DEAR ABBY: I just read the letter from "Concerned in Phoenix," about the friend whose husband scares the 2-year-old. Tell "Concerned" to lighten up! This kid isn't getting traumatized. I have been scaring my three kids since they were 6, 3 and 1. The 3-year-old was looking for me and I decided to hide and scare him. Yes, he did turn white and jump a mile -- but the laughter and hugs and kisses that followed more than made up for it. All three kids and my husband joined in the game and have spent the last 10 years scaring me back.
Everyone is happy and healthy, and we share a great sense of humor. It's all in fun. My only rules are never to do it to be evil, and don't scare anyone over 50. I don't want anyone dying of a heart attack. -- SCARED AND HAPPY IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR S AND H: Scaring a young child is an act of sadism, and I couldn't disagree with you more emphatically. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: My father was sadistic and did the same things to my brother, my mom and me. He also thought it was funny. When we were toddlers, he would put on masks and chase us around the house. He once held my brother out the window of a two-story apartment just to see Mom's reaction. My entire life I've had nightmares of being chased, caught and killed.
Finally, after intensive therapy, the dreams have stopped. But to this day, if my husband impulsively comes up behind me to give me a hug, I cringe and get sick to my stomach. Not only does that father need counseling, but the mother does, too. -- N.L.O. in L.A.