Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Rations the Many Gifts Her Young Daughters Receive

DEAR ABBY: My daughter is divorced from my grandson "Cody's" father, "Mitch." Cody is only 8, and when Mitch makes plans with him and then doesn't show up or even bother to call, of course Cody is sad.

I can't stand to see my grandson hurt over and over again. How can I help him get through these difficult times? -- PROTECTIVE NANA IN RHODE ISLAND

DEAR PROTECTIVE NANA: It isn't possible to shield your grandson entirely from his father's neglect. However, you might lessen his disappointment by making alternative plans to do something with him if his father is a no-show. And if Cody has uncles, a grandfather or other male influences in his life, perhaps they could step up to the plate on some of those occasions when his father strikes out.