DEAR ABBY: My 11-year-old daughter sometimes gets scared at night and thinks she hears voices and someone walking near her room. When this happens, my husband will say with complete seriousness, "Perhaps there's an intruder in the house," and then suggest how the intruder may have entered.
The method he suggests is always related to something I have done wrong earlier -- like leaving the back door open too long or forgetting to shut a window.
When I ask him to check the house for intruders (OK, I'm old-fashioned and a scaredy-cat), he says he's too tired and goes to sleep. What's going on here? Is he playing a mind game with my daughter and me, or am I overreacting? -- COWARDLY IN S.F.
DEAR COWARDLY: Your husband's behavior is cruel and unwise. He's encouraging your daughter's fears as a way of punishing you for your forgetfulness. If it continues, your daughter will have phobias that could last a lifetime; it's mental cruelty.
P.S. If there is any question about whether there's an intruder in your house, you should NOT be checking the house alone. The results could be tragic. So the next time the king of your castle pulls that "turning-over-and-going-to-sleep" number, make sure he doesn't reach dreamland.