Dear Abby: Misbehaving kids often learn from parents' bad example

DEAR ABBY: I want you to know how much I agree with your answer to "Paying for My Popcorn in Oregon," who complained about her niece sneaking food into the theater.

I used to teach a parenting class to parents who had kids in trouble with the law. I started out by asking, "How many of you teach your children to lie, cheat or steal?"

Of course nobody admitted they did. I then had about 20 items I'd list, the movie food issue being one, driving over the speed limit, and so on. At least one of the 20 applied to everybody. Then I'd say: "You taught your kids that it was OK to lie, cheat and steal - it's only getting caught that's bad. That's why you are in my class today." This is what that niece is teaching her children.

- Paul in Denver

DEAR PAUL: Thank you for agreeing. However, I'm sorry to say that many readers thought the issue was more about the cost and selection of snacks than that of cheating the theater owners.

DEAR ABBY: For a family of four to see a movie and get a drink and popcorn or candy costs about $80. This is highway robbery. Drinks cost about 5 or 10 cents to the theater, and they charge a whopping $5. The same goes for popcorn. A tub of popcorn at a theater is $7.50. Sorry, I'll continue to bring my snacks in.

- Kim in California