DEAR ABBY: I'm a 20-year-old female with five younger brothers and sisters. My 18-year-old sister is my biological sister, while my youngest four siblings are adopted.
At the beginning of the year I discovered my 14-year-old brother has been peeping on my sister. When my parents found out, they sent him to counseling, but my sister is still pretty scarred from it.
Today, when I was in the bathroom, I realized my brother was peeping at me through a hole in the wall. I feel extremely violated, but because he is only 14, I don't know what to do. How can we get him to stop, and how can my sister and I feel comfortable in our house again? -- SCARED OF MY BROTHER THE PEEPER
DEAR SCARED: You and your sister should be able to feel comfortable in your own home. Tell your parents that the counseling your brother received hasn't worked, then show them the hole he has been peeping through. Clearly, whatever consequences there were for his actions the first time were not enough to discourage his behavior. Your sister may need counseling to get beyond it.
The hole should be repaired -- and until it is, tape a small mirror over it so that if he tries to peep again, all he will see is his own eyeball. And tell your sister to do the same.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Carl," and I have been together for six months. We're both 29. We live together, work for the same employer and each have one child.
My problem is, we argue constantly. We fight about the kids, money, chores, etc. The smallest thing can turn into a major battle. Do you think it's too early to be fighting so much? I feel obligated to make it work because my son's father and I broke up before he was born, and he has now become attached to Carl and his daughter. Please help! -- TORN IN TORRANCE, CALIF.
DEAR TORN: Yes, it's too early to be fighting this way. It was also way too early to start living together. Couples counseling may help you and Carl resolve your issues -- but only if he is willing to work on them as you are. If that isn't the case, you should move on quickly, before your son forms an even stronger attachment. At this point, it can be done without the expense of a lawyer.
DEAR ABBY: My mom pays me $3 a week to do chores around the house. I take out the garbage, do the dishes, vacuum and set the table every night. I'm frustrated that I'm being paid such a small amount for doing a ton of work.
I told her I'm on "strike" and I'm tired of being her slave. Whenever I mention getting a raise, she claims she'll talk to my dad about it -- but she never does! How do I get paid more? -- SINCERELY, LAUREN
DEAR LAUREN: If your father is the source of the money, then don't depend on your mother to intercede for you. Talk to him yourself. And when you do, be prepared to tell him what a good job you have been doing -- and that you would be willing to take on a few more responsibilities for a little more compensation. Consider it your first lesson in the art of negotiation.
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