DEAR HARRIETTE: I have always been a "mommy's boy." I am turning 27 this year, and I thought it was finally time to give my mother her credit card back. This card has become of a symbol between us. I barely use it anymore, and I thought it would be a great way to show my mother that I can be independent. However, when the time came to give it back, she bawled and accused me of cutting her out of my life. This was not the reaction I was expecting. I thought she'd be proud that she had raised a son who can support himself. I ended up taking the credit card back with me because she left it on the table when she left the room crying. How can I let go of this safety net? I clearly didn't do it right the first time. -- Out of the Cradle, Washington, D.C.
DEAR OUT OF THE CRADLE: Welcome to this new phase of your life. Parents and adult children often go through twists and turns as they figure out how to be adults together. You do not need to relinquish that card. Shutting it down would likely impact your credit negatively. Instead, you can just stop using it. Put it in a drawer, and let it be. Or if you do decide to use it, pay the bill yourself, or set aside the amount that you owe and at the end of the year do something nice for your parents with that money.
Meanwhile, assure your parents that you had no intention of insulting them. Instead, you want them to see that they have done a great job of rearing a responsible young man, and that's all you wanted them to know.