DEAR ABBY: I'm 13, the youngest of three children, but I am treated with no respect. My parents (mostly my dad) treat my brother like he's a prince. Even if he loses a football game he is praised. I just started playing volleyball and my team won, but my parents haven't said anything to me.
Dad treats me and my sister as if we are in the 18th century. We're supposed to work all the time while our brother is spoiled. Even when we finish working they don't appreciate it, and I'm always to blame.
Abby, I feel so disrespected. Please help me. I have talked to them about it, but it doesn't seem to get through. -- NEEDS RESPECT IN TAMPA, FLA.
DEAR NEEDS RESPECT: Does your sister feel the same way you do? If so, you should approach your mother together and discuss it. Even if your father doesn't, she should be praising you when you do something right.
I hope you and your sister continue to strive to excel and be recognized, because you may find that while your father isn't capable of giving you the affirmation you need, others will as you achieve your goals. So bide your time and persevere. If you do, you won't be sorry.
DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine, "Ashley," is being married in September. She invited me to be one of her bridesmaids and my two children to be ring-bearers. I accepted because I felt obligated and didn't want to hurt her feelings, but now I regret my answer.
Abby, I cannot stand there beside her and support her marrying the man she has chosen. He is dishonest and in debt because of his poor decisions. After three years of dating, Ashley gave him a deadline to propose, and he waited until the last minute. I understand this is her choice -- I just cannot support it.
She continues to say how she misses spending time with me, but makes no effort to get together. Needless to say, our friendship is not what it was at one point. My question is, how do I back out now, before it's too late? And how do I explain things without creating an enemy? -- MOMMY OF TWO
DEAR MOMMY: Tell her immediately, and here's how: "Ashley, I can't be in the wedding. I don't think this man is good enough for you, and I think you are doing something you will regret later. Please don't think I don't care about you because I do, but the children and I cannot be a part of this."
DEAR ABBY: Yesterday, after my neighbors went out, the hose on their washing machine broke. Because the faucet had been left in the open position, hot water gushed out all day long, soaking through the floor and flooding their basement. Abby, their basement had just been refinished. The repairs will cost thousands of additional dollars.
My dad warned me about this potential problem years ago. Ever since, I have always turned my faucets off when I am not actually doing laundry.
Please print this so your readers will know to shut off the washing machine faucets unless their machine is in use. -- GRATEFUL DAUGHTER IN COLORADO
DEAR GRATEFUL DAUGHTER: Thank you for a valuable reminder. Better to take an extra second to turn off the taps than spend hours bailing, mopping and kicking yourself!