Dear Annie: Our daughter is 42 years old and divorced. For the past two years, she has been seeing "Matt." We accepted him and welcomed him at our numerous family gatherings.
Several weeks ago, our daughter drank too much at a party and ended up in bed with another man. Needless to say, Matt became quite angry. But he went into a rampage. He threw bricks through her car windows, punched her in the eye and showed up at our doorstep to cuss her out. He also confronted her kids.
We strongly advised her to end the relationship. But after Matt calmed down, he apologized, went for court-ordered counseling and now attends AA. So our daughter has started seeing him again.
We totally disapprove of this relationship, but she has asked us to accept this guy again and welcome him to our family gatherings. We don't want him near us. It sounds like Matt is trying to do the right thing, but we can't forget what happened. We worry about her constantly when she is with him, in case he loses his temper again. How should we handle this? — Concerned Parents
Dear Concerned: You don't have to approve of Matt in order to have a relationship with your daughter, and it is important that you stay in touch with her. It is not mandatory that you welcome Matt into your home, but please arrange to meet your daughter in other locations. If Matt abuses her again, she will need to know you are close by and available.
There are men who have managed, through hard work and counseling, to find healthier ways to handle their anger, and we certainly hope Matt is one of them. Please urge your daughter to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for information (thehotline.org), and to give Matt plenty of time to prove himself before she becomes too entangled. Her life may depend on it.
Dear Annie: A year ago, my teenage daughter, "Shawna," had a new friend spend the night. The next day, Shawna discovered her new friend gave her head lice. We treated it and told her friend to do the same.
The problem is, this friend keeps giving lice to my daughter. We know it's her because it only happens when this particular girl spends the night or Shawna goes to her house. In between, there are no outbreaks. My daughter has missed several days of school, and I have bought countless treatments, sprayed the house, and washed and disinfected everything. I have talked to the girl's mother, who claims she's doing everything possible, but Shawna says she only vacuums.
I told Shawna there will be no more visits with this girl until her parents figure out how to get rid of the lice. Isn't it time for Shawna to find a new best friend? — At My Wits' End Here
Dear Wits' End: They can still be best friends over the phone and online for the time being. We suspect someone else this girl regularly comes into contact with is causing repeated infestations. The parents should carefully check every person in their home (including themselves) and talk to their pediatrician.
Dear Annie: Your advice to "Stepped On," whose volunteer organization suffers from a rude and abusive supervisor, left out an important option.
She and her colleagues should document instances of unacceptable behavior with details, dates and times, and present the facts in writing to the board, pointing out how the behavior harms the organization by alienating both volunteers and potential donors, two crucial resources. They also should document their efforts to get the supervisor to correct his behavior. They should be willing to sign their letter and be prepared to leave if no corrective action ensues. — Don't Put Up with it in Hawaii
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.