DEAR ABBY: I am a 12-year-old girl who is happy, healthy and doing great in school. But lately I have felt sad, lonely and just plain frustrated. I used to talk to my parents about it, but I don't feel comfortable doing it anymore, and my friends don't like listening to me.
I have tried hard to push back these feelings, but it is putting a strain on me. Sometimes I break down crying and can't stop. Most people think it's just my age, but it's not. It's more than that. I want to talk to a psychologist, but I'm scared to ask for one. What do you think? -- SO MIXED UP
DEAR SO MIXED UP: Admitting you need professional help with a problem isn't something to be scared of. It is a sign of maturity. Your mood swings may be caused by the hormonal changes going on in your body as you are becoming a woman. However, because they are of concern to you, it is important that you let your parents and your pediatrician or a counselor at school know how you are feeling. It's the surest way to get the reassurance and, if necessary, the counseling you think you need.
DEAR ABBY: My 6-year-old daughter wants a dog more than anything in the world. She mentions it at least once a day.
She's a great kid, well-behaved and doing well in school, so I hate to disappoint her. But I have absolutely no interest in taking on the added responsibility of a pet like that.
My wife and I work long hours and our home is unoccupied for most of the day. It would have to be adjusted to be pet-friendly. I have nothing against pets, but I could never be considered an animal lover. We currently have two goldfish, but I can see that the time those guys bought me is quickly running out.
I want my daughter to be happy and rewarded for what a great kid she is. I don't want a dog. What do I do? -- BAD DADDY OUT WEST
DEAR DADDY: I would have suggested that you consider allowing your daughter to adopt a hamster or guinea pig, but they require a certain amount of care. A child has to be responsible enough to feed, water and clean the cage daily, and at 6, your daughter is not mature enough. Tell her that when she is older you will consider letting her have a pet. Cats require much less care than dogs do. Perhaps a compromise could be worked out at a later date.
DEAR ABBY: I am 75, and when I pass on I would like the undertaker to remove my six gold caps from my teeth. Then my wife can sell them to pay for my funeral. I think this will work out well. What is your take on this? -- ED IN FLORIDA
DEAR ED: As I started researching "dental gold," I realized that while there are companies that buy it, the price your wife would get will depend upon the weight of the gold -- most of which is 16-karat -- and the current market value of the metal.
Because of the nosedive that gold has experienced lately, I'm advising you to start saving up for your funeral now and to live long and prosper. My experts have informed me that most funeral homes are unwilling to remove fillings, caps, etc.
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.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)