DEAR ABBY: Please help me deliver a message to a family here about their son, who is a fifth-grader in the school my children also attend.
These parents are well-known. They refuse to allow their son to get his hair cut, and it has caused him to withdraw from sports at school. He told some of his friends that he would like to get his hair cut because the other kids are calling him a girl. He just sits at home and plays games on TV. He's afraid to let his parents know about the teasing. Even some of the adults are afraid to talk to them.
I believe this to be a form of child abuse. The boy's parents read your column in the local paper. Please help him because the name-calling is bound to get worse as he gets older. -- ANOTHER PARENT IN TENNESSEE
DEAR PARENT: Surely these "well-known" parents love their son. Sometimes children are reluctant to confide to their parents that they're being teased because they are too ashamed. Because the boy is the target of ridicule, his teacher or the principal should have a talk with the mother or father. However, if they are too intimidated to raise the subject, then you should.
DEAR ABBY: A friend and I attended a bridal shower of a friend's daughter. After the young woman opened her gifts, we were escorted to another room where blank note cards were strewn on a coffee table, surrounded by envelopes and stamps. The hostess instructed us to write on these folded cards our names and what we had given the bride-to-be.
The hostess told us to write: "Dear Mary (using our own names, of course), Thank you for the nice afghan" (or whatever we had given), and place the card in one of the envelopes. We were then told to address and stamp the envelopes, but not to seal them so (I assume) the "too busy" bride-to-be could sign her name.
As I foolishly followed these ridiculous instructions, I was tempted to thank myself for the 30-minute drive I had made in each direction to purchase a gift, and the 45-minute drive I made to attend the shower.
How stupid are we going to feel when the "thank-yous," in our own handwriting, show up in the mail? My son says I should refuse the letter.
And do you want to know the "topper"? I asked the bride-to-be before leaving when her wedding was. Get this -- it's in two days. I am not even invited to the wedding!
What's wrong with this generation? Please shed some light on this. Thanks, Abby. I feel better now that I've vented -- stupid, but better. -- FEELING USED IN KANSAS
DEAR FEELING USED: Nothing is wrong with "this generation." What you have described is a family that never learned basic good manners. Rather than an "afghan" -- or whatever your gift was -- the bride-to-be would have been better served to have received a book on etiquette.
DEAR ABBY: What are the proper uses of "J.D." and "Esq.," especially when it comes to signature lines sent via e-mail? -- LIVONIA, MICH., READER
DEAR READER: The titles are used on both snail mail and e-mail. Some lawyers use the honorific "Esq." after their name. Others prefer the initials "J.D.," which stand for Juris Doctor (Doctor of Law). This is a degree conferred by a law school, unusually after three years of study. And many spell out the title by using "Attorney at Law" after their names.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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