DEAR ABBY: When I was in my teens, I was kicked out of the house multiple times by my parent. Mind you, I hadn't done anything wrong. To this day, I'm still trying to figure out what I did to deserve it because it happened so many times.
My parent would get mad, tell me to leave and then beg me to come back home -- all within a three-day time span. Luckily, other family members took me in when these episodes occurred.
The same thing is now happening to my younger siblings, and it pains me to see them go through what I did. I try to defend and protect them. Our parent has never been verbally or physically abusive. It is just the kicking out that throws us off.
I've mentioned counseling to my parent, but it's not an option. I love my parent, and I forgave. But I can't speak for my siblings. -- DISCARDED IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR DISCARDED: If a child is a minor, what your parent has been doing is considered child abandonment. It is against the law. Although you have been able to forgive your parent for their abuse (that's what it was), your younger siblings may not be so generous. Because you are their self-appointed defender, you may have to assume responsibility for them until they become independent -- either by taking them in yourself or by arranging for other relatives to do it for longer than three days.
It goes without saying that your parent's behavior is irresponsible and erratic. If a neighbor or an administrator of your siblings' school should get wind of this, they would be required by law to report it to the authorities. Counseling is available in many communities on a sliding financial scale. Perhaps if your parent is reminded that there are penalties for what has been going on, they will seek the help they need.