DEAR ABBY: I'm a 13-year-old girl who has been trying to give my father a second chance. I was taken away from my parents when I was 8 because they were on drugs. I haven't seen my father for three years, but now that he's living with my grandparents and me, I decided to give him a second chance.
He has been very "hand-sy" with me -- giving me massages, kissing my cheek -- and this all makes me very uncomfortable. I thought it was because he hasn't seen me in a while, but today as I was leaving to go to my mom's, he slapped my butt as I walked out the door. Now I'm scared. I spend a lot of the day at home with him alone. I don't want things to get out of hand. Any advice? -- WORRIED IN DELAWARE
DEAR WORRIED: Your father has lost three years with you. He may not realize that his "little girl" is no longer a child. That is why it is important that you tell him what he's doing makes you uncomfortable. You should also tell your mother and grandparents about what's happening and that it scares you. You do not have to tolerate unwanted contact, and if it persists, report it to a teacher or counselor at school or contact me again.
DEAR ABBY: I have a dilemma. I work in a small high school in a student support position. Girls come into my office who are pregnant and excited about it! Telling them congratulations for putting themselves in this position seems counterproductive, or like I am endorsing this choice. I don't!
No high school girls -- or boys, for that matter -- should put themselves in a position to be a parent when they themselves aren't fully grown and independent. I feel like saying, "You have ruined your life" instead, but I hold my tongue. What do you suggest? -- DON'T WANT TO ENCOURAGE THEM IN ILLINOIS
DEAR DON'T WANT TO ENCOURAGE: Your job is to support the students, not to condemn or endorse their predicament. Telling a pregnant girl she has ruined her life isn't helpful. What you need to do is encourage the girl to get a diploma while she can.
Too many girls fail to complete their high school education when they have a baby, and it impedes their ability to provide for themselves and their child because they are suited only for minimum-wage jobs. If you are enthusiastic about helping them, your positive attitude may be contagious and inspire them to succeed.
DEAR ABBY: I wrote you a short time ago about my marital problems, but I have to share this with you! My husband, who walked out on me, went to a counselor for a session. Then we went together, and he learned a few things about me and himself.
He is coming back, and we are going to work harder at our marriage. We both recognize there were places where we needed to work together more, that he doesn't need to be afraid to talk to me and I can be pretty understanding.
Thank you so much for being there, Abby. I know you always recommend talking to a counselor before doing anything rash, and you are so right. It made all the difference. -- GRATEFUL WIFE IN ARIZONA
DEAR GRATEFUL: I'm pleased counseling helped to open the clogged lines of communication between you and your husband. While it may seem expensive, it's far cheaper than a divorce can be, both emotionally and financially.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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