DEAR HARRIETTE: My wife and I just want our kids to be happy, and this sometimes ends up with us spoiling them. We recently leased a car for our 23-year-old daughter. She works very hard, and we wanted to congratulate her on a successful year out of college. Our friends gave us a bit of a hard time, saying things like, "She's an adult! She can buy her own car." We were happy to give the car to her.
When she recently visited, I took her keys from the kitchen counter to move her car from the driveway. The car smelled like marijuana, and I was completely stunned. This is not the daughter I raised and certainly not the hardworking girl I gave a car to! Granted, she pays for her gas and monthly payments, but we funded the down payment! I didn't say anything to her about knowing she uses drugs in her car, and my wife told me to leave her alone and stop prying. I just feel disrespected. I want to take the car away, but my wife argues that we don't know the whole story and need to let our "adult" daughter be in control of her life. Who is right? -- Blowing Smoke, Newark, New Jersey
DEAR BLOWING SMOKE: This is not about you. Your daughter is becoming a woman and must learn to take responsibility for herself. You have to move past feeling disrespected and focus on what is more important.
You should tell your daughter you smelled the marijuana in her car. Whether you approve or not isn't the point. It is still illegal to possess or consume marijuana in your state. Because smoking it can impair one's driving ability, it is doubly important that your daughter understand -- at the very least -- that she should not smoke and drive. Please remind her of this. You can also tell her you are disappointed in her choice and hope she will be wiser moving forward.