12-year-old being left home alone

My daughter is 13 years old. She has a 12-year-old friend, “Tasha,” who is often left home alone, sometimes watching a younger sibling, while her mother works a second-shift job.

Dear Annie: My daughter is 13 years old. She has a 12-year-old friend, “Tasha,” who is often left home alone, sometimes watching a younger sibling, while her mother works a second-shift job.

Mom doesn’t get home until 1 a.m.

My daughter is upset that I won’t let her sleep over at Tasha’s on the occasions when she’s by herself or watching her sibling.

Apparently, her other friends are allowed to do this, but I have my doubts that these friends’ parents are aware that Tasha is alone so late.

I like Tasha and her mother, but I question the parent’s judgment. Tasha has come here for sleepovers, and I allow my daughter to go to her home during the early evening, but only for a couple of hours because of the lack of supervision. Am I being too overprotective? — Concerned Mom

Dear Mom: No. We’re sure Tasha is a perfectly responsible young girl, but if you would not leave your own child alone in the house until 1 a.m., there is no reason to allow it in someone else’s home. (There are also legal issues about children under 16 being left unsupervised.) We imagine Tasha’s mother does this because she cannot afford a sitter. It would be a great kindness if, on the days when Tasha is alone (and not taking care of her sister), you would offer to let her stay with you.

Dear Annie: I’m a professional single woman in my 50s. Several of my friends are quite active on Facebook and have recently been posting photographs of parties I’ve attended, including some from many years ago.

I do not wish to have my picture posted on Facebook and have said as much. These friends are ignoring my request with replies like, “But you look so good!” and “It’s a great picture of you.” I have asked my friends to let me preview any pictures before they post them, to no avail.

Am I being unreasonable? I am a very private person and am selective about sharing my life with others. What can I do? — Want My Privacy

Dear Want: Not too much. You have asked these friends, nicely, to remove the pictures, and they have refused. They should respect your wishes not to have your face plastered on their pages, but they don’t care.

You have the option of indicating your displeasure in more forceful terms (becoming angry, not attending any future parties, un-friending them in cyberspace or in reality), or you can accept that this is the price you pay for having clueless, inconsiderate friends.

(You are lucky these are good pictures. Too many people post the least flattering shots they can find.)

Dear Annie: “Grossed Out in the Silver State” was upset about overweight people wearing ill-fitting clothes that show body parts. You agreed it “isn’t pretty.” You know what else isn’t pretty? The assumption that obese people can afford new clothes.

It is well known that poor nutrition is a class issue. Many people have trouble eating well because they cannot afford healthy, fresh ingredients, or they don’t have the time to prepare home-cooked meals. Eating right and exercising is easy when you have the time and resources, but if someone has put on extra weight and lacks the funds for a new wardrobe, one can hardly expect them to stay inside all the time.

We are not guaranteed a public environment that is personally appealing.

I find those who openly gawk at others to be quite unattractive, but I wouldn’t demand they stay home. — Massachusetts

Dear Massachusetts: We agree that poor nutrition and insufficient funds can make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight, even though jogging around the block doesn’t require a lot of time or resources.

What would help is for people to be better educated about the dangers of fast food and processed foods (which contain high levels of fat, salt and sugar), and for healthier alternatives to be cheaper to get.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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