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Dear Abby 4/6

Teen is troubled by friend's assault on her little sister

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Posted: April 5, 2007 3:45 p.m.
Updated: April 21, 2007 5:00 a.m.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old girl in high school. Two days ago I went to my friend "Kate's" house to work on a school project. After we started working on it, Kate's sister, "Nell" — who is 9 — accidentally stepped on the poster board and bent it a little. It was something that was easily fixable, but Kate lost it. She started yelling and verbally abusing Nell.
    When Nell tried to leave the room, she tripped over Kate's pencil pouch, which was in her way. With an "I warned you," Kate jumped up and punched her little sister in the stomach — hard. Nell fell to the floor and started crying, and Kate kicked her until Nell finally crawled out of the room.
    Their parents were not home, but were coming back in a few hours. I was shocked by what I saw. Kate seemed perfectly calm and just sat down and started working on our project again.
    Should I tell anyone what I saw? I'm not sure if Kate does this all the time, and I'm afraid if I tell on her, she'll accuse me of "betraying" her. She has a lot of influence at school, but I feel I can't just stand there watching Kate beat up her little sister. -- SCARED FOR NELL IN THE U.S.A.
    DEAR SCARED FOR NELL: The kind of assault you witnessed is not harmless sibling anger. Your friend has self-control issues that should not be ignored. Sucker-punching someone in the stomach can cause internal damage — and kicking someone when he or she is down can crack ribs, bruise one's kidneys and liver, and create injuries that need to be evaluated by a physician.
    Both of those girls need help — and the way to see that they get it would be for you to tell your parents what happened so they can have a talk with Kate and Nell's parents.

    DEAR ABBY: Six months ago, I learned that it would be best for me to terminate my pregnancy because the baby would not be able to survive once it was born. I could not go along with aborting the baby the way the doctors suggested would be less stressful. Therefore, I decided to induce labor at six months. My baby boy was stillborn.
    Even though I knew what the outcome would be, it was painful. During my delivery, my entire family was present — including a number of my closest friends. While my baby was being prepped to be taken away, everyone held the baby except my sister. It didn't bother me at the time. I figured it was too hard for her to bear.
    My sister recently hugged one of her friends' newborn baby boy, and it really bothered me. Am I wrong to be upset with my sister for clinging to that little boy instead of holding my son when he was born? -- GRIEVING MOTHER IN PHILLY
    DEAR GRIEVING MOTHER: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your baby. You are still grieving, and you wouldn't be human if you weren't looking for someplace to target your pain, disappointment and anger. But please do not blame your sister. You had it right the first time.
    Everyone grieves in his or her own way, and it may, indeed, have been too wrenching for your sister to hold your baby before he was taken away. That she hugged her friend's newborn has no bearing on how she felt about your little angel.
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