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Dear Abby: I am a 20-year-old female. Two years ago, I lost my left leg at the knee. I have never had a desire for a prosthesis, so I never had one.

Here is my problem: My mother thinks it is not ladylike to use crutches, and she really gets upset when I wear shorts or a skirt that doesn't hide my stump.I am also very comfortable with one crutch if I need a free hand. Should I give in to my mother's wishes? I also wonder how other female amputees feel about this.

- Happy in Columbia, S.C. Dear Happy: You are to be congratulated for adjusting to your disability with grace and confidence.

Although I'm sure your mother is well-intentioned, your first priority is to please yourself, which you have apparently done. Should the time come when you want to get a prosthesis - to please your mother, or for any other reason - the decision is entirely yours. Good luck!

Dear Abby: I am a mother in a dilemma. My 27-year-old engaged daughter, who lives with me, decided to stay overnight at her fiance's apartment because she wasn't feeling well and didn't have to be at work the next day.

When she telephoned me from Frank's apartment to let me know she was staying there overnight, we ended up in an argument. I told her that staying at Frank's apartment was not proper and I thought she should come home to sleep. She then told me that she had been an adult for some time now - that she and Frank are officially engaged and she has nothing to be ashamed of. To make a long story short, she stayed at his apartment against my wishes.

My question is this: Do you think I was wrong? Also, I am having trouble letting go. Should I apologize?

- Worried Mother Dear Worried: Yes, I think you were wrong. Your daughter called to let you know that she was staying at Frank's apartment overnight - not to ask for your permission. As an adult, she didn't need your permission.

In admitting that you were having trouble "letting go," you put your finger on the crux of the situation. And yes, I think you should apologize.

Dear Abby: We disagree with your answer to the grandparents who were upset that their 12-year-old grandson stole their portable TV while visiting them during spring vacation. Your response left the adults holding the bag while the child got off scot-free!

How about the grandparents calling the youngster directly and saying, "When we realized our TV was missing, we asked your mom to check your room and our TV was found in the back of your closet. We'd like it returned immediately."

Abby, sure, you want to include the parents - but calls and letters should be directed to the child. He should be the one to struggle with returning the TV, or earning money to replace it.

Any other way, you are cheating the child of experiencing the consequences of his actions - the most powerful teaching tool there is.

- Evonne Weinhaus and Karen Friedman, St. Louis

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