DEAR ABBY: I am 19 years old and have known a girl I'll call Emma for a couple of years. She's 14 and like a member of my family -- a little sister. My parents joke that Emma is their second daughter.
Emma is an only child and lives with her mother. Her dad is an alcoholic who is currently serving time in prison. Lately Emma has been hanging out with a group of 18- and 19-year-old boys who let her drink and smoke pot with them. People say she's just "doing what all teens do," but I have never smoked or had a drink in my life.
Should I tell Emma's mother what's going on and risk losing our relationship, or should I wait to see if it's just a phase? I feel responsible, but don't know what to do. -- BIG SISTER IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR BIG SISTER: Tell Emma's mother NOW. Because Emma's father is an alcoholic, she already has the predisposition to become one. The longer you procrastinate, the greater her chances of getting into serious trouble --and face it, she's already well on her way. The "boys" Emma is hanging out with are too old for her, and girls under the influence of alcohol and marijuana make mistakes that can affect the rest of their lives.