual dating.
Tip of the day:
Know the law on reporting child abuse and do so when you suspect it.