DEAR ABBY: My son, "Jimmy," is 8. His father and I are divorced, and he is facing jail time. Jimmy sees him every other weekend. I'm planning on telling Jimmy the truth, although I'm sure his dad will want me to lie and say he needs to "work out of town" for a while, or something like that.
I know it will be hard for my boy to deal with. I also wonder what he should tell other people. I worry that if he tells his friends the truth (and they tell their parents), Jimmy might not be invited over to play quite as often, or kids will tease him. But I feel like it's sending a mixed message if I tell him it's OK to lie about this particular issue. How should I handle this? -- TO TELL THE TRUTH
DEAR TRUTH: Jimmy needs to know that his mother tells the truth. If you lie to him about this, or anything else for that matter, when he learns the truth -- as he will eventually -- he will start to question the veracity of everything you have told him. This is a lot for an 8-year-old to deal with, I know, but I vote for keeping the boy informed.