Editor's Note: The following letter and response are excerpted from the syndicated feature Dear Abby. The rest is, as ever, PURE PLANET!
DEAR ABBY: My beautiful, kindhearted, loving daughter "Cora" has a "best friend" she used to be very close with. However, her friend now has a boyfriend, so Cora doesn't see her on weekends or receive texts from her very often anymore. Everything they plan to do together, the girl cancels. My daughter is so distraught that it is affecting her emotionally and physically.
Cora has told her friend many times how she feels, but it has made no difference. Her friend promises her things and never follows through. My daughter suffers from social anxiety, so making a good friend is a rarity for her. I tell her I love her and that I'm always here for her, but although Cora sees a therapist, nothing seems to comfort her.
The school she attends stops accepting new students after ninth grade, so there is no chance of her meeting anybody new. We have tried having her join other activities, but they don't last. I'm desperate to help her. Any advice? -- BROKENHEARTED MOM
DEAR MOM: If you haven't already, talk to Cora's therapist. There may be a medication that will help to lessen her intense social anxiety, or she may need a different therapist.
What's going on between your daughter and her former best friend isn't unusual. When romance intervenes, it is common for teenage girls to focus their attention and energy on the boyfriend and less on their girlfriends. Expecting this girl to be your daughter's sole support system is unrealistic and unfair to the girl.
Because it is unlikely that Cora will find new friends in the context of school, continue to find outside activities that will give her something to do as well as contact with other teens. And, if Cora is open to it, you might consider having her volunteer at an animal rescue group or letting her adopt a pet from a shelter.
The Dade Planet: Somebody stop me! I feel a fit of advice coming on!
Roosevelt Ford Wallace: Why did you jump up like that? I know! There must be a squirrel in our yard.
Cheryl, the Goddess of Love: That left me a little cold, too, Planet. Doesn’t it sound to you like the mother’s the one who needs therapy?
Or is it that dog from next door in our driveway, peeing on the tires again?
Charlene the Small-town Snoop: I know what you mean, hon. Abby’s always telling perfectly normal folks to get counseling. But now she’s got ole Mama out there circlin’ Jupiter—no offense, Planet—
—and she tells her to get her kid drugs, or a puppy.
A puppy? I suspected as much. I’ll take care of it right away!
That was my problem with Abby’s answer, too, Charlene: Your daughter is shy? Dope her to the gills!
We’re none of us experts in child-rearing—
Socrates: τα παιδιά θα πρέπει να τεθεί σε κοινή.
WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF
Sorry, everybody. Rosie thinks she’s defending us.
Sardo, Who Knows All, Tells All: From a gnat, maybe, because there’s nobody else out there. Anyway, I agree with Socrates. As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, especially if their mother’s a nutjob. IMHO, this is a job for:
The Dear Abby Appeals Board!
And I know just the guy to take the lead. Brokenhearted Mom, meet our old pal Charlie Manson.
Hey, man. Your little girl’s best friend sounds totally, like, EVIL. Is she pretty? Not returning texts is about as bad as murder! (By the way, what’s a “text”? I’ve been out of circulation for a while.) Anyway, she deserves punishment. Do you have a picture? Here, have some acid. What’s her address?
Kill ze Freundin! Kill ze Freundin!
All right, Chaz, back to maximum security, and you can drop Herr Hitler off on your way. But do you get Sardo’s point, Brokenhearted Mom? Not to put too fine a point on it, when you talk about how mean the girlfriend is, you sound like you, Charlie and der Fuhrer here might make nice company for each other.
In a bunker, armed compound or padded cell near you! What do you want Abby to do, go out and arrest her? For skipping out on Chuck E. Cheese dates?
Right. BHM, I’m sure you’re a very good mother to worry so much about your daughter, but—
Incoming! Whumpa whumpa whumpa! Chak chak chak!
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Rosie! It’s all right! We're all fine here. It was just Sardo, making noise like a helicopter.
And he ain’t the only one, hon.
Mom, I think what Sardo is trying to tell you in his usual subtle, understated way is that you do sound like you’re helicopter-parenting. It’s sad that your daughter is missing her friend, but like Abby said, the situation is normal at their age and you have to let Cora suffer through it herself. Cheer up! Maybe she’ll get a beau of her own soon.
And like Abby didn’t say, it sounds to me like you both might have you a case of too-much-money-itis. Drugs and therapists and a school that “stops accepting new students after ninth grade”—what the hell kind of school is that? If mine had done that, we’d have been thin on the ground come graduation night.
As I recall—
OK, OK, I meant to say, “even thinner on the ground than we was.”
All right. “Even thinner on the ground than they was.”
It’s true I wasn’t no valedictator in them days but one of the reasons why was I had me a job after school to save up to leave home and you know what, Brokenhearted? I don’t think work would do your daughter no harm, either.
A job isn’t a bad idea. It would keep your daughter busy and if it’s at a place that employs other high school kids, bingo! There’s your socialization problem taken care of.
I wasn’t going to say it myself, but Socrates has as usual hit the nail on the head. Mom, you might profit by cultivating outside interests yourself. You seem to have some time on your hands.
Yeah. Is there a “Brokenhearted Dad” in the picture? If not, maybe you could, you know, date. Fix yourself up a little, buy some clothes, meet some guys.
Or maybe get a job your own self. We’re short-handed on second shift at the Huddle House. I could put in a word for you, hon.
I think what we’re all saying is GET A LIFE! And let your daughter live hers.
Right. Cut the umbilical cord, or God know what torments you’ll go through when she starts dating herself.
Why, how insightful, Cheryl.
Honey, they don’t call me the Goddess of Love for nothing.
I didn’t see anyone in the driveway but someone may be planning to come tomorrow. I'd better get back out there to bark preemptively.
Your dog’s insane, Planet.
I know. I’m talking to her therapist about changing her meds.