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Parents weighed down by kids’ homework

Dear Abby: My kids attend a private school that has made it a goal to be a "blue ribbon" school. To that end, teachers pile on so much homework that many of our parents send our kids to bed after three hours and finish it ourselves. Our kids are completely overwhelmed with senseless piles of busywork.

This summer, our children had to read four substantial books and complete hefty vocabulary packets and math packets that required most of us parents to hire tutors.

Our children are stressed, anxious and depressed. We have never indulged them with a lot of video game or TV time. I have considered pulling my kids out of this school, but the public schools around here are awful.

Parents are miserable. Kids are miserable. We want them to have a decent education, but we also want them to be happy people – and right now, no one is happy. – Pressured Mom of Pressured Kids

Dear Pressured: Are you aware that some educators feel that students should have no summer vacation at all, and should be in class year-round? The assignments your children were given may have been designed to keep their skills sharp so they would be prepared for the fall term. Because you and other parents feel your children are being overburdened with busywork, it's time to address this as a group with the principal so you can voice your concerns and get an explanation.

Dear Abby: My 12-year-old grandson lies often. His parents are trying to give him consequences for his lying as a "team effort." I don't want to be the stern grandma and have him have bad memories of me. When he lies to me, should I look the other way and ignore it or follow through with my own consequences? – Grandma in St. Pete, Fla.

Dear Grandma: Would you prefer your grandson remember you as the grandmother whose eye he could spit in, tell her it's raining and she would accept it? It would be better to ask him why he feels it is necessary to lie to someone who loves him, tell him that you expect honesty from him and if you don't receive it there will be MORE consequences. Remember, you are also a part of the team, and this is an important life lesson he needs to learn.

Dear Abby: My only son is 18. He didn't attend his prom. He quit school and goes to night school instead. I'll never see him in a cap and gown, holding his diploma. On top of that, he told me six months ago that he's bisexual and that he has a boyfriend in the U.K. I'm having a hard time with all of this.

I taught my son to love and respect everyone, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. Now I'm afraid I won't have any grandchildren. Even more upsetting, he wants to move to the U.K. to be with his 26-year-old boyfriend.

I feel so cheated – no prom, no graduation, no grandchildren! I'm scared and I cry every day. How do I accept him being him? – Cheated in Connecticut

Dear Cheated: OK, so reality isn't in sync with your fantasy about how your son would turn out. But why are you dwelling on the negative?

Your son is completing his high school education, and with his GED could very well go on to college or a technical school. While he didn't attend his prom, he has found a meaningful relationship. He may eventually give you the grandchildren you long for – other same-sex couples have done it.

So look on the bright side. If you count your blessings, encourage him and accept the man he loves, you could have a life of adventure and international travel, a warm relationship with both of them and gain a son.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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