DEAR ABBY: My daughter is about to turn 14 and wants to get a job. We just found out that in our state, 14- and 15-year-olds can work if they get a permit. I'm very concerned. I tried negotiating with her by telling her that her dad and I will give her a job at home and pay her, but she insists on working to help with our family finances. I have congestive heart failure and adrenal insufficiency, which is why I can't work outside the home. Her dad, my husband, is the only source of income.
While I admire her desire to help out financially, I'm very anxious about her being out in the workforce. I'm not paranoid. At various points during my youth, I was sexually abused and assaulted by several men. Realistically, it is dangerous, and I personally think she's way too young to work outside the home. Please tell me if I'm being overly protective, or whether my concerns are legitimate. -- APPRECIATIVE BUT WORRIED
DEAR APPRECIATIVE: Your daughter is to be applauded for wanting to help with the family finances. To me it shows her level of maturity. Because she's inexperienced in the ways of the world, you and her father should sit down with her for some frank discussions.
Explain what sexual harassment is and make it clear that if she feels any pressure at all, she should tell you so you can help her safely deal with it. Unlike years ago, today there are laws that offer protection to female workers. She should understand what the term "hostile work environment" means. As long as she knows she can come to you and her dad about anything that makes her uncomfortable, she should be safe.