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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Several years ago, my husband and I chose our daughter's friend to be our personal physician. Now a problem has arisen.

Whenever we visit our doctor, within a few days we receive a call from our daughter inquiring about our "condition." My husband and I are very private people. If we wanted our children to know the details of our health, we would tell them.

Should either of us learn that we have a fatal illness, we would want it kept between ourselves and our doctor. When the time comes to share the information with family and friends, we prefer it to be at our discretion.

Now we are concerned about the confidentiality that should exist between patient and doctor. He is such a personable young man that we hate to hurt his feelings. What do you think? -- APPREHENSIVE IN AURORA, COLO.

DEAR APPREHENSIVE: If you value your privacy, find another doctor. And do this personable young man a favor by dropping him a note to explain why. The truth may sting, but he needs to know.

DEAR ABBY: Parents these days have an aggravating habit of telling their children what to do and then saying, "OK?" It goes like this: "Johnny, it's time to go to bed. OK?"

I don't remember getting a choice when I was a kid. When our parents told us to do something, we knew they weren't asking for our approval. By asking "OK?" they open up the subject for discussion when there should be none.

Today's parents seem more concerned with being their children's pals and not upsetting their kids than in saying what's what and then following through.

When I hear parents count to three while their kids decide whether or not they're going to do what they've been asked, I roll my eyes because usually the parents don't follow through and make their kids behave anyway. They just threaten them.

I'm sure glad I had parents who knew how to say the way it was going to be and then stuck to it. It sure made my life a lot easier. -- MARY LOU CHILDS, EUGENE, ORE.

DEAR MARY LOU: Many parents seem reluctant to enforce their own rules for fear of traumatizing their little ones. An excellent way to ensure obedience is to state your wishes in a tone that lets the child know this is not something open for discussion. Effective parents are not only loving, but also firm enough to provide limits.

DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter signed "Perplexed in Garland, Texas" about the noisy next-door neighbors, I was reminded of our situation as newlyweds back in Buffalo, N.Y., almost 60 years ago.

We would be awakened early each morning by the newlyweds directly above us. Their bed shook so hard, we feared that the ceiling would one day come down on us.

We placed a note in their mailbox, suggesting they subdue their enthusiasm. They responded with a note suggesting that WE move to Forest Lawn Cemetery, where we would find everlasting peace and quiet. -- LIVING PEACEFULLY IN SAN DIEGO

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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