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Dear Abby 11/01

Jealous granddaughter loses compassion for troubled friend

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    DEAR ABBY: I have a serious problem. Several months ago, my 15-year-old granddaughter, "Brittany," brought a girlfriend to my home explaining that "Megan's" mother was on drugs and Megan had no place to live. The mother was living between her car and an occasional motel room.
    I felt sorry for the girl and allowed her, with her mother's permission, to stay with us. Megan's mother ultimately abandoned her. Megan wound up in police custody through no action of her own. I was called to retrieve her from the police station.
    I was then asked to take the girl into my home, as there is a shortage of foster homes in our area and I had a foster license from years ago. Megan moved in, and I provided her with the essentials — some clothing, a bedspread of her choosing, a yearbook from school, etc.
    Suddenly, Brittany has decided that she "hates" Megan, and she is now begging me to get her out of my home. I agreed to foster this girl, and there is nowhere else for her to go.
    Brittany is now avoiding us. She is no longer speaking to Megan and has stated that she'll let us have our "new granddaughter" — she hates her. She's overly rude to Megan at family functions, excludes her from regular social occasions, and barely speaks to me or her grandfather anymore.
    I'm not stupid. I know Brittany is jealous, although I have assured her that no one can ever take her place. She insists that I "get rid of" Megan — and she doesn't care where she goes. My daughter just says, "Well, what did you expect?" and gives me no backup or support.
    I don't want to put Megan into the "system," as she would go to a group home from here. However, I am very torn at obviously hurting my granddaughter. I don't know what to do. Please help me. -- PULLED IN TWO IN CALIFORNIA
    DEAR PULLED IN TWO: Stay the course. Brittany may be 15, but she's acting like a 7-year-old. She wanted you to help her friend on HER terms — but not too much. The rivalry she's exhibiting is uncalled for, and the fact that your daughter is not joining you in giving Brittany an attitude adjustment is puzzling and disappointing.
    If your granddaughter wants to sulk, there's nothing you can do about it. Right now, there are more important things to consider than your granddaughter's spoiled behavior — specifically, the welfare of a young girl who is in trouble through no fault of her own. Please continue to support her rather than allowing yourself to be manipulated by a child who clearly has no idea of what life is really about.

    DEAR ABBY: I am a male in my 50s, fit, and wear an ankle-length (either dark or light blue) robe around the house when I'm not ready to get dressed. Neither is ratty, worn or in disrepair.
    We live in a quiet, middle-class neighborhood. Abby, I sometimes go out and pick up the newspaper from the front lawn wearing my robe. My wife thinks this is inappropriate. Is it? -- COMFORTABLY LOUNGING IN FORT WORTH
    DEAR COMFORTABLY LOUNGING: Not from my perspective. If this is all your wife can find to complain about, she's a lucky woman.
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