DEAR ABBY: I'm 17 and go to a high school with drug addicts and girls who are lucky they aren't pregnant. (Some are.) My father thinks I'm like them even though I have proven time and again that I'm not. I have a 4.0 GPA and have never done drugs or had sex.
I'm not allowed to drive anywhere without my mother accompanying me. If I want to go on a date with my boyfriend, my parents must be present. I have lost friends who are tired of having to hang with my parents and me. I have tried telling my dad this, but he claims I'm being ridiculous and then picks a fight with me. I suggested family counseling, but Dad refused. He says we don't have the money.
What do I do? I just want to be a normal teenager who can hang out without my parents following me everywhere. -- TIRED TEEN IN WYOMING
DEAR TIRED TEEN: You have my sympathy. You have caring and conscientious parents, who appear to have gone overboard in trying to shelter you. By age 17 -- and with a 4.0 GPA -- you should have been allowed to socialize without a constant chaperone. That's how teens learn to develop relationships and make mature decisions.
In another year you will be 18 and an adult. If there is an adult relative in whom you can confide, ask that person to please speak to your parents on your behalf. You should be experiencing more freedom than you have been allowed.