DEAR ABBY: I'm a 13-year-old girl who was taken away from my parents when I was 8 because they were on drugs. I haven't seen my father for three years, but now that he's living with my grandparents and me, I decided to give him a second chance.
He has been very "hand-sy" with me - giving me massages, kissing my cheek - and this all makes me very uncomfortable. I thought it was because he hasn't seen me in a while, but today as I was leaving to go to my mom's, he slapped my butt as I walked out the door. Now I'm scared. I spend a lot of the day at home with him alone. I don't want things to get out of hand. Any advice?
- Worried in Delaware
DEAR WORRIED: Your father may not realize that his "little girl" is no longer a child. That is why it is important that you tell him that what he's doing makes you uncomfortable. You should also tell your mother and grandparents about what's happening and that it scares you. If it persists, report it to a teacher or counselor at school or contact me again.
DEAR ABBY: I work in a small high school in a student-support position. Girls come into my office who are pregnant and excited about it! Telling them congratulations for putting themselves in this position seems counterproductive, or like I am endorsing this choice. I don't! I feel like saying, "You have ruined your life" instead, but I hold my tongue. What do you suggest?
- Don't Want to Encourage Them
DEAR DON'T WANT TO ENCOURAGE: Your job is to support the students, not to condemn or endorse their predicament. Telling a pregnant girl she has ruined her life isn't helpful. What you need to do is encourage the girl to get a diploma while she can.
Too many girls fail to complete their high school education when they have a baby. If you are enthusiastic about helping them, your positive attitude may be contagious and inspire them to succeed.