DEAR ABBY: When my friend "Fran" and I get together with our kids, they often play games on her cellphone until the battery dies. If she tries to take the phone from her 6-year-old to make a call or recharge the phone, he starts yelling at her, pushes her, pulls her skirt and hits her. Her reaction is to hug him and start praying for the devil to get out of his body in Jesus' name as he continues to hit her.
While I respect Fran's religion, I'm appalled at his violent behavior, concerned that he will grow up thinking it's OK to hit people. Should I say something? And if so, what can I say so as not to hurt her feelings?
- Appalled by the Violence
DEAR APPALLED: Surely by now Fran knows what will happen when she lets her son play with her cellphone. The boy may act this way because his mother never taught him how to deal with frustration in a healthy way.
Whether his outbursts are the result of poor parenting or an emotional disability, be less concerned about hurting Fran's feelings than about whether her son could seriously hurt her in another year or two. Tell her to discuss the boy's behavior with his pediatrician - before his problems get worse and he becomes unmanageable.
DEAR ABBY: I recently got married. The week before our wedding, my husband was so hateful and hard to get along with that I wasn't sure what was going on with him. Nonetheless, he married me. He has slept downstairs every night since our wedding, not in our bed. Our marriage has yet to be consummated.
So tell me, Abby, what's his problem? I'm miserable!
- Miserable Bride in Ohio
DEAR BRIDE: The only person who can answer that question is your husband. Clearly, he is not happy either. Tell him that you are worried about him and ask him to level with you. Offer him the option of marriage counseling, but if he refuses, then, frankly, you both may be better off if this marriage is annulled.