DEAR ABBY: My granddaughter's 13th birthday is approaching. It is special because she will be a teen-ager, an exciting time filled with new experiences and responsibilities. I would like to give her some advice about boys and dating. She is already boy-crazy. However, every time I try to tell her something, she says, "Oh, Grandma, you're so old-fashioned! Things are different now."
What I need is some advice from you, Abby. She reads your column every morning before she goes to school, and she doesn't consider your advice old-fashioned.
Please, Abby, can you help me to help my granddaughter? -- GRACE IN GRAPEVINE, TEXAS
DEAR GRACE: Your granddaughter is right about one thing: Things are different now from when you were her age. Teen-agers today must handle far more complex problems than either of us faced when we were young. Today's teens face pressure to have sex, and risk contracting sexually transmitted diseases if they do become sexually active. There is the temptation of drugs, and they must deal with more violence than we ever did.
We have fewer stay-at-home mothers these days, and without the necessary time to communicate with their parents, young people often pick up what they can from other teens who are equally inexperienced. For that reason, I wrote my booklet, "What Every Teen Should Know," which answers many questions teens have about sex, love, drugs, and how to handle the many pains of growing up.
The booklet has been used at both church and nonsectarian summer camps, and many teachers have suggested that it would be even more helpful if it were given to children ages 10 to 12, because today children mature earlier physically than they did a generation ago.
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.)
DEAR ABBY: When I was very young, my brothers molested me. I have tried everything to get over my anger toward them, but I still feel that they "owe" me.
Abby, my marriage failed and I have never had a stable relationship because I feel that every man is lying to me and is out to hurt me. I just can't seem to get past the pain. I would like to put this behind me and forgive them, but I can't. -- MOLESTED IN MILWAUKEE
DEAR MOLESTED: You say you feel that your brothers "owe" you and indicate that you cannot heal because of your anger. They cannot repay your stolen innocence, nor can they undo your trauma. As an adult, only you have the power to heal yourself, with the help of others who have been in your situation and with professional counseling. Counseling and a self-help support group are not options; they're mandatory if you're ever going to put what happened behind you. At that point you may -- or may not -- choose to "forgive."
For the location of a support group in your area, send a long (business-sized), stamped (33 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Survivors of Incest Anonymous Inc., P.O. Box 26870, Baltimore, Md. 21212.
I urge you, and anyone who has been molested, to take that first step toward healing today. Don't delay. Write for information, and ask your doctor to refer you to a counselor.
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