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Dear Abby 9/26

Aunt feels troubled nephew could pose threat to her kids

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    DEAR ABBY: I find myself in a situation I am not sure how to handle. My mother has adopted my 10-year-old nephew. The boy has severe mental and emotional problems because of the home environment he was in with my sister.
    Mom and I often talk about what we want to happen if something should happen to us. We know we need to get wills and living wills made. My problem is, if something should happen to Mom and my stepdad, I will be the logical choice to get my nephew.
    I have two young children to consider if I take him in. The boy has already shown predatory tendencies. He has spent six months in a mental hospital because of his problems. I do not want to bring him into my home if I cannot trust him with my children. At this point, I don't like leaving him alone in the house with them even if I am outside.
    Abby, I don't want my nephew to leave the family, but I cannot risk my children's safety and bring him into my home. Should I tell Mom that I'll take him in if something happens to her, or tell her I can't risk having him in my home? -- NEEDS HELP IN ARKANSAS
    DEAR NEEDS HELP: Because you feel your nephew would be a danger to your children, the answer to your question is no. You should tell your mother as soon as possible that in the event that anything happens to her and your stepfather, she should have other arrangements in place regarding the child.
    DEAR ABBY: Can you help me understand a weird quirk I have noticed with a friend of mine? I'll call him "Jerome."
    Jerome is a middle-aged professional man with a college degree. However, he has this habit of seeking out free food. Jerome shows up at store grand openings, automobile dealer promotions, new home communities — you name it. If there's free food being served, he will find it and be the first in line. It makes no difference that he doesn't shop at the place, need a new car, or has no plans to buy in the subdivision.
    Can you explain why someone like Jerome would go to such lengths for a free plate of food? -- MYSTIFIED IN CALIFORNIA
    DEAR MYSTIFIED: It may be that your friend can't resist trying to get something for nothing. Or it may not be food he's after at all. He may like to mingle in a crowd because he's lonely.
    DEAR ABBY: I started high school this year. It's the second day of school, and I'm already feeling overwhelmed. There is just too much work, and I can't keep up with it all. What should I do? -- PANICKED IN MICHIGAN
    DEAR PANICKED: Your feelings are normal for anyone in a new environment, so calm yourself. Recognize that high school is different from grammar school and/or middle school because more responsibility for learning is placed on the shoulders of the student. That's a good thing, because it will teach you how to prioritize and budget your study time wisely.
    Try to pinpoint exactly what it is that's making you feel overwhelmed. If it's the volume of work, then you will have to sacrifice something else in your schedule in order to keep up with it. If it's the nature of the work, you should talk to your teachers now about possibly getting extra help so you won't fall behind.
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