DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for six months. A few weeks ago, we gave his parents our house key so they could let a plumber in to fix a water leak. Without asking, they copied our house key for themselves. Although we didn't like it, my husband did not make a big thing out of it.
Yesterday, when we returned home from work, it was apparent that someone had been in our bedroom. The computer was left on. We have learned my husband's parents gave our key to my husband's brother, "Joe," who used our computer to go online to access pornographic sites. My husband has expressed his "disappointment" to all of them –- but I am livid. I feel violated, Abby. What should I do? -- OUTRAGED IN OHIO
DEAR OUTRAGED: Change the locks on your doors and change the password on your computer. And next time your faucet leaks, ask someone else to let the plumber in.
DEAR ABBY: While driving home from school with my 13-year-old daughter and her best friend, "Cammy," in the car, Cammy suddenly burst into tears and said, "I feel like killing myself."
The minute we got home I held separate, private conversations with my daughter and her friend. It seems Cammy fells neglected by her parents (they are divorced with shared custody), and she's upset because they both abuse alcohol. Cammy said she has tried to talk to her mom and dad about her feelings, but they "just yell at her."
Abby, I know this family very well. I find it hard to believe that things are as bad as Cammy says. However, a child crying out -– either for help or attention –- deserves both. How should I handle this? -- CONCERNED IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
DEAR CONCERNED: Let Cammy know she is always welcome to come to you at any time. Then, in a nonaccusatory way, let her parents know that Cammy is seriously depressed, and needs them now more than ever.
The face that a family presents publicly can be very different from the dynamics going on in private. Whether or not they drink too much, Cammy is feeling emotionally isolated, and that can be considered a form of child abuse.
Alateen might be helpful for her. It's a 12-step fellowship of young people whose lives have been affected by someone else's drinking. It can be contacted by writing: Al-Anon Family Groups, 1600 Corporate Landing Parkway, Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617. The toll-free number is (888) 425-2666. The Web site is www.al-anon.alateen.org.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are separated. During the holidays, he had our 17-year-old son with him, and they went out of town for the weekend with a 15-year-old girl.
Abby, the girl's mother had never met either of us until my husband picked up her daughter and chatted with the woman for a few minutes.
I am appalled! What kind of mother would allow her teenage daughter to go away for the weekend with a boy and his father for three nights? -- READER IN PORTLAND, ORE.
DEAR READER: A mother who needs her head examined. You have described a recipe for disaster.
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 $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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