DEAR ABBY: You have stated that when a child feels unable to talk to his or her parents about a serious problem, the young person should confide in a trusted adult. However, I am confused about something: When a teen-age girl goes to that adult, is the person supposed to keep her secret or intercede with her mother for her?
What if the girl chooses to talk to a friend of her mother's and the mother finds out? It could destroy the friendship between the two women because one of them withheld the truth. On the other hand, if the adult tells the girl's mother, she has betrayed the girl's confidence.
What should a responsible adult do? -- KEEPING SECRETS IN CHICAGO
DEAR KEEPING SECRETS: Either keep the confidence or offer to talk to the mother with the girl present. That way, no one's confidence is betrayed. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I was in the same situation as "Sue in Pennsylvania," except I was the unmarried teen-age daughter who told my mother's best friend, "Kassie," I was pregnant. I was afraid to tell my parents. Kassie offered to tell them for me. I was with her when she did it. It wasn't easy -- but it would have been a lot harder without Kassie's emotional support.
My parents were hurt that I couldn't tell them on my own. But they couldn't have been more supportive during my pregnancy. My mother and Kassie were in the delivery room when I had my beautiful baby girl. I will be grateful to my parents and to Kassie for the rest of my life for being there when I needed them most. -- LOVED DAUGHTER IN VIRGINIA
DEAR LOVED DAUGHTER: Love is what enables us to bridge the gap of disappointment when others don't live up to the expectations we have of them.