Q: My friend always speaks openly about my children right in front of them, and I know they can hear her. Is it acceptable for her to make comments about them but not address them directly?
A: You wouldn’t talk about an adult right in front of her face, and the same courtesy should be shown to a child. All but the youngest can-and are usually more than happy to-speak for themselves. She should address the child directly, offering the same respect you’d expect her to show you. If the comment is about something serious (say, the kid’s weight) ask her to save it for a time when you can discuss it privately. (And be sure to avoid phrasing your concern judgmentally.)