Dear Amy: I recently saw an old friend I hadn’t seen in 25 years.
As we chatted and chatted about our children, he showed me a picture of his 19-year-old daughter, whom I had never met. I didn’t ask to see a photo.
If she was a small child or a baby I would have reacted with how cute she was, but otherwise I don’t feel comfortable commenting on anyone’s appearance.
I didn’t see that she bore any resemblance to him, so I said nothing to that effect.
It would have been strange to answer that she looked smart or talented.
What is an acceptable reaction to seeing an unsolicited photo of someone?
I would have gladly provided a white lie if I had one in the holster, but I had none.
Best Clumsy: Your tone implies that your old friend somehow rudely put you on the spot by showing you a picture of his daughter.
You can easily avoid commenting on someone’s appearance by asking, “Now, where was this taken?” “What is she up to?” etc.
Or you can use the photo to turn back to the two of you, “Wow, 19 years old. Where has the time gone?”
Dear Amy: Our teenage daughter, who has helped us through the wringer in many ways, was recently caught stealing money. She took $20 from Dad’s wallet and $5 from mine.
We have lovingly confronted her, set boundaries, given consequences and dried her tears with hugs and lots of love.
That night I wrote her a card about how much I love her and stuck it under her door because she seemed down. I felt really great about how we handled the crisis! Except she went back in my bag the next day and stole the rest of my money.
Now I find I can’t even look at her. I feel so betrayed. How do you move on if you can’t trust your child?
She takes antidepressants and is being treated by a psychiatrist. She was in therapy but doesn’t want to go anymore.
She has been caught cutting herself, smoking weed, vaping, shoplifting, sexting, climbing out the second floor window and tattooing herself.
Until now, I thought it was just an excess of teen judgment – the kind you’ll laugh about one day. But now I’m starting to feel used. Honestly, stealing from us right after the confrontation really pushed me over the edge. She admitted it too, both times.
We also plan to lock our wallets from now on. sigh.
Best anxious: I suggest you toughen up your spine while also toughening up the way you love your daughter.
Some of her behavior falls into the “self-harm” category, and your parents should seek the advice of her therapist and psychiatrist to determine if she may need intensive, possibly residential, treatment. A neuropsychological evaluation may be helpful.
Also find an experienced family systems therapist yourself.
Your daughter’s behavior and rebelliousness may be her way of literally screaming for help, so instead of hugging it out and then feeling personally betrayed when she immediately challenges you, heed it very firmly and lovingly. alarm.
You don’t notice the consequences you equalize in response to her behavior, but a consequence should be that she has to attend her therapy sessions whether or not she wants to. She can’t control herself right now, so you have to get up and control her.
You don’t say what she does with the money she stole, but she could be abusing drugs or alcohol.
She may be reacting or reacting to a trauma in her own life that you don’t know about.
My general point is that in my opinion this is not your normal teenage silliness that you will laugh about later. At this point you are fighting to preserve her future.
Don’t fight her – fight for her.
Dear Amy: A question from “Loving But Sad Daughter” bothered me.
She was upset because her mother (her father’s first wife) was not mentioned in her father’s obituary.
An ex-husband is no longer a member of the family. They can’t make it to the obituary!
i’m an ex
Dear ex: “Sad Daughter” objected that by omitting any mention of her father’s first marriage, the obituary implied that she was her stepmother’s daughter.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.