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Thu, Aug. 22

Dear Abby | Child’s accusations against cousin cause rift in family

Dear Abby: My brother and sister-in-law recently told me their 5-year-old son claims my 9-year-old son touched him inappropriately on several occasions. Understanding that any parent believes what their child says, I asked my son if he has ever touched or done anything inappropriate to anyone. His response was, “Why would I do that?”

My husband and I asked our son about it on several different occasions and got the same answer. Not wanting to pressure him to the point of coercion and force him to admit to something he did not do, I accepted his denials.

My brother and his wife are convinced my son did these heinous things to their son. What more is there for me to do? My son and I are now being shunned and barred from being around any of my brother’s kids. – Shunned in Colorado

Dear Shunned: A young child might make a statement like the one your nephew did to get attention, get the other child in trouble OR because he is being touched inappropriately by someone else. This certainly bears further exploration, and the people who should do that are your brother and his wife.

If your son ends up being guilty, then you and your husband must investigate where this behavior came from and get him professional help. Until this is resolved, the children should be kept apart.

Dear Abby: I get my hair done at the local beauty school. When I pay, there is no room on the bill to leave a tip. Is it OK not to tip these people because they are in school, or should I plan on bringing cash with me next time? – Wondering in California

Dear Wondering: If you like the service the student performed, show your gratitude (and respect!) by bringing along enough money to tip him or her. That’s what I would do, as long as there is no school rule that forbids it.

- 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.

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