Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 2:25 pm
Dear Annie: I am a junior in high school. I have been with my wonderful girlfriend, “Maria,” since our freshman year. Her parents won’t let her officially date until she is 16, which will be soon.
Last year, at her 15th birthday party, I gave Maria a ticket to a formal dance. She was flattered, but her dad got angry, questioned me about my intentions and asked why I didn’t first get his permission to take her.
I apologized and said I thought you only had to ask the father about marriage. Now when I see him, he refuses to shake my hand and acts insulted. Worse, because he won’t let Maria date, I only spend time with her at school. And if I go to a party without her, she gets mad.
I don’t think I have done anything wrong. Is there anything I can do to bring her dad around and possibly be able to take Maria out? — Lovesick Teen
Dear Teen: If Maria cannot date until she is 16, you will gain more points with Dad if you respect that and stop pushing his boundaries. See her at school until her birthday. Then talk to her father and ask if you can take Maria out, preferably with a group of friends. Dad needs to feel that his little girl is safe with you. See that she is.
Dear Annie: When I was pregnant with my second son, my mother and others said it was “too bad” because girls stay close to their families and boys don’t.
My boys are now 6 and 9, and I think of those comments every day. I have a very loving home, and I kiss my kids all the time and tell them I love them and am proud of them. We have dinners at home, and my husband and I talk to them about their lives and keep on top of schooling, friends, etc. Right now, they are sweet, affectionate kids, but I’m so worried that they will disappear when they grow older and marry.
I have a co-worker who never sees her son and knows little about his daily life. While she is fine with that, it horrifies me. My husband isn’t concerned because he is close to his mom (me, too), but it still itches at my brain. I don’t want “mama’s boys,” but what can I do to keep a close relationship with my boys as they grow up? — Michigan
Dear Michigan: The old adage, “A son is a son until he takes a wife; a daughter is a daughter the rest of her life,” has some basis in fact. Girls identify with their mothers, and since women tend to maintain the social structure of the home, their family preferences win out. We recommend you maintain an open and honest relationship with your boys, and when they are teens, it’s OK to tell them you hope they will stay close even after they marry. And then make friends with their wives and treat them with respect. Those women need to know you accept them without judging and will love them as if they were your own.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Help, Please,” and was impressed by how much this family is trying to do for their elderly parents. Here are a few suggestions:
They can contact the local agency on aging or senior center for advice and assistance. Many states have a 211 resource and referral hotline. Local hospitals usually have a social services office that could advise them. The parents’ primary care doctor can make a referral to a visiting nurse agency to assess their home-care needs and safety. They may qualify for home care services through their Medicare insurance.
Finally, if the family fears that the parents are unable to make safe decisions and are at risk of harm, they may need to call Adult Protective Services. — MSW
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, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 4.11.11