DEAR ABBY: I'm a 13-year-old girl with a sister and a brother. I was recently told by my dad that I have to teach my brother how to read, but the problem is he has a learning disability and a behavior disorder. I don't know how I'm supposed to teach him to read, and it scares me.
On top of that, my dad got mad at my sister and me and said that when we were younger we were just like my brother, only worse. He said he was close to giving up on us. Sometimes Dad says we're worthless, stupid and asks why we're even in this world. He says we're not good for anything.
I have a slight form of autism, so I'm sort of slow doing certain things other kids do at my age. I feel like I'll never be as smart as anyone else, and I have no clue how I'm going to teach my disabled brother to read. Help! -- LOST, ALONE AND WORRIED IN URBANA, ILL.
DEAR LOST: It would be wonderful if you could teach your learning disabled brother how to read, but you are not equipped to do that. Your brother should be in a special education class with a teacher who has the specialized training -- and, possibly, a tutor.
Sometimes, when parents are extremely stressed or angry they can say things they don't mean without thinking of the lasting effect their words can have on a child. You are neither worthless nor stupid. You are an intelligent girl. Frankly, your father appears to be in need of some help, and I hope you will share with a counselor at your school what you have told me.