Dear Annie: A few months ago, someone wrote to you about how uncomfortable the bad manners of children of a relative made her feel at large family gatherings and dinners. I read your column faithfully and did not see any readers’ suggestions posted in the following weeks.

Of course, large family gatherings have not happened this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But we will return joyfully to them, probably toward the 2021 holidays.

The writer mentioned that another family in attendance displayed commendable behavior. That presents a golden opportunity, and I would offer her this suggestion: Compliment those well-behaving children in front of all assembled at the table. Compliment the parents of those children.

No matter how rude the other children are, ignore their bad behavior. But watch for good behavior from them, and compliment them immediately if and when it occurs. Attention-seeking in bad ways should not be rewarded.

— 81 Years Wise

Dear 81 Years Wise: You certainly are 81 years wise. Praise has all sorts of benefits for children. It helps build a positive self-concept and can keep a child on track for the task at hand. Good table manners are an important part of teaching your child how to behave in public, but providing extra praise for the behaviors you want to increase is proven to work.

My only advice is to be careful not to shame the children who are behaving badly, and your suggestion to ignore the rude behavior sounds perfect.

Children need attention, so by giving them attention when they are behaving nicely, you are encouraging that. Bravo!

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Dear Annie: I just read a column from “Crushed Spirit,” whose wife cheated and ruined their marriage. I went through nearly this exact same scenario a few years back. I understand his pain and how badly it can affect you. I was especially touched because I, too, was asking those exact same questions when it happened to me.

Please let him know that he is not alone and there are plenty of us out here who have had this happen to us. If he needs a friendly ear from someone who gets it, please let him know that he is not alone. You never totally recover from something like this, but you can move on from it.

My life has improved dramatically over the last four years, and I look forward to what is still to come. Thanks for giving “Crushed Spirit” some good advice.

— Crushed But Not Broken

Dear Crushed but Not Broken: Although you might not know the writer of the question personally, you certainly display a level of understanding and compassion for what he went through, and that goes a long way. Thank you for writing.

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Dear Annie: I read your March 24 column and the sad letter from the woman who left her restrictive religion and was cut off by her sister. They were reunited after 10 years of silence, and her sister is still being preachy.

There is a book that deals with this issue, among others, when leaving a restrictive religion: Leaving the Fold, by Marlene Winell, who holds a doctorate in psychology. Winell has many videos on YouTube that may be helpful. My copy of her book is full of underlines, notes on the margins and dog-eared pages.

I read your column every single day. You dispense a lot of good common sense. Thank you!

— Hope This Helps

Dear Hope This Helps: Thank you for your suggestion. I hope it helps many readers.

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— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her debut book, Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie, features favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette. Email your Dear Annie questions to Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her latest anthology, How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?, features favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation, and is available as a paperback and e-book. Email your Dear Annie questions to The opinions expressed are her own.