DEAR CAN’T TRUST HER: It’s sad, but not all parents are loving and supportive. In fact, some of them are toxic. Your mother appears to be one of the latter, so listen to your gut. Continue to be respectful, as you have been doing, but also continue to keep your distance. And if you are tempted to confide in her about anything private, don’t do it.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have decided to start a family, and the topic of names arose. My wife, who was born and raised in India, is insisting on Indian names for our children. The problem is they are often difficult to pronounce and spell. I’m not opposed to Indian middle names, but think traditional “Western” names may be more suitable, since we will live in the United States. How can I make my wife understand that having “unusual” names makes certain aspects of kids’ lives more difficult? — MAKING LIFE EASY
DEAR MAKING: Your wife’s concept of giving the children Indian names is lovely. However, practically speaking, I agree with you. Popular names in one country can cause problems for a child living in another one. Not only can foreign names be difficult to pronounce and spell, but they can also cause a child to be teased unmercifully. Sometimes the name can be a problematic word in the English language. And one that sounds beautiful in a foreign language can be grating in English. I hope your wife will rethink this. Why saddle a kid with a name he or she will have to explain or correct with friends, teachers and fellow employees from childhood into adulthood?
DEAR ABBY: A month ago, while in the process of moving, I found some of my brother’s old report cards from elementary school 60 years ago. His teacher reported behavior issues, but by the end of the school year, she reported improvement. My brother is a successful businessman now with a family. Should I give him the report cards or discard them? — BIG SIS IN OHIO
DEAR BIG SIS: Call your brother and tell him what you found. The two of you could have a good laugh about it. Then ask him what he wants done with his old report cards and do as he requests.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.