Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My very best friend growing up was repeatedly raped by her father from around age 13. She told me when we were 17. I reported it to a policeman, but back then, they couldn't do anything unless she reported it. She refused in order to protect her mother.

Her mom is gone now, but dear old Dad is still hanging on. He lives in a retirement home known for supporting children and children's activities. (It's associated with one of the largest charitable groups for kids.) I worry a lot about this freak having an opportunity to molest other children, and it sickens me that when he does finally die, he will receive full honors from this group. I have thought about anonymously contacting the home and warning them. Should I? -- UNCERTAIN IN THE EAST

DEAR UNCERTAIN: That information would carry far more weight if it came from his daughter. Encourage her to discuss what her father did with the director of the retirement home as well as a social worker. Her father should never be alone with a minor child again. If your friend refuses to do this, then yes, you should speak up.

Read more in: Teens | Abuse | Health & Safety | Friends & Neighbors | Family & Parenting

DEAR ABBY: I love my grandchildren. My problem is, my daughter expects me to baby-sit at the snap of a finger regardless of what I have to do or what I have planned. Additionally, I never know how long I will be sitting. Sometimes, it can be up to 12 hours.

I receive no compensation because, in her words, "Grandmothers should not be paid." If I refuse, she accuses me of being a "bad" grandmother. If I ask to have one child for an overnight and a weekend day, I am refused. Her reason? "Because I said so!"

Would I be justified in asking for compensation? I live on a fixed income and could use the money. -- BAD GRANDMA

DEAR GRANDMA: If there are expenses incurred while you baby-sit your grandchildren, you should be compensated for them. However, I can see why your request for a salary for doing it would not be well-received. Because you need extra money, consider finding a part-time job. If you do, you will not only ease the strain on your budget, but also make yourself less available to your daughter "at the snap of a finger."

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Money

DEAR ABBY: My niece, who is being married next month, sent out invitations a couple of weeks ago. She requested no children under 16 because they'll be serving alcohol and because she is running tight with her guest list.

My stepsister and her mom are upset because their young girls won't be able to come. My sister said if they can't go, then she isn't going, which I think is ridiculous. They're trying to force my niece to let them bring the girls. What they don't understand is how you explain allowing them to come but not other kids. How should this be handled? -- NO EXCEPTIONS IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR NO EXCEPTIONS: It should be handled by telling your stepsister and her mother how sorry everyone will be that they can't attend, and they will be missed. In other words, no exceptions should be made for the intelligent reason you stated in the last lines of your letter to me.

Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations | Family & Parenting | Etiquette & Ethics

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.)