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Dear Abby: dad’s rough horseplay looks a lot like abuse

Dear Abby: I am concerned about the behavior of my grandson toward his 7-year-old daughter, “Beth,” and her 9-year-old cousin, “Mandy.” Mandy told me her uncle crept up behind her, put his hand over her mouth and then held her nose so she couldn’t breathe. She said he has done that to Beth, too.

Mandy said he held her until she felt faint and then let go, laughing. Apparently, he does this “all in fun,” but I see nothing funny about it. Mandy told me Beth is afraid of her dad and doesn’t want to be left alone with him. I’m very concerned, but live several states away and don’t know what I can do.

– Not Funny

Dear Not Funny: Your grandson has a bizarre sense of humor. That he would smother anyone – let alone a child – to the point of fainting is sadistic, abusive behavior.

Talk to the child’s mother. She is the person to put a stop to this. If she can’t manage that, then any child in the home should be living elsewhere.

Dad’s say in labor?

Dear Abby: I’m the father of three beautiful, healthy children, with another due very soon. My wife is 36 weeks pregnant, and so far, so good. My wife is, well, perfect. We are not newlyweds and we have seen highs and lows, but she’s the greatest mother I could have requested for my children.

The problem? She wants to induce labor early. She figures the baby is healthy enough and just gaining weight from here on (her OB/GYN agrees). I know she has done enough and I want to support her decision, but think our baby will come when she is ready. I don’t want to cause any ripples – I feel I’m on thin ice and in the minority. I don’t want to drag my mom into this to prove a point.

– Emotional Dad in California

Dear Emotional: If your wife’s OB/GYN agrees that inducing your wife’s labor early will not be harmful to the baby, and that’s what your wife wants, then you are outvoted. While you might request a second medical opinion, don’t drag your mother into this disagreement. If you do, it will cause resentment not only against you, but also your mother.

Checks for wedding?

Dear Abby: I have a granddaughter who is getting married soon. If I give the couple money as a wedding gift, whose name should go on the check first?

– Grandpa in Iowa

Dear Grandpa: If your granddaughter and her fiance intend to have separate accounts, put her name on the check. However, if they will open a joint account, put both of their names on it. You can choose the order of the names.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.

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