Dear Abby: Mother panics obsessively about daughter’s safety

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DEAR ABBY: I’m having a hard time letting my almost 17-year-old daughter out of my sight. When she walks home from school, I call to make sure she’s OK, then call her again minutes later when I estimate she’s home.

The whole time I worry. I check on her wherever she is, whomever she is with, and if she doesn’t answer a call or text, I panic. I have on a few occasions raced home from work in the middle of the day only to find her napping, and I’m upset to the point that I’ll start crying. I realize this isn’t healthy for either of us. Years ago, a little girl in our town, the same age as my daughter, was taken from her home and murdered. I think that plays a part in why I act so irrational.

Some of her friends will be driving this summer and I can only imagine there will be trips to the beach (three nightmares in one!) and whatever else. I guess I just want to know how to come to grips. — FRANTIC MOM OF A TEEN IN FLORIDA

DEAR FRANTIC: While your fears are based on a real incident, your daughter is no longer a little girl. You can’t protect her forever, and as a teenager, she needs to establish some independence. You would be doing both of you a favor to talk to a licensed mental health counselor NOW about this, because your fears are excessive.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve reached the point in my life that I can no longer hide fine lines and crow’s feet. It is bothering me greatly. How do other women handle it, especially when the deep lines form? I’ve talked to others my age and it doesn’t bother them.

I want to talk to elderly people and ask them, but I don’t know how to politely broach the subject. I feel guilty for being vain and I hate that, but it’s hard for me to accept. Please help. — HATING AGING IN EAU CLAIRE

DEAR HATING AGING: I don’t think anyone, male or female, relishes the idea of being old — particularly in American society — unless they consider the alternative, which is death. Men and women handle signs of aging in different ways.

Fortunes have been spent on beauty products, with varying degrees of success, although hope-in-a-jar springs eternal. Board-certified dermatologists and plastic surgeons can minimize the signs of aging with fillers, Botox, lasers and surgery, but they can be expensive. Others accept that beauty comes from within and opt to do nothing to change their appearance. Talking to people in their 70s, 80s or 90s about the changes they have experienced and the lessons they have learned as they grew older is a good idea. I’m sure you’ll receive some enlightening input.

But if it doesn’t change your feelings, talk to a doctor because a good one can work “miracles.”

DEAR ABBY: I live in Miami and my mother-in-law lives in Ohio. My husband just told me she is planning to move here and live with us. I don’t mind her moving in with us because she is my mother-in-law, but her boyfriend of 15 years is also coming down.

Her boyfriend’s brother is moving to West Palm Beach. (It’s the reason they are moving.) Does it make me sound petty to say I don’t want the boyfriend to move in with us? — MOTHER-IN-LAW DILEMMA

DEAR DILEMMA: Petty? I don’t think so. You are not running a boardinghouse. The boyfriend is no relation to you, and if you prefer not to have a stranger living under your roof, that should be your choice.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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