Dear Ann Landers: This is for "Trustworthy in Memphis," the 14-year-old girl who wanted to spend the night at a friend's house where there was no adult supervision. I, too, was once 14 and thought my parents
were overly protective because they wouldn't let me do things some of my friends were allowed to do.
I wasn't permitted to go to unsupervised parties or stay even a few minutes past curfew. I had excellent grades and had already been accepted to an Ivy League college, but my parents wouldn't budge. If I was invited to sleep at a girlfriend's house, my mother would call and speak to her parents. Mom had to have the phone number of every place I went. I thought I would die of embarrassment.
I am now 26 and thank my parents every day for keeping me out of harm's way. Some of the parties I wasn't permitted to go to turned out to include experiments with drugs where everyone ended up having sex. Some of those kids never made it to college. They had to assume the responsibilities of parenthood when they were 17 and 18 years old.
Please, Ann, tell your teenage readers that their parents may seem "overly protective," but those tough rules and curfews are laid down because they care about you. They have your best interest at heart. I didn't like their "toughness" then, but I sure do appreciate it now.
-- Older and Wiser in New Jersey
Dear Older and Wiser: I hope the teenagers out there who think their parents are too strict will pay attention to what you have written. This world could use more "tough" parents like yours.
Pay support for child's sake
Dear Ann Landers: This is for all the deadbeat dads who don't want to pay child support because they are angry with their ex-wives. I would like to say a few words to these men.
Child support should be considered an important contribution to the physical and emotional well-being of your child. It is not some kind of free ride for your ex-wife. For the sake of your children, please put your animosity aside and put your children's needs first.
If the divorce decree requires that you carry medical insurance for your children, that policy should be kept up, no matter what. To withhold information on the policy, or use the handling of insurance claims as a means of "getting even" with your ex is not going to hurt her, but it could seriously affect the medical attention provided to your children.
A divorced dad should not try to "beat the system" or find a legal loophole to minimize his legal and moral obligation to take care of his children. Face the facts, gentlemen. There are no loopholes in fatherhood. Divorced fathers should pay child support because it is the decent thing for a father to do.
By the way, Ann, this letter was not written by an angry ex-wife. I am the family member of a deadbeat dad who is going to pay a big price for his stubbornness and chintzy behavior.
-- Somewhere South of the Mason-Dixon Line
Dear Mason-Dixon: You spoke for a great many women and children today, and I thank you. Divorced fathers (or mothers) who do not take adequate care of their children do indeed pay a big price down the road. I can't imagine anything more painful than having a son or a daughter "somewhere" who does not know you. It must be the biggest heartache of all.
Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.