DEAR ABBY: I am the godparent of three children from different families. In the past, I have given each child money designated for his or her college fund, along with appropriate event gifts.
Within the last year, the parents of all three godchildren have disclosed to me that they (the parents) used the children's college funds for "family" use –- such as a down payment on a home, a family vacation or home renovation.
I am hurt and bewildered that my friends could do such a thing and destroy their child's college savings. All three of the children are young, and the parents each said something about "replacing" those funds "someday." Now I no longer feel comfortable giving them money, since I do not wish to fund the next family vacation or new car.
How do I address this tactfully with my friends, especially since my no longer contributing to the college funds will be noticed? Please help. -- ELIZABETH IN MOBILE, ALA.
DEAR ELIZABETH: You say you are hurt and bewildered? I'd be furious that the money I had given for a college fund had been pilfered by parents too immature to understand the blessing of compound interest.
Please don't penalize your godchildren for the bad behavior of their parents. Talk to your banker or financial adviser about establishing your own college funds for them -- funds that can't be touched until they are needed for the purpose for which they are intended. There may even be a tax break for you. And if the parents have the bad taste to bring up the subject, tell them the money will be there, but for now, it's safely out of the way of "temptation."
DEAR ABBY: I am 15. My younger brother, "Mikey," is 7. I enjoy watching a television show that is rated PG-13. My parents didn't mind my watching it until a few weeks ago.
Over the last couple of weeks, Mikey has been coming into my room while I'm watching the show. When I ask him to leave, he throws a fit. He then goes into his room and watches it, thinking no one will find out.
Mikey has been imitating some of the violence on the show, and my parents are blaming me for showing it to him. Now they are threatening to take away my privilege of watching the show. What can I do to convince them that I am not exposing him to the violence? -- DAVID IN LIVERPOOL, N.Y.
DEAR DAVID: You should not be punished for your parents' failure to supervise your brother. If you haven't already done so, tell your parents exactly what you have told me. And while you're at it, suggest that they either activate the parental controls on the television set in your brother's room, or remove it entirely so that he can watch only in the den or family room where his viewing can be monitored.
DEAR ABBY: What do you think of a mother-in-law who asks that an afghan made by her friend be given back? It was given to my daughter and her husband as a wedding gift three years ago. They just got divorced. Isn't this a bit tacky? -- JUST WONDERING
DEAR WONDERING: When a marriage ends, it is not unusual for the splitting spouses to divide the wedding gifts according to whose "side" they came from. Was it tacky of the former mother-in-law to ask? I don't think so, if the request was made politely. However, once a gift is given, it belongs to the recipient -– and possession is nine points of the law.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600