DEAR HARRIETTE: For the past few months, my sister has had a boyfriend. They have tons of fun together, and he is a nice young man. My problem is that she is 15, he 17, and when they're hanging out in her room, they have "make-out sessions." They are loud about it as well. I turn up the volume on my television, but I still hear them slobbering away at it.
How can I talk to her about this without it turning bad for me in the end? -- Disturbed Brother, Fulton, N.Y.
DEAR DISTURBED BROTHER: I'm not sure how old you are, but you are certainly in a pickle. I'm glad you wrote to me about this.
If you tell your mother what's happening, chances are that she will put an end to this. Your 15-year-old sister should not be allowed to have her boyfriend in her room for extended periods. And if your mom is not home, your sister's boyfriend should not be allowed to visit.
I know your sister may not be pleased about this, but teens do not always know where to draw the line. I'm sure nobody in your house wants her to end up pregnant.
Meanwhile, you can tell your sister that her loud make-out sessions are really not cool, and that she should quit it. If she gets mad at you for a while, so be it. You may actually be saving her future.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My 85-year-old brother and I are very close, but we haven't lived near each other for more than 40 years. We mainly talk on the phone, but the other day he called and asked me to come visit him. He said that he and his wife aren't doing well and that they want to see my family and me -- including the grandchildren -- before they die. I told my son, and he blew it off, telling me that he and his family are busy.
Even if he won't take the time, I would like to take his children to see their great-uncle. How can I get the point across to him? I am willing to pay for their transportation. I just need permission to take them -- soon. -- Sincere Sister, Pittsburgh
DEAR SINCERE SISTER: Ask to meet with your son and his wife. Present your case to them about the urgency of visiting your brother as soon as possible. Ask their blessing to take their children on this visit. Lay out your recommendation for travel.
Keep in mind that they likely will be concerned about you traveling on your own, let alone with the children. Ask them to go with you if they are feeling trepidation, or to assign another adult family member or friend to escort you.
What you don't want is to miss the chance to share some love while your brother and his wife are alive. If your son and his wife refuse, go alone. Just go.