DEAR ABBY: "Brad" and I have been together for 12 years. We have two beautiful children under the age of 10, but Brad refuses to get involved with them.
He will play with the younger one maybe 20 minutes a week. The older one gets even less attention. Brad refuses to take them anywhere to play -- unless there is something in it for him. When they are with their dad, they are stuck in front of a television set or left to play by themselves. It's up to me to entertain the children, and that leaves me with little time alone.
I don't understand it. Brad had a happy childhood filled with lots of love, attention, family activities, etc. We both work full time and have a nice home. I have talked to him about this problem, but like everything else, if it's not important to him, it's not important. He also doesn't have time to help me with housework because he "needs" TV, computer and sleep time.
Thank you for any help you can provide. -- NEEDS INSIGHT IN NEW YORK
DEAR NEEDS: You have described a man who has turned selfishness into an art form. It appears your life partner received so much love and attention as a child that he never learned it was necessary to give to others. In a sense, he has never grown up. Your children have my sympathy, because they deserve better.
Brad is not likely to change, so it's time to look elsewhere for a father figure for your children. Is there an uncle, cousin or grandfather who could spend time with them -- take them to the movies, sporting events or show an interest?
You, too, have my sympathy because it appears you have not two, but three "children" on your hands.
DEAR ABBY: I went to wake up my 14-year-old daughter today and discovered her sleeping in the nude. Apparently she has been doing it for some time. Normally she is good about getting up, and I haven't needed to enter her room to waken her. When I asked her why she does it, she said it's more comfortable and she sleeps better.
When I told her I was not comfortable with it, she asked me why, and frankly I could not come up with a good reason other than it seemed "wrong," and fear about what would happen in an earthquake or fire. She questioned how it could be wrong if no one knows -- unless they walk into her room without knocking (as I did). She keeps a long robe next to the bed so she can put it on in case of emergency. (Indeed, she walks around the house in that robe, and I thought she had a nightgown underneath when in fact she has been naked underneath since Christmas.)
I am still not comfortable with it, but we agreed to abide by your advice. Is it OK for her to sleep in the nude, and why -- or why not? -- WORRIED MOM IN SAN LEANDRO
DEAR WORRIED MOM: There is nothing inherently wrong with sleeping in the nude. Many people do so because they sleep more comfortably that way. Look at the bright side -- it makes for smaller loads of laundry.
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