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by Abigail Van Buren

Happily Unattached Woman Enjoys Feeling of Freedom

DEAR ABBY: I have a grandchild whose parents are strict, which I don't mind, but when Mom loses her cool, she starts name-calling. She'll say things like, "You're a brat!" etc. in front of whomever, wherever we happen to be. It goes against my grain to call anyone names.

Should I talk to the parents about this or stay out of their business? I don't interfere with the way any of my children raise their kids, but I'm very concerned over this. What do I do or say? Should I speak up, or hold my peace? I hurt for the grandkids when this happens. It isn't good for their self-esteem. -- UNSURE IN RED WING, MINN.

DEAR UNSURE: I know very few perfect parents, but if your family member does this on a regular basis, you should say something. The problem with labeling a child is that if an adult does it often enough, the child can grow up thinking the label is accurate. A better way to handle the situation would be for Mom to say firmly: "Stop that! When you do that it makes me angry, and if it happens again, you'll: (1) get a time out; (2) we're going outside until you can behave; or (3) I won't bring you here again!"