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DEAR ABBY: "Wiser in North Texas" made a good suggestion for interacting with the 10-year-old boy who didn't listen to his father. I would like to share a lesson I learned from my mother 50 years ago.

My son was a very active toddler, and I didn't realize I was yelling at him until the day my mom was visiting me. She quietly said to me: "Honey, if you yell at children, they stop hearing you. If you speak very softly but firmly, they will stop to listen to you."

My son was my first child. I later had four daughters, and Mom's advice worked with all of them. It is still working for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

My own advice to mothers is this: When you are the most frazzled and frustrated, take the time to imagine yourself as your child -- on the receiving end of your words, and looking up at your angry face. Then ask yourself, "Is this what my child needs from me?" -- GRANDMA IN OREGON

DEAR GRANDMA: That's good advice for the parents of children of all ages.

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