Dear Abby: My sister and I live with our aunt because our mother is in jail and our father is nowhere to be seen. She was the only one willing to take us in. However, she uses drugs and has many criminal types in and out of the apartment.
Some of the guys she brings here sometimes stay awhile and try to make moves on us (if you know what I mean), and it makes us very uncomfortable. We share a room that doesn't even have a lock on the door, and we are so scared at night we put the dresser against the door before we go to bed when there's somebody here.
We're grateful that our aunt cared enough about us to take us when nobody else would, but it's still a scary situation. What can we do? — Scared in Michigan
Dear Scared: You and your sister have my sympathy. For no fault of your own, you have been dealt a difficult hand in life.
Although your aunt's heart may have been in the right place when she took you in, it appears from what you have written that she is neither mature enough nor stable enough to live up to that responsibility. You and your sister deserve to be able to sleep in your beds at night without fear.
I strongly urge you to talk to a trusted teacher at school about your situation. Your well-being could depend upon an intervention.
Dear Abby: I am a 14-year-old boy, and my mother still insists on coming in with me when I go to the doctor for a physical exam. I think I am old enough to go in by myself, as I find it embarrassing to have her there when he's examining me.
She says since she's my mother there is nothing she hasn't seen before, but if I'm that paranoid she'll promise to look the other way during the part of the exam when I have to pull down my shorts. Even if she does, I will still be uncomfortable with her standing right there at a time like that.
She says she needs to be there to hear what the doctor has to say and ask him questions. I don't see why she can't just talk to him for a minute right afterward. If there is anything wrong, I'm sure he would let her know anyway.
If it's necessary for one of my parents to be right there, I'd much rather it be my father, but he says it's too hard to get off work during the day. Please tell me what you think. —C.J. in Wilmington, Del.
Dear C.J.: Many physicians prefer to have someone else in the examination room while they perform physical examinations or procedures on their patients. If you would prefer that your mother not be there for part of the exam, you should indicate that to your doctor and let him handle it. However, if your mother steps outside, please understand that your doctor may ask a nurse to be present.
Dear Abby: My husband and I are the parents of two small children. We have started writing our wills to help plan for our children's future should anything happen to us.
I was wondering, would it be appropriate to request that should one or both of us predecease our children, that people donate money to an educational trust for our children in lieu of flowers? I know that people often request donations to charity and philanthropic groups, but I'm wondering if our request would be considered "tacky" or inappropriate. — Curious in California
Dear Curious: Although the loss of a parent is tragic, I'm reluctant to endorse that kind of request. Please take into consideration that an education costs far more than flowers for a funeral. The best way to ensure that your children can complete their education would be to start a college fund for them now and also make sure you have adequate life insurance.
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, CA 90069. © Universal Press Syndicate