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by Abigail Van Buren

Honest Teen Loses Motivation as Classmates Win by Cheating

DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Stella," and I have been married 52 years. We have a daughter, "Candy," who we adopted at 3 weeks old. By the time Candy was 12 or 13, she started having less-than-desirable friends and drinking alcohol with them. Long story short, she graduated from high school, got married, then divorced, married again and has two daughters she has never raised.

We have taken our daughter to psychologists since she was 14 or 15, paid for educational opportunities she didn't complete and bought her several cars. She got into drugs and wound up in prison. Once out of prison, Stella and I sent her to three rehabilitation facilities. She walked away from the last two.

Our daughter is now 46. I am ready to stop trying to help her, but Stella, whom I love dearly, doesn't seem to be able to stop. I feel we are being enablers and should let Candy deal with her choices without further support from us. Any thoughts or comments? -- OVER IT IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR OVER IT: I agree with you. By now Stella should realize that whatever she does to help Candy won't make her independent. Your wife may feel compelled to continue because she feels responsible for the way Candy has turned out, but the only person who can help Candy is herself.

Because this is causing discord in your marriage, you and your wife should discuss this with a marriage and family therapist who may be able to help Stella recognize that she has done enough for the daughter she so clearly loves.