DEAR ABBY: I'm 18. I started helping to take care of children at the age of 2. I have taken care of them alone since I was 7. Yet every time older people talk about child care, I am rudely excluded from the conversation with comments like, "You don't know what we're talking about. You're not a parent." And, "You're just a kid. You only think you know what you're talking about." I even get these kinds of comments from people who have asked me for advice.
I know it shouldn't bother me, yet it does. After raising my younger siblings by myself and taking care of the house, is it wrong for me to consider myself a parent? -- PRACTICALLY A PARENT
DEAR PRACTICALLY A PARENT: No, in my opinion it isn't. Of this I am certain: You have more parenting experience than the adults who left a 7-year-old caring for her siblings by herself without supervision. According to the law, that qualifies as child neglect and abuse.