Dear Abby: I am worried about my 10-year-old daughter. She seems to have a problem making friends. She's very active in sports and doesn't seem to have a problem getting along with the other kids when she's with them in a group. However, when it comes to a one-on-one friendship — like someone spending the night or an outing at the movies — she has a difficult time getting anyone to agree to go. I am worried that she has no real friends. — Worried Mom in Tennessee
Dear Worried Mom: It's time to expand your daughter's horizons. Help her to get involved with other special-interest activities — dance, skating, scouting, etc. It will give her an opportunity to make friends outside her usual circle. If she still has difficulty making friends, have a talk with her teacher and ask if there is some behavior that's creating a problem. If that doesn't help, some sessions with a child psychologist could shed some light on what's causing the problem.
Dear Abby: My parents are retirement age but still working because they're in debt up to their eyeballs. They had a large family, which took its toll on their finances.
Dad is in his 70s and works two jobs. Mom works on and off at a part-time job. The problem is she loves to shop for herself and others — buying frivolous things. Mom's holiday shopping gets way out of hand. My siblings and I are worried that if she continues this spending, Dad will never get a day off to maintain his health.
We have thought about pitching in money, but we believe Mom should help to pay their bills. If we bring it up, she keeps reminding us how hard it was being married to an alcoholic and raising six children. (Dad got help for his drinking problem several years ago. This is no time for revenge.)
We love our mother, but we're afraid if she continues her shopping frenzy, there will be no end to it. Abby, we need some straightforward advice. Sign me . . . Daughter of Debt
Dear Daughter: It's intervention time. Confiscate Mom's credit cards and get her into Debtors Anonymous. The behavior you have described is a sickness, and she needs help. For information and the location of the nearest meeting, call 781-453-2743 or visit the Web site www.debtorsanonymous.org.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips. © Universal Press Syndicate