DEAR ABBY: Our daughter, "Kristen," is almost 17. She's always been a good kid -- keeps her grades up and makes the honor roll regularly. She's never been a problem.
What worries me is Kristen's choice of boyfriends. I know parents are not supposed to like the boys their daughters date, but it's worse than that. The guy she is going with is so far below the standards her dad and I have set for her, it terrifies me.
This boy is only 16, but has dropped out of school and comes from a family that has nothing, including pride. Their house is filthy and falling apart. Frankly, I am embarrassed their name is associated with ours in this small town.
How can we get our daughter to understand she is playing with fire by associating with this guy? Should I forbid her to see him, or would that backfire? Don't tell me to have a heart-to-heart talk with her, Abby; she knows all too well how I feel. -- SCARED FOR OUR GIRL
DEAR SCARED: Don't judge the boy by his family. Unless he's into drugs, alcohol or violence, do not "forbid" your daughter to see him. It will only make him more attractive if he's off limits.
A more effective way to handle this might be to take an interest in the young man. Include him in family activities, and let him learn about your lifestyle and standards. Encourage him to go back to school. Your example could show him the advantage of completing his education. In fact, your family could be the best thing that ever happened to him.