DEAR ABBY: When my friend "Fran" and I get together with our kids, they often play games on her cellphone until the battery dies. If she tries to take the phone from her 6-year-old to make a call or recharge the phone, he starts yelling at her, pushes her, pulls her skirt and hits her. Her reaction is to hug him and start praying for the devil to get out of his body in Jesus' name as he continues to hit her.
While I respect Fran's religion, I'm appalled at his violent behavior, concerned that he will grow up thinking it's OK to hit people, and I think this should be handled differently. What do you think? Should I say something? And if so, what can I say so as not to hurt her feelings? -- APPALLED BY THE VIOLENCE
DEAR APPALLED: Surely by now Fran knows what will happen when she lets her son play with her cellphone. The boy may act this way because his mother never taught him how to deal with frustration in a healthy way.
Whether his outbursts are the result of poor parenting or an emotional disability, be less concerned about hurting Fran's feelings than about whether her son could seriously hurt her in another year or two. Tell her this and urge her to discuss the boy's behavior with his pediatrician -- before his problems get worse and he becomes unmanageable.
DEAR ABBY: I recently got married. The week before our wedding, my husband was so hateful and hard to get along with that I wasn't sure what was going on with him. When I asked if he was sure he still wanted to get married, he would say yes.
On the day of our wedding he brought up his ex-wife's name twice -- each time making snide remarks. Nonetheless, he married me. He has slept downstairs every night since our wedding, not in our bed. Our marriage has yet to be consummated.
So tell me, Abby, what's his problem? I'm miserable! -- MISERABLE BRIDE IN OHIO
DEAR BRIDE: The only person who can answer that question is your husband. Clearly, he is not happy either. Tell him that you are worried about him and ask him to level with you. Offer him the option of marriage counseling, but if he refuses, then, frankly, you both may be better off if this marriage is annulled.
DEAR ABBY: I'm in my 30s and have a tattoo on my forearm that I now regret getting. I try to wear sweaters so no one will notice. In the past when people discovered I have a tattoo, they have judged me so I ended up feeling ashamed of myself.
I am debating having it removed -- or I could go to driving school to become a long-haul trucker. Both options are expensive, and I'm undecided about which to do. Can you advise me? -- TORN IN SAN ANTONE
DEAR TORN: It's a hard choice, but truck drivers make good money, so you may be on to something. Once you have the money, you could have the tattoo removed, if you still want to, so I'm voting for going to driving school.
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