DEAR ABBY: I'm a mother of two boys, 13 and 12. My oldest son has become very abusive, both physically and emotionally. He has been arrested for hitting me and hitting his little brother. He was recently kicked off the bus for hitting another student and has also been locked out of school.
I have tried therapy and medications for him, but he hasn't changed. I'm at my wits' end, ready to give up and hand him over to the court. He has both parents and a loving home. I don't know what to do anymore. I love my son, but can no longer do this. Please tell me how to help him! -- LOVING MOTHER IN TENNESSEE
DEAR LOVING MOTHER: Much information is missing from your letter. What triggers your son's violent episodes? Could he have a learning disability? Is he being teased or bullied, which might explain why he hit another student? Has he been ill, or could he have sensory integration difficulties?
At 13, it's too soon to throw up your hands and give up. Because therapy and medication haven't helped your son, I would have to ask what kind of therapist has been seeing him. When treatment doesn't work, a patient may need a more comprehensive assessment -- a second opinion or even a third. My suggestion would be to take him to a teaching hospital. And while you're there, please consider asking about some support for yourself because you have a lot on your shoulders.
DEAR ABBY: I'm in my late 30s and moved away from my parents when I was 17. My husband doesn't make a lot of money, but he gives me his whole paycheck for the household expenses every week. Because we live paycheck to paycheck, we rarely have much money left at the end of the month. But we make it.
The issue is my parents. They are retired now and received a nice inheritance when my grandparents passed. They used the money to pay off every debt they had, and now they won't stop telling me how to save money or how to spend it. Now that they're financially stable, they seem to have forgotten they lived paycheck to paycheck when they were my age. I rarely speak to them anymore because of it.
How can I get them to back off without starting a war? They're retired and bored, and they love drama. The slightest thing starts a battle they drag other family into. -- PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK IN OHIO
DEAR PAYCHECK: That your parents feel the need to enlist the support of other relatives in their arguments with you is wrong. All they have managed to accomplish is to put you on the defensive. However, has it not occurred to you that they're dispensing financial advice because they are hoping to help you avoid some of the mistakes they made before they received that windfall?
Listen politely, thank them for caring, discuss it with your husband, and decide if some of it applies in your situation. Then keep what you can use and discard the rest.
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