DEAR ABBY: I just finished reading Roseann Hermann's letter about the importance of parents teaching their teen-agers everything they need to know about birth control so they can make informed choices.
I am the 17-year-old mother of a 4-month-old daughter. I did not listen to my mother and father. They are wonderful parents. They stressed to me the importance of finishing high school, going to college, saving money, getting married and having children. They would tell me this every day. I would give anything to go back and listen to my parents.
But now that my daughter is here, she is the most beautiful thing in my life. I never knew I could love something so tiny so much. I'm getting my GED, working, and taking care of her. I raise her -- my parents don't. Things are on hold, but I will go to college.
Why does everyone blame parents, Abby? Mine talked to me, but I disobeyed. My point is: Parents talk; teens don't listen. -- KIMBERLY IN RIVERVIEW, FLA.
DEAR KIMBERLY: I'm printing your letter with the hope that other teens will read it and heed what you, a contemporary, have to say. I commend you for juggling your GED studies, working, and facing all of the challenges of young motherhood.
The fact that you credit your parents with trying their best to communicate their hopes for your future -- even though you admit you refused to listen -- tells me how much maturity and insight you have gained. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I am responding to the recent letters in your column about the importance of teaching sex education to children before they become teen-agers.
I am 13 years old. My parents told me everything I need to know about sex. If I want birth control, I can go to them.
Abby, I think you would be one terrible, awful parent not to talk to your children and assure them that you will be there for them no matter what. Children who are not taught by their parents -- whom they trust the most -- are more likely to get a sexually transmitted disease or become pregnant at an earlier age, if only to get back at their overprotective parents. Trust me, I know because I have talked to my friends -- and we do talk about this sort of thing. -- CONCERNED IN RENO
DEAR CONCERNED: It's heartwarming to read how much credit you give your parents for providing all of the important information necessary to prepare you for future sexual relationships. Although you are a mature young lady at 13, I hope that you are years away from having a physical relationship.
Now that you have the information you need, I trust you will take your parents up on their offer to go to them with any questions or concerns that may arise. Knowing you can talk freely with your mom and dad will give you a definite advantage in making sound choices.
DEAR ABBY: My father died recently. Am I still a "Jr." or am I required to drop it? -- WONDERING IN WICHITA
DEAR WONDERING: Please accept my condolences for the loss of your father.
Amy Vanderbilt says that upon the death of the "senior," the "junior" usually drops the "Jr." -- unless both he and his late father were well-known and to drop it would cause confusion. However, if you so desire, there is nothing illegal or improper about retaining the "Jr."
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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600