DEAR ABBY: I am 35 and the mother of a 10-year-old daughter, "Savannah," who is in the fourth grade.
Savannah claims that I am smothering her. She is not allowed to have sleepovers, and she may not attend any of the co-ed parties her friends throw. No sugar is allowed in our house unless it is a special occasion like a birthday. Whenever she goes to a friend's house, I call every hour to see how she is doing.
In the kitchen, Savannah is not allowed to use the stove, the oven, the blender, or any other appliance unless I am there to supervise.
My daughter attends an all-girls school because I don't want her exposed to some of the things boys do when they are her age. Savannah is not allowed to wear makeup, and I shop for her. Every morning, before she leaves home, she must come to me so I can monitor what she is wearing.
Abby, I love my daughter very much, and I only want what is best for her. Do you think I am smothering her? -- GOOD MOM IN HOUSTON
DEAR GOOD MOM: I believe you are a caring parent, but I also think you have gone off the deep end. In the name of being a conscientious parent you have placed your daughter under virtual house arrest. How is your daughter to learn to be independent and make intelligent decisions if you restrict her every move?
Calling her every hour at a friend's house to "see how she's doing" is overkill. If it doesn't stop, it won't be long before she will rebel. I know you mean well, but please, talk with a counselor about this. In the name of being a "good mom," you are stunting her growth and doing your child a disservice.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a college sophomore, and my roommate, "Sal," is driving me crazy. She talks down to me when we're in a group. She'll hijack my conversations and answer for me, even though I'm standing right there.
I'm not the only person who feels this way. Sal talks down to everyone. A large group of us went out to dinner and "Mike" was goofing off. She told him to sit still and use his indoor voice. She was completely serious!
She also tries to intimidate us physically. She shoves the guys around, and if the girls annoy her, she stands up as tall as she can, looks down her nose at us and announces, "I can EAT you!" At one point, she pinned me to my bed and tried to shove food in my mouth because she didn't believe I ate enough.
The few times we've tried to talk to Sal about this, she became defensive and stormed out, as she snarled that we are all immature and should grow up. We've about had enough. Can you help? -- LIVING WITH THE ALPHA DOG
DEAR LIVING: From your description, the girl has problems beyond what you and I can solve. Counseling could help her, but only if she's willing to face the fact that she needs help.
Since talking to the "alpha dog" hasn't worked, if you're living off campus, call a meeting of the housemates and inform her that you'd like her to leave. If you're staying in a dorm, request a change of rooms. And should she lay a hand on any of you in an effort to intimidate you, call the police and report the assault.
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