Dear Ann Cannon • To start, I confess we are enablers. Both our children are adopted and come from difficult pasts. We began by trying to build trust through offering rewards.

Long story short, we’ve lost control.

We try not to dignify their behavior, but sometimes all we can do is laugh. Our 6-year-old daughter, Ivy, wakes up at 5 every morning. In short order she jumps on the bed and rips off our blankets. Needless to say, we get up and prepare breakfast.

Last week we were asked to leave the doctor’s office after she confronted other patients in the waiting room. In late November our family went to the Draper Park lighting ceremony. We stopped in front of a group of carolers to listen when our 11-year-old son, Max, decided to poop on the sidewalk.

This is the short list of their bewitching behaviors. Is there anything doting parents can do to slightly unspoil their spoiled children?

Besotted Greyhound Parents

Dear Besotted Greyhound Parents • Boy, did YOU pick the wrong person to answer your question since everybody and their dog knows that my adopted daughter Tinkerbell and I can’t pass an obedience test to save ourselves. #goodluckwiththat

Meanwhile, readers shared additional ideas for handling situations featured in last week’s columns.

On what to tell a neighbor about all those apples …

My input would be this: Don’t say anything but thank you to this kind friend. Without making a quick applesauce at such a very busy time of year, choose the apples your family can handle, give some apples to neighbors, and/or give the majority of these apples to a food bank to add to a grateful person’s tray, affording them a snack for later. It’s all good!

On hosting sleepovers or not …

We are big fans of the “late-over.” I’d much rather shuttle kids at 11 p.m. than deal with the bad attitude of a kid who did not get enough sleep. Plus, if I’m not really sure about the safety of the sleepover environment, I get to use grumpy kids as the excuse without others feeling like I worry they’re a pedophile. #justsayin

And as long as we’re on the subject

Statistically, crime of virtually all types was far higher per capita when Ann Cannon was growing up than it is now, and there were far more deadly accidents involving children. On a daily level, our children today are far safer. (Seriously, these things are well-documented. Crime in the U.S. peaked in 1982.) I believe it’s all about making careful choices. Who will be watching the kids? Do you know them? Do you know the kids who will be there? If not, put out the effort to get to know them first. I have several young daughters. They are often invited on playdates (but no sleepovers yet, too young) and I have had to master the art of putting the get-together off for a short period until I have learned more about the parents and children. Once I feel comfortable, game on!

On how to get that lovin’ feelin’ back …

After my husband spent 13 years in school while working full-time in the first 15 years of our marriage (with two little kids), we agreed to “date” again and get to know the new people we had become. It took the stress off and made it playful, giving us time to find a new pattern.

Happy 2019, Tribune readers! Keep sending in your questions!

Ann Cannon is The Tribune’s advice columnist. Got a question for Ann? Email her at or visit the Ask Ann Cannon page on Facebook.