DEAR ABBY: I'm 10 years old and worried about my friend "Kelly." Her father has fought in two wars and suffers from PTSD, and when he loses it, he hits her.
I really want to tell someone who can help her, but she wants to "keep it a secret." I'm afraid if I tell, my best friend will get separated from her family. What should I do? -- HOPING TO HELP A FRIEND
DEAR HOPING TO HELP: Some secrets are meant to be kept, but physical abuse isn't one of them. One of the saddest things about abuse is that the victims often come to believe they deserve it because that's what the abuser tells them (This is YOUR fault -- YOU made me do this!). Of course, when someone loses control, it isn't the victim's fault but rather the abuser's, because the abuser is unable to control his (or her) emotions.
There are worse things than being removed from a violent family situation, among them the risk of serious injury. That's why it's important that you tell a trusted adult what's happening to Kelly. This needs to be reported so her father can get the help he so desperately needs.
DEAR ABBY: In our school, we're not allowed to have our cell phones out or turned on, but of course, people do it anyway. Some of these students have extremely high-pitched ring tones. They are at such a frequency that the older teachers cannot hear them. Many adults do not hear the noise.
These "mosquito" tones hurt my ears, and just about everyone in the room cringes when someone gets a text message. I'm not sure what to do. The teachers are oblivious, and there are far too many cell phones out to report them all. Should I endure it until I graduate? -- HATING THE INVISIBLE NOISE
DEAR HATING THE NOISE: Have a private chat with the teacher, tell him or her what's going on, and explain that the tones are a distraction in class. Then talk to some of the other students you see cringing when the "mosquitoes" start buzzing. If a number of you start visibly reacting to the noise, your teacher should notice and begin to take action.
P.S. Some electronics-savvy educators insist that all cell phones be placed on their desks when students enter the classroom.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I married in an impromptu ceremony while visiting his parents. We didn't have a ring, so his mother offered to give me the wedding ring she had inherited from her mother as a gift.
About a year ago, my husband gave me an anniversary band, which I decided to wear with the ring from my mother-in-law. However, when she heard about my new ring, she asked me to return her mother's ring. I am hurt that she wants it back because I'd like to keep it. What should I do? -- TWO-RING CIRCUS
DEAR TWO-RING: First, let me tell you what not to do. Although the ring was a "gift," do not allow it to become a bone of contention. In the interest of family harmony, return it to your mother-in-law with a sweet note thanking her for letting you wear it all this time, and telling her how much that "symbol of her love and acceptance" has meant to you all these years. Maybe she'll leave it to you in her will.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)