DEAR ABBY: My 12-year-old daughter, "Mandy," was invited to a friend's birthday party along with 12 other girls. They were told to meet at the mall where they'd "go shopping" together, then go for a sleepover afterward.
The birthday girl told her friends to bring money as gifts. Well, she raked in more than $300 then proceeded to spend it all on herself while her friends stood and watched. Mandy returned home the next day and told me that although the girl spent the money on herself, her mom did buy them each a beverage.
Abby, I gave my daughter $20 to go to the party, thinking the money would be for all of their fun -- not the birthday girl's financial gain. I thought your readers might want to learn from my mistake. These days, a birthday party may not be a party at all! -- HORRIFIED IN WICHITA
DEAR HORRIFIED: While this may have been shocking to you, the kind of party you have described may be acceptable to your daughter and her circle of friends. The birthday girl's intentions could have been made more clear -- she requested money as gifts and instructed everyone to meet at the mall. However, they accepted the invitation on her terms. The sleepover may have been the party. I hope they were fed after the mall crawl because they must have been starving.