Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Alcohol Fuels Fire of Conflict Between Parent and Teenager

DEAR ABBY: I am a normal 13-year-old kid. I play soccer and the saxophone and am serious about both.

Lately, I'm noticing my mom's drinking. She threatens all kinds of things at night: no soccer, no sax, no social life. She gets argumentative and repeats herself. We've been getting into fights because she forgets things and says things she doesn't mean.

The other night, she grabbed and pushed me. When I told her to stop, she said she has nothing to lose, but I do.

Plus my dad is kind of timid, so he goes along with whatever she says. HELP! -- CRAZY IN COLORADO

DEAR CRAZY: Your mother's drinking is out of control, and her behavior is destructive. Your father probably hopes that if he ignores it, it will go away. Please clip this letter and give it to him. He needs to contact Al-Anon, and you should attend some Alateen meetings.

Alateen is a fellowship of young people whose lives have been affected by someone else's drinking. An active adult member of Al-Anon serves as a sponsor for each group. The number for both Al-Anon and Alateen is (888) 425-2666, and the Web site for both is