Don't ignore daughter's cries for help

Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR READERS: I'm marking my 10-year anniversary of writing the "Ask Amy" column by rerunning some of my favorite Q&As.

DEAR AMY: Our 23-year-old daughter was married nearly three years ago to a man about whom we felt uncomfortable. However, we went ahead and paid for a large wedding. Within months, our daughter started calling home, saying she was being mistreated, that her husband was staying out late, that he was using drugs, etc. To this day, even though we live 1,200 miles from our daughter, we still get the calls. My wife "bites" every time when she hears another story about a broken arm, emergency room visits, surgeries to repair violent injuries in domestic disputes and what not. None of these "incidents" has ever been verified. Hardly a week goes by that we are not readying our house for the return of our daughter, and she never comes. My wife says our daughter is an abused wife and needs help getting out of her marriage. I say she needs emotional help and should not be supported by my wife every time she cries wolf. What do you say? Perplexed in Wisconsin

DEAR PERPLEXED: If my daughter called home with anything approximating the trouble your daughter reports, I'd first call the police and ask them to immediately go to her house, and then I'd be on a plane that night to bring her home.

What are you thinking? Rome is burning and you and your wife are bickering about the high cost of a fire extinguisher.

When you get a report that there is abuse and domestic violence, first you believe it, then you try to stop it.

Even if your daughter is somehow "crying wolf," the fact that she would do so means she is suffering and needs help. You don't report that she has any sort of history of lying; she may be taking drugs or involved in some terrifying lifestyle. Stop fighting with your wife about this and do something! (2005)