DEAR ABBY: I am a 17-year-old girl and a senior in high school. My parents and I (more my mom and I) have struggled with the topic of "respect" for a long time. We had a discussion about this earlier today and it led to arguing and tears.
She constantly says, "To earn respect, you must give it," and I agree 100 percent. The problem is, she doesn't believe that she and Dad should live by that -- just me. She feels that no matter how upset or annoyed I might get by something rude she or Dad says, I don't have the right to talk back.
What upsets me is they talk rude to me all the time! How can you expect your kid not to do something when they do it as parents all the time?! Do parents have the right to talk rude if they want and expect their kids to be perfect little angels? Please help. -- NEEDS RESPECT
DEAR NEEDS RESPECT: Parents should model the behavior they want from their children. Sometimes it's difficult not to react and say something impulsive (rude), but that doesn't mean that parents -- and teenagers -- shouldn't make every effort to be polite.
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A step in the right direction would be to say, "When you do that, it makes me feel ..." Try it, and you may get a better reaction from your mom and dad.
DEAR ABBY: My son is 8 and lost his dad a year ago. His dad was never very involved in his life, even though our son begged for his attention. His dad's sister, "Jillian," is a children's coach and very tough and hardcore. She has tried to have a relationship with my son, but he is pulling away from her and doesn't want to do anything with her.
When she asks to do something with him, he refuses. I have tried to prevent friction by telling her we already have plans. It finally came to a head when she accused me of trying to keep him from his dad's family. When I told her the truth, that her personality is too strong for my son, she replied that it's not a good enough reason.
Jillian is an alcoholic. She drinks no matter what time of day it is, so I'm OK with the idea that my son doesn't want to go anywhere with her. How do I handle this? -- TRYING TO PREVENT FRICTION
DEAR TRYING: When Jillian approaches you again, be as upfront with her about your own reason for not wanting your son to be with her as you were about his. You are right to worry about his safety because he would be at risk if he rode with a person who "drinks no matter what time of day it is." And don't let anyone talk you out of it.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have a disagreement that has been ongoing for a few years now. Sometimes I need to make a quick run into a store while he's driving. When I ask him to drop me at the front door, he insists on parking first and making me walk the distance -- whatever that may be. I say it is thoughtful and courteous to be dropped off as close as possible, and he should park afterward and I'll walk to wherever he is when I come out.
Please give me your take on this. -- 40 FEET
DEAR F.F.: Your husband may actually have a good reason for doing it. If you are with him when he parks the car, you will automatically know where to find him when you come out of the store.
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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