DEAR ABBY: I am 13 and come from a big family. About a month ago, some relatives came to the United States and they're living with us for a while. They have two kids -- a girl a year older than I and a boy two years younger (I'll call him Joe).
My dad is constantly pushing me to play with Joe and include him in everything I'm doing. Usually I'm OK with it, but sometimes I just want to be alone to think or read or spend time with friends my age.
Wherever I go, Joe follows me. He doesn't understand English very well, so it's hard to explain that I need time away from him. If I talk to my mom or dad about it, they call me selfish and say I should let Joe come with me. I like Joe, but I don't want him with me ALL the time! Am I being selfish? What should I do, Abby? -- WANT TO BE ALONE IN TENNESSEE
DEAR WANT TO BE ALONE: Look at it this way: Joe is a stranger in a country and culture that's new to him. He is surrounded by people with whom it's difficult to communicate. He must feel very uprooted and alone. Try to get him involved in activities -- like sports -- where language is not so important. That way, he will meet kids his own age and have a chance to excel. It will give you time to yourself, and he won't be so dependent upon you.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Jeanine," and three grandchildren ages 6, 7 and 9 live with my husband and me. Jeanine pays us $25 a week for rent and buys some of the groceries. She works in a convenience store part time and takes some college classes.
I am happy to help my daughter and pay tuition to a private school for the grandkids. However, our utilities have skyrocketed since she and the children moved in two years ago. Jeanine has a bank account, and last week I looked at her checkbook. I was shocked to see that she gives her church $50 to $60 a week. She has also written a check for $2,000 to the same church.
I confronted Jeanine when she got home and things have not been the same since. I know I shouldn't have snooped, but shouldn't she give more toward this household than she contributes to the church? -- FEELING USED IN MACON, GA.
DEAR FEELING USED: In this case, absolutely. But it won't happen unless you put your foot down and make it clear that she must. I'm all for contributing to the church, but charity begins at home, and that means paying a fair share of household expenses.
DEAR ABBY: My wife is seven months pregnant. This is her first child. (I have a 9-year-old son from my first marriage.) Like most expectant parents, we've been looking through baby books for names and have run into a problem.
My wife and I would like to name our baby after me if it's a boy, but we're unsure if that's a no-no because of my oldest son. My first wife had no interest in naming our son after me. Would it be OK to give our baby the "Junior" title, or should we continue to search for another name? -- NEW DADDY AGAIN
DEAR NEW DADDY: As long as "Junior" hasn't been used before, I see no reason why you shouldn't name the baby after you. However, a word to the wise: Include your 9-year-old in the naming process if possible. It will give him "ownership" and head off any possible resentment.
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