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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Steps in When Father-and-Son Arguments Escalate

DEAR ABBY: Am I wrong? Our special-needs son and his dad (my husband, "Nick") often get into nasty arguments. Usually, it's over nothing worth yelling about, but if it's not going Nick's way, Nick starts yelling and swearing, using ugly words.

As a mother, I step in and tell him to stop the yelling and swearing. Then he yells at me and tells me to "butt out" because I'm making it worse and to mind my own business. As a mother, isn't this what I am supposed to do? Our son is 46, but he has the mental capacity of an 8- to 10-year-old, plus other health problems. -- CONCERNED MOM

DEAR CONCERNED: I don't think you are wrong for trying to intercede. However, it might be more effective to point out to your husband, while you are both calm, that an adult sinking to the level of an 8- to 10-year-old is ridiculous and ineffective. I wish you had mentioned what kind of things your husband and son argue about, but since you didn't, allow me to point out that there are better ways to deal with conflict than screaming matches.

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