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Young sister has problem with stealing

Dear Abby: I'm a 15-year-old girl with five younger siblings. It's tough to get along with everyone, but my 8-year-old sister, "Annie," is especially difficult. She doesn't get along with anyone.

Annie steals constantly. This has been going on since she could walk. She steals jewelry, makeup, toys, books and money. The only way to get these things back is by searching her room. Our relatives say she'll grow out of this, but it happens every day. She destroys and breaks the things she steals -- including projects and homework.

My parents have tried everything -- taking her things, grounding her, taking away privileges -- yet Annie doesn't stop. She lies and becomes frantic, and I'm worried something is wrong. None of us has ever behaved like her. What should we do?

-- Worried Sister in New Jersey

Dear Worried Sister: The behavior you have described could be symptoms of a serious emotional disturbance. It won't be corrected until your parents understand what's driving your sister to steal and lie. If Annie hasn't already been evaluated by her pediatrician and a mental health professional, it should be done as soon as possible. Please show this to your parents.

> Sticky sister situation

Dear Abby: I recently had a conversation with my married sister that left me speechless. While making plans to visit me for a few days, she asked if I could "hook her up" with any guys. I was shocked. Not only was it awkward, it left me feeling disgusted.

If a person is unhappy in his or her marriage, shouldn't the marriage be ended BEFORE looking for someone else? (By the way, my brother-in-law thinks they have a great marriage.)

A few days later, my sister informed me that her "boyfriend" had broken things off with her. I am dumbfounded! My sister will be coming to spend some time with me soon, and I'm sure this subject is bound to come up again. How do I handle a situation I find so offensive?

-- Dumbstruck Down South

Dear Dumbstruck: Handle it by telling your sister exactly what you have written to me. That should get the message across succinctly.

Dear Readers: Today is Administrative Professionals Day, the day we pause to acknowledge and thank the diligent, caring, hardworking men and women whose efforts make the workplace function smoothly and efficiently for their employers. Orchids to all of you. Speaking as one lucky employer, I know I am truly blessed.

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

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