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Publication: Dear Abby
Parents Clash Over Giving Same Gifts To Different Sons

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          DEAR ABBY - June 6, 2008 
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PARENTS CLASH OVER GIVING SAME GIFTS TO DIFFERENT SONS

ABBY: My husband and I disagree on something. Do you think 
parents MUST do the same things for each of their children, 
even when there is a great discrepancy in the children's 
behavior and attitude toward their parents?

We have helped out one of our sons who was having financial 
difficulties. Now the other son, "Sean," expects to receive 
the same, although he is defiant and does not treat us with 
the same respect as his sibling. My husband says because 
we did it for one child, we must do it for the other. I 
disagree, and think it's rewarding bad behavior. 
-- FEUDING IN WISCONSIN

FEUDING: Sean does not have the right to "demand" any-
thing from you. However, to give one of your sons money 
while withholding it from the other will create a rift 
between them that may never heal, and I do not recommend 
it.

Tempting as it may be to use your checkbook to command 
compliance, please realize that it won't gain you the 
respect you feel is lacking. A better solution would be 
to insist on family counseling as a condition of giving 
the money. It's an investment that could yield great 
dividends.

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ABBY: I was at the store yesterday with my Gramma when 
she ran into a friend she hadn't seen in some time. (Her 
friend is about 87.) As they were talking, Gramma asked 
her a question that shocked me. She asked, "Do you still 
have your husband?"

After we left, I told Gramma I thought it was rude to ask 
someone that question. Her response was, "It's perfectly 
fine to ask that of someone her age." Is she right? 
-- KNOW I'M RIGHT IN LAS VEGAS, N.M.

KNOW YOU'RE RIGHT: The question was not a breach of 
etiquette. By the time women reach their eighth decade, 
I'm sad to say, most of them have lost their husbands. 
Your grandmother's question was legitimate, although she 
might have been more diplomatic and asked "how" her 
friend's husband was, rather than if she still had him.



ABBY: The "pennies from heaven" letters in your column 
have been a blessing to me. "Patrick" and I were together 
eight years when he died unexpectedly after turning 31 
last February. We considered ourselves married, and 
never thought we'd need a marriage license to formalize 
our love.

When Patrick died, his family took his body. They emptied 
our apartment the next day and refuse to tell me where he 
is buried.

Three times in the last month I have found pennies dated 
1977 -- the year Patrick was born. One particularly shiny 
one appeared on the passenger seat of my car on my first 
day back at work. I'm sure it is his way of telling me 
not to worry, that he is close by. 

Thank you for printing those stories. They have been a 
source of great comfort to me. 
-- MOURNING IN SAN FRANCISCO

MOURNING: Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. 
I'm gratified the "pennies" letters have brought you some 
solace, as they have many other readers, and I hope your 
experience will enlighten any couple who thinks a marriage 
license is "only a piece of paper."




ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 
____________________________________________________________

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