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VERBAL ABUSE AT DAY CARE CRIES OUT FOR INTERVENTION

DEAR ABBY: I would like to weigh in on your response to "Day Care Drama in Indiana" (Sept. 1), whose neighbor screams at the children in her day care. I worked for 25 years investigating serious complaints, many involving verbal abuse, against day care providers for my state's licensing agency. It is critical for this reader to contact Indiana's licensing agency and make a complaint.

Verbal abuse is extremely damaging to young children, and parents are often reluctant to believe their provider would subject their children to such cruelty. Also, if your reader is hearing screaming, there could easily be hitting taking place as well.

If your reader were to approach the children's parents individually as you advised, they would likely discount him/her as a "cranky neighbor." However, if the licensing investigator were to pay a visit and interview the older past and present children, as we do in our state, the provider would be cited -- or closed down -- and the findings could be presented to the parents by an objective party. -- RETIRED BUT CONCERNED

DEAR RETIRED BUT CONCERNED: Thank you for correcting me. Many readers agreed that this situation should be reported immediately to the agency that monitors day care centers. To remain silent and allow the abuse to continue would also be child abuse.

Many also suggested contacting Child Protective Services and afterward following up to make sure this issue has been investigated. If not, the local police should then be notified.


DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Brenda" for three months. For the most part it has been amazing. I know she's the woman I want to marry and be with for the rest of my life.

I would do anything for her, which is why I'm having a hard time. We had a great sexual relationship until a week ago, when she decided she wants to wait until we are married to have sex again. For me, sex is an extremely important part of a relationship. I feel close to Brenda physically and emotionally through sex. Now that she's refusing, I don't feel as close to her.

Brenda cites her religious faith and setting an example for her kids as the reasons she now wants to wait. I'm having a hard time understanding her point of view and am looking for guidance from you on coping with the loss of something so valuable to me. Obviously, I am willing to wait until marriage, but how do I deal with this until then? -- DISAPPOINTED IN RENO

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: If you are confused about your lady friend's "180," I think you're justified. If her religious beliefs prevented her from having sex before marriage, she wouldn't have jumped the gun -- and I'm assuming the two of you weren't making love in front of her children. Her change in behavior may be an attempt to hasten the date of your wedding.

However, because you no longer feel as close to her, put on the brakes and start premarital counseling. The first subject on the agenda should be a frank discussion about sex and what it means to both of you. It will help you understand each other better before you commit for a lifetime, because three months isn't very long for a couple to date, and you really don't know Brenda very well yet.


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.


Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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