DEAR ABBY: I caught my 12-year-old granddaughter stealing. She took one of my favorite hair products, which isn't a big deal, but I'm torn over how to approach her and if I should inform her parents. There was another possible theft once before when she visited me. Some makeup blush disappeared. I dismissed it, but now I have concerns.
How should I handle this? I love her unconditionally, but this needs to be addressed and I don't know how. I'm prepared that she might deny my accusation. Then what? -- ALARMED IN RHODE ISLAND
DEAR ALARMED: Tell your granddaughter that you enjoy having her visit, but you noticed that several items had disappeared after she stayed with you. Ask her if she took them. Regardless of how she responds, tell her that if she wants to use something of yours, before she does, she should ask permission. If it happens after that, discuss it with her parents then.Read more in: Family & Parenting
DEAR ABBY: My brother is a recovering heroin addict. He stayed clean for almost a year until a few months ago, when he relapsed. He hasn't used again since his slip and continues to go to outpatient treatment.
My boyfriend, whom I recently moved in with, doesn't want him to come to the house. He says it's to protect "his nest," and I understand why. I have tried talking with him about it because I feel that I can't have any other family members over, but that doesn't seem to matter to him. My brother heard he isn't welcome and I feel absolutely terrible.
I'm not sure how to rectify the situation. If my boyfriend can't accept my family, how is this relationship supposed to last? But another part of me wonders if his feelings are justified, and perhaps I have been too accepting of all the mistakes and grief my brother has caused my family and me. -- SAD SISTER IN OHIO
DEAR SAD SISTER: If your brother has stolen from the family in order to feed his habit, your boyfriend has a valid point in not wanting him in the house. His reaction is intelligent. However, the ban should not extend to your entire family, and this is something you need to clarify. If your boyfriend's objective is to isolate you from all of your relatives, it's a red flag that shouldn't be ignored.Read more in: Addiction | Family & Parenting | Love & Dating
DEAR ABBY: My daughter is marrying a wonderful young man who not only loves her, but also her 7-month-old daughter, who is not his. My question is one of etiquette. During the wedding ceremony, if my granddaughter starts crying, should I get up and leave with her? She's a little Mama's girl and might start to fuss.
I'd hate to miss my daughter's wedding, but don't want it to be ruined for her guests. What is the proper thing to do? -- BRIDE'S MOM ON THE EAST COAST
DEAR BRIDE'S MOM: The proper thing to do is to ask your daughter -- well in advance of the wedding -- what she would like done in the event that her daughter starts crying or acting up during the ceremony.Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations | Etiquette & Ethics
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.