DEAR ABBY: At age 60 my mother ignores basic safety rules. She drives her older model car with the doors unlocked. I have tried explaining that she's making it easy for a carjacker to gain entry, but she insists "that won't happen to me."
Mom walks her dog alone at night and leaves her front door unlocked, claiming, "If anyone tried to get in, I'd see them." Not true. She goes for long walks, and while she's walking, she chats on her cell phone, completely oblivious to what's going on around her.
She actually nailed a key ring with the key to her back door (labeled as such) outside next to the door. Anyone could scale the short fence and walk right in. She also leaves the key to her front door under the mat on her front porch for anyone to find.
Mom makes me crazy with worry. I don't know if she's aware of the risks she's taking. I have begged her to lock her door and hide the keys, but she says I am "paranoid" and that nothing could ever happen.
Now she has bought a gun and claims it will keep her safe. I say it's better to exercise common sense and prevent the break-in and possible assault in the first place.
At age 30 I feel like I'M the parent. Am I being unreasonable? -- WORRIED SICK IN DALLAS
DEAR WORRIED SICK: Your mother appears to be incredibly naive and in a state of complete denial. The first rule of personal safety is to remember that criminals seek easy targets -- so the more difficult it is for them to make you a victim, the lower your risk for becoming one.
Contact your police department (or your mother's neighborhood watch program) and ask if they have any personal safety literature you can give your mother. The life you save may be her own.
DEAR ABBY: What do you do when your husband doesn't like your best girlfriend? She keeps asking us to go on double dates and vacations. Should I be honest and tell her he doesn't like her, or continue to make excuses? It really gets on my nerves. -- IN A PICKLE IN OHIO
DEAR IN A PICKLE: When someone continually makes suggestions about getting together socially, even when those suggestions are consistently deflected, it's time to level. The next time it happens, tell her that it isn't going to happen. You don't have to tell her your husband "doesn't like her." Say he "isn't comfortable" double dating or taking vacations as a foursome and that you would like to keep things just as they are, ladies only.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter watches TV sitcoms along with her precocious 4-year-old son who is being exposed to many "adult" themes, terms and politically incorrect infractions. She doesn't see the harm. Do you? -- NOT A TV FAN
DEAR NOT A TV FAN: Yes, I do. Your daughter's parenting skills leave something to be desired. At a time when she should be entertaining and enriching her son, she's entertaining herself. There are books she could read with him and programs they could view together that would expand both their intellects. It's a shame she's not availing herself of them.
Will this harm the boy? Maybe not. But she's not helping her son grow intellectually and creatively, either.
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.)