Dear Abby: My husband and I were together for eight years before we married a year ago. He has a kid from a previous marriage who just turned 11. The boy has been a part of my life since he was 3. But it wasn't until his father and I were married that my parents began sending him Christmas presents. They don't usually send him birthday gifts.

My husband and I had our own child seven months ago. Now they're sending a ton of Christmas presents for my biological son, but only a few token gifts for my stepson. My sister didn't bother buying anything for my stepson or my husband. When I pointed it out to her, she ignored me.

I don't think it's fair that they exclude my stepson. My sister has two girls and I bought gifts for everyone — including her husband — although money was tight. Now I wish I could take everything back. How can I get them to not shortchange my stepson? Or should I just tell them not to bother sending anyone gifts? — Outcast in Montana

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Dear Outcast: It appears your husband may have a less-than-ideal relationship with your mother and your sister. Before taking any action, discuss this with your husband. If he agrees, then you are within your rights to tell them the way they are treating your husband and stepson is hurtful. Say that if it can't be corrected, you prefer gifts no longer be exchanged because the discrimination is blatant and not what these holidays are supposed to be about.

Dear Abby: I'm a 12-year-old girl in seventh grade. I have this crush and we're friends. I finally got up the courage to tell him I liked him, and he has said nothing about it for the past two days. My best friend, Sara, tried to ask him why twice at lunch, but he left every time she tried to bring it up.

I know we're only in middle school, but I'm ready. Should Sara and I confront him together or give him time? I can't do it without Sara because then I would probably run. What should I do? — Girl With A Crush

Dear Girl With A Crush: Twelve-year-old girls in seventh grade may be ready for crushes, but 12-year-old boys in seventh grade may not be. You have already gotten your message across to him. Forget confronting him and do not involve your friend Sara, or he will run in the opposite direction the minute he sees you coming.

Be patient. It may take some time, but he will develop an interest in girls eventually. And when he does, you do NOT want him to remember you as the one who embarrassed him in public.

Dear Abby: How do I treat someone with respect whom I do NOT respect and who does not respect me? I try to treat everyone courteously; however, it's tough to do when often the respect only flows one way. — Unsure in California

Dear Unsure: Here's how. First, keep your distance, if that's possible. And then refrain from showing your disdain by using basic good manners whenever you are forced to be in the person's presence.

Write to Dear Abby at P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069 or at dearabby.com.

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