Dear Annie: My teenage daughters are good kids, get good grades and don’t drink or smoke pot. The problem is they text constantly.
The older one has been staying up into the wee hours texting two guy friends. She gets less than five hours’ sleep. The other day she came home from school so tired she said she was going to take a nap, but she ended up texting under her covers. I told her this had to stop at bedtime because she needs her sleep and I’m worried about her health. She said she would, but she lied. According to the phone records, she’s sending and receiving over 20,000 texts a month.
I told the girls when they got their phones that I would take them away if they texted at school. They tell me all the kids do it. So I blocked their texting from the hours of 10 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. on school nights, and for the hours they are in class, leaving time at the beginning and end of the school day. You’d think I am the worst mother in the world. Now the 16-year-old informs me that since she gets good grades, she should be paid for them because her friends are. She can earn money doing extra chores at home, but never seems to find the time for that. Was I unreasonable to block the texts? — Evil Mom
Dear Mom: Absolutely not. We’re glad your daughter gets good grades. She should. A cellphone is a luxury whether she agrees or not, and if she is running up the phone bill and staying up all hours texting, we’d take it away from her altogether. We bet if you offer her that choice, she’ll accept the current restrictions.
You also should tell her you will pay her for extra chores around the house so she can contribute to her phone bill. It must be expensive.
Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our early 50s and enjoy a wide circle of friends. For the past six months, a couple I considered close seems to have forgotten about us. I see them out with others, so I know they’re still socializing. Sometimes I hear from a mutual friend about an event we haven’t been invited to.
I don’t think they’re purposely excluding us. I think more interesting people have come along and they simply don’t remember we’re here. My feelings are hurt and I miss them a lot, but I don’t want them to invite us out of guilt. Should I keep my mouth shut and hope they remember the fun we used to have? Or do I move on? — Jacksonville, Fla.
Dear Jacksonville: If you want to see this couple, you’ll have to pick up the phone and invite them somewhere so they are reminded of the fun you used to have. If that doesn’t help, it doesn’t mean the friendship is over. It means it’s time to socialize with others and leave this couple for the now-and-then occasion.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.