DEAR ABBY: My 18-year-old granddaughter ran away twice last year. She's now living with her boyfriend and refuses to have any contact with her dad. I know my son is very strict, and I'm pretty sure she could just no longer live by his rules. Her mom passed away eight months ago, and my son is all she has besides her sister.
She opened a Facebook page. I was able to write to her a couple of times and she responded. She isn't answering my messages now. I suspect her boyfriend is controlling and is preventing her from contacting her family. I'm also afraid she may be involved with drugs now. She and the boyfriend were recently arrested for shoplifting, and this just isn't typical of my granddaughter.
I have trouble sleeping at night worrying about her. I know she's an adult, but I don't want her to give up on her family who loves her. Do you have any suggestions? Should I go to the house and try and see her, or must we just sit back and wait for her to grow up? Any advice will be appreciated. -- WORRIED NANA
DEAR WORRIED NANA: Do not just sit back. By all means, visit your granddaughter! She needs to know you love her and will be supportive if things don't work out with her boyfriend.
Because she's 18 and now considered an adult, you can't force her to reunite with her father, whose heavy-handed parenting may or may not be the reason she left home. But you can, however, point out that if she needs something, there are better ways to go about acquiring it than shoplifting. You should also encourage her to find a job. If she does, it will increase her independence, not only from her father, but also her boyfriend, if it becomes necessary.
DEAR ABBY: I was recently diagnosed with a stage four cancer. My surgeon has offered me an opportunity to be part of a clinical trial, which my family is aware of. They do not, however, know the details of how far the cancer has spread.
The prognosis for patients in this trial is about two more years. My wife thinks I should share this information with my extended family and friends immediately (although there are few signs that I'm ill). I prefer to remain silent until the disease catches up with me and my time gets closer. Your advice or reader response would be greatly appreciated regarding this very emotional decision. -- KEEPING IT TO MYSELF
DEAR KEEPING IT TO YOURSELF: I'm sorry about your diagnosis. I'm sure when your letter is published there will be a tsunami of reactions -- both pro and con -- from readers.
Of course your wishes should be respected, but since you asked, I am inclined to agree with your wife. Your illness affects not only you but also the rest of your family and friends. If you reveal your prognosis now, it will give the people who love you an opportunity to step up to the plate and offer emotional support, not only to you, but also to her and your family.
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.)