DEAR ABBY: I recently met a man I love dearly, but I don't agree with the toys he buys for his 10-year-old son, "Dale." The boy plays violent video games and is obsessed with guns to the point that we can't leave the house without bringing a toy gun along. The video games he plays (unsupervised) are violent and gory, and rated M (17 and over).
Dale is not mature for his age. He's allowed on the Internet without supervision, and I have walked in and caught him surfing naughty pictures. When I told his dad, he laughed and said, "Boys will be boys!"
Abby, I'm afraid for my 6-year-old daughter. A few weeks ago, when Dale grabbed her in a choke hold and held a toy gun to her head, she became hysterical.
I think Dale's obsession is unhealthy, and I don't think it's healthy for my daughter to be around him. How do I handle this with my boyfriend? I love him and would like to spend the rest of my life with him, but I cannot marry him at the expense of my daughter.
- Paranoid and Perplexed
DEAR P & P: How did your boyfriend handle the "gun to head" incident when you brought it to his attention? The answer to that will provide you with insight into his ability to parent, and what your future will be like if you marry him. If his reaction wasn't to your satisfaction, then you must place your child's safety above your heart's desire.