DEAR ABBY: What can I do about a child I see in an automobile who is hanging out the window when she passes my house? The child is around 4 years old.
Today when I saw the little girl, the only parts of her in the car were her lower legs and feet. Her mother, father and grandmother allow her to do this. It scares me because when I was a child, I fell out of a moving car, and I still have scars on my arms because of it.
I am not close to these neighbors, so can you help me with some advice? -- SCARED FOR HER IN FLORIDA
DEAR SCARED FOR HER: Seat belt laws have been enacted to protect children from this kind of ignorance or negligence. Children (and adults) who fall from moving vehicles can die of their injuries, or be crippled for life.
You should report your concerns about this to the police to ensure the little girl's safety. The next time you see her hanging out the car window, immediately call 911. The dispatcher will determine which agency should be notified.
DEAR ABBY: My ex-wife, "Kristy," and I have been divorced for five years and she has since remarried. We have a 15-year-old daughter, "Taryn."
When it's Kristy's birthday, Mother's Day, etc., Taryn looks to me to help out with gifts for her mother. I have asked my daughter if she talks to her stepfather about this, and she says no.
I feel it isn't my duty to do this. It should be the current husband who is assigned this task. I want Taryn to be happy giving her mother a gift, but I am not comfortable with this. Am I thinking right? If so, what should I say to my daughter? -- UNCERTAIN IN KENTUCKY
DEAR UNCERTAIN: Explain this to your daughter just as you have written it to me. Taryn isn't a little girl. I presume she has chores to do and earns an allowance. If she wants to give her mother a gift or a card, she should pay for it. But if she wants to spend more money for it than she has, she should ask her stepdad to chip in.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old girl. I find it very hard to be a teenager where I live. It seems most of my friends have boyfriends, but most of my friends have gone very far with their boyfriends. I'm too scared to. I don't feel ready for something like that.
I kind of want a boyfriend, but it's hard to find one because most guys want to go too far. I don't want to talk about this kind of stuff with my mom. I hope you get the chance to answer. -- TEEN OUT WEST
DEAR TEEN: I'm sorry you can't discuss this with your mother because if you did, she could share her experience with you, and that's a valuable asset to have.
I have always advised that when people start dating, they do it in groups, which takes away a lot of the pressure of feeling you have to do anything you don't want to do. If that ever happens to you, you have the right to say "no," "stop!" "I'm not ready for that," etc. Some girls are reluctant to say it loudly and clearly, which is a big mistake. Most men understand that no means no -- but if a girl doesn't state it clearly, they think it's OK to continue. If you follow this advice, your problems will be greatly minimized.
DEAR READERS: If you live in a state that observes daylight saving time, don't forget to turn your clocks forward one hour before going to bed tonight. Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. tomorrow. You know what that means -- it'll be lighter later and, as a comfort to those of you who are suffering through an extraordinarily harsh winter, spring is on the way!
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)