DEAR ABBY: I’m a 14-year-old girl who’s having a disagreement with my parents about dating. There’s this guy, “Connor,” who likes me, and I’m very comfortable with him. His older sister and I are good friends.
Trouble is, my parents have strict rules against dating and I think it’s unfair. I think I’m mature enough to date, and I know right from wrong.
My friends say I’m very mature for my age, and they approve of Connor because he’s friendly and has an outgoing personality.
I have tried talking to my parents about this, but I always end up in tears.
Can you tell me how I can convince them to give this guy a chance? — GROWN UP AT 14, PRINCE GEORGE, CANADA
DEAR GROWN UP: A sure way to show your parents you’re mature enough to date would be to show them you’re a responsible person.
Do they know when they ask you a question that they’ll get an honest answer with no evasion? Have you shown them that you respect their curfews? Do you do the chores that are expected of you without having to be reminded? Is the same true about your homework?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then do they know Connor? Do they know his parents? If they do, they might feel more comfortable about your seeing him, if it’s in a group rather than one-on-one.
DEAR ABBY: I’m 13 years old and I recently enrolled in a new school. I have met two boys, “Jake” and “Cory,” and I have been crushing on both of them.
I really like Jake for everything, but I’m not sure he likes me back.
I like Cory for his looks and popularity, and I’m positive he likes me because he said so. Should I ask Jake to go with me first, and if he says no, rebound to Cory? — CONFUSED IN RAYMOND, MISS.
DEAR CONFUSED: The school year has just started and it’s a little early to be asking someone to “go” with you. If you take your time — say, wait a month — Jake may find the courage to tell you he likes you, too. If he doesn’t, tell Cory you’re interested in him and see if he still feels the same way about you. (The odds are 50/50.) And who knows? In another month, there might be a third guy.
DEAR ABBY: My brother thinks I eat too slowly, and I think he eats too fast. He claims it’s rude to eat slowly and make others wait for you.
I say eating slowly is healthy, and it’s better than wolfing down your food to keep up with the people you’re with. Who’s right? — AT MY OWN PACE IN EDDINGTON, MAINE
DEAR AT YOUR OWN PACE: You’re both right. If you eat so slowly that the rest of the people at your table must wait for you to finish, ask them to proceed with their dessert and coffee so they won’t have to sit there and watch you masticate. And wolfing down one’s food causes some people to overeat, which is why weight-loss specialists advise against it.
DEAR ABBY: What do new fathers hand out today instead of cigars? — NONSMOKER IN SAVANNAH
DEAR NONSMOKER: Because so much more is now understood about the dangers of tobacco, many new fathers today hand out small gift bags of candy instead — blue for a baby boy or pink for a daughter.