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by Abigail Van Buren

Teenager Is Bewildered by Parents' Short Fuses

DEAR ABBY: My parents just aren't "there" for me anymore. I need to be able to go to them for advice, but now I can't. They get mad when I ask them for help on anything. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I mean, I cook, clean, help around the house, but it doesn't seem to help.

Please don't get me wrong. I love my parents, but they get mad so easily. I'm not sure if it's because they're aging -- they are 44 and 46 -- or if it's something I have done. I also feel like they aren't being fair to me because my siblings, who are younger AND older than I am, get more privileges than I do.

I just want a better relationship with my parents, the kind I had when I was younger. I mean, I haven't changed. (I only changed fashions. Like, I dress better and stuff.) Oh, and in case you're wondering, my parents don't drink or smoke.

So how do I talk to them in a way they will understand and consider thinking about my feelings without getting mad? -- ANONYMOUS TEEN, PASCO, WASH.

DEAR TEEN: You may not be doing anything wrong. Many adults are under pressure in the workplace and/or financially -- which can make them appear to be short-tempered and distracted. Your parents may also be trying to encourage you to think independently or be less reliant on them for advice. Maybe you should ask your parents what's wrong.

I don't know them, but at 44 and 46, I am sure their problem isn't "aging" because they are in the prime of their lives. However, if their problem is stress-related, the next time you want to discuss something serious, try it about an hour after dinner when they are relaxed and not distracted, and you may have better luck.

DEAR ABBY: I recently attended a concert in the hall that is home to our local symphony orchestra. Imagine my dismay when the couple sitting behind me proceeded to unwrap candy, then crumple up and throw the wrappers on the floor.

It was, to say the least, distracting -- and leaving the wrappers on the floor was low class. For pity's sake, folks, clean up after yourselves!

In this age of food allergies, eating peanut butter snacks in a crowded concert hall seems a doubly poor choice. Abby, would you please remind your readers to remember their manners during a live performance? -- APPALLED IN AKRON, OHIO

DEAR APPALLED: Your frustration is understandable, and I hope your letter will serve as a reminder to concert- and theatergoers not to check their manners with their overcoats at the door.

DEAR ABBY: I'm an 18-year-old, married Marine and expecting my first bundle of joy. I'm depressed. My job stresses me out a lot, and the thought of having to put my newborn in day care 10-plus hours a day is killing me.

I have been thinking about trying to get out so I can raise my child. My husband intends to stay in the service for life. Being stationed so far from home, I have no help and know little about raising a child. So I'm trying to figure out -- should I stay or try to get out? -- MILITARY MOM-TO-BE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

DEAR MILITARY MOM-TO-BE: Only you can make that decision, but before you do, there are two individuals I'm advising you to consult: The first is the officer in charge of your unit, and the second is your chaplain.

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