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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Now, after the recent school shootings, I have a genuine reason to write to you to tell you just how much I disagreed with you every time you said a child's room and belongings are their private business, and parents should respect this so-called "privacy" and not snoop. BULL!

Now I no longer feel guilty for all the times I secretly "invaded" my kids' privacy by reading their diaries and going through their backpacks and purses, dresser drawers and closets, and even eavesdropping on their phone conversations. If the kids don't have anything to hide, they shouldn't need to worry. Call me a snoopy mom, but I know what my kids are up to, what their plans are and who they plan to do it with, and I no longer feel guilty whatsoever, thank you, ma'am! -- SNOOPY MOM, EDNA, TEXAS

DEAR SNOOPY MOM: Interest, or concern, is not spying. Until children reach legal age, parents are responsible for their health, education and growth. If children are overly secretive about what's going on in their lives, of course their parents will pry. If parents have a legitimate reason to question their child's honesty, it's only common sense to check. But nosiness is not a legitimate reason, especially if teens have proven by their actions that they can be trusted.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 46-year-old woman who married a 41-year-old man in January of this year. It's my second marriage and his first.

He hasn't told me he loves me since the day we were married. When I share my needs with him, he doesn't respond in a reassuring way. He usually gets hurt or mad, and ignores me as if he's the injured party. Among other issues, here's the clincher: He has not told his parents or other family members that we are married. We both told my parents about the engagement and that we were being married in a private ceremony. (My parents didn't really understand that part.)

His excuse for not telling his parents is that he wants to make sure our marriage works, plus he doesn't want to hear any negative feedback. However, his mother has introduced me to others as her "future daughter-in-law." Also, he wanted a "private and confidential" marriage. I went along with it because he promised me we would have a church wedding and a honeymoon in about a year. Recently he has started saying he no longer wants another ceremony, claiming, "We're married and it's a done deal."

I feel our wedding vows of "love, honor and cherish" are all a big lie. I feel he's dishonoring me by not telling his parents. He's leading them to believe we're living together in sin. He is also talking about his first love when he was 17, and a recent crush that a 20-year-old young woman at work has on him. He wants to buy her a card and a rose for her birthday. I thought that was a gift for someone with romantic intentions.

It hasn't even been six months, and already our marriage is a disaster. I know the first year is difficult, but this is just too much. I'm so hurt. I'm torn between honoring my marriage vows and calling it quits. What should I do? -- HURT AND CONFUSED, FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CALIF.

DEAR HURT AND CONFUSED: It takes two people working together to build a successful marriage. Offer your husband the option of sharing the news of your nuptials with his family and of seeking marriage counseling immediately. If he gives you an argument, lose this loser.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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