DEAR ABBY: My birthday is in 26 days and my dad just told me he is not going to get me a birthday present. And I really want an iPod Touch for school. I'm in the fifth grade and everyone in my class has an iPod Touch, iPad or iPhone. EXCEPT ME!
My mom said she would get me a present, but it will be something small. And unless I can keep my room clean, I won't have a birthday! I'm turning double digits (10)! Please help! -- DESPERATE GIRL IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR DESPERATE: I'll try, but it may not be the help you're hoping for.
Talk to your parents and ask why they are against you having an iPod Touch. Not all kids your age have parents who can afford them, and that might be the reason. Show them you are mature by keeping your room clean and doing whatever other chores are assigned to you. If you get an allowance, start saving up and ask them if they would "partner" with you in getting an iPod Touch in the future, after you have saved a certain amount. It's worth a try, and it just might work.
DEAR ABBY: My 20-year-old son is in recovery from substance abuse. He has also dealt with depression over the years. He has informed his therapist, his father and me that his older sisters had sex with him when he was a young child. It was one of the explanations he gave for his depression and substance abuse.
I have wanted to talk to his counselor about the situation so that as a family we can talk to his sisters. We could perhaps find out whether what he's referring to is normal experimentation or something more. We would also be able to ask his sisters if they were abused and acting out as a result of it. It seems incredible that as parents we were oblivious because we thought we were aware of and vigilant about threats to our children.
Now our son does not want to discuss this and refuses to see his counselor. We're afraid pushing him will trigger a relapse on his part, but we are also concerned about whether there might be an issue with his sisters that should be addressed. Should we tell him we're going to raise it with his sisters? Or should we wait until he's ready? -- WANTS TO DO WHAT'S BEST
DEAR WANTS: This news has to have been shocking to you and your husband as parents, but it isn't time yet for a family discussion because your son may be too fragile. Also, I think professional ethics prevent your son's therapist from discussing this with you. Issues like this can be complicated, and the facts may never be known.
What is most important now is for you to show your son that you love him and care about his emotional health, and while you respect his privacy, it is vital that he help himself move forward. The past cannot be changed, but it is important for his future that he find a professional with whom he can talk, if the therapist he has been seeing isn't helping him. Table any family discussion about this until your son is stronger.
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