Annie's Mailbox: Parents' history not a good comparison for teen's behavior

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Dear Annie: I am a normal 14-year-old teenager and can honestly say I'm no angel. I have a question. Do adults remember what it was like to be a teenager?

Whenever I make a mistake or get in trouble, first I get grounded for life, and then I'm told how they had never been so stupid or would never do that to their parents. Yet I've heard stories from my grandparents about things my parents did when they were my age, and by comparison, I am almost perfect.

I know raising a teenager is hard on them, but so often it seems that adults simply don't understand what we're going through. They won't give an inch of slack because they've forgotten what it was like to feel this way and to need a sense of belonging, to "fit in." Instead, they think all teens are bad kids if we don't do every little thing asked of us. It's really annoying.

When I am an adult, I don't want to forget what it was like to be a teenager and do this to my kids. What do you think?

- Confused and Annoyed Teen

Dear Confused: We think your parents remember only too well what it was like when they were your age and don't want you to make the same mistakes. They look back on those years and realize how lucky they were to escape with all their necessary parts intact.

Those things that annoy you are your parents' way of protecting you and teaching you how to behave in the adult world. That's their job. You are expected to bristle at the restrictions and what you consider unrealistic expectations, and if your parents are overly protective, we agree it can be difficult. The best way to navigate these complicated years is to find a way to communicate honestly and respectfully with your parents so they will listen more closely and understand you better. Please try.

Dear Annie: My husband is

the director of a company that employs 50 people. One of the wives twice has entertained large groups of employees from the office and later told me about it. My husband and I were not invited.

Why would someone do this? We have always been friendly with this couple. In fact, we get along well with everyone my husband works with. He is a well-respected and well-liked boss. I try to be kind and friendly to all his employees.

I'm feeling left out, and my husband and I are starting to feel some resentment toward this employee. What can I

say to let her know how I

feel when she tells me about these invitations?

- Left Out

Dear Left Out: Some employees feel uncomfortable entertaining the boss and his wife, though we can't fathom why this woman insists on telling you about events to which you were not invited. Have you entertained the employees in your home? If so, they are more likely to reciprocate. Otherwise, when this woman tells you about these occasions, simply say, "How lovely. So sorry we couldn't be there."

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Missing Mom in Missouri," whose father wants to start dating even though Mom has been dead less than a month. I'd like to expand on something you briefly mentioned in your response.

When a person spends three years with a terminally ill spouse, he or she has spent that time grieving the loss and mourning his or her loved one even though that person is still alive. For the surviving spouse to start dating is not disrespectful to the deceased. Many people who've been through a terminal illness of a spouse do not know how to live alone and are starved for companionship, as they have spent the last several months or years being a caregiver. This can be a very lonely process.

Please do not find fault with this wonderful, loving husband for wanting to bring joy and happiness back into his life.

- Lived it in Indiana

Dear Indiana: Thank you for pointing out that everyone grieves in his or her own way.

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