DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of a 15-year-old daughter, "Brandy," who is a pretty good kid. She has caused me very little trouble -- she gets good grades, has well-behaved friends, etc. My problem is she got herself pregnant by her boyfriend of three months. He's a good kid, too. (I'll call him Danny.)
Brandy ended up having a miscarriage, so now we're back to "life as usual," as she and Danny see it. However, I am having a tough time with Danny hanging around. I can no longer look him in the eye. His parents were no help at all during the hellish week we experienced when Brandy was pregnant.
Should I allow Danny to keep dating my daughter or send him packing? I feel caught in the middle. As a parent, I feel I should put a stop to the relationship. However, if I do, I'm afraid Brandy might run away. (I remember well how I felt when I was her age.) Please help, Abby. -- TORN MOM IN OHIO
DEAR TORN MOM: Consider this near-miss a wakeup call! You are overdue for a serious talk with Danny and his parents, because had the pregnancy continued, Danny would have been equally responsible for caring for and supporting his child.
It's time to face up to the fact that your children are now sexually active. Worry less that your daughter will run away, and more about what will happen if she and Danny conceive again.
Danny and Brandy must learn that sex carries with it great responsibility -- one that can sometimes last 18 years or more. Further, there is the danger of sexually transmitted disease to be considered. I urge you to schedule a doctor's appointment for both of them. If that's not possible, contact Planned Parenthood. Brandy and Danny need to learn everything they can about birth control and self-control.
DEAR ABBY: This Christmas, I received a beautiful gold necklace as a gift from my father. However, the pendant is in the shape of a religious symbol. I understand it may have been unclear to him that I feel reluctant to wear such a necklace, but in good conscience, I cannot because I follow a different faith.
Should I exchange it, or keep it and never wear it? I do not want to offend my dad, as he is my birth father and we met only recently. Since we are in the beginning of our relationship, I don't want to mess it up.
On the other hand, it seems a waste to own jewelry that is never worn -- and I'm sure he'd notice. Please help me, Abby. If I exchange the necklace, there's a 100-day limit. -- VEXED IN VEGAS
DEAR VEXED: Write your father a note. Thank him for his thoughtfulness and generosity. Explain why you want to exchange the necklace. Your reason is a valid one. It's possible that, since you are just getting to know each other, he's unaware your religious beliefs differ from his.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Ted," beats me up bad. It's not me I'm worried about -- it's our 4-month-old baby girl. Ted threatens to kill me and the baby if I leave. He hits, slaps and kicks me almost daily. Please help me. -- DESPERATE IN ITHACA, N.Y.
DEAR DESPERATE: Call the Domestic Violence Hotline. The toll-free number is 1-800-799-7233. Tell the counselor who answers what you have written to me. He or she will help you to formulate an escape plan. For your daughter's sake, please don't wait.
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