DEAR ABBY: My parents recently took my kids for a “day with Grandma and Grandpa.” My children are 5 and 3. When they returned home, they were driven by one of my siblings with Grandma in tow. My sibling stated that he was the “designated driver.”

My husband and I are extremely upset that my parents chose to drink when they had our children’s safety first in their care, and so extensively that they needed someone else to get the children home safely. We’d like to discuss this with them and ask them not to consume alcohol when our children are with them. However, we are hesitant because of the conflict this may cause, and are concerned that they will feel that we’re attacking them.

How should we approach this – or is it best not to express our concern? – VACILLATING IN ARIZONA

Vacillate no more and stop worrying about the “conflict” speaking up might cause. As a parent, it is your ultimate responsibility to ensure the safety of your children. Unless you establish firm ground rules and can be absolutely sure that your children are cared for in a sober, responsible environment, your children should not be unsupervised around their grandparents. Anything less is child endangerment.

DEAR ABBY: I have been reading your column since I was in high school. Many of the topics you discuss have been very helpful. Now I have a question and thought you could give me some advice. When a lady tries on clothes in the dressing room, but does not wish to buy them, should she leave them in the dressing room or put them back on the rack? – MELANIE FROM OKLAHOMA

The garments should be left in the dressing room, replaced neatly on the hangers on which they were displayed. Sadly, sometimes customers leave the clothing in a messy pile on the floor, which means the salesperson must then hang them up so they can be displayed again. Such thoughtlessness is tacky.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 23-year-old female and what you would call a “serial monogamist.” I don’t understand how I got this way, but I just love being in a relationship. My curse is that I constantly wish to be back with my exes. I idealize the past and “forget” the negative things that made me cheat on or leave them.

I know that if I leave my current boyfriend, I’ll just want to get back with him in the future. It’s a weird, vicious cycle that causes me a lot of guilt and regret. How do I get over the past and appreciate the present? – MIXED UP IN BROOKLYN, N.Y.

You may think you “love” being in a relationship, but it may be time to take a long, hard look at how you really feel about intimacy. It appears that every time you get close to a man you feel compelled to do something to destroy the romance. This boyfriend may – or may not – be someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with. But unless you understand what drives you to cheat on a partner or dump him, the pattern will continue to repeat itself.

Counseling might give you insight, and I recommend it.

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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