DEAR ABBY: My 18-year-old graduating senior, “Renee,” has told me I have taught her nothing about living life. Furthermore, she informed me that her school counselor agrees with her, saying I have failed to teach her the skills needed to be successful in life.
At first I was angry and denied everything my daughter said. Now I am beginning to doubt myself and the way I have raised her. Have I taught her the necessary skills to live her life? Does she lack what it takes to make it through the good and bad parts of life?
How can I know my Renee will be able to “fly out of the nest” because there is no safety net to catch her? — DOUBTING MOM IN MINNESOTA
DEAR DOUBTING MOM: Before you second-guess yourself any further, check with Renee’s school counselor to make certain he or she was quoted correctly. Does your daughter know how to save money? Balance a checkbook? Hold a job? Does she know right from wrong and how to assert herself?
Many of life’s survival skills are learned by imitation, the rest from experience. You can’t protect your daughter from everything. Like most parents, you should cross your fingers and pray, and avoid blaming yourself for anyone else’s poor choices.
DEAR ABBY: I am part of a circle of five guy friends. We’re all around 30. Some of us date regularly, looking for the right girl. One of us, “Ian,” is with “Jenny,” who we’re concerned about. They are now living together.
Jenny doesn’t abuse Ian or cheat on him. We just think he could do better. She’s pushy and materialistic, and it’s impossible to have a two-way conversation with her. This isn’t just my opinion. Some of Jenny’s friends describe her the same way.
Because we’re all so close to Ian, we hate to see this relationship progress. We worry he’ll be forced to give her what she’s aiming for — a ring. I know he’s a grown man and can make his own decisions. Would it be wrong for one of us to tell Ian what we think of her? We hate watching what we consider a slow train wreck that’s bound to get worse. — GOOD BUDDY IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR GOOD BUDDY: It wouldn’t be wrong, but it might be unwise for one of you to tell Ian what you think of Jenny. He might get the message better if you ALL tell him during a boys’ night out. It may be difficult to extricate himself from the relationship now that they’re living together — providing he even wants to (some men like overbearing women). But at least he will know that his friends have second thoughts about her, and that may open his eyes.
DEAR ABBY: I had a falling out with my oldest son and his wife two years ago. They have two daughters whom I dearly love, and I know they love me.
I wrote my son and daughter-in-law to beg for forgiveness. I messed up partly out of hurt and anger, and also because of the medications I was taking.
I asked my son if they really want to take away the only grandma the girls have left. I also wondered if two years of not being able to see my granddaughters was punishment enough for them and me.
I have held out the olive branch, but apparently they’re not ready. Can you think of anything else I can do? — HOLES IN MY HEART IN KANSAS
DEAR HOLES IN YOUR HEART: Consider asking another family member or religious adviser to intercede for you. However, if that fails, then there is nothing else you can do. Hope and pray that time will bring reconciliation. You have my sympathy.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.