DEAR AMY: I am the mother to a 15-year-old daughter who is a freshman in high school. She attends a prestigious private school and she has great grades and generally makes very good choices. I have never heard anything out of her about trying drugs or alcohol, but the other day she asked me if it was "cool with me" that she attend a kegger every once in a while. I am torn because since she chose to go from public to private school, she is no longer with a majority of her friends, and she sees these keggers as a social event and nothing else. I want her to have fun in high school like I did, but I also don't know if it is right to accept underage drinking. What should I do?
DEAR DISTRAUGHT: Really -- you are torn about whether to give your 15-year-old daughter permission to attend keg parties? This is a dilemma for you? Let me spell it out. Drinking puts your daughter at risk for the following: Personal or vehicle injury, sexual activity, sexual assault, pregnancy, arrest, and -- equally as devastating as some of these things -- the sort of mistake-making that can absolutely kill a person's reputation with one click of a smartphone's camera. At her age, being sober but around other drunken teens would be equally risky for her.
You don't say to her, "Well, I had fun in high school and I know how important it is to get wasted with your friends, so I'm torn about it." You say: "Absolutely not. I am definitely not cool with it." And then you talk about choices -- healthy and unhealthy ones -- and you listen to every single bit of teen justification she tosses back at you.
You should appeal to her to be the kind of person who can be trusted to face these choices with integrity. And you should also tell her that if you learn she has been drinking -- or around drinking -- there will be certain unpleasant consequences for her, coming from you -- the "uncool" mom.
I ran your question past one of my daughters and asked her what she thought I would have done if I had learned she was at a kegger at the age of 15.
"Um ... you would have hunted me down like a dog in the street?" she replied.
DEAR AMY: Recently, our only son got engaged. The problem is I don't want to invite my sister and her family because she cut me out of her life in the most hurtful way five years ago when I was ill and disabled (I still am). We do not live in the same city, and she snubs me and my family whenever we visit my mother in that city. I feel no obligation to invite her and her family to the wedding. I do like her children, but they have not made any effort to see my family either, though I have tried to see them. My son says he doesn't know them and doesn't care about them. My husband thinks that we should invite them. It is a joyous occasion that would be spoiled by her presence. What is your opinion?
DEAR WONDERING: My opinion is that it is your son's wedding, and he and his bride should make their own decision about their guest list.
However -- because you asked, I'll offer this perspective: If you invited you sister and her family, there is a high likelihood that they would not show. Then you can at least tell yourself that you tried to mend this rift.
DEAR AMY: "Wondering" said she needed more details from her date about his divorce, aside from, "We grew apart." Since divorce decrees are public record, one can obtain copies of said person's documents on file at the courthouse. They would need to know approximately when and specifically where the divorce judgment was rendered. But, sometimes married folks who divorce do indeed grow apart; there just isn't a legal ground for that.
DEAR SUZANNE: True -- but a little more disclosure would circumvent the impulse to look up a person's records. That's not a great way to start a relationship.