DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I divorced last year, I allowed him to have custody of our (then) 15-year-old son, "Jason," because I honestly thought it would be better for our son. My "ex" was a physician, a homebody, and could golf with Jason and provide him with all the necessities.

Now, six months later, I find that "Dad" goes out nightly with his ladyfriend, leaving our son home alone with written instructions on how to prepare a meal, and without any kind of supervision whatsoever.I stayed there one night and waited until 3 a.m. for Dad to get home. That's when I confronted him and obtained his promise, under threat of a custody fight, that he would straighten out and be a better father.

Well, I don't think he's straightened out. The mother of one of Jason's friends told me that the two boys had gone to a party where all the kids drank and smoked. I know that Jason is not into that kind of behavior; he just wants to be accepted, so it's easy for him to go along with the crowd, especially when there's no parental supervision, which a boy that age needs.

If I interfere, I'm afraid I'll be accused of sour grapes. Jason is a quiet, sensitive boy who never complains, but he seems so sad all the time.

If I complain (legally), I'm afraid the court would say that a (now) 16-year-old boy can take care of himself.

Please print this. Perhaps some other mother has had this problem and knows how to solve it. Or maybe Jason's father will see it in writing and see the light. - MIFFED IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR MIFFED: Phone your lawyer. Your son is considered a minor until he is 18 years old, and until that time he should be with the parent who can give him the proper attention, supervision and companionship.

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are both well-educated, but we grew up with different lifestyles. Her household included full-time help; my mother did all the housework, and we kids did the dishes.

We were always required to "clean our plates" - and were told it was a "sin" to waste food. My wife was brought up to believe that it was considered bad manners to eat everything on the plate, and to this day she insists that it's bad manners to do so.

Any comment? - MR. CLEAN PLATE

DEAR MR. CLEAN PLATE: It's bad manners to mop up every drop of gravy with a piece of bread, but to deliberately leave edible food on one's plate for "appearance's" sake is both wasteful and foolish.

C) 1989 Universal Press Syndicate