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by Abigail Van Buren

Getting Out of Marriage Is Harder Than Getting In

DEAR ABBY: The letter from a woman who had witnessed a father abusing his young son in a department store, and she didn't know what to do or say, bothered me. You seemed to be sympathetic with the abuser and suggested that she could have said, "I know how you must feel -- shopping with children isn't easy," which would seem to give approval to the father's actions.

The other day, I witnessed a similar situation involving a young mother in a checkout line in a supermarket. Her child had obviously misbehaved and the mother was berating him with some harsh words that can hurt a child more than physical blows!

A woman in line in front of them turned around and delivered what I thought was the perfect remark: "I'll give you a dollar for him!"

That one sentence reminded the young mother of the value of her child.

I wish I had said it. -- SYLVIA E., LOS ANGELES