DEAR ABBY: I am 13 and couldn't be more mixed up. Mom abused us our entire lives. She lost custody of me and my four younger brothers and sisters last summer. I always thought I hated her for the beatings she gave us.
The truth is, I don't hate her. I miss her so much I don't know what to do. I can't tell my dad or stepmom because I don't think they would understand. Every night I cry myself to sleep because I miss Mom. I'm scared that something bad has happened to her because she hasn't tried to call or see us even once. What should I do? Please help. -- SCARED AND SAD IN THE APPALACHIANS
DEAR SCARED AND SAD: You're no longer a little girl. It's important that you express your concerns to your father. You need to talk about your mother, how she treated you, and why, and find out where she is. There is a reason why your father was given full custody of you and your siblings. When you're older you will have a better understanding of what happened.