Abby: Spanking crosses line during sibling roughhousing

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My grandson “Kyle” is in his early 20s, 6 foot 1 and weighs about 230. His sister is a very sweet 15-year-old and a devoted churchgoer.

At a recent family get-together, they were goofing around and he got her down on the floor on her stomach, sat on her knees to hold her down, and proceeded to reach his hand into her trousers to jerk her panties up and out of her pants. He then pulled her pants down almost to the bottom of her buttocks and spanked her.

The whole time, I was trying to get Kyle to stop acting so disrespectfully to his sister, but he ignored me. This happened in front of several people, including my husband, a male cousin in his 40s and the kids’ great-aunt. I was shocked and I’m still angry.

Kyle’s aunt agrees with me and wonders whether molestation is involved.

Is this normal behavior between brothers and sisters? Are we old-fashioned and overreacting?

Shocked in The South

Dear Shocked: While I don’t think what happened was molestation, Kyle’s behavior was inappropriate. I can only guess how humiliated that poor girl was. I can’t imagine why anyone would let it to happen without putting a stop to it.

Kyle is an adult, even though he acts like a 13-year-old. What he did amounted to an assault of a minor, which at his age could land him in the pokey, and he needs to be “reminded” of that fact.

Dear Abby: We rented a house for my companion’s sibling reunion. During a conversation over breakfast, one sister became extremely upset with another sister for inserting herself into the conversation. I tried to make light of the situation and remarked to the offended sister that in a social gathering at a table, conversations are not private, but open and shared with others. She disagreed and insisted I was wrong. Have I been rude all of my life? Please settle this for us.

Curious in New Jersey

Dear Curious: You haven’t been rude all your life. However, in this case, you were foolish to put yourself in a sibling conflict — one that has probably been going on since the sisters were kids. The next time it happens — and it will — pretend that you are Switzerland and stay neutral.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.