Ask Amy

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 12:00am

DEAR AMY: I'm a recent high school graduate. All through high school, my dad micromanaged my academics, demanding to know every last detail about every homework assignment, quiz, test, paper and project, despite the fact that I've always been a fantastic student.

His addiction for details was fed by the online tool provided by my school that allows parents to check on grades and assignments.

A few weeks ago, I got completely fed up and used our computer's parental control software to track his Web browsing history.

He was checking, on average, three times each day.

More disturbing, I noticed that he seems to be looking at pornography quite frequently, checking both heterosexual and homosexual online sites.

I know my mom has a right to know this. Frankly, I wouldn't mind my dad's getting into trouble after how much grief he has given me, but this is a delicate situation not only because of the unethical way in which I obtained my information but also because I know my dad would accuse me of framing him.

Recent family arguments have driven me to say that I wish my parents would get divorced or stop loving each other. This wasn't really true, but I said it to hurt them.

Should I tell my mom?

I would hate to have a broken home to come back to on the weekends.

— Guy With a Dilemma

DEAR GUY: You and your father may have more in common than you realize — or are willing to admit. You both seem to use technology to obtain information better exchanged in person.

If his Web browsing worries you, then you should express your concern to him.

Many colleges require students to give formal permission to the school if they want a third party to view their grades; this is a decision you should take seriously. In the meantime, resist the temptation to insert yourself into the middle of your parents' marriage, go to college and let your folks adjust to the world without you.


DEAR AMY: I am planning my wedding.

My husband-to-be requested that his 5-year-old niece be our flower girl.

She can be sweet, but she is shy and has already expressed displeasure about walking down the aisle.

I personally think she has social behavior problems. She won't acknowledge people who talk to her — even for a simple hello; she won't make eye contact with new people; and she sometimes cries.

Some days she seems OK with the idea, and other days she has a fit.

I don't want to discover on the day of the wedding that she is refusing. What will we do with her then? Who will take care of her?

Both of her parents are in the wedding party.

I don't want to let her ruin one of the most important days of my life. No one in my fiance's family seems to take this issue seriously.

What should I do?

— Bothered Bride

DEAR BOTHERED:
All of the behavior you mention is fairly common for 5-year-olds, especially when they feel under pressure. Ease up.

Show her a movie with a wedding processional scene so she can see what the fuss is about and let her practice with you informally. If she doesn't want to do this task, then let her off the hook.

A glitch like this is not the end of the world — not even close — and if you let a balky 5-year-old ruin your big day, then your perspective is seriously askew.


DEAR AMY: This is in response to "Disgusted," the pseudo-sophisticate who was put off by American eating habits.

I find the "cut and scoop" European method of eating to be less than elegant.

In this country, after cutting our food we take the time to put down the knife and then use the fork to bring the food to our mouth.

We don't use our knife and fork simultaneously to get food into our mouth in the shortest period of time.

— Relaxed in Colorado

DEAR RELAXED:
Surely you've noticed that we Americans also find ways to shovel the food in our mouths, even though we don't hold utensils in each hand.

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Filed under: Lifestyles