DEAR ABBY: I am what you might call a "lazy person." I am 18 and still live at home with my parents.
My mother just told me that I have to be out of the house by September. The thing is, I quit high school and don't have a job. I don't have my GED, but when I do get it, I want to enroll in hairdressing school.
I don't know how my mother and stepfather think I can make it on my own if I don't have the money. How can I convince them that I will need more time? -- FEELING PRESSURED IN CALGARY
DEAR PRESSURED: By giving them a much-needed show of faith. Contact your local department of education and enroll in classes now so you can get your GED. Once you're signed up, contact temp agencies and search the classified section of your newspaper for job openings. I'm betting that once your mom and stepfather see that you are making a sincere effort, they'll relent a little.
Your future is in your own hands, and the next move is up to you.
DEAR ABBY: Is it standard procedure for a woman to keep her husband's name after a divorce? It bothers me that the man I plan to marry already has an ex-wife with his last name. He says it's because of their children. I would like her to go back to her maiden name. -- HE'S NOT YOUR HUSBAND ANYMORE, COLUMBIA, S.C.
DEAR "HE'S NOT YOUR HUSBAND": The kindest advice I can offer is to accept the fact that your intended has baggage. You cannot make his first marriage "disappear." Many women retain their husband's name after a divorce for the exact reason she is doing so. If you marry this man, your name will be "Mrs. John Smith." His former wife is now "Mrs. Linda Smith." You'll all be happier if you just get over it.
DEAR ABBY: I was raised in a small rural community. When I was 8 or 9 years old, I was molested and sodomized. I am now a 61-year-old single man, and I have never been able to have an intimate relationship with anyone.
I was not molested by a priest, preacher, teacher, coach or any adult. I was molested by another child -- a boy of 12 or 13. I knew of three boys in my seventh grade class who were also molested by another boy. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had learned of two more.
The boys who victimized us are now married and have children. At least three of their victims never married. I have no doubt that these abuses continue today. This is NOT an issue of homosexuality or pedophilia. The issue is the dominant, aggressive nature of male sexuality.
Parents must realize that their child is potentially both a victim and an abuser. All boys should be alerted to the possibility that even some of their best friends may have dangerous curiosities -- and no one has more influence over a child than a friend.
Boys must be taught self-respect and respect for the privacy of others. Because of the complexities of our society, we cannot leave the development and socialization of a child's sexuality to chance or to nature. -- ALONE IN ARIZONA
DEAR ALONE: Your letter is troubling as well as thought-provoking. All children should be taught how to say no -- whether verbally or through self-defense -- if they are asked to do something that doesn't feel right and is against their better judgment.
It is imperative that parents also teach children the importance of treating one another with respect. This is a valuable lesson that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $10 (U.S. funds)
to: Dear Abby -- Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)
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