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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My brother, "Luke," died young due to drug addiction. When our son, "Adam," misbehaves, my husband blames me. He says Adam is going to end up "just like Luke," and it will be my fault.

My mother bailed my brother out of his problems, but I have never done that with our son. I have told my husband numerous times how cruel it is to suggest Adam could end up like Luke, but he continues to say it and then "remind" me if it happens, it will be because of me.

My husband is a wonderful man in every other way, but he doesn't seem to realize how hurtful and unnecessary his cruel words are when he compares our son to my brother. -- SAD MOM IN TEXAS

DEAR SAD MOM: Wake up and smell the coffee. Your husband realizes exactly how cruel that comparison is, and has since the first time you expressed how deeply hurtful it was. I see nothing helpful or constructive about comparing your son to a boy who died too young and too soon. If it's said in front of Adam often, it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. (Nothing like the power of suggestion.)

So stop feeling victimized and demand that your "wonderful" husband cut it out, because if something should happen, the fault will be HIS.

DEAR ABBY: I work at a school as an educational assistant. There are fewer than 100 kids in the entire high school, and I have gotten to know them all. When I go around the small neighborhoods trick-or-treating with my little ones, I see the high school kids in their costumes as well. They are well-behaved and having a good time.

Some of the teachers say the kids are too old to be trick-or-treating and they should "get a life." Well, their "life" is this small town, and I see nothing wrong with them participating in a good time along with the younger ones. They're not causing trouble. There is very little for them to do outside of school and sports, and Halloween is an opportunity for them to have fun.

What's your opinion? Are high school-age children too old to trick-or-treat? -- CONCERNED FOR THE KIDS

DEAR CONCERNED: I see nothing wrong with the high school kids dressing up and having a good time trick-or-treating on Halloween. The teachers who feel the kids are too old should be less critical. A positive -- and age-appropriate -- alternative would be for the school to arrange a party or a dance that evening. Considering the fact that it's a small town and the student body is small, it should be manageable.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are Civil War re-enactors. (My husband is a cannon soldier and I am a nurse re-enactor.) We would greatly appreciate it if you would remind your readers that if they come to any of the re-enactments to please not talk to the participants while they are firing weapons in "battle" because it could distract them. Something could go wrong and they could be badly injured. Thank you, Abby. -- CIVIL WAR RE-ENACTOR IN ELMIRA, N.Y.

DEAR RE-ENACTOR: I'm pleased to pass along your important reminder. It would be a shame if someone became a casualty of a war that ended in 1865. People who attend a war re-enactment should realize they are watching a performance, and not participating in "history."

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