WHEN THEY LET THEM CHEAT
DEAR ABBY: I was raised from an early age that if you play a game, you have to play fair and obey the rules. Those rules were never bent regardless of what the game was or who we played with.
Over the years I have played games with many people, and while I realize it's possible for people to play the same game slightly differently, the rules still applied. What I don't understand is cheating.
A couple I know allow their children to play games with adults and let them cheat. What they're doing is obvious, and their parents even joke about it. I no longer enjoy playing with this family, but I don't know what to do or say. I have tried to subtly discourage and stop the deceptions, but I don't want to seem like a sore loser. Any suggestions? -- PLAYS BY THE RULES, URBANA, OHIO
DEAR PLAYS BY THE RULES: Yes. Do not play games with the family if the children are involved. It's not about being a sore loser; it's about not being a chump. By allowing their children to ignore the "rules," these parents are sending the message that rules don't apply to them. Because the children cheat when they play with you, it's safe to assume that they think it's acceptable to do it with other kids. And when their contemporaries realize what's going on, who do you think won't be allowed to join their games -- or anything else? Look at it this way: From little cheaters, big cheaters grow.
DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law has just informed me that she doesn't think it is as important for her daughters to attend college as it is her sons.
My mother-in-law recently made a crack about my finances because she knows I'm paying off my student loans for two degrees.
My father-in-law can't understand what "all the fuss is about" now that my oldest daughter is preparing for college.
Abby, I have friends in their 30s and 40s who, for one reason or another, are single women supporting themselves. Even some who have degrees are struggling, but they are able to own their own homes because they are able to earn decent salaries.
What should I say when my mother-in-law and sister-in-law put me down for higher learning? Neither of them went to college or has ever worked. They would be on welfare if they didn't have their husbands' income. By the way, I'm not having any problem paying back my student loans, and my husband is proud of my accomplishments. -- EDUCATED IN TENNESSEE
DEAR EDUCATED: Your mother-in-law and sister-in-law are misguided. They do not understand the financial realities that exist for women today because they have never been exposed to them. Nothing that you can say to them will change their mind-set.
So rather than respond to their naive comments, take every opportunity to encourage your nieces to pursue their educations so they can live independent lives. And pray that your father-in-law and brother-in-law leave their wives well-provided-for should tragedy strike, because otherwise they could wind up on your doorstep.
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.)