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

by Abigail Van Buren

Early Screening for Disease Can Prevent Kidney Failure

DEAR ABBY: My daughters feel my husband and I favor their younger brother. Our son has some social and developmental issues. We have explained to the girls that their circumstances are different and have even had his psychologist explain the reasons to them.

My middle daughter says it is just an "excuse," and she feels slighted. What can I do to help them see that we love them all and want the best for them, as well as to treat them fairly? -- CHALLENGED MOM IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR CHALLENGED MOM: One conversation with the psychologist obviously wasn't enough for at least one of your daughters, and my first suggestion is that you and your husband consider some ongoing family therapy for a while.

If your younger daughter is old enough, involve her while you are taking care of her brother. This will help her see for herself how time-consuming it really is, and what your responsibilities are as the mother of a child with special needs.

Equally important, if at all possible, arrange for respite care for your son once or twice a month to allow you to have some special one-on-one time with your daughters. Perhaps then they will feel less slighted.