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Dear Abby: I have a bone to pick with you. You said there was nothing wrong with taking a little boy to the barbershop and having the barber give him a real boy's haircut when his parents were on vacation. (The boy was left in the care of his grandmother.)

I think moms should be the ones to decide how long their little boys' hair should be, and grandparents should refrain from interfering.I kept my son's hair in long (shoulder-length) curls until he was in first grade because I thought it was so beautiful I couldn't bear to cut it. I always took him to my beauty parlor to have his hair cut and curled even after he was in elementary school.

The only time he ever looked like a little girl was when he was being punished and made to wear a little girl's dress until he agreed to behave better. This kind of punishment worked for me a whole lot better than spankings and scoldings. By the time he was a teenager, he was a very polite and well-trained young man.

I am proud to say that he has never been a problem for me. He still wears his hair in waves and listens to his mom.

- Proud of Sonny

P.S. The first thing I did after I got married was to get my husband to let his hair grow so I could give him a curly perm. He had the prettiest dark brown curls in town for nearly 20 years and knows better than to even think about going to a barbershop.

Dear Mom: Your letter was most unusual, and I'm glad your son turned out so well. But your method of disciplining him curled MY hair. To punish a child by humiliating him and forcing him to wear a girl's dress could have had serious emotional repercussions, and I would be curious to know what he thought of it - now that he's an adult. Sonny?

Dear Abby: In January of this year, you ran a checklist of symptoms associated with diabetes. As I read that list, it became obvious to me that my boyfriend - who is now my fiance - is a diabetic. I showed him your column and asked him to go see a doctor.

After much procrastination on his part and a lot of nagging on mine, "Marty" finally made an appointment with a doctor. They ran a lot of tests on him, and when the results were all in, it confirmed my hunch. (Marty's blood sugar was more than 300 - the average person's is about 100.)

His doctor prescribed two Micronase pills a day. Well, I am happy to report that Marty's blood sugar level is now down to 130. He takes only one pill a day now, and we are hoping he will be completely off them soon.

Abby, I want to thank you very much for that column. If I hadn't seen it and insisted that Marty get a complete physical, there's no telling what might have happened. We are now looking forward to a healthy, happy life together.

- Carla in New Hampshire

Dear Carla: I'm pleased to know that column was helpful. I did get a little flak from a reader who writes a local health column. Said columnist wrote: "Please, Dear Abby, don't give advice on matters of health, and I promise to stay away from advice to the lovelorn."

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)

1992 Universal Press Syndicate