Dear Annie: I suspect our 16-year-old daughter has been shoplifting. I don't have any concrete evidence to support this — it's just a gut feeling — but I have seen some expensive items in her room that we didn't buy for her, such as a gold bracelet and a pair of earrings. I have no idea how she acquired them.

We have a loving family and give our children whatever they need. Overall, I believe our daughter demonstrates good judgment and don't understand why she would do such a thing. How do I approach her and get honest answers before she gets caught by the authorities? — Scared Mother in N.Y.

Dear Scared: Shoplifting isn't always about obtaining items you can't afford. It may be about the thrill, peer pressure, depression, stress, anger or a need for attention. Teenagers often don't realize how severe the penalties can be. If your daughter is caught shoplifting, she can be arrested, and if the store presses charges, she could end up with a criminal record that will affect the rest of her life.

You need to have a calm discussion with her and find out what's going on. You start by telling her you saw the expensive bracelet and earrings in her room and ask how she got them. If she doesn't supply a believable response, say that you are worried about shoplifting and explain the consequences. You should go with her to return stolen items to the store — although the store may still press charges. If she has difficulty stopping this behavior, please talk to your doctor about therapy.

Dear Annie: "D.W. in Hettinger, N.D." said a bill amending the 1942 guidelines to allow members of the armed forces and veterans to salute the flag whether in uniform or not was passed in 2007. He is correct that it passed the Senate by unanimous consent, but it has not yet been voted on in the House of Representatives.

As a veteran, I would like to be able to render a hand salute to the flag I served. You would be doing all veterans a favor by printing this information in your column. Thanks. — Proud Vet

Dear Proud Vet: You are correct that, as of this writing, the bill is stalled in the House. However, there is no regulation that prohibits veterans from saluting the flag, and we highly doubt anyone would try to stop you from doing so. The bill is simply intended to clear up any confusion.

Dear Annie: My boyfriend, "Sid," has a sister who is getting married in a few months. Though I have never met her (she lives across the country), I am hurt that Sid did not invite me to be his guest at the wedding. He says I would be a distraction and it would be difficult for his elderly aunts and uncles to see him with me.

We've been dating for five years, and I view this as an opportune time to meet the rest of his relatives. (He has introduced me to the few who live locally.) Am I out of line to expect to be invited if I have never met the bride? I think most people in long-term relationships attend weddings with their significant others. I would certainly invite Sid to accompany me to any family wedding I was invited to. This bothers me so much, I am thinking of ending our relationship even though I love him. — Left Out

Dear Left Out: This may not have been Sid's decision. His sister or parents control the guest list, and it's possible they told him there wasn't room to include you — although that would have been improper, since you have been together for five years and you should have been invited. Sid should be willing to go to bat for you. It sounds as if his family does not approve of the relationship or, for whatever reason, Sid wants to attend stag. See if you can get to the bottom of this before you toss in the towel.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. © Creators Syndicate