Grandma's harsh words may not sting

Dear Abby: I love my grandmother, but she constantly puts my grandpa down, even in front of the family. I know some of the harsh words she uses could be resentment built up over the years from past hurts. Still, if she talks so rudely to him when we're around, I wonder what she says when they're alone.

Grandma loves her family very much, especially the two of us grandkids. It just hurts that she's so mean to Grandpa. Immediately after she insults him, I'll ask her why she did it, but she acts like she has done nothing wrong.

I know it must hurt my grandfather to be treated that way so often by the woman he's been married to for more than 50 years. Should I address her about it in private? —WORRIED GRANDDAUGHTER

Dear Worried: Your grandparents' marriage has lasted half a century, so it's safe to assume that they have a fairly strong bond. It's possible that what you interpret as insulting is her way of communicating with him — both in public and in private — and that he tuned her out decades ago. You have already said she appears to think she has done nothing wrong, so unless your grandfather has in some way indicated that it is hurtful to him, my advice is to leave it alone. It works for them in some way.

Dear Abby: I am 16 and my sister "Amber" is 13. For the past few months, she has been throwing tantrums whenever things don't go her way or she feels something wrong happens, like an offensive comment someone makes. So my parents and I just leave her alone.

Amber cries, stomps and hits, and because I share a room with her I am very stressed out. I haven't been able to sleep until she wears herself out. Lately, she has been saying she hates life and I am scared she might do something stupid. What should I do? —OLDER SIS IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Dear Older Sis: The behavior you have described is not normal for someone Amber's age. And if it's new behavior, it's a reason your parents should not ignore it. If your parents are unable to get Amber to talk to them, they may need the help of a physician or adolescent psychologist to get to the root of what is triggering these episodes. Please don't wait. Clip this item, give it to your parents and tell them you wrote it. I, too, am concerned for your sister.