Parents need a reminder that their words matter

DEAR ABBY: While shopping at the mall, I have seen too many stressed-out parents ignore or yell at their children. It certainly isn't helpful. It isn't how I was raised or how I raised mine. Years ago, I saw a poem in your column that addressed the ramifications of bad parenting versus good parenting. From what I've been seeing, you should print it again. Many parents who should read it won't see themselves in it, but it could help the ones who do. Its message is so important. Thank you. -- JANET F. IN MINNESOTA

DEAR JANET: I know the poem you are referring to and I agree it sends an important message for parents. It's one of many profound poems and essays included in my "Keepers" booklet, which was compiled because so many readers requested reprints of their favorites. Read on:

CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE by Dorothy Law Nolte

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn

If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight

If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy

If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient

If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence

If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate

If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice

If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith

If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.

This is just one of the poems, essays and letters that appear in the Keepers booklet. Some are witty, others are philosophical.

The topics include children, animals, aging, parenting, death and forgiveness. It can be ordered by sending your name and address plus a check or money order (U.S. funds) for $8 to Dear Abby Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

Filled with down-to-earth nuggets of wisdom, it's a quick, easy read and an inexpensive gift for newlyweds, pet lovers, new parents or anyone recovering from an illness because it covers a wide variety of subjects.

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating outside my marriage. My husband doesn't know. It's nothing serious -- just dinner, drinks and dancing. All the men have been single. I would never go out with a married man. All of them have respected my boundaries. I don't want to be unfaithful to my husband; I'm just having a little fun. Do you think a little goodnight kiss would be OK, to show my appreciation? -- SLIGHTLY NAUGHTY IN NEW MEXICO

DEAR SLIGHTLY NAUGHTY: No, I do not. A goodnight kiss would be no more appropriate than dating on the sly has been. A better solution would be for you to teach your husband to dance.

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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Andrews McMeel Syndication

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