DEAR ABBY: My older sister, “Alia,” is being married in November at a fancy resort. Her fiance manages the place, so they are getting a reception for next to nothing. Because it is a nighttime, black-tie affair, Alia prefers to have no children at the reception. Children will be welcome at the church, and baby sitters will be provided during the reception afterward. Furthermore, the children will be treated to a pizza party, games and movies.

Alia has never related well to children, but she doesn’t want to offend anyone. However, my “Aunt Julia” (who has three small children) has gotten wind of this, called Alia and chewed her out, and said her children go “everywhere” with her and that excluding them is an “insult.” (These are the same kids who ran wild at our cousin’s wedding last month, and one of them spilled red wine on Alia’s bridesmaid dress.)

Is my sister being rude by excluding children from the reception? Our little sister, “Emily,” is 9, and she will be in the children’s room and not at the main reception. (And frankly, she’s more excited about that than anything.) Please advise, because Alia is sensitive and doesn’t want to offend people. – CARING SISTER, KENTWOOD, MICH.

If your sister wants an adults-only wedding reception, then she’s entitled to have one. Aunt Julia was out of line to criticize. The bride is being more than gracious, and providing generously for the children’s supervision and entertainment after the ceremony. And if Aunt Julia feels she cannot be separated from her little angels for even a few hours, then she should attend the children’s reception with them.

DEAR ABBY: I have heard advice given to childhood abuse survivors that it is all right to avoid their abusers, even when the abuser is a parent.

My situation is unique. I was emotionally abused by both of my parents for years. A couple of times when I was young, my mother attempted suicide (to get attention) and blamed her attempts on me. I will never forget the time she told me, “I tried to kill myself because you are such a horrible daughter.”

I am still in my mother’s life. (I am 47.) I do not wish to see her very much, but I feel responsible for her. I would prefer never to see her again because of all the years of abuse, guilt and inappropriateness she heaped on me. Is this possible?

I have had therapy and have come to terms with my past. I guess I am looking for “permission” not to see her. Thank you in advance. – CHRIS IN NAPA, CALIF.

You’re welcome. You not only have my permission, you have my blessing.

DEAR ABBY: My only daughter was murdered by her husband a month ago. Her brothers want him to be put to death. I think that life in prison would be worse. He is moody and has a superiority complex, so I feel his fellow inmates would help to punish him over the years.

My question: When he turns 65 – or whatever the age limit is for Social Security – can he claim benefits or draw a monthly check? He paid into the system for quite a number of years. Does the government give monthly checks to crooks, rapists, murderers and the like? – HURTING IN GEORGIA

According to the Social Security Administration office in Washington, D.C., people who are in prison cannot apply for benefits, nor will they receive any while they are incarcerated.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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