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Thu, Feb. 20

Dear Abby | Mom walks fine line amid safety and fear for daughter

Dear Abby: I have two beautiful daughters, ages 3 and 4. My concern is that my younger daughter is very friendly. No matter where we go, she says “hi” to everyone she sees, strangers included. With all her positive energy, she has the type of personality that attracts attention when she walks into a room. I love her for that, but I’m also worried she’s too friendly.

Some of our neighbors are male, and she wants to hug them and sit on their laps. This alarms me, and I’m not sure what to do. With how things are nowadays, you never know who you can trust. I don’t want to dampen her confident and upbeat disposition, but I want to teach her why it’s not OK to do this. Sometimes I wonder if she does it because her father isn’t in the picture, so when she sees an older man, she wants that bond. Please help, Abby. – Protective in Pennsylvania

Dear Protective: Your daughter appears to be a lovely little girl. I agree you shouldn’t dampen her outgoing and affectionate nature. She should not be walking around by herself without supervision. Explain to her what appropriate behavior is and is not. This is an ongoing conversation that includes more information as she is able to understand it. Ultimately, you are her parent, and you must determine what is appropriate in her interactions with ALL people, regardless of gender.

Dear Abby: How do I deal with a friend who constantly stays on her cellphone (texting, talking or using video chat) every time we get together? She puts her phone on video chat in the car and talks to some guy, and in restaurants she keeps her phone on the table and it rings, which is annoying. She also talks on the phone in public places, making others around glance over at her, yet she doesn’t turn it off.

She spent the last 40 minutes of a recent 1 1/2-hour bus trip we took, seated next to each other, on her phone. There was a sign nearby that read, “Cellphone use unless in an emergency situation is prohibited,” and the passenger in front of us kept turning around to glare at her. She was oblivious! I once told her I don’t talk on my phone if I’m with someone. She asked me how I did that and when I shut my phone off, she commented, “I can’t do that”! What do I do, Abby? – Offended in Massachusetts

Dear Offended: Allow me to share what I would do: I would spend my time with friends who choose to be fully present when in my company.

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