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Abby: Slumber party with mom is an every-night event

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My mother has this odd habit that my younger sister, "Sara," and I don't agree with. It's only the three of us in our house, and Sara and I are in high school and college.

Our mother forces one of us to sleep with her in her room every night. Sara sleeps in Mom's room more often than I do, and rarely gets a chance to sleep in her own bed. On the few occasions when Sara is sick, I sleep with Mom. But if we're both sick, she picks one of us anyway.

Abby, this has persisted for years. I have tried many times to convince my mother to let us sleep in our own rooms, but she ignores me or accuses me of "not loving her enough." She says the same things to Sara.

I'm worried about my mother. What would be the best thing to do in this situation?

Sleepover in Maryland

Dear Sleepover: Your mother is an adult who should long ago have learned to sleep alone. She should not be trying to "guilt" you and your sister into sleeping with her by accusing you of not loving her enough if you don't spend the night in her bed. The two of you should ask her together why she's doing this.

You young ladies are old enough to simply refuse if you would rather sleep in your own rooms. But breaking this habit may not be easy for your mother, so if she says she can't sleep without one of you with her, volunteer to stay with her until she falls asleep and THEN go to your rooms.

Dear Abby: I am at a loss about what to tell certain friends and family members about my job. I work in the adult industry to put myself through college, and I'm having a hard time finding a lie I can stick to. While I am not ashamed of what I do, I certainly can't tell my grandfather. This puts me in the awkward predicament of having to be dishonest with someone I love. Do you have any advice?

Living A Double Life

Dear Living: Yes. Because lying to your friends and relatives makes you uncomfortable, consider some other way to pay for your education.

Dear Abby: I frequently receive requests via Facebook and other social media sites asking for prayers for people who are ill or suffering a loss. I'm not a religious person, but I would like to acknowledge their pain and extend my sympathy. Any suggestions?

Challenged in Tucson

Dear Challenged: That you aren't a religious person doesn't mean you're not a caring and sensitive one. When you receive news that someone you know is going through a rough patch, respond by saying you are sorry for his or her pain, and that he or she is in your thoughts.

Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.