DEAR ABBY: When I stopped by my brother's house a couple of weeks ago, he mentioned that his 9-year-old son was grounded in his bedroom. He was being punished for snooping in his dad's vintage collection of porn.
At first I was upset with my brother and his wife, because it was their fault that the boy had access to it, and boys are naturally curious. But when I found out what his punishment was, I became enraged. Their "brilliant" idea was to make my nephew disgusted with porn by forcing him to look at the entire collection for three hours instead of playing outside.
Maybe this tactic works for cigarette smoking or chewing tobacco, but this seemed very wrong. I was so appalled, I overstepped; I went straight into my nephew's room and told him he was allowed to go outside and play. Abby, what do you think? Am I being ridiculous? What should I have done? -- APPALLED IN OHIO
DEAR APPALLED: The child's punishment was extreme and inappropriate. What you should have done was point out to your brother and sister-in-law that their punishment may have been counterproductive. Rather than working as aversion therapy, it could result in whetting their son's appetite for more. You might also have suggested they consult a child psychologist for suggestions on how to deal with their son's budding sexual curiosity, which is entirely normal, and urged that from now on they keep their collection under lock and key.