DEAR ABBY: Although this seldom happens, I disagree with your response to "Worried Sick in Pflugerville, Texas" (April 18). Her 18-year-old daughter, "Cameron," wants to make a road trip from Texas to California after her graduation.
By the time my daughter graduated from high school and turned 18, she had already been working for two years and had bought her own car. I was a single parent, and she had also helped with the rent, groceries and utilities -- and still managed to graduate with a 3.9 GPA. She went to San Francisco, Chicago and Las Vegas that summer after graduation -- then returned home, got her own apartment, and continued working at the same grocery store another two years before deciding her career path.
When our children turn 18, they are (by law) adults, and should not have to answer to their parents about their vacation plans. If parents have placed some responsibility on their children's shoulders while growing up, they usually have their feet firmly planted on the ground by the time they are 18.
Mom should untie those apron strings and allow Cameron to shine with the lessons she taught her. -- DIANA, HELENA, MONT.
DEAR DIANA: Call me overly cautious, but I was surprised at the number of people who wrote in support of "Cameron's" road trip -- even including some handy tips. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: There comes a time when grown adults need to discover the world on their own terms. Our country is waiting to be discovered! There is so much to see.
Your advice about taking friends along was a good one. But instead of being worried, that mother should help her daughter plan it out -- from road maps, to emergency kits, to learning how to change a tire. "Worried" can allay her fears if she teaches her daughter one last lesson: how to be prepared for the adventure of a lifetime. -- CINCINNATI TO CALIFORNIA
DEAR ABBY: "Cameron" will learn more about her country and the good people who make it up. She will also be exposed to new careers, climates, geography and, yes, adventures. While all parents worry when a child first leaves the nest, this could be the kind of experience that will make "Cameron" more self-sufficient and ready for the real world.
Denying such a trip for "safety's sake" is the same as never crossing the street because of "those dangerous cars." A life never lived is a life lost. -- READER IN BRECKENRIDGE, COLO.
DEAR ABBY: As a teen, I understand her daughter perfectly. After graduating from high school, many people take road trips. It's a liberating, coming-of-age experience. Besides, it will teach her how to become independent. And I don't know why anyone would want to take that away from her. I hope "Worried Sick" realizes that you gotta let go sometimes. -- SAN FRANCISCO TEEN
DEAR ABBY: "Cameron's" parents should do as mine did the first time I set off: Make sure she gets an AAA membership. It offers maps, travel guides, and hotel and camping guides that are invaluable. Insist she has her car checked out, and deal with any problems before she goes. Talk a little about safety -- what to do in certain situations, and what to do if she gets tired on the road. If she doesn't have a cell phone, she should get one.
They have raised a young woman who is bold, confident and ready to face the world on her terms. Now it's time to be supportive of her and very proud of themselves! -- FEMALE TRAVELER IN FLORIDA