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Publication: Dear Abby
Concerned Stepmom Can Help Bolster Shy Girl's Self-Esteem

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           DEAR ABBY - April 14, 2008 
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CONCERNED STEPMOM CAN HELP BOLSTER SHY GIRL'S SELF-ESTEEM

ABBY: My 14-year-old stepdaughter, "Nicki," is sweet, 
sensitive, shy and artistic. Through no fault of her own 
she is two grades behind in school. She's not anti-social 
but has few friends at school because of the age difference. 
The friends she does have take advantage of her. They spend 
time with her only when she has spending money. They also 
borrow her things and do not return the items in good 
condition.

Nicki loves to talk about how many friends she has, but 
she'll also mention that they don't like her sometimes. 
She lives with her mother for the most part, but when she 
visits she seems starved for attention. I try to tell her 
to stand up for herself, but she thinks if she does she'll 
lose her "friends." Her mother also has low self-esteem, 
and I think she has passed this on to Nicki.

Is there anything I can do to bolster my step-daughter's 
self-esteem? And what can I say about her friends without 
overstepping my boundaries? 
-- LOST STEPMOM IN PALAU

LOST STEPMOM: It is not unheard of for parents who are 
socially recessive to pass that trait on to their children. 
After all, children learn by example -- and that's where 
you may be able to help your stepdaughter. The more time 
Nicki spends with you, the more she will see how you 
appropriately handle social situations and contemporaries. 
You should also share your thought process with her before 
and/or after you have done so. This will give her coping 
mechanisms in dealing with her own life.

Although it may be tempting, do not put down her classmates. 
If you do, it could come across as a criticism of her. 
Instead, encourage your stepdaughter to get involved in 
activities outside of school -- perhaps pursue her art, 
something that she enjoys. That way she can meet peers 
with whom she has something in common, and who won't have 
preconceived ideas about her status.

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ABBY: I have a neighbor who honks her horn twice to say 
goodbye to her children -- at 7 a.m.! It's so annoying 
to wake up to the sound of a honking horn every morning.

How do I ask this neighbor -- whom I am not friendly with
-- to stop this daily ritual? 
-- NO MORE HONKING IN PA.

NO MORE HONKING: Write your neighbor a sweet note and 
explain that the honking is waking you up. She may be 
unaware that she is creating a problem. If that doesn't 
work, then check the noise ordinance in your city. She may 
be in violation of the law.



ABBY: I never married "Mark," the father of my 20-year-old 
son, "Joel," and Mark didn't appear in Joel's life until he
was 12. Mark had a relationship with Joel for about two 
years, then moved to another state.

I learned last night that Mark has died. Joel is a few 
hours away at college. Should I tell him on the phone or 
in person? 
-- UNDECIDED IN STOCKBRIDGE, GA.

UNDECIDED: If the situation were reversed, what would you 
prefer? While Mark and Joel have not been close, your son 
has still lost his father. To tell him in person would be 
the kind thing to do. 





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

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