DEAR ABBY: I teach and advise first-year students at a college, and one of the most critical problems students have is sleeping through class because they haven’t learned to get themselves up in the morning.

Last week, a sophomore student missed a math class at 8 a.m. because her father failed to call her that morning and get her out of bed.

PLEASE advise parents to buy an alarm clock for their children, starting in sixth grade, and make them learn to get themselves out of bed, even if it means suffering the consequences once or twice for being late. Daddy’s not going to make that wake-up call forever, and Mom shouldn’t have to serve as the alarm clock for kids over 12 years of age. We’d appreciate students who can at least do that much for themselves – and I’m sure their future employers would too. – FRUSTRATED ADVISER IN THE U.S.A.

DEAR ADVISER: I’m pleased to help spread the message. Parents, the longer bad habits are ignored, the harder they are to break. Sometimes it’s necessary to use “tough love” to teach children self-reliance and independence. Do it now, while the penalties they will have to pay for their mistakes are still minor. By the time they’re out of the nest, it’s too late.

DEAR ABBY: I recently began dating this guy, “Don,” I met a few months ago. For the most part, he’s good to me. The problem is I have strong feelings for him, but I’m not sure he feels the same way.

Don says he loves me, and he does treat me wonderfully – something I’ve always wanted – but I have this nagging feeling that “something” will go wrong. I don’t know where this stems from. I feel myself starting to fall in love with him, but I don’t know if I should because he has been married four times already. Please help me. I don’t want to lose him. – HOLDING BACK IN OHIO

DEAR HOLDING BACK: The “nagging feeling” you described may be your common sense telling you to put on the brakes before giving your whole heart. Let’s face it, this man has a terrible track record when it comes to commitment. Get to know him a lot better before planning a future with him. This is one of those cases where only time will tell – lots and lots of time.

DEAR ABBY: I’m about to have my first baby. I’m very excited about it. People ask if I’m nervous about giving birth. To tell you the truth, the only part of labor and delivery I’m afraid of is the fact that my mother-in-law insists on being there.

I agreed when she first asked me, but I have changed my mind, and I’m wondering how I can avoid having her there when the time comes. I actually find myself praying for a C- section because then she cannot be there.

How should this be handled? Should we tell her before the birth, or should we just call her after the baby is born with the good news? – TRAPPED IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR TRAPPED: If you can’t find the courage to tell your mother-in-law beforehand that you have changed your mind, discuss that fact with your OB/GYN, and specify that you want only your husband with you during labor and delivery. Your doctor can make sure your wishes are carried out.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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