DEAR ABBY: I am 25 years old. My parents and I had a good relationship. Mother died nine months ago, and Dad is living with me. I'm now having mixed feelings about it. I let my father move in with me so he wouldn't be alone.
What bothers me is he has been involved with at least nine women in the months since Mom died. He and Mother were married 26 years, and it depresses me when I see him with other women in my home. He acts like it's OK to bring his ladyfriends here, but I think it's disrespectful to Mother for him to see other women so soon after her death.
What can I do about Dad's behavior? -- SAD AND MAD AT DAD
DEAR SAD AND MAD AT DAD: I don't know how long your mother was ill before her death, but your father may have done his grieving at that time. It's also possible that her death has made him realize how short life is.
It was loving and caring of you to take him in. But now that he's living the life of a swinging bachelor, it's time to tell him he needs a bachelor pad of his own. What goes on under your roof is your business -- so make it your business to recommend grief counseling to your father before he makes any important decisions that could affect the rest of his life. You'll be doing him a favor.
DEAR ABBY: My friend, "Michelle," is going to be 13 next month. Her mom died recently, and she's been hanging out with an older boy who encourages her to steal cigarettes from the store and smoke them. Maybe it's just a phase, but I'm worried about Michelle. Do you think that I should end our friendship? -- WORRIED ABOUT A FRIEND IN MONTANA
DEAR WORRIED: You are right to be concerned about your friend. Everyone knows that smoking is addictive, but it is particularly addictive among teenagers and pre-teens. Tell your mother what you have told me. Michelle's father needs to know that his daughter is stealing. He also needs to know that the boy she's hanging out with is bad news. If he's encouraging her to steal, what else might he be encouraging her to do?
In the meantime, limit your time with Michelle. And make absolutely sure that you're not with her when she's stealing -- or you could be accused of being an accessory to the crime.
DEAR ABBY: I have always loved my daughter-in-law, "Lucy," and treated her well. Last year, for my son "Tim's" birthday, Lucy surprised him by booking a cruise and inviting her mother along. I felt slighted to have been excluded, so when her mother called me two months later and asked me if I'd share her stateroom and the cost, I refused.
I see Lucy's mother only at Christmas. Last year, Christmas fell after I had refused her offer. Both Lucy and her mother treated me coldly, bordering on rudeness. I was miserable. What is your opinion on this? -- MISERABLE MOTHER-IN-LAW IN FLORIDA
DEAR MISERABLE: I'd call it adding insult to injury, and I don't blame you for declining an invitation that was obviously an afterthought. Before this rift gets any wider, it's time for Tim to have a serious chat with his wife and her mother about their insensitivity where you're concerned. After all, you're all part of the same extended family now.
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