DEAR ABBY: I am 20. My father, who recently turned 50, is dating a girl, "Amber," who is only 19. I went to high school with Amber, and I know for a fact there isn't a lot she has to offer him unless it's trouble.
Our parents divorced 16 years ago, and Dad hasn't had another woman in his life who he really liked. He has dated casually, but this is turning into something serious. They have been seeing each other only a few weeks, and they are now talking about an engagement.
Abby, Amber has a 6-month-old son. The child's father will have nothing to do with her or the baby. I think she's after Dad for the money, and I do not approve of their relationship. What should I do?
— UPSET IN FLORIDA
DEAR UPSET: Calm down and bide your time. Their relationship is fresh and new, and many people mistake passion for love in the beginning. Rather than saying you don't approve, if you are given the opportunity, suggest to your father that he and Amber "get to know each other better" before rushing into anything. If the engagement happens, let your father's attorney in on what's happening. That way he can suggest to your dad the wisdom of having a prenuptial agreement, so he and Amber will both be protected.
P.S. Give the girl a chance. She may not be in it for the money. What she may be looking for is a stable husband and father for her son, and in return she could make your father happy.
DEAR ABBY: My son, "Jasper," is a part-time student living at home and working with me in our family business. He was not at home and ready to work this morning. This isn't the first time it has happened.
I have told my son that I enjoy working with him and consider him an asset to the business, but he needs to be more reliable. I have suspended him for one week without pay.
My wife feels I'm being harsh, but any other employer would do the same or worse. I feel Jasper needs to learn the facts of life in the working world. Do you agree with my decision?
— JOE IN SACO, MAINE
DEAR JOE: I certainly do. One of the most important elements in achieving success in any career is showing up for the job. If your son can't accept that, then perhaps he would learn the truth of it by working in something other than the family business for a year.
DEAR ABBY: I am 15 and have been in love with "Caleb" for four years. He never noticed me until recently, when he started sitting next to me and talking to me. We are good friends now, and I have been told he likes me, too.
I am happy about it, except that when we sit together, Caleb sometimes touches me in inappropriate places. If I tell him to stop, I'm afraid it will end our friendship. What should I do?
— UNCOMFORTABLE IN TEXAS
DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: Speak up. If telling Caleb to stop touching you in a way that makes you uncomfortable ends your friendship, then face it — it wasn't much of a friendship to begin with.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.