DEAR ABBY: My 15-year-old daughter, "Becky," is a sophomore in high school. She's an honor roll student, well-mannered and a good girl. My problem is her father. He's too strict with her.
Becky has always been open and honest with me. This year she's discovered boys, and I know that's the reason her dad is being so overprotective. He rarely allows our daughter to talk on the phone, and when she does, it must be in our presence. He won't let her go anywhere without us. She's not allowed to go to supervised parties or attend any group activity other than cheerleading practice. My poor daughter has no social life.
Becky's lifelong friends no longer call her to invite her to go places with them, because they know her dad won't allow it. They've stopped coming over because they know that the limit of their activity is going to be sitting on the couch watching TV with my husband and me.
I think Becky deserves some privacy and a social life that does not include us. After she told us a 17-year-old senior boy had a crush on her, my husband refused to allow her to go to the movies with him and his parents. My husband won't even let the boy ride to the store with us. How can I get him to ease up, Abby? -- CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE SOMEWHERE IN TEXAS
DEAR CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE: Start by telling your husband that you love him and know he is trying to be a protective parent, but he has gone off the deep end. In the name of love, he is crippling his daughter -- and if it continues, she will eventually withdraw from both of you.
By preventing Becky from having normal social relationships that are appropriate for a girl her age, her father is preventing her from learning to make wise decisions and develop healthy relationships.
If your husband is not willing to listen to you, please schedule some sessions for the two of you with a psychotherapist who can explain it to him.
DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter from "Felt Up in Philly," who attended a friend's wedding and was hit on by the groom who now refuses to stop e-mailing her, I thought I'd share my experience. (By the way, your advice to forward his e-mails to his wife was on target.)
A few years ago, a friend of mine was engaged. Her fiance called me one night "just to talk." During the conversation he said he had feelings for me. Mind you, I was supposed to be a bridesmaid in their wedding and had met him only once.
I told him he was crazy and the feeling was NOT mutual. Then I said if he didn't tell my friend, I would. Time went on; he never told her. One day, my friend called me to talk about the wedding plans, and I told her I couldn't be in her wedding. When she asked why, I told her what her fiance had told me (at the risk of possibly losing a good friend). She said she'd call me back but she never did.
That was almost three years ago. About a month ago, she called me out of the blue. She had broken off the engagement shortly after our last conversation, and we've become good friends again.
It's unfortunate that "Felt Up's" experience happened at the wedding, but I hope she follows your advice. Her friend needs to know what kind of person she married. -- JACKIE IN COLUMBIA, MD.
DEAR JACKIE: I agree. Unless a cheater comes to terms with his (or her) behavior and sincerely wants to change, it will happen again and again.
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