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Published October 30, 2010, 12:00 AM

Annie's Mailbox: Get daughter counseling before she does something she can’t fix

Dear Annie: My 15-year-old daughter, “Tracie,” is attractive, a top student, a volunteer and a Sunday school teacher. She planned to become a doctor.

By: Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, INFORUM

Dear Annie: My 15-year-old daughter, “Tracie,” is attractive, a top student, a volunteer and a Sunday school teacher. She planned to become a doctor.

Recently, Tracie became sexually involved with a 20-year-old man who is known to be a drug pusher. Moreover, he has a girlfriend. Tracie does not claim to love him. She smokes weed with him and a few days ago became so drunk (the first time) that she cannot remember what she did.

The sex and pot I could handle, but what upsets me terribly is that Tracie, who was widely admired in our town and who certainly received much affection at home, flaunts this relationship and seems to want to ruin her reputation. I worry that there is something self-destructive in her. What now? – California

Dear California: You realize that you could call the police and have her drug-pushing partner arrested for having sex, even consensual, with a minor. And although Tracie would have a fit, it’s possible this kind of parental involvement is exactly what she is hoping for. Even smart, attractive teenagers can be reckless and foolish because they lack the maturity to make appropriate judgment calls and cannot always see the consequences of their actions. That’s what parents are for.

You are going to have a major uphill battle with Tracie as she searches for her own identity – one that may differ from her parents’ expectations. Get her into counseling with you, and work on this before she does something she cannot fix.


Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our late 50s and have been retired for six years. He now works part time and spends the rest of his day golfing and watching TV. The problem is that he forgets I’m retired, too.

Besides my regular shopping and household upkeep, I am constantly cleaning up the messes he leaves, turning lights out, closing cupboards and closets, and throwing away trash he drops on the floor. When I ask him to help me out, he gives me attitude and then does the task half-heartedly, which means I usually end up doing it over. And heaven forbid I point out that he didn’t do something right because then he accuses me of being mean.

He apparently needs a mother, not a wife. And when it comes to sex, he doesn’t understand that I have little interest in someone for whom I’m losing respect daily. Is it too late to get my husband to take pride in our home and see that it takes a team effort to care for it? – On My Own

Dear O.M.O: If your husband didn’t do any housework before he retired, he probably doesn’t see why he should do it now. And undoubtedly, he considers it your responsibility, not his. Let him do it poorly, and don’t redo his efforts. With patience and persistence, you can “train” him, but it will take time, and again, you might feel like his mother. So decide how important it is to you. And if you tell him directly that more help around the house will translate to more sex, the problem could be solved altogether.


Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Crowded by the Ex.” I can’t imagine that after all these years, people can’t learn to get along.

My husband’s ex and I started out a little leery of each other, but time has changed that. When my stepson married, I offered to let his dad and mom sit in the first row. I was more than happy to sit elsewhere. But they both insisted we sit together. We even did the rehearsal dinner together.

Now that there are grandchildren, it’s wonderful to have everyone present for Christmas and birthdays. She and I have even taken the grandkids on outings together. People need to put their selfish feelings aside and make it easier for everyone to get along. – Making it Easier


Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net or write to Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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