DEAR ABBY: My mother says I'm tearing our family apart. On Mother's Day, my 8-year-old daughter teased her 9-year-old cousin, asking who'd like her last bite of dessert. When he said he wanted it, she said, "Just kidding!" My nephew went running into the house wailing like he'd been hit.
I was in the middle of telling my daughter what she did was wrong and she should apologize, when I heard my brother, "Harry," ask my nephew why he was crying. My nephew said my daughter had teased him over the dessert, and Harry said, "Well, she's a little bitch!" I was horrified. My daughter and sister-in-law heard it, too.
When I went inside to talk to Harry, he told me he didn't mean it that way and that he could say anything in his house that he wants. My daughter and I left, and I haven't talked to him since.
He has apologized to my daughter with numerous justifications for what he said, but he hasn't apologized to me for what he called my daughter and the way he talked to me. We have had two family birthdays since then (including another at my brother's), and my daughter and I haven't attended either one. My mother is taking Harry's side, saying I'm too sensitive and the word isn't that bad. Am I wrong to think that calling an 8-year-old a "bitch" is horrible, degrading and uncalled for? -- SISTER OF A TRASH MOUTH
DEAR SISTER: Probably not. But your brother has already apologized to the "injured" party for what he said, and he does not owe you one. I'm voting with your mother. You have already punished yourself and your daughter enough by missing out on the family birthday parties. Enough, already!