DEAR ABBY: I am 28 years old and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
Recently, a friend I'll call "Toni" asked if my 5-year-old daughter, "Chris," could stay overnight with her 4-year-old son. I have always said no, but this time Chris wanted so badly to do it that I said yes.
Toni knows how protective I am. She assured me Chris would be safe in her care. So my husband and I went to a movie and dinner. Since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped by around 10 p.m. to check on our daughter. When we arrived, we found Toni had gone to a party and left the children with a teenage baby sitter.
The children were upstairs jumping on the bed and raising Cain. I was horrified that my child had been left with a stranger when my friend had assured me she would be there. We packed up our little girl and left.
Toni called later to find out what happened. I explained my feeling that she should not have left Chris with a stranger without discussing it with me first. She called me paranoid and said I have a mental disorder and that I can't always protect my child.
Abby, I am not asking for advice. I am asking for your opinion so that I can prove a point. I want to open other parents' eyes to the fact that in this day and age we must do whatever is in our power to protect our children -- no matter whose toes we step on. -- PARANOID MOTHER
DEAR PARANOID: I agree that parents must do everything they can to protect their children. However, that is not what your letter is really about. Your friend was wrong to lead you to believe she would be supervising your daughter when that wasn't the case. It was dishonest and unfair, and I don't blame you for taking your child home. I see nothing wrong with parents socializing with other adults and leaving their children with a responsible sitter. But parents should have the right to screen the sitter themselves if they wish.