DEAR ABBY: Our 17-year-old daughter, "Marcie," is going steady with "Brad." They are both seniors in high school.
During Marcie's junior year, she ran with the wrong crowd, made some bad decisions about smoking and drinking and, yes, even sex. She was very honest with Brad, and now he is being verbally abusive -- throwing her past in her face and making her feel like dirt. She quit smoking and drinking, but there's nothing she can do about her virginity. After being with Brad, she comes home and cries because he makes her feel so cheap and dirty. They fight all the time about it. He acts like her judge and jury.
What can I do? She says she's in love with him. He's the second boy she's gone with who's been verbally abusive. It took Marcie a year to get over the first one.
How can I help her? She doesn't want me or her dad to talk to Brad or his parents about this. I'm so worried about her. Please help. -- OHIO MOM
DEAR MOM: I know you love your daughter and would do anything to help her, but this is one job Marcie has to do herself. She needs to forgive herself and rebuild her self-esteem. She should not permit anyone to degrade her, or make her feel cheap.
Marcie has made some mistakes (who hasn't?); now she needs to respect herself enough to say goodbye to anyone who tries to degrade her. No family member can help Marcie. Get her into counseling. If her school has no counselors, try your local department of family services or United Way.