DEAR ABBY: I am greatly worried about the health of my parents. My mother has Type 2 diabetes, and my father has high cholesterol and blood pressure. Both of them have poor eating habits.
I have tried convincing them to eat healthier and exercise, but they are stuck in their old ways. Mom still brings home cookies, brownies and candy, and Dad still eats cheese and deep-fried foods. How can I get them to adopt a healthier lifestyle? -- DEEPLY CONCERNED DAUGHTER, LOS GATOS, CALIF.
DEAR DAUGHTER: As much as you love your parents, you cannot do for them what they refuse to do for themselves. I am assuming that their physician has warned them about what will happen if they continue eating the way they do.
You can offer encouragement, but you cannot force them to give up their unhealthy lifestyle. You can also learn from their poor example and not backslide into the eating habits you learned as a child growing up in their household.
DEAR ABBY: A group of us from work go out for drinks a few times a week. My boss's husband hits on me in front of her, and she doesn't say anything. A few of my co-workers are lesbians, and they hit on me, too. I don't have a boyfriend, but I have never been attracted to people of the same sex. I enjoy going out, but feel uncomfortable, and they are my only friends. How do I stop all this nonsense? -- BRENDA ON THE EAST COAST
DEAR BRENDA: The surest way to "stop the nonsense" would be to quit mixing business and personal relationships. Inform your boss that her husband's behavior is sexual harassment, and you want her to put a stop to it. Tell your co-workers that while you like them, you are straight, and if they don't stop hitting on you, you will report it to your boss. And last, instead of socializing with these people after work, join a gym or sign up for a class where you will meet new people and develop new relationships.
DEAR ABBY: I am 21, but look a few years younger than my age. I recently underwent a procedure at my orthodontist's office that turned out to be more painful than expected. It lasted almost an hour, and one of the professionals seemed to think it would be helpful to talk "baby talk" to me for the entire duration. Being talked to like that, in addition to the pain I was experiencing, was extremely irritating.
A few of my friends have told me that they have also been treated this way by medical professionals. What would be a polite way to tell someone to just shut up with the baby talk? -- IRRITATED ADULT IN BOSTON
DEAR IRRITATED ADULT: You should not tell the person to "shut up with the baby talk." Your message will come across stronger if you tell the person -- once the procedure is finished -- that being spoken to like a child was patronizing, and in the future you would prefer to be spoken to like the adult you are.
DEAR ABBY: After my kids come home from swim practice at the local high school, my wife insists they take a shower to clean off. I figure that any chemicals added to the pool, like chlorine, will kill off the germs. So my question is, is it necessary to shower after swimming in a chlorinated pool? -- FATHER KNOWS BEST (IN SAN DIEGO)
DEAR FATHER: In this case, mother knows best. Chlorine is a harsh chemical that is drying to the skin and damaging to the hair. Your children should listen to their mother, and you should stop trying to undercut her.
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