Posted: Monday, July 21, 2008 11:04 pm
Dear Annie: My 19-year-old daughter, “Jessye,” just finished her freshman year at college. Two weeks before, she called to say she had run out of food money, so I sent her $100. I later found out she had flown to Florida before final exams. She stayed two days with a male friend at the beach. I went off the deep end, took back the $100 and let her know I was very upset.
Jessye claims it’s her life and she is free to do whatever she wants. She also says this guy is just a friend; there was no sex. I say a trip to shack up with a guy is just plain wrong, regardless of whether there’s sex or not. I told her the values she was raised with would not allow this. End of discussion.
After this incident, the first thing I did was tell her she is not welcome to live at home since she is no longer a member of our household. She can visit (and she is now), but she cannot stay. Further, since she chooses to have no respect for my values and opinions, I will not support her lifestyle at college. She will be on her own, and I told her to “have a nice life.”
Am I being too harsh? Must I support Jessye’s college career even though I don’t support her choices? — Help Needed in Upstate New York
Dear New York: Jessye is an adult, and you no longer control how she chooses to live her life. However, you certainly are under no obligation to pay for her choices. Is your stand harsh? Yes, and you run the risk of alienating Jessye, giving you even less influence on her future decisions. Examine what you hope to achieve. Many parents draw a line in the sand, hoping to convince their adult child to conform, but it rarely works. Instead, it tends to increase the distance. Disapproval is understandable, but punitive actions can hurt you both. Be careful.
Dear Annie: Is it OK to let a 4-year-old boy go into a men’s restroom by himself because he likes to use the urinal?
His mom stood outside the door the whole time, but I still think it’s wrong. There are many sex offenders out there, and when I baby-sit for him, I take him to the ladies’ restroom with me. Am I overreacting? — Elizabeth
Dear Elizabeth: No. It is an unfortunate risk these days to allow a young child to use a public restroom alone. Women’s restrooms have stalls that ensure privacy and a 4-year-old boy should not disturb anyone. The urinal can wait. (Something to look forward to.)
Dear Annie: I am a mother, wife and nurse. Two years ago, I had a major surgery that required me to take pain medication for several weeks. Before long, I couldn’t think of anything except ways to get more. I was addicted. I tried to stop, but the pain of withdrawal was just too much. I hid my addiction from everyone until the shame and guilt became so bad I considered suicide.
I finally told my husband, and the next day checked into a detox center. Upon my release, I went straight to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. At that meeting I realized there are many people just like me. I felt hope that there is a better way to live and faith that I can make it through a day without using drugs. I have now been clean for 90 days.
There are still some very rough days, but it is nice to be able to “feel” again. Please tell your readers, if they or someone they love is addicted to drugs, go to an NA meeting. You will find the help you need. — Florida
Dear Florida: NA is a wonderful organization, and we hope readers in similar situations will contact them at P.O. Box 9999, Van Nuys, CA 91409 (na.org).
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 7.21.08