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by Abigail Van Buren

Unsupervised Kids in Streets Drive Neighbors to Distraction

DEAR ABBY: My sister has lived in Europe for most of my son's 9 years. She's 50 and going through a divorce. She is moving back to the United States and now wants to spend more time with my son. She also wants to start a savings account for him to pay part of his school tuition.

I am a single mother raising him alone, and the help would be appreciated. However, my sister does not give freely -- there is a price attached to everything she does. She is manipulative and controlling, and my son doesn't particularly enjoy spending time with her. When she's around, she rarely participates in our life, but expects to be fed and cleaned up after -- the classic "guest" mentality.

While the college fund is something I cannot provide at this time, I don't want to have it held over my head that I or my son "owe" her in some way. Should I take the money and keep quiet for his sake, or say "no thanks"? -- CAN'T DECIDE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR CAN'T DECIDE: I'm reluctant to decide this question for you. Much depends upon your ability to tolerate her attitude of entitlement. However, feeling as you do, I would be inclined to graciously refuse her kind offer. There will be far fewer hard feelings if you do.