DEAR ABBY: My daughter has two boys who treat her like crap. They swear, call her a b----, whore, liar and the f-word. They break things in her house and have no respect for anyone.
The problem started after she broke up with their biological father and married her new boyfriend. The father brainwashes the boys to do these things to make life a living hell with her new husband.
What I cannot understand is why my daughter goes out of her way to please these two ungrateful kids and still cannot see how they are destroying her present household. This is killing me. What can she do to solve the problem? -- ANGRY IN THE WEST
DEAR ANGRY: The first thing your daughter will have to do to solve her problem is acknowledge that there is one, and she may be part of it. Then, she will have to quit trying to ingratiate herself with the boys and act more like a parent than a doormat, which means she will have to institute consequences when her sons misbehave and treat her disrespectfully. Unless she is prepared to do that, nothing will change.
DEAR ABBY: My husband is a physician with a heavy call schedule. For years I have struggled with how to RSVP to invitations to cocktail parties and/or dinner. Many times I can go and would like to attend, but I can't be sure my husband will be able to be there. Many times I decline for us both because I worry that it might be awkward for the host/hostess if I accept for myself, but say I'm "not sure" for my husband. How would you handle this? -- REALLY WANTS TO GO IN KANSAS
DEAR REALLY: If I wanted to attend the gathering, I would call my hosts and explain that I would love to come but couldn't guarantee my husband would be able to because of his practice. Then I would add that he might drop by later (if that's feasible). Gracious hosts will welcome you.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a longtime reader and I'm curious. Do you ever receive letters from "the other party"? Has anyone ever read your column, realized the letter is about them and written to tell you their side? Would you ever print it if they did? There are always two sides to every story. -- WONDERING IN HOUSTON
DEAR WONDERING: The answer is yes. It happens rarely, but it does happen. Last year I published a letter from a woman who was upset because her ex-husband had promised their daughter a large sum of money for the daughter's wedding. He had told the daughter her mother would pay half the amount. She felt she should have been consulted first. (I agreed.)
I then heard from the ex-husband, who wanted me to know he had "apologized to her profusely" for not discussing the wedding budget beforehand and that he had offered to lower the budget, but the mother "only wanted to be responsible for paying for the bridal gown." He closed by saying, "I'm not looking to get this published, just thought you'd like to know the other side of the story and allow myself to blow off a little steam." I hope this satisfies your curiosity.
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 $8 (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.)