Parents debate whether teens are ready to stay home alone
DEAR ABBY: I’ve never written to you before, but I’m having a disagreement with my husband. We are taking our daughter out of state to drop her off at college in August. Our twin 15-year-old boys will be starting high school at the same time.
My husband thinks we can leave them home alone together for the five days and four nights we’ll be gone; I feel we should arrange to have them stay with friends. He says we can trust them, and he’s worried we’ll be putting a burden on our friends. I’d like to ask two different families to take them for two nights each.
They are pretty responsible boys. I do trust them, but I still feel it’s a bad idea to leave them home alone for that period of time. What do you think? — HOME ALONE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR HOME ALONE: I agree with YOU. Your sons may be angels, but to leave two minors who are not yet in high school alone for that length of time would be irresponsible. Don’t do it.
DEAR ABBY: My co-worker, “Sara,” comes to work drunk. After I reported it to my supervisor, “Ben,” Sara stopped for a while, but now she has started again. Sara has not been doing her job correctly. Ben is now asking me to sign a statement about it. She is my best friend, and I don’t want to get her in trouble. But I’m scared that she’s going to get hurt at work or while driving. Please help! — DANGER IN THE WORKPLACE
DEAR DANGER: Your friend needs some kind of intervention. Some companies have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which might enable Sara to get the professional help she needs. An EAP is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals and follow-ups to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems.
Before you sign the statement, find out if your company offers this program and if your supervisor will make it available to Sara. Do not worry about getting her in trouble. She’s already in trouble, and this may be the solution.
DEAR ABBY: A couple times a year I have lunch with an old friend. I recently ran into her at the store and noticed she now has very white teeth. They look great; however, they almost do not look like real teeth. We’re having lunch together next week, and I would like to compliment her on her beautiful teeth but, if she now wears dentures or has implants, I don’t want to embarrass her. Would it be OK if I tell her I think her teeth look beautiful and pearly white, or should I keep quiet? — PEARLY WHITES IN ARIZONA
DEAR PEARLY WHITES: Your friend may have gotten dentures or implants, but she also could have simply had her teeth brightened by her dentist. If you want to compliment her, be a little more subtle than to mention her teeth. All you need to say is, “You know what? You’ve got a great smile!” If she wants to respond by giving you all the details, she will. If not, you will not have encroached upon her privacy.
DEAR READERS: Allow me to wish a Happy Father’s Day to fathers everywhere — birth fathers, stepfathers, adoptive and foster fathers, grandfathers, and all of those caring men who mentor children and fill the role of absent dads. I applaud you all.
P.S. And once again, a big shout-out to dual-role moms. — LOVE, ABBY
EDITOR’S NOTE: 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.