DEAR ABBY: Please print this letter to my stepdaughter. I would say it to her face, but my husband would pitch a fit if I did.
DEAR STEPDAUGHTER: Please grow up and take responsibility for yourself. You are in your mid-30s, but you expect us to provide you with a car, repair it, and pay your insurance. This is a major burden and a threat to our finances because if you have an accident, we are the ones who will get sued.
You come to our house to do the laundry for your family, and expect us to provide detergent, dryer sheets, water and electricity. You put more wear and tear on our washer and dryer than we do.
You expect "Daddy" to come through when you are low on money, and you always have him pay your rent deposits when you move.
Your father still owes money from before I met him, and we have to get a loan every year just to get by. Don't you realize that he has expenses other than yours? Have you ever considered that financial stress may have contributed to the heart attack he had a few years ago?
It's great for you to stay home with the kids while your husband works (I wish I could), but not if you are a burden on someone else. If your husband doesn't make enough for you to live on, perhaps you should work while your children are in school.
You have put a tremendous strain on our marriage, and it appears that you don't care. I wonder if you even care about your father's health. Well, I care about his health and our marriage, and I know full well that we deserve a life too, so please take responsibility for your own finances and let us enjoy some well-deserved happiness in our life. You are welcome to visit us, but please don't continue being a self-centered sponge. -- STEPMOM IN GEORGIA
DEAR STEPMOM: I doubt your stepdaughter will recognize herself in your letter, and even if she does, she is not likely to cut herself off from Daddy's generosity until he puts his foot down. He may not realize it, but he would be doing her a favor by insisting that she take responsibility for her own life. He won't be around forever to bail her out, so if she learns financial responsibility now rather than when she is forced to face the bill collectors, it will be much easier on her.
Encourage Dad to close his checkbook -- for his daughter's sake as well as your own.