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I've always had a somewhat substantiated hunch that people write fake, provocative letters to advice columnists. (I already know of someone who writes fake letters to Carolyn Hax because I booted him out of another online forum myself for the same shit.) Advice columnists, much like the rest of media, live on click rates they can pitch to advertisers so I guess everyone wins.

Yesterday, I read two letters on the same day, and they have to be fake. I really have no other argument here other than I can believe this shit. One letter has already attracted plenty of outrage, and half the comments beneath the other letter are about how this has to be fake.


Fake or not?

Dear Prudence,

I live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, but on one of the more "modest" streets—mostly doctors and lawyers and family business owners. (A few blocks away are billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls, etc.) I have noticed that on Halloween, what seems like 75 percent of the trick-or-treaters are clearly not from this neighborhood. Kids arrive in overflowing cars from less fortunate areas. I feel this is inappropriate. Halloween isn't a social service or a charity in which I have to buy candy for less fortunate children. Obviously this makes me feel like a terrible person, because what's the big deal about making less fortunate kids happy on a holiday? But it just bugs me, because we already pay more than enough taxes toward actual social services. Should Halloween be a neighborhood activity, or is it legitimately a free-for-all in which people hunt down the best candy grounds for their kids?

—Halloween for the 99 Percent

The signature alone makes me think it's fake.

My partner wanted to nurture our two boys, 4 and 9, the way his late mother nurtured him, so we have always co-slept with the kids. They kicked so much, however, that I moved to another bedroom six years ago, just to get a good night's sleep.

Co-sleeping has bonded us closely and made our kids very well-behaved. But my partner and I are getting married soon, and I have a full-time job. So we decided that the boys should start sleeping in their own beds.

We haven't moved the younger one yet because he is still in Pull-Ups and we don't want to put him through two big changes at once. Getting the older one to sleep in his own room has been a dismal failure for the past two years. We still read a bedtime story to him. But in our last approach, we let him read a story to himself and to decide how we should redecorate his room. In addition, we gave him a bowl of cereal and some warm chocolate milk; we taught him some breathing and relaxation techniques and an encouragement mantra so he could calm down and fall asleep. He still got anxious and would sometimes sob in his bed until 11:30 at night, so we just asked him to stay in his own room unless he absolutely had to get into Dada's bed.

He quickly learned to jump through this loophole even though he had to climb over a beanbag chair that we had in our doorway — a reminder that he should sleep in his own room.

My partner thinks I'm being too strict, but I want better boundaries between us and the kids. Someone suggested that we let our younger boy sleep with his brother, but is this a good idea?


This letter creeped me out, but I'm not sure why.


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