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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Struggles With Sentence of Silence While Dad's in Jail

DEAR ABBY: Do you believe that a child who is 6 1/2 years old should be told the truth, regardless of what it is?

Here is the situation: Dad is in jail for one year. Please understand, my husband didn't steal anything, nor did he commit a violent crime. However, he was found guilty of driving drunk -- it was his third offense. If you think our son should be told the truth, how do you feel about my taking him to visit his father in jail? Or do you think it would be better to tell him that Daddy is away "on business" and he may be gone for quite a long time?

I can't describe the humiliation our family has endured. It was reported in the newspaper, but this is a large city and not everyone is aware of it. -- WITHHOLD MY NAME, PLEASE

DEAR WITHHOLD: I think you should tell your son the truth, and tell him now, before someone else does. I also believe that you should take the boy to visit his father -- for his sake as well as for his father's.

These are troubled times for your family. But it is not the end of the world. And this too shall pass.