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by Abigail Van Buren

Helicopter Mom Can't Stop Keeping Tabs on Teenager

DEAR ABBY: I'm having a hard time letting my almost 17-year-old daughter out of my sight. When she walks home from school, I call to make sure she's OK, then call her again minutes later when I estimate she's home. The whole time I worry.

I check on her wherever she is, whomever she is with, and if she doesn't answer a call or text, I panic. I have on a few occasions raced home from work in the middle of the day only to find her napping, and I'm upset to the point that I'll start crying. I realize this isn't healthy for either of us.

Years ago, a little girl in our town, the same age as my daughter, was taken from her home and murdered. I think that plays a part in why I act so irrational. Some of her friends will be driving this summer and I can only imagine there will be trips to the beach (three nightmares in one!) and whatever else. I guess I just want to know how to come to grips. -- FRANTIC MOM OF A TEEN IN FLORIDA

DEAR FRANTIC: While your fears are based on a real incident, your daughter is no longer a little girl. You can't protect her forever, and as a teenager, she needs to establish some independence. You would be doing both of you a favor to talk to a licensed mental health counselor now about this, because your fears are excessive.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Teens | Mental Health