DEAR ABBY

Readers teach Abby a lesson about trust

Updated: 2014-02-19T02:16:05Z

By JEANNE PHILLIPS

Universal Uclick

DEAR ABBY: You were wrong to advise “Starting Anew in Ohio,” the mother of a 10-year-old girl who wanted the bigger bedroom in their new house, to have her kids draw straws. When the girl made the request, her older brother said he didn’t care. The time to have drawn straws was when the girl first made the request, not two months afterward.

The girl is at an age when children can be particularly sensitive about trust issues, and the boy is old enough to know that words have consequences. If the parents reverse course now, the girl will learn that her parents’ promises mean nothing, and the boy will learn that he doesn’t have to worry about what he says because he can always change it later.

These are not good lessons to teach children. That the father would bow to the boy’s request made the situation worse. Maybe he’d think twice if he realized his daughter will now always doubt his word. — Judy in Ohio

DEAR JUDY: You are not the only reader who told me my answer wasn’t up to my usual standards. In fact, not a single person who wrote to comment agreed with me, and their points were valid. Their comments:

DEAR ABBY: Your solution won’t keep the peace in that household; it will end it. The daughter will learn her parents can’t be trusted to keep a promise; the son will think he can take anything he wants from his sister because, as the male, he gets his way.

No, Abby, a promise is a promise. And if there’s any lesson more important to teach our children, I can’t imagine what it is. — Holly in Pennsylvania

DEAR ABBY: This is the time to teach that 12-year-old “young man” to be a man of his word. He made the decision that his sister could have the room. The daughter had the guts to ask for what she wanted. Good for her for asking for what she wants. Now they should draw straws to determine the outcome?

The message this sends to the children is, “If you’re older, you can get what you want. If you make a promise, you can break it.” The daughter should not lose out on what she was promised. — Danielle in Wisconsin

DEAR ABBY: May I offer a suggestion? The children should be told that each year around the anniversary of their moving to the new house that they will change rooms. It may take some effort and energy, but the benefit would be that both brother and sister get to experience the larger bedroom. It will teach them to compromise. — Tami in Colorado

DEAR ABBY: Having been through this type of situation as a child, I can tell you it destroyed my trust in my mother. Believe me, this will have far-reaching and unintended repercussions in that little girl’s life. A promise is a promise! — Candace in the Rockies

‘Uncle Sam’ has needs

DEAR ABBY: Whatever happened to respect for your elders? None of my six nieces and nephews has ever called me “Uncle Sam,” nor have any of their children called me “Mr. B.” When the 5-year-old called me “Sammy,” a name I loathe, I nearly snapped. Am I out of line? — Sam in Sheffield, Mass.

DEAR SAM: If “Uncle Sam” is what you prefer to be called, you should have made that clear to your siblings when the nieces and nephews were little. Children are imitative. If their parents call you and refer to you as just plain Sam, don’t blame the children for doing the same. I don’t know how old the kids are now, but it may be a little late for you to start complaining about this.

© Universal Uclick 2/18

Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. Dear Abby runs Monday through Saturday.

Deal Saver Subscribe today!

Comments

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Kansas City Star uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here