Please remind your adult readers to be more respectful of our planet. At 13, I have observed people who are careless with their trash and abuse the Earth with toxic chemicals and in other ways. They forget that even though they won't be around when the Earth starts breaking down, we younger generations may be.
All my life I've heard adults say stuff like, "We love you and will never let anything harm you." But if grown-ups don't clean up their act, something WILL harm us. And it will be because of them.
Worried Teen in Georgia
Because today marks the 33rd anniversary of Earth Day, your letter is especially timely. When Earth Day began, there were no pollution controls on cars, people and entire cities dumped untreated sewage into rivers and landfills, industrial communities were often shrouded with smoke and smog, and some rivers were so polluted with chemicals that they actually caught fire.
We have made advances since 1970, but we cannot afford to become complacent.
My son, "Roger," was recently divorced from his wife. His two sons, 10 and 12, are with him every weekend. Roger told me that after the boys stay at his home, things come up missing -- CDs, tapes, loose change, etc.
Roger finally said something to his ex-wife, but she told him to "deal with it."
Soon after that, the kids stayed at my home for a day, and sure enough, after they left, I also discovered items missing. Please tell us how this problem can be handled, Abby. I would like to show the boys' mother your response.
When couples separate, they still have a joint responsibility to the children they brought into this world. Topping the list of lessons that responsible parents should teach by example is how to be a good citizen and a person with character.
Big crimes usually start with petty ones. Your grandsons are crying out for attention in a negative way. Ideally, the mother and father should speak to their sons together, but if their mother chooses not to deal with the problem, then their father must do it alone. The boys must be confronted and the items returned. Your son should also consider spending more time with the boys, until they have adjusted to the new situation. If that fails, family counseling is in order.
I overheard my cousin, "Jenny," tell our 16-year-old daughter that it was okay to consume alcohol, and that she was welcome to drop by her house any time if she wanted a drink. (Thank heaven she lives more than a hour and a half away!) While I trust my daughter not to take Jenny up on her "offer," I think she was out of line. Do teens really need the added pressure of an irresponsible adult telling them it's okay to drink before they reach the legal age limit? How should I handle this if it happens again?
Miffed in Maryland
For Jenny to have made such an offer is a blatant attempt to circumvent your parental authority. Do not stand for it. Remind your cousin that providing alcohol to minors is against the law, and let her know that if it happens you'll inform the police. As a parent, your first responsibility is to your child.
My fiance and I are both 50-plus. We are being married in four months -- the second marriage for both of us. We have maintained separate households and we really need nothing.
How can we send invitations to family and friends and let them know that no household gifts are needed? Please help.
Bride-to-Be in Pennsylvania
Add the following to your invitation: "No gifts, please. Your presence will be our cherished gift, and we respectfully request no other."
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
(c)2003, Universal Press Syndicate