DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in our 30s. We do well for ourselves and are generally happy. We both have siblings who have various problems -- drug abuse, emotional issues, broken relationships. Our parents pick up and travel to support them during their various dramas, but visit my husband and me only if they need a place to stay and don't want to pay for a hotel.
My parents have cited fear of flying as a reason they don't visit us much, and my husband's parents claim they don't have the money. However, their travel itineraries to visit our siblings suggest otherwise.
I haven't asked my husband's parents about this, but I did ask mine. My mother said that because we're "on a good path," they don't need to see us as often or put as much effort into us. I was shocked. How do we deal with knowing that we're less favored because we have our act together? -- THE GOOD KIDS
DEAR GOOD KIDS: You are not the only people with this problem. The same thing tends to happen in families in which there is a child with special needs. The parents expend their energy where they think it is needed most, which often results in hurt and resentment on the part of the stronger siblings.
Perhaps if you view what your mother told you less as a punishment for your success and more as a validation, it will be less hurtful and you will understand the logic. And if you feel you need more time with your parents, go visit them.
DEAR ABBY: "Emotional Dad in California" (July 23), whose wife was planning to deliver their child early, was correct. No baby should be electively delivered before 39 weeks gestation. While term gestation is still defined as 37 weeks, current terminology distinguishes early term (37 to 38 weeks), from term (39 to 40 weeks). Data show that not only is the rate of acute complications higher for babies born even at 36 weeks, but each week less than 39 is associated with increasingly lower developmental scores.
In a collaborative effort, organizations dedicated to children's health have spent the last decade trying to reduce the rate of late preterm births, those from 34 to 37 weeks. We have made great inroads in reducing late preterm births, and I am quite certain that getting the word out to your millions of readers could have a positive impact and take us even further. Every baby should have the healthiest start possible, and in the absence of pregnancy complications, that means waiting until 39 weeks. -- DAVID H. LEVINE, M.D., COLUMBUS, GA.
DEAR DR. LEVINE: Thank you for this information. I heard from many readers, including neonatologists, labor/delivery nurses, and other professionals certified in maternal and newborn care. They all cited the current position of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advocating for full-term delivery.
All stated that the final few weeks are important for brain, lung and liver development, vision and hearing, blood sugar regulation, and attaining a healthy birth weight so the baby can stay warm, suck and swallow, and remain awake long enough to be fed. Expectant moms should do as much research as they can in order to give their babies the best chance for the healthiest life.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)