Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Thrill Loving Mom Gives No Sympathy to Fearful Daughter

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old girl and I have always had a fear of heights. But my mother and sister love thrill rides. As a result, we often go to theme parks. When we do, I'll usually go on a couple of the "kiddie rides," which is what Mom calls "mild" rides. Mom and my sister try to drag me on the roller coasters, but I always say no.

After I refuse a few times, Mom will finally snap. The last time it happened she said: "You know what? I'm not paying for your ticket if you're going to wimp out and not go on any rides."

I have been driven to tears more than once. She won't stop even if my friends are with us. I wish I could stay home when they go, but then my mom accuses me of being "antisocial."

Please tell me what I can do or say to her to make her stop doing this. -- TIRED TEEN IN COLTON, N.Y.

DEAR TIRED TEEN: Your mother may think that your refusal to go on the roller coaster (etc.) is a bid for attention, but she is wrong. She isn't taking into consideration how severe a fear of heights can be -- some people require professional intervention to overcome it, and it costs a heck of a lot more than a ticket to a theme park. Because you can't seem to get through to her, appeal to one of her friends or a close relative to help you get the message across. Believe me, you have my sympathy.