DEAR ABBY: I am extremely shaken by a recent experience, and I want to share this with other parents who may one day find themselves in a similar situation. My daughter, "Mary," is almost 18 and in the 12th grade. We have always had a close relationship. She has always come to me to talk about what's going on in her life -- friends, crushes, school, just about everything.
A few months ago, Mary told me about a terrible situation concerning one of her classmates. "Jill" had just learned that she was pregnant and was frantic. She told Mary that she couldn't tell her parents because she was afraid of a violent reaction.
Mary was so worried about Jill that she came to me for help. After hearing the story, I encouraged my daughter to tell Jill to talk to her parents. I never imagined what would happen next.
I knew from things Mary had said that Jill's parents were hard on her, but I didn't know the extent of her problems at home. When Jill took my advice and told her parents she was pregnant, her father beat her so badly she ended up in the hospital and lost the baby.
Abby, you can't imagine how terrible I feel about this. Jill will never be the same, and I feel I am to blame. I wish I had known how to protect her from a dangerous and violent situation at home.
I hope you will share this letter with other concerned parents and give your thoughts on this heart-wrenching problem. -- SHOCKED AND SADDENED IN SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.
DEAR SHOCKED: Please stop being so hard on yourself. You advised your daughter's friend to do what most other parents would have. What you failed to take into consideration was the fact that many teens live in homes where there is violence, abuse, drug problems and incest.
A year ago here in California, there was an attempt to legislate "parental notification" into law. Fortunately, it was voted down. It's teens like your daughter's friend who would have been harmed by this kind of law. They certainly cannot go to their parents -- and I have never believed that the law can successfully force this kind of communication with the home.
Of course parents want their children -- regardless of age -- to come to them if there is a crisis. And I am told that seven out of 10 teens who find themselves pregnant do exactly that. However, those who don't usually have a good reason for not doing so. Teens like the girl in your letter need counseling and care, not laws forcing them to face abusive parents. I'm glad you wrote to me. Your sad story is a lesson for other well-meaning adults.
DEAR ABBY: Can you please resolve a problem for me? I want to know the proper etiquette for wearing a heart-shaped diamond ring. Do you wear it with the point facing you or facing the tip of your finger? -- CARA IN WEST VIRGINIA
DEAR CARA: According to Michael Botsko, director of the Tiffany jewelry store in LA's Century City, the stone should be worn with the point facing outward -- so that when you extend your hand, people won't mistake it for one that's round or oval.
DEAR ABBY: I am very concerned. I recently started seeing a man who refuses to kiss me. He will peck me on the lips or the cheek, but nothing more. I have asked him about it. He claims he has never kissed, and that it actually turns him off. I feel like because of this I can't connect with him on a more intimate level. Is this normal? Please help. -- LIPLESS LOVER IN FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ.
DEAR LIPLESS LOVER: Although his aversion is not unheard of, it is not "normal." Most affectionate lovers kiss. I can't answer for you, but for me, this would be a deal-breaker. My "gut" tells me you should keep him as a friend -- and expect nothing more.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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