Posted: Friday, November 21, 2008 7:11 pm
Dear Annie: What do you do when it is not your teenager’s friend who is the bad influence but the friend’s mother? “Betty” tells my daughter, “Chloe,” that if she wants to go out with someone we disapprove of to tell us she is sleeping over at Betty’s house and she’ll cover for her. When we won’t buy Chloe inappropriate clothing, Betty encourages her to wear her daughter’s clothes and then change back after school so we don’t find out.
It’s hard enough for children to withstand peer pressure, but when an adult, who should know better, acts this way, it’s infuriating. Betty claims she is just trying to be Chloe’s friend, but my child does not need a middle-aged friend who ought to stop acting like an irresponsible teenager. What can we do? — Old Fogy
Dear Old Fogy: Betty is trying desperately to be the coolest mom on the block. You can ask her to please stop undermining your authority as a parent, but we doubt she will have the sense to listen. Instead, have a serious discussion with Chloe.
Explain that you have reasons for your rules, and that Betty’s attitude is rude, not only to you, but to Chloe. It assumes that Chloe doesn’t respect her parents or have the integrity to value the way she is being raised. Maturity involves learning to become trustworthy, and you want to be able to count on her to do the right thing, whether she is with you, Betty or anyone else. Meanwhile, we’d limit Chloe’s time with Betty. Offer to have her daughter come to your home instead.
Dear Annie: My husband and I have a tenant who paid her rent in cash four weeks ago. I thought I placed the money on our table, but the next morning it wasn’t there. I spent every spare hour searching for the money and finally concluded that someone lifted it or it somehow was put into the trash. I was ashamed that I was so irresponsible and didn’t want to admit I could make such a costly error, so I said nothing to my husband of 50 years.
A month later, my husband nonchalantly asked me if I had mislaid any money. It turns out it was stuck in a pack of photo reprints from a store and sitting on a table in our basement. He knew what the money was, but thought he’d wait to see if I’d tell him I’d lost it.
I’m upset that he is supposed to be my best friend, yet let me stress out and waste time searching for this money. He says I’m lucky he didn’t just take it. Which one of us is more wrong? — I Lost and He Found
Dear Lost: Your husband sent us a letter along with yours. Here’s what he said:
Dear Annie: Our tenant paid cash for rent four weeks ago. My wife hides, misplaces or loses things all the time. She did not tell me she had misplaced the money. However, about two weeks ago, I found the cash while looking at some pictures. I didn’t say anything since she doesn’t like to be wrong. Please let us know whose fault it is. — Somewhere in Pennsylvania
Dear Both of You: It’s hard to believe your marriage has survived 50 years of such nonsense. You are both wrong. The person who misplaced the money should have said so, enabling both of you to search for it. The person who found the money should have spoken up immediately instead of playing head games. Now say you’re sorry and don’t do it again.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Gloria in the Southeast,” who complained about people with large thighs wearing shorts.
I’d like her to know that it is nearly impossible to find shorts with a longer inseam and I shop at plus-size stores. Clothing manufacturers need to realize that heavy women do not want to wear shorts that ride up and would prefer the longer look. So don’t take it out on us. — Been There in Illinois
Dear Illinois: We recommend capri pants or Bermuda shorts for women looking to cover more leg. And you can find them in most stores.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. 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 11.21.08