Teen chafes under dad’s strict style of parenting

Published 1:43 pm Thursday, May 7, 2020

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DEAR ABBY: I am a teenage girl in an average family. I started getting interested in LGBTQ+ and other social justice topics when I was in fifth grade.
Since then, I have realized that, among other things, I’m a lesbian, a liberal and an atheist. This wouldn’t be a problem, but my father hates many of the things I am or stand for. He’s an extremely conservative, Christian, gun-rights person, and he wants me and my brothers to join the military. He constantly pushes me to be the best that I can be, and I try, but his idea of “best” is very different from mine.
I have several mental problems, which resulted in me getting special privileges in school. I use them whenever I can, but it is never enough for him. He keeps searching through my grade book until he finds something new for me to do, regardless of the date it was assigned or whether it can be graded anymore.
I have various restrictions on my use of technology, so I can barely contact my friends. It has gotten to the point that I am worried about when I come out and looking forward to college just so I can get away. Please tell me what to do in the meantime because college is five years away. — WAITING IN VIRGINIA
DEAR WAITING: You and your dad have very different outlooks on life, and that’s OK. That said, you must live under his roof for the next five years, so be diplomatic and keep some of your opinions to yourself as long as possible.
You may think your father is heavy-handed in parenting you, but has it occurred to you that when he goes through your grade book, he’s trying to make sure you know how to work all the problems in it? Placing restrictions on a minor’s use of technology is intelligent parenting, at least for someone just entering her teens. Please try to cut him some slack. Recognize there is a bright future ahead of you if you concentrate on your studies to the best of your ability and buckle down now.
DEAR ABBY: My 32-year-old son, “Jerry,” wanted to propose to his girlfriend, but didn’t have money for a ring. My husband offered him my original engagement ring, assuming for some reason (or maybe just not thinking) that my old ring didn’t hold sentimental value to me, although I wore that 1/3-carat diamond every day for 32 years before getting a new, larger one.
After the ring was offered, I felt forced to let him have it. I knew it wouldn’t fit his girlfriend, and I also didn’t think she would settle for such a small diamond, but I figured he would have the diamond put into a setting that fit her. I got over my feeling of loss knowing he would use the ring.
Well, he didn’t. He gave her MY ring, and then they went out and charged a nice-sized engagement ring that she selected. My original ring now hangs on a chain in her jewelry box. Should I ask for my ring back? — MEANS A LOT IN TEXAS
DEAR MEANS A LOT: Because your first engagement ring is not being used as intended and was only a place holder until your son’s fiancée got what she really wanted, I see no reason why you shouldn’t ask, and I also see no reason why she shouldn’t graciously comply.
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.comor P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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