Dear Abby: At what point does a parent no longer have the right to know who their child’s friends are?
I have three grown daughters, all on their own, living on the other side of the country. During a recent visit home for their grandmother’s birthday, I asked each of them to give me all of their friends’ phone numbers, in case I couldn’t reach them. I also wanted to know who they were exactly, how well they knew them, etc. I was simply thinking of their safety. If I can’t reach my girls, I want to know who might have seen them last and, if need be, give that information to the police.
Abby, all three of them told me NO! They said they are grown women and can take care of themselves, and besides, if, God forbid, they didn’t want to answer their phone when I called, I sure didn’t need to be pestering their friends.
They say they are adults, and that we (their dad and I) no longer have the right to “dictate” who they are friends with. I say I’m their mother and no matter how old they get, I will ALWAYS have the right to know who they are friends with. I would appreciate your thoughts.
– Renee in Oregon
Dear Renee: I agree that you are their mother, but you are not your daughters’ parole officer. They are self-supporting, self-sufficient adults. Perhaps if you were less overbearing, your daughters would be living closer, would answer their phones more often when you call and would open up to you about their friendships. Frankly, I think you should apologize for giving them such a heavy-handed third degree.
Dear Abby: My wife and I had dinner with some other couples at an elegant, white linen tablecloth restaurant. After the meals were brought to the table, someone said, “We need to pray.” In this quiet, candlelit setting, a “Bless us, oh Lord …” was spoken aloud by most of the people in our party, causing heads to turn at a number of nearby tables. Undoubtedly, the din sounded like chanting. I was embarrassed.
Please understand, we are religious and we pray aloud in church, but not in restaurants. I have seen people bow their heads and pray privately, which seems more appropriate. Is there a rule of etiquette about praying in a restaurant?
– Silently Praying For Advice
Dear Silently Praying: Yes, there is. In restaurants, praying should be done quietly and inconspicuously to avoid distracting other diners.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.