DEAR ABBY: I met a very attractive, eligible widower last winter, and we've been keeping steady company since.
My only complaint is the way he keeps talking all the time about Mildred, his deceased wife. I never talk about my deceased husband. Outside of that, he is a decent man, and we get along just fine.
He has asked to marry me, but this is the way he proposed to me: "How would you like to take Mildred's place?" -- UNDECIDED
DEAR UNDECIDED: If he has a sense of humor, tell him that since Mildred is in the cemetery, you don't want to take her place. But if he wants a new life and a new wife, you'll consider it -- providing he quits talking about Mildred.
DEAR ABBY: Our 24-year-old son is engaged to a beautiful but spoiled 21-year-old girl. She has broken two engagements (one after the wedding invitations were mailed), and now she has asked our son for more time to "think things over." Meanwhile, the invitations are supposed to go out next Monday.
We have counseled with our minister, and he is all for letting her "think it over," but our son is trying to talk her into going through with the wedding on the scheduled date.
Her parents are no help at all and are pushing for the wedding as planned because they would like to get this spoiled, flighty girl married and out of the house. Also, they are very fond of our son.
What should we do? -- DETROIT DILEMMA
DEAR DILEMMA: I agree with your minister. I would give the bride all the time she needs to think it over. There are worse things than a late wedding. And one of them is an early divorce.
DEAR ABBY: I know the libraries are full of books on the subject, but you seem able to put so much into a few words. What makes some kids good and some bad? In other words, is there a formula for raising good kids? Is it heredity or environment? -- TRYING HARD
DEAR TRYING: That battle has been going on for a long time, but I'm inclined to be on the side of environment.
All kids need discipline. ("Discipline" does not mean punishment; it means "teaching.") Kids need to know how far they can go. And they don't really want everything they ask for.
Reward them when they're good, and deprive them of something they enjoy when they misbehave.
I don't believe in hitting a child. A little slap on the wrist (just enough to hurt his dignity) is all right. However, hitting a child hard enough to hurt him physically may rid you of YOUR hostilities, but it will only teach the child that violence is the answer to all conflicts.
Don't ever tell a child he's "bad." If he misbehaves, tell him you do not like what he DID; don't tell him you don't like HIM.
Give a child lots of love, and when he comes to you with a confession, don't be too hard on him.
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