DEAR ABBY: My mother is very strict about the use of obscenities, so I don't use them at home. However, I have become close friends with "Mallory," and cuss words are part of her normal speech.
I have been to Mallory's house where swear words are normal among her parents and siblings. (Her parents are worse than she is in this regard.) I know it's not right, but it's the way she has been brought up.
Recently, Mallory spent the night here, and my mother heard her cuss. My younger sister was in the room. After Mallory left, my mother said she will not tolerate such "filth" and said Mallory is no longer welcome in our home, especially because she thought nothing of exposing my sister to such language.
Abby, Mallory is a loyal, caring friend. Her behavior is the result of her upbringing. I don't think it's fair to ban her from our house. I would ask her not to talk this way in our home, but I think she might slip up and sometimes forget. Have you any suggestions? -- TARZANA, CALIF., TEEN
DEAR TARZANA TEEN: While I understand your mother's point, if she thinks banishing Mallory will prevent foul language from reaching your sister's tender ears, she doesn't know what kids are saying in the halls of many schools today.
If you haven't already done so, level with Mallory. Tell her how offended your mother was at the language she used. It's important for your friend to know that while profanity may be acceptable in her home, there are places where it is deeply offensive, and your home is one of them. Then ask Mallory to call your mother and apologize. If she does, your mother may relent.
DEAR ABBY: A friend and I went to dinner at a local restaurant last night with our three young children. The oldest is 8; the other two are babies. We were seated next to a boisterous group of young women. As if their noise level wasn't enough, they proceeded to discuss certain bodily functions that are not appropriate for the dinner table, let alone a public place.
Needless to say, the impressionable 8-year-old got an earful and began asking questions. I had no idea how to answer him or to get the women to lower the noise level. How should I handle the situation should it arise again? -- OFFENDED IN THE DESERT
DEAR OFFENDED: You should get up, ask the host or hostess to seat you as far from the "distraction" as possible, and explain why. That way no more parties that include children will be seated next to them.
DEAR ABBY: I was held back a year in junior high school. Two years later I went and earned my G.E.D.
If I had stayed in school and not been held back, I would have graduated in 1981. (The extra year would put my graduation in 1982.) Which high school reunion should I go to? Or am I excluded from attending any reunions because I didn't officially graduate? Where do I fit in? -- MYSTIFIED IN OHIO
DEAR MYSTIFIED: Rather than asking where you fit in, consider in which class you had the most friends -- because that's the reunion you should attend. That gathering is where you will be more welcomed, even though you did not "officially" graduate with them.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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