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Mom cringes at children's bad example

Dear Abby: My boyfriend has proposed. I love him very much, but I'm worried about my kids. I look at his children -- his son is 23 and barely made it out of high school. He got a girl pregnant at 17, has been in jail a few times and is an alcoholic. His 15-year-old daughter is immature for her age and constantly getting into trouble at school. Their mother is an alcoholic and a drug user. Are my concerns for my children valid?

-- Worried in West Virginia

Dear Worried: Yes, they are, because your children will be exposed to all of the negative influences that his children will bring with them into your blended family. Be smart and hold off marrying your boyfriend until your children are old enough not to be influenced by his children. Your first concern must be for your children's well-being.

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Chew on this

Dear Abby: Our group has a problem. One of the women takes out her dental floss and uses it at the table regardless of where we are -- a restaurant, banquet, anyplace. We have all asked her please not to, but she's the type who, if you tell her she's wrong, insists she's always right. According to her, flossing one's teeth at the table is acceptable.

She's in her 60s and she's a representative for our AARP group, which means she attends a great many functions. There has been a lot of talk about this, and it has made a lot of people uncomfortable.

She reads your column as we all do. So please address this subject. Thank you.

-- Grossed out in Massachusetts

Dear Grossed Out: With pleasure! Flossing one's teeth should be done in PRIVATE, in the powder room. Under no circumstances is it proper to do it at the dinner table. For her to insist upon doing it in spite of being told it makes others uncomfortable is extremely rude, so tell her to chew on that!

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