Ask Amy

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 1:00am

DEAR AMY: Our 19-year-old daughter has decided she does not have to abide by the curfew her father and I give her.

If we tell her to be home by 1 a.m., she never gets home before 2 a.m. She always turns up at least an hour late.

As I write this, it is 4 a.m. and she was told to be home an hour and a half ago. She is still not home.

When I call her, the response is always, "I'm on my way," and then she arrives at least two hours later.

Each time I say something to her, she says, "Sorry, I was having fun."

She has always been a good daughter but we don't know what to do now because she just keeps doing her own thing when it comes to her curfew.

She thinks that at 19 she should stay out as late as she wants.

Her father and I want this stopped without threatening her.

We don't want to take away the car keys from the car we bought for her.

We need something effective that will work without causing our very close family to crumble.

Her late nights are disrupting our lives. Help!

— Oh So Tired Mom

DEAR TIRED: Your daughter is being disrespectful to you by causing you anxiety. You are enabling her to behave this way because her rudeness brings no consequences.

Evidently she doesn't work or go to school, which would necessitate her to get a decent night's sleep. If this is the case, then she needs to find a suitable daytime activity to introduce some discipline into her life and also contribute to the household.

You and your husband should sit down with her and tell her that her behavior is unacceptable. Say her curfew is "solid" and the next time she is as much as a minute late, you'll be taking the car keys for a period of time to be determined by you. And then you must follow through.

Make sure she knows that the outcome of this issue is very much up to her.

DEAR AMY: I am in a serious relationship, and my boyfriend is good friends with his ex-girlfriend and her family.

I want to feel comfortable when we all hang out together but I haven't been able to get to that point.

She has never particularly warmed to me, even though I try to reach out, but I don't blame her. I'm sure the situation is less than ideal for her.

When he kisses her to say hello or shares a laugh or a moment with her, I feel like I want to die inside. I know this is a huge insecurity on my part and such a petty thing to focus my attention on.

I want to get to a point where I no longer feel awful and avoid situations where she's present.

I am too embarrassed and ashamed to talk to my partner about it.

I thought if I tried to ignore my feelings eventually it would get better, but as time goes by it gets worse.

What should I do?

— Insecure and Ashamed

Your partner is the key to your ability to feel better about his relationship with his ex. If he is a true partner to you, he will understand when you confess that his contact with her makes you feel insecure.

Your role here is to trust him enough to allow yourself to be vulnerable and to disclose your honest feelings.

If his ex and her family are completely intertwined with his life, then he should work hard to make sure you're OK, every step of the way. Then it's your job to work hard to be OK.

DEAR AMY: One year ago my life partner died.

I received many monetary gifts.

One of our friends purchased thank-you cards for me to use to thank friends, but every time I tried to write them I would break down. I never sent any.

Was it horrible of me not to? Is it too late?

— Guilty in Denver

DEAR GUILTY: You need to acknowledge your friends' kindness during your time of grief.

Script out a basic message, set aside an entire evening and do it.

This is the right thing to do — and connecting with your friends is also an important part of your recovery.

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Filed under: Lifestyles

2 Comments on this post:

By: sidneyames on 6/3/09 at 10:36

Note to Tired: Does your daughter pay you RENT? Well, if not, then she is still a child under your roof. Tell her that she can set her own hours if she pays you $100 a month for rent. Then on top of that, where does she eat? That costs money. So another $25 for food. Then there is water and electricity. So another $25 for that. She would have to pay around $600 a month to have her own decent place with a roommate. I'm sorry. You've pampered her and smothered her long enough. She's 19. That's old enough to drive, drink in some places and join the army, so it's old enough to pay rent. If she chooses NOT to pay rent, then set up a written list of household courtesies, terms and conditions. It's a contract. If she breaks it, send her disrespectful buttocks out the door. I'm sure she can stay with the people who she spends those wee hours of the morning with while you're sweating. Besides, you raised her. You fulfilled your DUTY. She needs to experience the real world.

By: sidneyames on 6/3/09 at 10:40

To Insecure: I am friends with all my old ex's and I"ve been married now 23 years to a wonderful, secure, non-jealous man. BUT I still do my part to reassure him that he's #1. I don't call them in secret, when I greet them, it's a quick hug or cheek rub, but not a big kiss. If we meet them and then go on about our separate ways, I always say "I hope you don't feel jealous or insecure, cause you're my #1" and he laughs. Tell your partner the truth. It could help him to resolve some things he is thinking also. Maybe he is wondering how you feel.