Dear Abby • I am single and the mother of a 7-year-old girl. When she was 4, I decided there would be no parade of guys coming in and out of my life, or any at all. I have barely dated, and the few times I have gone out, I never talked about it around her.
Over the last two or three years, she has come home every few weeks or months with a new boy she likes. I never say much except that she’s not allowed to have a boyfriend. She recently swore her grandfather to secrecy and told him she had a boyfriend.
Is this normal? Should I be concerned that she likes a new boy every few weeks, or that she didn’t tell me she had a boyfriend even though I don’t punish her for being honest? I’m concerned about her being interested in boys at too young an age. — POSSIBLY PRUDE MOTHER
Dear Mother • Having a “boyfriend” at the age of 7 means something different than it does to a teenager or an adult. When your daughter tried to confide in you that she liked someone, you cut her off by telling her it “wasn’t allowed.” If you had let her confide in you, she wouldn’t have found the need to do it with her grandfather. I suggest you open up the lines of communication now, before it’s too late.
Dear Abby • Taking care of a loved one who has Alzheimer’s is difficult. My boyfriend came up with a brilliant idea to help me maintain my own space (the basement in the family home) and still keep track of my mom upstairs. A baby monitor! I could hear everything going on upstairs, at night especially, and it made a challenging time much easier.
I hope this will help others to be more effective caregivers without compromising their own lives. — MISSING MOM AND DAD IN MONTANA
Dear Missing • So do I, because placing a baby monitor in the room of a sick person of any age is a good idea in case the person needs assistance. I have heard of this being done not only with Alzheimer’s patients but also with people in hospice programs whose caregivers can’t be with them every minute.
Dear Abby • I need suggestions on what to do to get a close family member to go out to lunch with me. I have offered to pay for lunch, let him pick the restaurant and do the driving. (‘’Nope. Can’t go. Got to check with my wife. No.’’)
I am in my late 80s, and he’s in his late 70s. Someday it will be too late. — LOOKING TO LUNCH IN THE EAST
Dear Looking To Lunch • Try this. Invite his wife to come to lunch with the two of you. However, if that doesn’t work, forget about trying to get him to go because he may be less eager to see you than you are to see him.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.