When You Don’t Owe a Child Free Rein
Dear Margo: Our daughter got a job at a local pizza place when she was 16. She is now 17 and a senior in high school. While working there, she met a 29-year-old man we’ve come to find has been convicted on two drug charges, an assault charge and a theft charge. While lying to us about her relationship, as well as his age, we’ve now found out she had a sexual relationship with this person for a year and a half. I filed charges and had him arrested. Both admitted the inappropriate relationship to the police, and the trial is scheduled.
The problem I am having is that she is “in love” with this person and wants to have a relationship with him again. They made a “plan” to wait until she is 21 and almost finished with college to try it again. Until then, she is supposed to see other people so that she will know what she wants. I have told her that as long as her father and I are responsible for her, she will have nothing more to do with him, and I refuse to drop the charges. Her father is ready to kick her to the curb when she turns 18, but I cannot find it in me to turn her away. Am I doing the right thing? –Stressed to the Limit
Dear Stress: Encourage her “plan” to wait until she’s 21 and well into college life. In the next four years, if she can’t come up with a better love interest than someone who’s 13 years older with a rap sheet, then there’s nothing to be done. If she sticks to the bargain, things are in your favor — well, really in her favor. You and your husband would be doing the right thing by using tough love (the curb thing) if she doesn’t uphold her end of the bargain. –Margo, watchfully
Dear Margo: I am 47, the mother of three great kids, with a wonderful husband. Now that my kids are older, I’ve decided to pursue the career I always wanted: nursing. I was accepted into a nursing program, and it turned out that I was able to get financial aid to help pay for it. I couldn’t be happier that I have been given this amazing opportunity.
The problem? I had every intention of keeping my job as a teacher’s aide at a high school in another town, but after attending a few of the nursing classes and speaking with the career counselor, I realized the workload would be too much and I needed to choose one or the other. I chose nursing. I knew it was last minute, so I offered to work until a replacement was found, but they accepted my resignation “effective immediately.”
Now my former colleagues, who I thought were my friends, will not call me back. I have called and sent e-mails and Facebook messages asking how they are doing, but I have yet to receive an answer. Needless to say, I am heartbroken. My husband says there is nothing more I can do and I should just let it go, but I am struggling with this, feeling both guilty and sad. –Future Nurse
Dear Fu: I hope you can bag feeling guilty, because you have not only chosen a noble profession, but it was your dream. Being a teacher’s aide, in your situation, would not give you the satisfaction that nursing would. People are allowed to change jobs. The short notice is unfortunate, but there you are. The colleagues, alas, were not really friends, and your husband is correct. I find it rather unattractive that the people at school could not see the big picture and be happy for you. –Margo, fulfillingly
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
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