DEAR ABBY: My 16-year-old perfect kid came to us, very adult-like, saying it was time for her to go on the pill. We knew she had a boyfriend, but didn't realize it was this serious.
Despite my initial impulse to kill him and stick my daughter in a convent, we discussed it as a family and agreed she would see a gynecologist. She also had a long talk with her mother about sex, and with me a few days later. When I sat down alone with her she was embarrassed, but I don't care -- I'm her father.
Fast forward to last week: She left her iPad in the living room, and while I was using it, up popped explicit pictures of her not only with her boyfriend, but with other guys and girls. Her mother and I talked about how to handle this. I suggested therapy and pulling her from school. My wife disagreed. She accused me of violating our daughter's personal property and said it's none of my business!
I may be old-fashioned, but my daughter, whom I love more than life, needs to know this is not OK. She's still a child despite looking like an adult, and as a child, she needs guidance. Am I wrong? Do you have any resources for me on handling my daughter's sexual impulses? -- CONCERNED DAD IN SANTA CLARA
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DEAR CONCERNED DAD: To pull your daughter out of school or send her to a psychotherapist would be an overreaction. Her sexual impulses are normal. Although I agree she needs guidance, that guidance should come from you and your wife.
As to your "violating your daughter's personal property," I'm glad you saw what was on the tablet and your wife should be as well. The kind of photos you describe can cause big problems for teenaged girls. If her relationship with her boyfriend sours, those pictures can wind up on the Internet to be viewed for all time.
Colleges and prospective employers have been known to scour the Internet looking for these kinds of postings when interviewing students and job seekers. What may seem like innocent fun now could cause her big headaches a few years down the line, and your daughter needs to know it.
DEAR ABBY: I work the front desk at a small hotel in the middle of nowhere. I love my job. My boss and co-workers are amazing, and we are like a big family.
Recently, while I was working the graveyard shift, I was held up at gunpoint and robbed. Going to work still scares me, and I'm anxious the entire time.
Should I seek counseling and stay with this job to see if my anxiety lessens, or find another one where I won't have to deal with cash? I'm terrified of this happening again, since the thief got away with it. -- JUST DON'T SHOOT
DEAR JUST DON'T SHOOT: You should definitely seek counseling because of the trauma you experienced. Some states offer it as part of a victims assistance program, but if yours does not, then you will have to get it privately through your health insurance or your employer's. After you have had some sessions, you will then be in a better position to decide whether to continue working at that hotel.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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