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by Abigail Van Buren

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DEAR ABBY: Please help! My 17-year-old son, who just graduated from high school, has been invited to accompany his girlfriend's family on a month-long vacation across the country. As the girl's parents did not consult me before inviting him, I am now in the position of being the mean mom if I refuse to let him go.

As a registered nurse in the obstetrical unit that provides services for about 100 unwed teen-age girls a week, I am very much aware of the dangers of allowing teen-agers to spend large amounts of time together unsupervised. His parents will be there, but I'm very uncomfortable about the closeness this kind of vacation will provide. Secondly, we have a 15-year-old daughter, and I can't afford to set this kind of precedent for a similar situation involving her.

And finally, our son has a summer job to pay for his clothes and books for college this fall, and a month's absence would significantly decrease his contribution to college financing.

Needless to say, our once-quiet household is being torn apart by this situation. Please rush your reply. -- CONCERNED MOM

DEAR CONCERNED: Remind your son that he agreed to work this summer to help with his college expenses, so he can forget about accompanying his girlfriend on her family's vacation trip. And don't be apologetic when you tell him. His girlfriend's parents should have consulted you before inviting him. At 17, he is still a minor.