Dear Abby: I was sure "Emotionally Abused in California's" letter (Nov. 2) was inspirational, but fictional. The 15-year-old writer felt her mother was unreasonable because of the rules Mom enforced and the chores the teen was required to do. Then I started re-reading my high school diary. There were many parallels between this girl's complaints and my own as a teen.
My mom also didn't let me go to parties if she didn't know the parents and confirm they'd be home; my curfew was 11:30 p.m. on weekends because Mom couldn't sleep until I was in for the night. She always offered to host Friday pizza-and-movie night at our home to ensure my friends and I had a safe place to hang out.
Like "Emotionally Abused," I also resented my lack of freedom, but because of her efforts, I never had run-ins with the law, never got an STD or became pregnant, and I didn't try drugs or alcohol. When I expressed my frustration, Mom would say, "When you're a parent, you'll understand."
Now that I have two small children, I do understand. I hit the Mom jackpot! I'm grateful for her guidance, love and the boundaries she set for me. I'll be sending her that column and a copy of this letter to you as a thank-you for making decisions that kept me grounded and safe.
Won the Jackpot in Michigan
Dear Won The Jackpot: When that letter hit print, I was overwhelmed with mail from readers supporting my response and sharing experiences that validated "Emotionally Abused's" mom's parenting techniques. I took special note of the responses from teens, which I'll share tomorrow. Today, some comments from adults:
Dear Abby: It's refreshing to know there are still parents who actually care about how they raise their children. Bringing a child into this world is a tremendous responsibility. It requires years of 24/7 vigilance, teaching and love to produce a moral, loving and productive pillar of our society. Some parents today do not take their responsibility seriously. How we raise our children will directly affect how we function as a society in the future.
Concerned Dad in Las Vegas
Dear Abby: I am a teacher of many spoiled, lazy, irresponsible and incompetent students. If all parents were as dedicated in rearing their children as this teen's mother, my job would be wonderful. She has the necessary parenting skills to mold her child into a responsible, productive and mature adult. She's an awesome woman!
Teacher in Nashville, Ga.
Dear Abby: It's about time parents raise their children appropriately. I grew up with much less than "Emotionally Abused," but with more rules and restrictions.
My mom divorced my physically abusive father when I was 3. There was no alimony or child support. Mom did it all on her own. She even went back to school to get a college degree.
Parents are not meant to be their children's BFF. They are responsible for raising their children with morals and social values. Welcome to the REAL world.
Jackson, Wis., Reader
Dear Abby: My l5-year-old daughter often gives me a hard time for being a diligent mom. I laughed out loud at your response and let her read it. She said, "Wow, that's totally us, with the exception of Catholic school." She has started being nicer to me. Thanks, Abby, for validating my efforts to be a good mom.
Doing My Best in Colorado
Dear Readers: To read a longer version of this column, go to DearAbby.com.
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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.