Dear Abby: I have a beautiful wife, a dog and an 8-year-old son I love to watch sports with. My son loves sports, but he has trouble accepting a loss. He'll take out his disappointment by beating the dog.
My wife doesn't want to get rid of "Patches" because she has had him since college. I don't want to put my son through counseling because he said he'll hate me forever if I do. I'm afraid if the problem isn't controlled, my son's life goals may be affected. What can I do?
-- Good Dad in Cleveland
Dear "Good Dad": Stop trying so hard to be your son's sports buddy, and try harder to be a parent. At his age, he should be able to handle disappointment and control his anger and aggression. Do not wait another day to get him the counseling he needs! Children who hurt animals often go on to hurt other children. Your son should be evaluated by a mental health professional ASAP.
> No plans to be a mother
Dear Abby: My mother and I were discussing the subject of egg donation. I told her I have been considering donating my eggs because I don't plan to have children. Mom simply stared at me in shock.
Now when we talk, she casually brings up how she loves baby-sitting my young cousins and my niece. I have never particularly liked children. I know my mother has always wanted a lot of grandchildren, but being a wife and mother is not a goal of mine like it was hers. How do I explain this without upsetting her further?
-- Childless by Choice
Dear Childless: Whether to have children is a personal choice. It should not be dictated because a parent "wants lots of grandchildren." Children deserve to be wanted. And women who do not particularly want to be mothers usually make less-than-terrific ones. If your mother raises the subject, answer her honestly, but don't apologize for your feelings.