Dad encourages teen to drink before heading to college

Published 8:32 am Monday, August 30, 2021

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DEAR ABBY: My parents have been divorced since I was little, but I still visit Dad often, especially now that I’m fully vaccinated. What’s causing the problem is I am leaving for my first year of college. Dad has been offering me alcohol while I’m at his house. I would be lying if I said I have never accepted a drink when he offered one, mainly out of curiosity. My mom, however, fervently believes I shouldn’t touch alcohol until I’m 21. (I’m 19 now.)
I don’t want to disappoint her because she’s very strong in her opinions about it. But I also don’t want my first alcohol experiences to happen states away from either parent while I’m at college. Dad shares this sentiment, but he pushes me to drink more often than I am comfortable with. Thankfully, when I tell him, he’ll stop for the night.
I’m not sure which of my parents’ sides I should take — don’t drink at all to make Mom happy, or drink with Dad and try to hide it to avoid the consequences. I know hiding things isn’t good. Mom will eventually find out. But I think it’s ridiculous to swear off drinking before going to college, where alcohol is around every corner. What do you think? — ANXIOUS ABOUT ALCOHOL IN GEORGIA

DEAR ANXIOUS: In the state of Georgia, it is against the law for someone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. By pressing you to drink, your father is breaking the law. Some parents feel that allowing a minor to drink AT HOME “takes the mystery out of it” for their teenager. The problem is, in some young people it creates an appetite for alcohol that can lead to lifelong drinking problems. We have all read about the tragic consequences of binge drinking among some college students. Listen to your mother. She’s right, and your father is misguided.
DEAR ABBY: I’m married to a wonderful, caring man who is normally pretty sensitive and savvy. I work long hours. Because “Carl” is retired, he does most of the cooking, for which I’m grateful. What he does NOT do is share the TV.
When I come home after a tough day at the office from a job filled with heavy responsibilities, he expects me to watch political YouTube videos with him. If it’s not that, then it’s woodworking or some other hobby of HIS. I have tried going into another room and watching TV there, but if I do, Carl gets hurt feelings. If I play on my phone, then I’m not attentive enough.
I love him, but I have to have some time to just relax and unwind from the load I carry. He won’t watch what I want to watch — ever. It has to be his way or nothing. I can’t believe that in 2021 I have this issue with a man. Please help. — CAN’T WIN IN ARKANSAS

DEAR CAN’T WIN: I will try. Your husband may be retired, but he’s acting like a spoiled child. Draw the line and TELL him you need a specific amount of time to unwind and concentrate on YOUR interests. If that means he has to accept your leaving the room to watch something that interests you, he is going to have to adjust. If he pouts, let him, and suggest the two of you save “co-viewing” for weekends.
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.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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