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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter Fears Elderly Mom Is a Menace Behind the Wheel

DEAR ABBY: My 15-year-old stepson says he is embarrassed by the constant hand-holding in public his mother and I enjoy. He also doesn't like that we always share a quick kiss after saying grace before meals, even in restaurants. He says that none of his friends' parents do it, and he thinks it's "weird."

His mother and I see no need to change and feel he will get over his embarrassment in time. We feel our displays of affection are appropriate and strengthen our relationship. I would also think that seeing us so well-bonded would be reassuring to him and his 14-year-old brother.

Neither boy was close to his father -- in fact, they both hate to visit him -- so I don't think it's an issue of the boy hoping his parents will get back together. Any thoughts on this? -- STEPDAD IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR STEPDAD: If your marriage to their mother is relatively recent, your displays of affection may make her sons uncomfortable. Also, both boys have reached an age when parents ARE just plain "embarrassing." In the interests of family harmony -- until they grow out of it -- please consider refraining from the quick kisses when you're out in public.