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DEAR ABBY: I would like to respond to a recent letter you received from "Down and Almost Out," whose 12- and 17-year-old children's rooms have begun to look like the local landfill. My advice may be too late for her, but it may help parents whose children are younger:DEAR DOWN AND ALMOST OUT: Where have you been for the last 10 or 12 years? I presume you've been living in the same house as your children, right? I have a 12-year-old and a teenager. From the time they could understand, these were the ground rules:
1. No clothes on the floor or draped over chairs. Clothes go in the closet or a drawer. If they are soiled, they go into the hamper.
2. Wastebaskets are emptied on a regular basis (and not by me).
3. No storage of anything under the beds. Captain's beds with drawers underneath are wonderful for storage, and nothing gets dusty.
4. Absolutely, positively, no food or drink in the bedrooms. (No exceptions!) We have a kitchen for eating.
As for hairspray on the walls and ceilings, I guess you'll have to tell your children to work on better aim, or else THEY should scrub it off.
My teenager is neat as a pin, totally organized. My younger child is not as neat and needs more reminders, but when I see that his room is starting to get out of control, he has to work on it. If it ever gets to the point that I know it is beyond him, then I help him get out from under. I don't do it for him. My motto: "Put it away, give it away or throw it away." We use three bags: one for hand-me-downs for relatives, one for charity and one for garbage. Everything else is put back in its place.
Don't let your kids ruin your house. Take control right now and try to turn those bad habits around. Someone else is going to have to live with your kids one day. - CHICAGO
DEAR CHICAGO: Beautiful! Your kids are lucky, and so are those who are going to live with them one day.
DEAR ABBY: I am so disgusted with my husband, I don't know what to do! This is a second marriage for both of us, and we've been married only a year. He's 49 and I'm 42.
My problem is, I found out recently that the guys he works with on third shift are watching porno movies! Then I found some porno tapes he had hidden in a closet. When I confronted him about them, he became furious! Abby, he seems to get more turned on by these movies than he does by me. We hardly ever make love anymore. I threw the tapes away, and now I don't know if I can ever trust him again. I do love him, and this hurts me terribly. What do you suggest? - HURT AND DISGUSTED
DEAR HURT: You need more help than I can give you in a letter. If you want your second marriage to succeed, please consult a marriage counselor - both of you. If he refuses to go, go alone. The survival of your marriage depends upon it.
Most teenagers do not know the facts about drugs, AIDS, and how to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It's all in Abby's updated, expanded booklet, "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)