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Dear Abby: Strangers’ parenting advice may deserve consideration

Dear Abby: What do I say to people who give me unsolicited parenting advice or scold my daughter in public? I would never interfere with another parent or direct a child who isn’t in my care. What gives these people the right to barge into someone else’s life in such a way?

I have been chastised for letting my daughter sit on the floor while waiting in a long line, letting her be more than 4 feet away from me in the aisles, and allowing her to speak loudly. She’s 3.

It’s hard enough wrangling an energetic kid while trying to shop, do banking or send mail without being constantly pestered by strangers. Do you have any thoughts on this?

– Mom in Hillsboro, Ore.

Dear Mom: If your child is so disruptive that individuals feel the need to intervene or offer “parenting advice,” then it’s time you took some of it to heart. If she’s bored while you’re doing errands, bring something along for her to do rather than use her “outside voice” or run wild in the aisles.

Prom dress dispute

Dear Abby: Prom is less than three weeks away, and I’m still looking for the perfect dress. My mom and I went prom dress shopping one time but everything I liked, she didn’t. She told me that if she didn’t like the dress, she was not going to purchase it.

I tried to tell her this is my prom and I should like the dress, not her, without sounding mean. She told me I should pick the cheapest dress.

Am I wrong for not liking the dresses she likes? How can I get through to her that this is not her prom, but my prom?

Aggravated in Louisiana

Dear Aggravated: When you start buying your own wardrobe, your taste can be the deciding factor. However, when your mother buys it FOR you, it’s important to remember that her budget needs to be considered and try to be gracious about it.

Remember Earth Day

Dear Abby: Friday, April 22, is Earth Day. Recycling is so important to our planet’s irreplaceable resources. Can you please remind your readers how long it takes items to break down in a landfill?

– Scott in Texas

Dear Scott: Items such as glass bottles and jars, plastic containers, aluminum cans, disposable diapers and plastic foam cups can take from hundreds to thousands of years – or more – to decompose. Cigarette butts can take up to 10 years. I encourage interested readers to go online, see the figures and learn what they can do to reduce, reuse or recycle.

Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.