DEAR ABBY: My best friend, "Wanda," is in trouble. We're only in sixth grade, and I don't want her to ruin her life. I found out she is doing drugs. I know Wanda needs help, but I don't know where to start.
Should I tell her I know? I think the first step to helping her is to get her to admit she has a problem. Am I right? -- CONCERNED FRIEND IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR CONCERNED: Admitting one has a problem is the first step in helping ONESELF. If you try to get her to admit she has a problem, the first thing she will probably try to do is deny it.
Your first step to helping Wanda should be to tell your mother what you have learned. It is important that your friend's mother know what her daughter is doing, so she can have the girl tested and find professional help for her. Do not put it off.
DEAR ABBY: When parents have been divorced for many years, is it possible for a bride to have both her father and stepfather walk her down the aisle? This is becoming a bone of contention that no one seems able to solve. -- WORRIED GRANDMA IN HOUSTON
DEAR WORRIED: If the birth father has been absent emotionally and/or financially, and the stepfather has raised the bride, the subject can be sensitive. From my perspective, the father who put in the effort should have the honor of walking her down the aisle -- but not all brides agree with me. Some families compromise; the birth father walks the bride partway down the aisle, and the stepfather takes her the rest of the way (or vice versa). I hope this helps to resolve the dilemma.
DEAR ABBY: I have a boyfriend I like a lot. The problem is my mother won't let me have him over even when they are here. I am very responsible and wouldn't do anything dumb with him. I'm 13, so it would only be to spend some quality time together. Have you any ideas how to convince my mom? -- TOTALLY CRUSHED IN COLFAX, WIS.
DEAR TOTALLY CRUSHED: Clip this letter and show it to your mom. She may think that you are too young to be interested in boys and believe that if she "just says no," your interest will lessen. Big mistake. Parents who are inflexible force their children to sneak around. They have forgotten that the safest environment is the one that's most closely supervised, and that is at home with an adult present.
DEAR ABBY: Please tell me if it is still appropriate to address a card to a young male child as "Master" and then the child's name? I have been doing it for years, but my husband says that the practice is outdated. -- UNSURE IN ELYRIA, OHIO
DEAR UNSURE: Continue to do it if you wish. According to the 16th edition of Emily Post's "Etiquette" (Harper Collins, 1997): "Boys may be addressed as 'Master' on envelopes and formal correspondence until they are about 7 years old, and 'Mr.' when they become 18. In between, no title is used."
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-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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