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by Abigail Van Buren

Grandma Looks for Guidance to Tame Happy Wild Child

DEAR ABBY: My 8-year-old granddaughter has posed a question that stumped me, and I hope you can help with an answer: Why be neat and well-groomed?

She doesn't care what people think of how she looks. She sees no problem wearing clothes that are torn, etc. I am concerned that by the time she reaches adolescence she won't care how she looks when she leaves the house.

Her hair is extremely curly. It can't be combed or it gets wilder and frizzier, which adds to her unkempt appearance. Her hair may improve as she gets older if she's motivated to spend the extra time.

I am challenged by her question. How can I answer her? -- LOST FOR WORDS IN FLORIDA

DEAR LOST FOR WORDS: Please stop trying to have an adult conversation with an 8-year-old. Where is this child's mother? Why is she permitted to go around in "torn, etc." clothing? It's time to talk to your son or daughter about helping their child with her grooming. The way your granddaughter looks is not only a reflection on herself, but also the adults whose responsibility it is to care for her. While she may not care how she looks, her parents should.