DEAR ABBY: Our youngest son, "Devin," is 15. He has been seeing a girl I'll call "Allison" for five months. Allison's parents allow them to hang out at their house with parental supervision. Devin has come home twice with hickeys, and once with permanent marker on his chest and abdomen saying "Allison's boob" and "Allison's property."
I have spoken to Allison's father more than once about their extreme intimacy at this age. (She's 14.) He assures me that they are supervised.
I feel my son is too young for this relationship, but I am unsure that forcing it to end would be the best option. We invite Allison over as often as our work schedules allow. They are allowed to listen to music in his room, but the door is always open, and we're "hovering" most of the time. We also engage in family games with her and our son.
How can we get this relationship out of the bedroom and into the light? -- FURIOUS IN VENTURA, CALIF.
DEAR FURIOUS: You have described two healthy, normal young people with too much time on their hands and one set of parents with their heads in the sand.
The time has come to involve your son in after-school sports, an extracurricular class or a part-time job. Any of these will allow Devin less time in Allison's bedroom.
If that's not feasible, then I urge you to ensure that your son is fully informed about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases and has access to condoms. The same goes for Allison. Better to be safe than sorry.
DEAR ABBY: A few years ago, I was pregnant with my son. When I was eight months along, my cousin gave me a baby walker that I had listed on my registry. She then left on a trip out of the country.
A week later, my baby boy was stillborn. I was devastated. When my cousin returned from her trip, she actually asked me to return her gift. She said that since the baby was dead, she didn't think I "needed it" anymore.
Perhaps that was true, but I was outraged at her actions. Do I have any right to be so mad? -- MOURNING IN OHIO
DEAR MOURNING: Your cousin's request was outrageously insensitive, and her timing was awful. Under the circumstances, your reaction was natural and justified. Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss.
DEAR ABBY: Although I have lived in Denver for a number of years, I still have a very thick, very Southern accent. I am often asked, "Where did you come from?" My answer is usually, "From my mother!"
Am I overly sensitive, or are people being rude? If you have a more appropriate answer, please share it with me. -- DRAWLING IN DENVER
DEAR DRAWLING: When people hear an accent -- regional or foreign -- they are inclined to be curious. Although it is technically rude to ask a stranger a personal question about his or her background, I don't think it's meant to be insulting. Because you don't care to elaborate on your background, your answer is fine.
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.)
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