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Posted on Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 5 a.m.

Hard-working girl disappointed by mother's lack of gratitude

By Dear Abby


I'm a 12-year-old girl who has a problem with my mom. Once a week we clean the house, which is fairly large. Even when I do a good job on every room my mom never says, "Nice job," "Good work," or even a simple "Thanks." It hurts my feelings because I thank her for all the things she does for me. Am I wrong to want or expect compliments in return? -- NEVER THANKED IN OREGON


No, you're not wrong. I don't know anyone of any age who doesn't crave positive reinforcement. Have you mentioned to your mother how this makes you feel? Because if you haven't, you're expressing your disappointment to the wrong person.


I'm 15 and my parents have decided they want to have another kid. Shouldn't parents talk to their other children about this? None of us were asked for our opinion -- we were just informed.

Mom has had health problems almost my entire life, so I had to grow up extremely fast. I watched her have a seizure while we were out shopping, and she was often in the hospital. I don't want another child to go through this, too.

When I say something I'm told I'm being selfish and rude. This new baby is already loved more because my dad hopes she will be better than me. Am I wrong to feel this is unfair? -- UNHAPPY TEEN IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA


Fairness may not enter into it at all. The reason you and your siblings were not asked for input about your mother having another child may be that the baby was as much a surprise to your parents as it is to all of you. Your complaining won't improve the situation, which may be why you've been told you need an attitude adjustment.

You say you grew up extremely fast. Well, it's time to accelerate the process even more. This isn't a competition for your parents' love. I'm sure they love all of you and they'd show it if you stopped being self-centered. Please give it some thought.


Every year we send a holiday letter along with our greeting cards. The letter usually highlights events of immediate family members from the past year. This year there is a problem.

Our 22-year-old son, "Dexter," is in jail on burglary charges related to a drug problem. Many of our friends and relatives already know about this, but others are not aware.

Our son's siblings are doing well and we like to report on their activities. However, we are confused concerning Dexter. We really cannot send the holiday letter and leave him out, but neither can we fabricate a story concerning his status. Telling the truth would be informational but also awkward. We would appreciate your advice. -- HOLIDAY LETTER WRITER


Write the letter as you usually would, and when you get to your incarcerated son, say: "Dexter has taken some time to rethink his future. He sends you all his love." You do not have to go into any more detail or belabor the point.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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