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. By getting him the help he needs, you could be saving not one but two lives -- his and Patches'.
DEAR ABBY: My mother and I were discussing the subject of egg donation -- something we're both in favor of. 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. In fact, I prefer to live by myself. 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. I almost feel guilty about my decision. 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. And, when she mentions how much she enjoyed baby-sitting your cousins and niece, smile, nod and say, "That's nice!"
DEAR ABBY: My cousin "Linda" loves her cats. Last year one of them, "Wookie," got very sick and she had to take him to the animal hospital. She sent a mass text message to all our family members indicating she would be unable to afford Christmas gifts because she had to pay a couple of thousand dollars on Wookie's vet bills. She continues to send updates on his health and treatment.
Last week, I received an email from Linda about a website she has established soliciting donations to cover her cat's medical expenses. Every day since then I have received a text or email from her or her mother asking me to donate and to tell my friends as well.
I'm sorry Linda's cat is dying, but I don't feel comfortable soliciting friends to donate money for a cat who will not get better. Besides, they don't even know Linda or Wookie. How do I politely ask her to stop bombarding me with these requests? (I think what she's doing is a little tacky.) -- CAT GOT MY TONGUE
DEAR CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE: Don't ask. Your cousin is trying desperately to save the pet she loves, and it would hurt her already sensitive feelings. Send her a donation for Wookie, about the same amount you would spend on a Christmas gift for her. And when you see her request for soliciting your friends, hit "delete" and let it go.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)