Dear Abby

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FOOD - Abi­gail Van Buren Dear Abby Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

Teen book­let will help par­ents start con­ver­sa­tion about sex.

DEAR ABBY: Do you have any in­for­ma­tion or ad­vice on how to talk to my 12-year-old step­daugh­ter about sex? I have a pretty good idea about where to take the con­ver­sa­tion. I don’t plan to make it a big deal — not so se­ri­ous as to scare her, but not too light­hearted ei­ther.

You never know what kids are say­ing about it in school these days. I want her to know the door is al­ways open should she need to talk. (My mother did that with me, which I ap­pre­ci­ated.)

If you have any point­ers or read­ing ma­te­rial suited for her age, that would be great. — STEP­MOM IN TEXAS

DEAR STEP­MOM: I’m glad you are open­ing up the sub­ject be­cause “the talk” with your step­daugh­ter should have started long ago as part of an on­go­ing dis­cus­sion. For a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, young peo­ple to­day ma­ture much ear­lier than they did years ago. She should be told that, if they haven’t al­ready started, the changes that will take place in her body are nor­mal and noth­ing to fear.

As for read­ing ma­te­rial, my book­let, “What Ev­ery Teen Should Know” can help you to start that con­ver­sa­tion. It has been dis­trib­uted in doc­tors’ of­fices and used to pro­mote dis­cus­sions by ed­u­ca­tors and re­li­gious lead­ers, as well as par­ents who find it hard to dis­cuss these top­ics with their chil­dren. You can or­der one by send­ing your name and ad­dress, plus cheque or money or­der for $7 (U.S. funds), to Dear Abby Teen Book­let, P.O. Box 447, Mount Mor­ris, IL 61054-0447. Ship­ping and han­dling are in­cluded in the price.

You should re­view it be­fore start­ing the con­ver­sa­tion so you will be pre­pared in ad­vance to an­swer her ques­tions. The more in­for­ma­tion you can give her, the bet­ter pre­pared she will be to make in­tel­li­gent de­ci­sions in the fu­ture.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 25-yearold, well-ed­u­cated woman, en­gaged to a won­der­ful man. Although we don’t plan to wed for another cou­ple of years, I have a ques­tion on my mind. Nei­ther of us is tra­di­tional or re­li­gious. What should I do about my name?

My fiance would be hon­oured if I took his name, but wouldn’t be in­sulted or hurt if I didn’t. For a long time I had thought that hy­phen­at­ing would be an ap­pro­pri­ate so­lu­tion, but the more I con­sider it, a long dou­ble name on ev­ery­thing I will have to sign might be­come an in­con­ve­nience. I don’t dis­like his last name or have strong feel­ings against tak­ing it, but I like the name I have now. Part of me likes the idea of al­ways car­ry­ing it.

Since chil­dren are not go­ing to be part of the equa­tion, there’s no risk of con­fus­ing them or their teach­ers. What do other young cou­ples do? I would love an out­side per­spec­tive. — NAME GAME IN KANSAS

DEAR NAME GAME: It is no longer un­usual for women to re­tain their maiden names af­ter mar­riage. Many choose to do it be­cause they have be­come es­tab­lished/suc­cess­ful in their ca­reers, oth­ers be­cause they want to main­tain their iden­tity as an in­di­vid­ual.

Some women solve the prob­lem by us­ing their hus­band’s name legally and re­tain­ing their maiden name pro­fes­sion­ally. Oth­ers use their maiden name as a mid­dle name and their hus­band’s last name. Please don’t worry about this; you have time to make your fi­nal de­ci­sion.

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