Dear Abby: Her mom worries about abusers as girl, 14, gets a job

Mother remembers being assaulted by several men during her teenage years and feels anxiety about what her daughter will face in the workplace.

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DEAR ABBY: My daughter is about to turn 14 and wants to get a job. We just found out that in our state, 14- and 15-year-olds can work if they get a permit. I’m very concerned. I tried negotiating with her by telling her that her dad and I will give her a job at home and pay her, but she insists on working to help with our family finances. I have congestive heart failure and adrenal insufficiency, which is why I can’t work outside the home. Her dad, my husband, is the only source of income.

While I admire her desire to help out financially, I’m very anxious about her being out in the workforce. I’m not paranoid. At various points during my youth, I was sexually abused and assaulted by several men. Realistically, it is dangerous, and I personally think she’s way too young to work outside the home. Please tell me if I’m being overly protective, or whether my concerns are legitimate. — APPRECIATIVE BUT WORRIED

DEAR APPRECIATIVE: Your daughter is to be applauded for wanting to help with the family finances. To me it shows her level of maturity. Because she’s inexperienced in the ways of the world, you and her father should sit down with her for some frank discussions.

Explain what sexual harassment is and make it clear that if she feels any pressure at all, she should tell you so you can help her safely deal with it. Unlike years ago, today there are laws that offer protection to female workers. She should understand what the term “hostile work environment” means. As long as she knows she can come to you and her dad about anything that makes her uncomfortable, she should be safe.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been seeing a woman for close to two years. We are a couple, and we sleep in the same bed. She says she’s my girl and I’m her guy. Yet, after all this time, she still won’t have sex with me. I can’t stop thinking she’s doing it with somebody else. She’s 40; I’m 50. What’s going on? — BEWILDERED IN OREGON

DEAR BEWILDERED: I would be interested in knowing how this woman has been responding if you have asked her why she won’t have sex with you. If you haven’t done that, the time to have asked was after you started sharing the same bed. Do not let your imagination run wild, because she may not be seeing anyone else. The answer may be that she has no sexual urges at all. If that’s the case, you deserve to know so you can decide if this is the kind of relationship you want.

DEAR VETERANS: For your service to our nation, I salute you. My thanks to each of you on this Veterans Day. You are the personification of patriotism, self-sacrifice and dedication to our country. I would also like to recognize your families for the sacrifices they, too, have made while you were serving your country. — Love, ABBY

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.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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