DEAR ABBY: My younger brother confided that he got a girl pregnant. I'm the only one he has told and it's killing me. The baby is about two months old, and my folks still don't know they could possibly be grandparents. My brother doesn't want to tell them right now, and he also doesn't want a paternity test to see if the baby is his because he doesn't want to face the reality that he could really be a father.
Abby, knowing that I could have a niece out there is killing me because there are so many children who harbor resentment toward their absentee fathers. I really want to do the right thing and get my parents involved, but if I do I'll lose my brother's trust. If I don't tell, I will have to live with the fact that I am abetting my brother being another stereotypical dead-beat dad. Please help. -- AUNT IN DISGUISE
DEAR AUNT IN DISGUISE: How old is your brother? From your description, he is acting like a 14-year-old. Have another talk with him and tell him that because he is old enough to father a child, he's also old enough to accept responsibility for his actions. The time to tell his parents everything and start supporting his child in every way he can is now.
Of course, before making any announcements, he should be sure the baby is actually his. A paternity test will let him off the hook if he isn't the father. So give him a deadline to have the test done, and if it shows he is the baby daddy, set another one for him to inform your parents or you will. The longer the delay, the harder it will be.
DEAR ABBY: I recently discovered that my mother has been purchasing catalog items using my name and not paying for them. I have confronted her, but she denies it even though the items are in her home. My mother is much better off financially than I am and has no need to use my credit.
I have spoken to the companies and had mixed results. Some have agreed to put the bill in her name, others refused. At this point, I don't know what to do. Any advice would be appreciated. -- JOANNA IN BROOKLYN, N.Y.
DEAR JOANNA: Your mother's behavior is shameful. Talk to your credit card companies and ask for new credit cards. If this is allowed to continue, your mother will destroy your credit. Tell her that you expect her to pay the charges she has incurred immediately, and you want proof of payment. Warn her that if it doesn't happen, you will inform the fraud division of your local police and let them deal with her. Then follow through.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 13 and have a problem. My friends are jealous of me. They say I'm spoiled rotten. I honestly don't think I am that spoiled, and I love my friends dearly. I am bothered by their rude comments. How do I ask them to stop or should I just ignore it? -- UNSPOILED IN INDIANA
DEAR UNSPOILED: The next time they say it, say: "It hurts my feelings when you say that. A spoiled person is someone who doesn't appreciate what she has -- and I appreciate everything I have. Especially friends like you."
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