Dear Abby: This will be the fourth holiday season my boyfriend and I have shared together. We usually split Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations between our two families, although not equally.

I come from a large family that understands the need to "share" me with my boyfriend's family. My boyfriend comes from a small family; he is the only child. Last Christmas, he was allowed to visit with my family for only 20 minutes.

This Thanksgiving all six of my mother's siblings will be here with their families for the first time in five years. My uncle, who is in the Air Force and is being sent to the Middle East in December, will also be here. It is important to me that my boyfriend spend time with my family this Thanksgiving, but he always knuckles under to the guilt trip from his mother.

He says that until he graduates from college, he has to live by their rules, but I think their rules are unreasonable. We want only two or three hours with him. I don't think this is unreasonable. What do you think? — Wants to Share

Dear Wants to Share: I think your boyfriend's parents are in for a rude awakening once he graduates from college. But for now they have their son under their thumb, so accept it. A way around this might be for your parents to invite your boyfriend AND his parents to join you for Thanksgiving. For now, they are a package deal.

Dear Abby: I am writing about a new trend I have been seeing. It has become commonplace for parents to call their teenage children from the car at the curb when picking them up from a friend's house. I realize this saves time, but I am concerned that today's parents do not do the necessary "legwork" in meeting their children's friends and their friends' parents, checking to see if an adult will be on the premises and observing the general home situation that their child will be visiting.

I am amazed at parents who drop off their teens to spend the night and never bother to come to the door. I also see this tendency in the young people themselves. A young man came to pick up our teenage daughter for a date and called her from the car to say he was out front.

Am I old-fashioned, or is this an issue that should be addressed? — Conscientious Parent in Denver

Dear Conscientious: No, you are not old-fashioned. The message you are sending makes common sense.

As to the young man who came to pick up your daughter, I hope she informed him that she wasn't going anywhere until he came to the door and met her parents. That's not "old-fashioned"; it's respectful and a display of good manners. And good manners never go out of style.

© Universal Press Syndicate