… is asking his parents “facts of life” questions. They are bewildered about how to give him the information. I’d be grateful if you could share details of the publication you have for this purpose and how to get it.

– Grandmom

In Clinton Township, Mich.

DEAR GRANDMOM:

Many parents find the subject of sex embarrassing, so they postpone discussing it with their children. They forget that children today mature earlier and are exposed to sexual images and references more often than those of previous generations.

When “The Talk” finally happens, it’s often too late. It is important that parents begin discussing subjects like alcohol, smoking, drugs, sex and family values well before their children are tempted to experiment. The more information his parents can provide, the better prepared your grandson will be to make informed choices in the future.

My booklet “What Every Teen Should Know” was written to help parents break the ice and get the conversation going. It can be ordered by sending your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to Dear Abby Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. Among the important topics included are: “How old must a girl be before she can get pregnant?” “How old must a boy be before he can father a child?” Other topics, including peer pressure, dating, STDs, drugs and alcohol, are also covered.

DEAR ABBY:

My son recently died in an accident. His death was unexpected and shocking, and we are all heartbroken, especially his girlfriend. I know he was having doubts about their relationship because he told me, but she doesn’t know.

We have grown very close since the accident. She says things like, “‘Danny’ and I were meant to be.” It makes me think I should tell her the truth. But I’m afraid if I do, it will affect our friendship and break her heart again. What do you think?

– Treading Lightly

DEAR TREADING:

Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your son. Because the tragedy is recent, I see nothing to be gained by shattering her illusion. If you feel she’s isolating herself, remind her that Danny would want her to go on with her life as do you. Assure her you will always be there for her if she needs you.

DEAR ABBY:

We have lived next door to a woman with a short temper for 20 years. Our driveways are extremely long. Hers has a big slope on the side closer to our home, which she cannot mow with her tractor. She asked us to mow that area with our push mower because she doesn’t have one, so for the past 15 years, we have. It takes only 10 minutes, so we really don’t mind at all.

Last Friday, I was running late to go out of town. I didn’t spend as much time as usual on the yard, and I received this text from her: “Good evening. I really appreciate that you and (your husband) keep the strip between our houses mowed, but I just paid $400 to get my driveway power washed. That’s a lot of money to get it all moldy again so quickly, so can one of you please come and sweep off the driveway before the rain starts falling tomorrow?” My husband went and spent the 60 seconds it took to sweep it, but I don’t know how to reply to her text. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

– Mowed Down In The East

DEAR MOWED DOWN:

Is your neighbor so infirm or aged that she is physically unable to sweep her driveway? If the answer is yes, then let it ride. If the answer is no, text her back and offer to buy her a broom.

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