DEAR ABBY: When my friend "Fran" and I get together with our kids, they often play games on her cellphone until the battery dies. If she tries to take the phone from her 6-year-old to make a call or recharge the phone, he starts yelling at her, pushes her, pulls her skirt and hits her. Her reaction is to hug him and start praying for the devil to get out of his body in Jesus' name as he continues to hit her.
While I respect Fran's religion, I'm appalled at his violent behavior, concerned that he will grow up thinking it's OK to hit people, and I think this should be handled differently. What do you think? Should I say something? And if so, what can I say so as not to hurt her feelings? -- APPALLED BY THE VIOLENCE
DEAR APPALLED: Surely by now Fran knows what will happen when she lets her son play with her cellphone. The boy may act this way because his mother never taught him how to deal with frustration in a healthy way.
Whether his outbursts are the result of poor parenting or an emotional disability, be less concerned about hurting Fran's feelings than about whether her son could seriously hurt her in another year or two. Tell her this and urge her to discuss the boy's behavior with his pediatrician -- before his problems get worse and he becomes unmanageable.