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by Abigail Van Buren

Video Game Is Addiction for Boys Young and Old

DEAR ABBY: Last Christmas we purchased a video game for our sons, ages 8 and 10. At first it was fun, but now I am sick of the hours wasted in front of the television set. If the boys aren't playing it, their father is, and the arguments and hurt feelings are not worth the money invested. We used to go to the parks or beaches, or just spend time barbecuing after work. Now it's, "What game should we rent tonight?" followed by an evening of no communication.

I swear, they are addicted to it! Am I wrong? Has this happened in other households also? -- MAD AT THE VIDEO GAME, LACEY, WASH.

DEAR MAD: You are not wrong. But who makes the rules at your house? You should allow your sons to play their video game only as a reward for having done their homework and chores. And there should be a limit on how much time they can spend in front of the television set. Kids can get hooked on a video game -- but wise parents can turn that addiction into a bargaining chip.

DEAR ABBY: I have a lovely daughter -- intelligent, well-educated, attractive, a kind and caring person. She has not married. Every now and then, some stupid jerk asks me, "Why hasn't your daughter married?"

I respond in a civilized manner, although I consider the question none of his or her business and think that only a clod would ask such a question. Can you think of any remark to put such people in their place? -- OGDEN, UTAH, MOTHER

DEAR MOTHER: Try this: "Why don't you ask her?"

DEAR ABBY: I am writing about the mother of the bride who was much disturbed -- and properly so -- because of the "no-shows" at her daughter's wedding. She paid $25 per person, and there were eight guests who accepted but did not call to cancel and didn't show up.

Is there any reason why the parents of the bride who paid for the reception could not have asked the caterer to pack up the $200 worth of food so they could take it home?

Also, would it be a breach of etiquette for the parents or the newlyweds to call the no-shows and ask why they didn't attend the wedding after having accepted? (Am I the only one who thinks a telephone call or a note to the no- shows would be in order?) -- A.F.S.

DEAR A.F.S.: There is no reason why the parents of the bride shouldn't have asked the caterer to pack up the no-shows' dinners to be taken home and placed in their freezer to enjoy later.

However, I would neither call nor write the no-shows, asking why they didn't cancel when they knew they couldn't attend. Explanations (and apologies) are in order, but the no-shows should initiate them.

What teen-agers need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with their peers and parents is now in Abby's updated, expanded booklet, "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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