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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: In-home camera systems don't sit well with sitter

by Abigail Van Buren | February 10, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

DEAR ABBY: I enjoy babysitting for the children of family and friends. But while I have nothing to hide, I hate how everyone seems to have inside cameras. I feel like I'm in a fishbowl, like if I let their kids veg in front of the TV or the computer, I'll be judged as lazy. I also hate having my picture taken, so the idea of being on a live feed all day is off-putting.

Do I ask them to turn off the cameras, or stop babysitting? I can't be the only person who is uncomfortable being monitored all day like a caged animal. What's a good way of handling this? -- MONITORED IN OHIO

DEAR MONITORED: People usually have cameras inside their home for security reasons, and so they will have a warning or evidence in case of a break-in. Parents and pet owners enjoy peace of mind knowing they can periodically check to see how their precious angels are doing. The intent is not to spy on you.

If you feel you are being watched excessively, ask the parents how they think you are doing. Unless they complain about your performance, a good way of handling this would be to simply accept the situation, or restrict your babysitting to homes that are camera-free.


DEAR ABBY: I have had a crush on a man since we were in our teens. We're now in our mid-40s. Both of us ended long-term relationships about a year ago. We have stayed in contact every now and then, but only as friends -- more like family. He was best friends with my beloved late uncle.

We have decided to meet, with sex at the forefront of our thoughts. How do I prepare myself to go into this with a sex-only mind frame? Do you think this could damage our 30-year friendship? -- NERVOUS IN OREGON

DEAR NERVOUS: It has been my observation that men and women view sexual relationships differently. Women often let their emotions get involved. Men can more easily separate the two. It could ABSOLUTELY damage your 30-year friendship if what he expects is a casual friends-with-benefits relationship and at some point you decide you need more from this man you have had a crush on since your teens.


DEAR ABBY: My 25-year-old daughter has stopped talking to me. She said I need counseling to discuss the abuse during her childhood. I asked, "What abuse?" She won't say! I can't think of any. She was never spanked. She was given anything she asked for and allowed to join any club or sport she was interested in.

The only thing she finally mentioned was that my husband and I had arguments. We didn't argue often. I'm at a loss. Should I step back and leave her alone? I send texts and call her once a week. Most go unanswered. When she does answer, she asks if I have started counseling. Please advise. -- CUT OFF IN INDIANA

DEAR CUT OFF: Tell your daughter that you are open to counseling, but only if it is joint counseling with her to figure out why there is such a disparity in your -- and her -- memories of her childhood. If you do, it may -- I can't guarantee -- resolve what's happening now.

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