DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old girl whose parents treat me like an 8-year-old. They not only refuse to let me see any movie that isn't G-rated, but they still cut my meat for me! Once a week we go to the park, and they still push me on the swings.
I don't want to tell them it's embarrassing because I'm afraid I'll hurt their feelings. Please tell me how to convey to my parents that I'm not a child anymore. -- OLD ENOUGH IN VIRGINIA
DEAR OLD ENOUGH: Your parents mean well, but children who are overprotected to the extent you have been often become stunted in their development. Teens do not learn social skills and how to make appropriate choices when they are "supervised" to the extent you are.
Tell your parents that you love them, but in three years you will be 18 and an adult. Explain that you know they love you, but if you are not allowed some freedom now, then you will be behind your peers because of your inexperience when you have reached an age when you'll be expected to make wise choices. Remind them that even children half your age are sufficiently coordinated that they can cut the food on their plates, and you would appreciate their allowing you to get some practice.
If this doesn't help them let go, then ask another adult to help you deliver the message.