DEAR ABBY: My 20-year-old niece, "Andrea," came to visit her grandmother wearing a nose stud. Andrea is quiet, is polite to her grandparents and aunt and is in her third year of college. Her grandmother is livid at her daughter for "allowing" the girl to do this. (It appears Andrea may be trying to rebel at this age.) Her grandmother is footing the bill for her college.
Who can help the grandmother to get her granddaughter to stop this behavior, and how? Andrea has never done anything like this before, and this is not like her. Her friends don't look or act like Goths or punks. This is so out of character. She earns good grades, and she is usually a quiet girl who never speaks to anyone other than her mom or brothers. Please advise. -- TAKEN ABACK IN NEW YORK
DEAR TAKEN ABACK: You keep referring to your niece as a "girl." Allow me to enlighten you: This "girl" is a young WOMAN. If Granny has a bone to pick with Andrea about her choice of jewelry, she should discuss it with her instead of railing against her fashion choice behind her back. From my perspective, this is a tempest in a teapot. Let it blow over.
DEAR ABBY: I have two daughters, ages 29 and 24. Both are married and on their own. Recently, there was an issue between them. I always try to remain neutral in these situations because I love my girls equally.
The older one is hurt and angry and has every right to feel that way. She doesn't want to even look at her sister at this point, and I completely understand. (By the way, this has nothing to do with a man; both are happily married.) The younger one is embarrassed and ashamed and doesn't want to face her sister right now. Again, I understand.
On holidays and special occasions, I always cook a huge meal, and the girls come to my house. How do I handle this? I refuse to cook separate dinners or choose which one I eat my meal with. -- CHALLENGED MOM IN TENNESSEE
DEAR MOM: Tell your younger daughter that regardless of her "embarrassment," it's time to offer her sister a sincere apology. Then explain that you have no intention of having holidays and special occasions ruined because of what she did and you want things patched up before those events start happening. Period. After that, proceed as usual and let the girls work things out between themselves.
TO MY READERS: Happy St. Patrick's Day:
May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your windowpane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you. -- LOVE, ABBY
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.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send 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.)
Andrews McMeel Syndication