Q: Was I spreading gossip by telling my former husband that our granddaughter’s wedding was off? We had just returned from their engagement party. It is my understanding that one wants to cancel, while the other wants to go through with it.
The wedding is a year away, and this has been the talk of the family for the past six months. Apparently there has been trouble in paradise because she had an affair. As a result, they are now going to counseling. Our granddaughter said she was going to move back in with her mother for a while. — “Gossip” in California
A: While news that the wedding may be off should be the privilege of the engaged couple to reveal, I don’t think telling your former husband there is trouble in paradise and what it entailed was gossip. It is not a secret within the family, and her grandfather IS a relative regardless of the fact that the two of you are divorced.
Q: I’m a 13-year-old (American) boy with a problem. I act childish, as in hugging my mom every day and saying “I love you” to her. If anyone in my middle school finds out about this, I’m dead meat. Could you please give me some advice? — Sad in South Korea
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A: Gladly. Hugging one’s mother and telling her you love her is nothing to be embarrassed about. It isn’t “childish,” but shows you are a caring son and have a great relationship with her. (Not all teenagers, or their moms, are so lucky.) I see no reason to announce anything to your schoolmates that’s private — first, because the relationship you have with your mom is none of their business, and second, they probably hug their mothers, too.
Q: Can you help me understand something that’s bothering me? Since when is it OK for kids to stand in front of stores and ask for money for things (sports teams, group trips, etc.)?
When I was growing up (not that long ago), we held car washes and bake sales and sold candy bars. This standing and asking for money without doing something to earn it drives me nuts! I have often been tempted to say something, but always bite my tongue so as not to cause a scene, but I’m fed up! — Venting in Florida
A: I confess, when I first started reading your letter, I thought you were a curmudgeon. By the time I reached the end, I realized you have a valid point. This may happen because the adults involved in the fundraising are unimaginative and don’t realize the message this sends to the kids is a poor one.
Because it bothers you, talk to the manager of the store where this is allowed because not all businesses encourage it. You could also write a letter to your local newspaper and call attention to the fact that when organizations do this, it teaches young people they can get something for nothing.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.