DEAR ABBY: The 14-year-old son of a friend of mine is having self-esteem issues and apparently is going through a very rough patch. Our family likes to participate in charity races. My boy, 13, is a talented athlete who, according to my friend, is an "overachiever."
My friend signed her family up for the same race as our family, then called me afterward to tell me she was having anxiety issues about us being there and asked me to forgo the race. (We had already paid for four registrations.) She said she could see my child taking off, winning the race and boasting to the point where her child would feel like a loser and have more self-esteem issues.
Abby, although our children hung out together when they were toddlers, they haven't in years. I tried to be sympathetic, but told her we had been planning to compete in this race as a family for some time, and I didn't think it would be right to pull my child out of something he loves to do. She got very upset, said some horrible things to me and ended our friendship. Was I wrong not to agree to do as she asked for the sake of her child? -- ROUGH PATCH IN THE WEST
DEAR ROUGH PATCH: I don't think you were wrong. While I sympathize with your former friend, what she suggested was not helpful for her child, who might benefit more from some sessions with a therapist than a helicopter mom trying to cushion life for him.
However, if there's any truth to your friend's inference that your son is not a gracious winner, monitor his behavior to make sure he doesn't come across as a braggart. If you do, you'll be doing him a favor.