DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old girl, and I'm struggling with abuse. I'm mentally and physically abused by my family constantly, yet they make me out to be the abusive one. I could do amazing on a test, and they yell at me for something that happened on the last one. They're always pushing me so hard to do better that it's making me do worse.
How can I make my family see that I'm not them, and I can do good if they just give me the chance to learn from my mistakes? -- STRUGGLING IN WISCONSIN
DEAR STRUGGLING: Parents always want their children to perform to their level of capacity. Because you say you are being abused physically and emotionally for your inability to live up to your family's expectations, discuss what's going on with a counselor at your school. It's possible there needs to be an intervention by someone they will listen to. Please don't wait to do it.
DEAR ABBY: My husband of three years has visits with his son every Tuesday and Thursday evening. My mother-in-law picks up her grandson, takes him to her home and makes dinner for the three of them. I work 10-hour days Monday through Friday and am not able to attend these dinners.
My question is, isn't it proper etiquette that my mother-in-law should send a plate of food home for me with my husband? She never has, and I think this is rude and inconsiderate of her. What is your opinion? -- HUNGRY IN EL PASO
DEAR HUNGRY: Although brief, your letter speaks volumes about your relationship with your mother-in-law, which appears could be better. No rule of etiquette dictates that she is obligated to send a plate of her food home with her son for you. Perhaps if your relationship with her was warmer, or your husband was thoughtful enough to suggest it, she would. However, since you asked, my opinion is that rather than complain, you should pick up some take-out on your way home from work.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 22-year-old college student on the verge of graduating this May. I've been dating my boyfriend for more than five years, and I am extremely close with his family, especially his sister "Claudia" and her three children (ages 6, 3 and 6 months).
My parents are throwing me a graduation party at their home, and they don't want any guests under the age of 10. How do I tell Claudia -- a dear friend -- that her children won't be invited without upsetting her? (I have small cousins who won't be attending either.)
It truly is nothing personal, but I know she will probably take it personally. I don't want to cause drama, but I do want to honor my parents' wishes that no small children be present. How do I tell her? Help! -- SOON-TO-BE GRADUATE
DEAR SOON-TO-BE GRADUATE: You are not hosting the party; your parents are. As the hosts, it is their privilege to decide whom to invite -- or not. When Claudia is invited, your parents should explain that they prefer children under the age of 10 not be present, and soften it if necessary by explaining there are small nieces and nephews who will not be attending as well.
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