DEAR ABBY: My second husband, "Peter," is overly protective of my daughter. "Joy" is 15, very pretty, and popular with both girls and boys. Joy has no contact with her biological father. She calls Peter "Dad."
The problem is, Peter feels that if Joy kisses or holds hands with a boy, she should tell him (Peter) all about it right away.
I have talked to Joy about sex. She understands the facts of life. She says she is not interested in sex. She wants to go to college and doesn't want to "end up" with a baby, and have "no life."
I feel Peter is wrong not to trust her, and Joy feels the same way. I have mentioned this to friends. They say that if he doesn't trust her, he will lose her respect and she will pull away. They have a close relationship now. I hate to see it ruined because he is so distrustful.
Recently, Joy had friends over for a party, and she did kiss a boy. When Peter found out, he had a fit. He claims she lied to him because she didn't tell him right away.
Joy and I feel it is none of his business. She didn't do anything wrong. I've told her she can talk to me any time about anything, and she says she will. She also said she thinks it would be better for her to meet her male friends at her girlfriend's house so her stepfather won't question her every time a boy comes to our house.
I said no to that. What do you think, Abby? -- MARRIED TO AN OVERPROTECTOR
DEAR MARRIED: Your husband is not overprotective. His preoccupation with his stepdaughter's interest in boys is unhealthy.
Peter may be jealous, and amy fantasize about having sex with his stepdaughter, or he may remember how he used girls when HE was a teen-age boy.
Ask your daughter if Peter has ever approached her in a sexual way and made her promise to keep her mouth shut.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "I hope that children of all races everywhere will not assume that everything has come about solely because of one man's generosity. But rather they know that all people within a country contribute to its growth. I hope they work toward the betterment of their country and not contribute to its downfall, and that they realize that all people are brothers and sisters, and no people can live without the other for long." -- ANDREW L. JORDAN (1932-1991)
DEAR READERS: Andrew Jordan was an extraordinary African-American schoolteacher, the son of sharecropper parents in rural Mississippi. After serving as a "colored soldier" in the early 1950s, he got his higher education with financial assistance from the GI Bill and realized his dream of teaching. When it became known he was a civil rights activist, he lost his job and became unemployable in his home state.
All of this -- and much more -- is detailed in his biography, "Civil Rights Childhood," beautifully written by his daughter, Jordana Y. Shakoor. This excellent firsthand account of the civil rights struggle is now in its second printing, published by University Press of Mississippi. It is available in bookstores everywhere. It is a sobering reminder that the freedoms many of us take for granted came at a very high price.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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