My 15-year-old daughter, “Jenny,” went to a sleepover with her two best friends from school last Friday, “Penny” and “Ginger.” Penny’s parents went out and left the girls alone. They drank some beer. Jenny and Ginger were sober, but Penny also drank some hard liquor and got very drunk. I found out about it the following Monday after Penny texted my daughter and Ginger to tell them how upset and disappointed her parents were and that they were demanding letters of apology from all three girls.
I thought it was over the top, but realized Jenny was in the wrong. That same day Jenny wrote them an email with a heartfelt apology for disrespecting everyone by drinking in their house, for drinking their beer without permission and for allowing their daughter to get drunk (not being a true friend and trying harder to stop her).
Now, the fifth day after the email was confirmed received, my daughter is disappointed that it was never acknowledged. Penny’s parents have been known to be dramatic in past dealings with other students and parents. Will you advise me on what I should do? I feel I should let it go and let Jenny figure out how she should choose her friends. She has ditched a friend who wasn’t a good influence on her without us forcing her to.
– Jenny’s Mom in Canada
There is plenty of blame to go around. Penny’s parents shouldn’t have left three teenagers alone with liquor available. While I can’t blame them for being upset after coming home and finding their daughter smashed and the other two “tiddly,” they were wrong to expect Jenny and Ginger to have prevented their daughter from misbehaving.
I do not agree that asking for a written apology was over the top. And under the circumstances, I don’t think your daughter’s letter needed acknowledgment. Let it go, with a firm lecture to your daughter about underage drinking and the consequences that will follow if you find out it happens again.
A couple of years ago, I ran into “John,” an old friend who was going through a divorce. We began a wonderful relationship, although he was having a hard time emotionally. I was John’s confidante and best friend. About 6 months after the divorce was final, his ex-wife found out he was with me. She decided she wanted him back, and he reconciled with her.
John and I still talk, and since then they have broken up three or four additional times. I want him back, but only if she’s completely out of the picture. She’s a master manipulator and uses their adult kids and grandchildren to control him. How can I get it through John’s head that if he stands his ground, she will go away and find someone else?
– Staying with it in Ohio
If you think John’s wife (ex?) will ever be completely out of the picture, you are mistaken. She will always be there in some capacity because of the children and grandchildren. If you can’t accept that fact, you should end the relationship before you waste any more time.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.