DEAR ABBY: My 10-year-old son has a school friend, "Jeremy," who seems like a sweet, smart kid. I have seen Jeremy's dad interact with him both in and out of school. The man talks down to him and speaks harshly. This sweet boy appears to be verbally beaten down, and it makes my heart ache.
What can I do? I realize I don't know what's going on in their home. There could be other factors causing Jeremy's father to act this way. But every child deserves love and encouragement. Any advice you can give would be appreciated. -- ADVOCATE FOR KINDNESS IN KENTUCKY
DEAR ADVOCATE: Make Jeremy welcome in your home as often as you can, praise him when the opportunity arises and give him a willing ear if he needs to talk. Whatever "factors" are causing his father to treat him this way, they are no excuse for verbal abuse. Your kindness to that boy won't fix his problems at home, but it will be remembered all the days of his life. Your hospitality may be the only exposure Jeremy has to a normal, functional family.
DEAR ABBY: I got into a fight with my best friend. I'm 12, and she's 13. We could have solved our own problems, but she got her parents involved. They started saying stuff on Facebook about me and my parents. I forgave her, but I don't want to forgive her parents. Abby, what would you do? -- CAN'T FORGIVE
DEAR CAN'T FORGIVE: Your friend's parents appear to be immature and overly involved in their daughter's life. Most tweenage tiffs are resolved by the individuals having the argument. What her parents did was wrong.
If they haven't posted an apology on Facebook, they should. And if they don't, my advice is to keep your distance from all of them, because regardless of whether you have forgiven your friend, this could happen again.
DEAR ABBY: A group of about a dozen friends are planning a Caribbean cruise. My boyfriend, "Isaac," and I have been invited to join them. I love to travel. I don't get to go on trips very often and have never been on a cruise or to the Caribbean, so I'm excited.
Isaac, on the other hand, doesn't care much for travel and doesn't enjoy the ocean. He also doesn't like my friend or her husband. They are the ones who are coordinating the trip and who invited us.
Isaac rarely socializes with anyone who isn't in his circle of friends. He doesn't want to go and thinks I shouldn't go, either. Isn't it unfair of him to tell me I can't go? Would it be wrong of me to go without him? He promises that if I don't go, the two of us will go together next year. (I don't believe him.) -- LANDLOCKED IN ARIZONA
DEAR LANDLOCKED: If you don't believe Isaac when he tells you he'll do something, you must have good reason for it.
Yes, it is unfair of him to tell you that you can't take the cruise with your friends. It is also controlling. If you think you would have a good time without him, you should go. It's not like you'll be leaving for a month. He can manage without you for a few days. Instead of trying to discourage you, he should wish you "bon voyage" -- but the odds for that aren't high, so don't expect it.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.