Dear Abby: The recent behavior of my 13-year-old daughter, Julie, has begun to concern me. She and I are very close. It has been just the two of us up until the last two years. I plan to be married next spring.
Last July we moved to a small town, and Julie was upset about it, but her misgivings lessened as she began to make new friends. My problem is, my daughter has become interested in demons to the point that she thinks and tells people she is half-demon. Julie's new friends are also into the demon-pretending phase.
I wasn't concerned until I saw a letter Julie had written to her father, talking about the demon and asking if he was one. It went on to say there is trouble here, and a demon killer is at her school. She said it wants to kill them and has given her "signs."
How can I get my daughter back without making her miserable? After-school activities are not offered here. Learning self-defense was originally an option until she started hitting older boys and asking why they didn't hit her back. Should I take her friends away? Talk to their parents? I don't know what to do.
-- Once a Good Parent in Oklahoma
Dear Parent: Call your doctor and arrange for a psychiatric evaluation for your daughter. Her letter to her father and her acting out against the boys suggests that she could have serious mental problems. Please don't wait. The doctor can help you to decide whether she should be kept away from her new friends, or whether you should speak to their parents. However, your first priority should be to get professional help for your child.
Distracting the kids
Dear Abby: My husband of 29 years, "Paul," is an "early to bed" kind of guy. He goes to bed around 9 p.m., and the kids are still up. My problem is, I don't want to have sex while the kids (ages 14 and 13, both boys) are home or still awake at night. Paul doesn't understand my feelings. Is it my hang-up, or do other women feel the same way?
-- Embarrassed in Michigan
Dear Embarrassed: There are, indeed, other wives who share your feelings. Some couples solve this problem by sending "the kids" on sleepovers, or arranging intimate nights out together. You might also consider installing a large-screen TV in a room as far away from the master bedroom as possible, so that if the kids are up, they'll be otherwise occupied.
You and your husband are entitled to a life, and having private time does not necessarily equate with having sex. A lock on your bedroom door might prevent surprises, as well as a house rule that no one should enter without first knocking and asking permission.
Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.