DEAR ABBY: I am a grandmother and great-grandmother who is concerned about the behavior of my grandson toward his 7-year-old daughter, "Beth," and her 9-year-old cousin, "Mandy." When Mandy recently visited me, she told me her uncle crept up behind her, put his hand over her mouth and then held her nose so she couldn't breathe. She said he has done that to Beth, too.
Mandy said he held her like that until she felt faint and then let go, laughing. Apparently he does this "all in fun," but I see nothing funny about it. What would make someone do something like this? Mandy told me Beth is afraid of her dad and doesn't want to be left alone with him. I'm very concerned, but I live several states away and don't know what I can do. -- NOT FUNNY
DEAR NOT FUNNY: Your grandson has a bizarre sense of humor. That he would smother anyone -- let alone a child -- to the point of fainting is sadistic, bullying, abusive behavior.
Talk to the child's mother to see how she feels about this. If he would do this to a child, one can only imagine what he may be doing to her. She is the person to put a stop to this. If she can't manage that, then any child in the home should be living elsewhere.
DEAR ABBY: I'm the father of three beautiful, healthy children, with another due very soon. My wife is 36 weeks pregnant, and so far, so good. My wife is, well, perfect. We are not newlyweds and we have seen highs and lows, but she's the greatest mother I could have asked for my children.
The problem? She wants to induce her labor early. She figures the baby is healthy enough and just gaining weight from here on (her OB/GYN agrees). I know she has done enough and I want to support her decision, but I can't help thinking our baby girl will come when she is ready. I don't want to cause any ripples this late in the game. I just feel I'm on thin ice here and in the minority. I don't want to drag my mom into this to prove a point! -- EMOTIONAL DAD IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR EMOTIONAL: If your wife's OB/GYN agrees that inducing your wife's labor early will not be harmful to the baby, and that's what your wife wants, then you are outvoted. While you might request a second medical opinion, I strongly advise against dragging your mother into this disagreement because if you do, it will cause resentment not only against you, but also your mother.
DEAR ABBY: I have a granddaughter who is getting married soon. If I give the couple money as a wedding gift, whose name should go on the check first, the bride's or the groom's? -- GRANDPA IN IOWA
DEAR GRANDPA: If your granddaughter and her fiance intend to have separate checking accounts, put her name on the check. However, if they will be opening a joint account after the wedding, it would make sense to put both of their names on it, and the order in which you list the names is whichever you prefer.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)