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DEAR ABBY: My daughter is graduating from high school and will be starting college. It was always her plan to go to a school away from our small town, and I supported that decision. However, six months ago she started dating her first real boyfriend.

His parents have offered to pay all expenses if the two of them live in an apartment and go to school at a college nearby. Financially, this would be very helpful for my daughter, but I'm worried that moving in with a boy at such a young age would be a mistake, and she wouldn't get the full college experience.

Her boyfriend is wonderful, and she is very happy in the relationship. She has a scholarship for free room and board at a college three hours away. I can tell she's very conflicted. What do you think I should encourage her to do? -- STUDENT'S MOM IN MISSOURI

DEAR STUDENT'S MOM: Your concerns are valid. The boyfriend's parents made a generous offer, but although your daughter may be crazy about their son, she should not accept it.

She and this young man are starting new chapters in their lives. They will be meeting people and forming all kinds of new relationships. Forgive me for seeming negative, but what if the romance sours? Will his parents still be willing to pay for room, board and your daughter's education at the same college?

Your daughter has earned her scholarship. Three hours' distance isn't insurmountable. They can still see each other if they wish. But the separation will allow them more time to concentrate on their studies as well as enjoy the full college experience.


DEAR ABBY: We seem to be living in a time of instant gratification. I'm talking about cellphones. People think they must answer their cellphone no matter what. It's ridiculous.

When I call someone and they answer, I start talking only to be interrupted with something like, "I'm involved in something right now. Call you back!" Once, an employer told me she was in the bathtub.

My question is, why are these people answering in the first place? If you can't talk, let it go to voicemail. Unless you think I'm calling to give you money -- a lot of money -- the conversation can probably wait 10 minutes. What do you think? -- HOLDING THE PHONE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR HOLDING THE PHONE: I agree. You'll get no argument from me.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics

DEAR ABBY: My parents smoke weed and do other drugs, and I have no idea what to do. They scream and yell at us daily. There are four of us. I don't know if we should turn them in so we can live in a better environment or just accept it. I need your opinion so I do what is right. -- ANONYMOUS GIRL IN INDIANA

DEAR ANONYMOUS GIRL: No child should be subjected to this. It's unhealthy for you and your siblings to be living with drug-addicted adults who are unable to control their emotions. If there are relatives who can take you in -- grandparents, aunts, uncles -- talk to them about it. However, if that's not possible, tell a teacher or school counselor what's happening at home or call child protective services yourself.

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