DEAR TEEN: What’s going on is not your fault. You should not assume responsibility for their problems because you can’t fix them. Talk with your father about how you are being made to feel. That he and this woman have broken up four times should have given him a clue that his relationship with her isn’t a healthy one — for him or for you. Your father is the adult in the family, and it is up to him to deal with this — not you. Hiding in the basement isn’t the answer.
DEAR ABBY: I have been having boundary issues with my neighbors and their children. We have different parenting styles. They are hands-off, free-range parents. I keep an eye on my daughter. They’re all around the age of 5. Problem is, every time I take my daughter outside their two children immediately run over to play with her. I’m seven months pregnant, and I do not want to be the neighborhood baby sitter! If any of those kids runs toward the road, I can’t chase them down. I don’t want to send my daughter to their yard to play because they have a pool, my daughter doesn’t know how to swim and no one watches these kids. I feel like a prisoner in my own home. I’d like to enjoy the nice weather alone with my daughter once in a while. She loves playing with them, but they just want to play with her toys — not her — and it almost always ends up with her in tears. What can I do? — TEARS IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR TEARS: Talk to the parents! Explain that you would like to spend time outdoors with your little girl, and you are not prepared to watch their children. You should also mention that when their children run over to play, it’s not with your daughter but with her toys, which hurts her feelings. P.S. If your neighbors’ pool is not fenced and any of the neighborhood children should fall in, the legal liability would be theirs. There is something known as an “attractive nuisance.” An unsecured swimming pool would be an example.
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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.