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by Abigail Van Buren

Teen's Graduation Party Plans Hurt His Stepmom's Feelings

DEAR ABBY: I really could use some outside advice. I am a stepmother who raised my husband's 18-year-old son, "Todd." We have given him a loving home. Todd's abusive mother abandoned him at 16, and he has lived with us ever since.

I have been a caring and generous mother to him since he was 6. I have always gone out of my way to make sure he feels comfortable, loved, fed, etc. So I couldn't help but feel slapped in the face when he told me he doesn't want to have his graduation party at our home. He said he is having it at his friend's parents' house. This is the same couple who disapproved of their son spending time in our home while the boys grew up because we're not their religion.

I don't know how to handle this gracefully without feeling hurt or refusing to be a part of it. I know this may seem childish, but it's how I feel on the inside. Can you help me? -- DISAPPOINTED IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: It might help to realize this isn't a personal slap in the face. His friend's parents may have something special planned that Todd doesn't want to miss. It has nothing to do with your parenting and plenty to do with his level of immaturity and perhaps the appeal of the other house. (Ask him.) Please be smart and refrain from making this about you, because it isn't.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Teens