The Worst Relationship Advice: December 1, 2008

A breakdown of the week's worst relationship advice for December 1, 2008.

Advice Roundup

The Week’s Worst Relationship Advice

How hard is it to say “grow up?”

-Judy McGuire

Teen ignoring her momDo you remember being a teenager? Recall if you will the rollercoaster of hormones coursing wildly through your body. The mood swings. The tendency to see things only in terms of black or white . . . (or was that just me?)

This week Amy Dickinson hears from a teenage girl who fought with her mother and told mom that she couldn’t wait to get away from her when she went to college. The girl has apologized, but days later, mom’s still holding a grudge. I haven’t been a teenager in a long time, and I’m not a mom, but doesn’t this strike you as kind of mild? Where I come from, teenagers are far more heartless than that.

Amy advises the young lady to take her mom out for coffee and have a heart-to-heart. My advice to mom: Grow up, put earplugs in until your kid turns 21 and do not take anything she says to heart. Teenagers are supposed to want to flee – that means you did your job correctly.

Dickinson’s next letter is an even better example of an adult who needs to put on his big-boy pants. This guy is fuming because he photographed a neighbor’s son’s last football game, dropped a disc of photos off at the neighbor’s house and the neighbor has only thanked his wife – not him. Mind you, the neighbor didn’t ask him to take photos. That was his idea. So he’s sitting in his house – eight hours after dropping off the disc – furious that she hasn’t thanked him yet. Eight hours later!

Amy goes far too easy on him, not pointing out that he’s acting like an infant with a loaded diaper, or that thank-yous generally take more than eight hours to deliver. She may drop him a card next week or she might even consider a thank you to his wife, an expression of gratitude to him. Here’s the lesson: Don’t do nice things for people if all you’re looking for is a big sloppy butt-kiss in return.

Speaking of teenagers, it’s time to give credit where credit is due. Carolyn Hax hears from a mom of three teenage boys who is getting pressure from other moms to read their text messages and e-mails. Hax’s suggested response to these snoopy moms: “I offer the Fourth Amendment, condensed into your own words. ‘If my sons were giving me reasons to monitor their conversations, I would.’ These other parents might believe the fact of being a teenager constitutes probable cause; however, when they set the bar that low, they can’t be surprised when their children obligingly stoop to reach it.”

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