Dear Abby: Stepmom learns of teen's shocking online activity

·2 min read

Dear Abby,

I have been married to my husband for a little over three years. I have two teen girls, and he has one. They get along for the most part, but lately my 18-year-old, "Lindsay," and his 17-year-old, "Taylor," have been clashing.

They were brought up very differently, and sometimes it causes waves because I expect more from my girls than he does his daughter. To be fair, my stepdaughter's mother has had some serious issues and has never been a role model.

During one of these clashes, Lindsay told me Taylor has been doing some very explicit and dangerous things online. This was confirmed by her boyfriend. Lindsay, of course, told me hoping to get Taylor in trouble or to lessen her in my eyes, since they were arguing. I "get" the inner workings of the teenage girl's mind. It's not always a kind place.

What do I do with this information? Should I tell her father? What purpose would it serve? If I don't tell him, am I keeping a secret that I shouldn't?

— Knows Too Much in New York

If you and your husband have investigated this and found it to be true, talk to Taylor. Point out that images she has posted online do not age out and disappear. They can linger forever, which could have serious consequences when she is older and looking at college, getting into the workforce, etc. While she can't change what she has already done, she can wise up and quit what she has been doing NOW.

Dear Abby,

A close friend has just announced — out of the blue — that she's running for a prominent public office. It's going to be a contentious race, and it's likely to get ugly for whomever runs. She sent out messages this week assuming her friends will be supporting her through our social networks, door knocking, hosting fundraising events and whatever else she needs. She said she's looking forward to working with us.

Abby, the way her announcements are worded, I can tell she's going to be blindsided when I decline her "request." She assumes that because we are friends, I would want her in office. However, in my opinion, she's not the best person for the job, and I have other civic engagements I'm already committed to this year. I also feel that maybe she should have actually asked. Is there any way I can maintain the friendship without supporting the candidate? I don't see what the graceful way out is, and her conversation is already oriented toward "us" vs. "them."

— Hiding Until the Primaries

Explain to your friend that you are already committed to other "civic engagements" this year and, because of time constraints, you can't back out of them. Then wish her luck and send her a small financial contribution for her campaign "in the name of friendship."

Dear Abby
Dear Abby

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Dear Abby: Stepmom learns of teen's shocking online activity