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1 - 17 of 17 Comments Last updated Feb 18, 2014

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

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#1
Feb 18, 2014
 
DEAR ABBY: You were wrong to advise "Starting Anew in Ohio" (Nov. 7), the mother of a 10-year-old girl who wanted the bigger bedroom in their new house, to have her kids draw straws. When the girl made the request, her older brother said he didn't care. The time to have drawn straws was when the girl first made the request, not two months afterward.

The girl is at an age when children can be particularly sensitive about trust issues, and the boy is old enough to know that words have consequences. If the parents reverse course now, the girl will learn that her parents' promises mean nothing, and the boy will learn that he doesn't have to worry about what he says because he can always change it later.

These are not good lessons to teach children. That the father would bow to the boy's request made the situation worse. Maybe he'd think twice if he realized his daughter will now always doubt his word.-- JUDY IN OHIO

DEAR JUDY: You are not the only reader who told me my answer wasn't up to my usual standards. In fact, not a single person who wrote to comment agreed with me, and their points were valid. Their comments:

DEAR ABBY: Your solution won't keep the peace in that household; it will end it. The daughter will learn her parents can't be trusted to keep a promise; the son will think he can take anything he wants from his sister because, as the male, he gets his way.

No, Abby, a promise is a promise. And if there's any lesson more important to teach our children, I can't imagine what it is.-- HOLLY IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR ABBY: This is the time to teach that 12-year-old "young man" to be a man of his word. He made the decision that his sister could have the room. The daughter had the guts to ask for what she wanted. Good for her for asking for what she wants. Now they should draw straws to determine the outcome?

The message this sends to the children is, "If you're older, you can get what you want. If you make a promise, you can break it." The daughter should not lose out on what she was promised.-- DANIELLE IN WISCONSIN

DEAR ABBY: May I offer a suggestion? The children should be told that each year around the anniversary of their moving to the new house that they will change rooms. It may take some effort and energy, but the benefit would be that both brother and sister get to experience the larger bedroom. It will teach them to compromise.-- TAMI IN COLORADO

DEAR ABBY: Having been through this type of situation as a child, I can tell you it destroyed my trust in my mother. Believe me, this will have far-reaching and unintended repercussions in that little girl's life. A promise is a promise!-- CANDACE IN THE ROCKIES

DEAR ABBY: Whatever happened to respect for your elders? None of my six nieces and nephews has ever called me "Uncle Sam," nor have any of their children called me "Mr. B." When the 5-year-old called me "Sammy," a name I loathe, I nearly snapped. Am I out of line?-- SAM IN SHEFFIELD, MASS.

DEAR SAM: If "Uncle Sam" is what you prefer to be called, you should have made that clear to your siblings when the nieces and nephews were little. Children are imitative. If their parents call you and refer to you as just plain Sam, don't blame the children for doing the same. I don't know how old the kids are now, but it may be a little late for you to start complaining about this.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

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#2
Feb 18, 2014
 
These kids need a beating. There's real problems in the world and they're bickering over a bedroom. They should be glad they have a roof over their heads!

4?- What a whiner. My niece and nephews don't call me uncle either. Glad I don't need a title to define myself.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

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#3
Feb 18, 2014
 
edogxxx wrote:
These kids need a beating. There's real problems in the world and they're bickering over a bedroom. They should be glad they have a roof over their heads!
4?- What a whiner. My niece and nephews don't call me uncle either. Glad I don't need a title to define myself.
1: A "beating?" Why? No, the readers who wrote in are right. This isn't about the kids' bickering. It's about parents who break promises and about teaching kids to keep their word as well. Parents need to be careful about any and all promises they make. It's better to say they'll think about whatever is being requested than to blithely make a promise without thinking. In this particular situation, it wasn't even as though some real emergency came up to prevent a promise from being kept. Yes, this family is in big trouble for all the reasons the responding letters indicated.

2: So why didn't the lw open his mouth the first time a kid called him by his first name? A person needs to tell someone the first time exactly how he/she wishes to be called by that person if the person addresses him in a way he doesn't like. Most kids will respond in an appropriate way if an adult were to say, "I really wish you would address me as "Mr. Smith" rather than "Smitty" or in my case as "Mrs. Pumpernickel" rather than "Pippa." At least I've never had a problem asking kids to do this when it mattered to me. I'm not really all that stuffy but when I was teaching school, I felt the kids needed some guidance as to what is generally considered acceptable. Out of school, some of these same kids who were friends of my children would call me "Mom" and I have no idea why. I didn't care either. If they felt I was their 2nd mom, who was I to complain? Once they graduated high school, I'd invite former students individually to call me by my first name. I figured by graduating, they'd earned that right. ;-)

My own mom came from a very large family (11 kids) and most of her siblings had some really weird nicknames. NO ONE ever directly told me how to address any of them. I was just as clueless as a kid as I am now. I sometimes called my aunts and uncles by their first names, sometimes by the nicknames they called one another, and sometimes either of those preceded by "Aunt ----" or "Uncle ----." They answered to any name I used for them and never corrected me. I did teach my kids to be more formal when addressing adults. They used Mr., Mrs., Miss. but some were honorary Aunts and Uncles.
blunt advice

New York, NY

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#4
Feb 18, 2014
 
Don't remember the letter but this sounds like it could be made into a modern day Brady Bunch episode like when Greg and Marcia wanted the room in the attic.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

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#5
Feb 18, 2014
 
Pippa wrote:
<quoted text>
1: A "beating?" Why? No, the readers who wrote in are right. This isn't about the kids' bickering. It's about parents who break promises and about teaching kids to keep their word as well. Parents need to be careful about any and all promises they make. It's better to say they'll think about whatever is being requested than to blithely make a promise without thinking.
Beat those dam kids! If they were my kids they'd get such a beating... Man would I beat the ever living hell out of them

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

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#6
Feb 18, 2014
 
LW4?: Dude, your letter makes no sense. If they've not called you Uncle or Mr. Whatever, WTF are they supposed to call you? Nice of you not to mention that.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

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#7
Feb 18, 2014
 
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
Beat those dam kids! If they were my kids they'd get such a beating... Man would I beat the ever living hell out of them
As far as I know, you don't have any kids.----- And that's a good thing if you'd beat them that badly for arguing over the room. I have a different take on this. Beat the parents for not keeping a promise that is not at all hard to keep. It should be a lesson to the parents to "think before they leap" or make promises. Kids should be able to trust their parents. This is a trust-breaking situation. And yes, I know you're joking. But I just had to get in that last dig. ;-)

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

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#8
Feb 18, 2014
 
squishymama wrote:
LW4?: Dude, your letter makes no sense. If they've not called you Uncle or Mr. Whatever, WTF are they supposed to call you? Nice of you not to mention that.
I think that's his issue. He wants them to call him uncle or mr
boundary painter

San Antonio, TX

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#9
Feb 18, 2014
 

Judged:

1

Blunt Advice for the win on LW1.

For LW2, proposed alternate question:

At what age is it generally disrespectful to call an adult by (a) first
name; (b) nickname ("sugar bear" or "strong man", etc--not anything
rude) and (c) two part names such as Billy Bob, Tina Marie, etc.?

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

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#10
Feb 18, 2014
 

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edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
I think that's his issue. He wants them to call him uncle or mr
Well if that's what he means, he needs to type better. This is from the letter.

"None of my six nieces and nephews has ever called me "Uncle Sam," nor have any of their children called me "Mr. B." "

Again I ask, WTF does he want?

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#11
Feb 18, 2014
 

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L1: I think we all pretty much thought the same way -- that Abby was off on that answer.

L2: At that age, kids are imitators. If they hear all the adults calling him Sammie they'll call him that. Gently and nicely correct the child and tell them what you'd like to be called.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

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#12
Feb 18, 2014
 

Judged:

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1 Sibling Death Match! Sell tickets on the inet, and pay for the house.

2 Yo! Old Dude!

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#13
Feb 18, 2014
 
squishymama wrote:
<quoted text>
Well if that's what he means, he needs to type better. This is from the letter.
"None of my six nieces and nephews has ever called me "Uncle Sam," nor have any of their children called me "Mr. B." "
Again I ask, WTF does he want?
He's probably an grumpy old man who gets his mail when he's in his boxers, yells at kids to stay off the lawn, and complains about the neighbor's noise.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

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#14
Feb 18, 2014
 

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Toj wrote:
<quoted text>
He's probably an grumpy old man who gets his mail when he's in his boxers, yells at kids to stay off the lawn, and complains about t he neighbor's noise.
i thought u lived in chicago. Why are you stalking me at my mailbox?
blunt advice

New York, NY

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#15
Feb 18, 2014
 
Having your nieces and nephews call you Mr. or Mrs.? That is weird. Is the lw referring to siblings kids or cousins kids? I have cousins kids who call me Aunt while some just by my first name and my parents cousins it was the same way. If they remarried when i was older i always called them by their first name. Heck I have cousins with a grandmother on the other side who everyone called "Gram".

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#16
Feb 18, 2014
 

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Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>i thought u lived in chicago. Why are you stalking me at my mailbox?
:D

Hey, you're suppose to be at work, bub! Get dressed and get to the office.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#17
Feb 18, 2014
 

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blunt advice wrote:
Having your nieces and nephews call you Mr. or Mrs.? That is weird. Is the lw referring to siblings kids or cousins kids? I have cousins kids who call me Aunt while some just by my first name and my parents cousins it was the same way. If they remarried when i was older i always called them by their first name. Heck I have cousins with a grandmother on the other side who everyone called "Gram".
I call my aunts and uncles -- Aunt Carol, Uncle Bob. Growing up that's who they were so that's who they are. I do shorten it at times to just the first names, but that's more in the flow of the conversation how you might do with anyone.

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