DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband and I have been divorced for three years and share custody of our 10-year-old daughter, who lives with me full time. Her father lives out of state and sees her during the summer months.
Last year my daughter had an incident (an "I'll show you mine, you show me yours" kind of thing) with a friend at school, and my ex and I decided they should no longer hang out after school alone anymore. A year has gone by, and because they're in the same social circle at school, my ex is refusing to allow her to go to any events this friend attends (birthdays, sleepovers), even though there is always adult supervision.
It makes me sad to see her miss out, and I understand that the incident is normal for kids that age. What can I do? Since she does not live with him, can I overrule? -- I'LL SHOW YOU MINE
DEAR I'LL SHOW YOU MINE: I'm sorry your ex-husband doesn't understand that sexual curiosity in children is normal, because it appears he has overreacted. You cannot dictate the rules in his household. However, while your daughter is living with you during the winter months, he cannot overrule your parenting decisions either.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 43-year-old woman who is trying to win back my high school sweetheart. He contacted me through Facebook seven years ago, and we've been talking off and on ever since.
I have never gotten over him, but he has had two bad past relationships and says he isn't ready for another one at this time. What can I do to let him know I haven't gotten over him since high school and that I'd love to try again?
Our relationship ended because my parents thought I was too young to have a boyfriend. I was 15 and he was 17. He says he would love to try again "one day" -- just not now. What are some things I could do to let him know, "Hey, I'm still here, and I want a second chance" without scaring him away? -- HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART IN FLORIDA
DEAR SWEETHEART: He KNOWS you are "still here" and want a second chance. Because he still isn't ready to give a romance with you another try, face it -- the status quo could last indefinitely. You have devoted seven precious years to trying to sway him. It's time for you to move on. How he reacts as you begin to disengage will let you know if you have made the right decision.
DEAR ABBY: Since the last presidential election our oldest son has stopped communicating with us. He would text us, but his texts were so disrespectful and hurtful we had to block him from our phones. He's a grown man and we love him. What should we do? -- DISAPPOINTED PARENTS
DEAR PARENTS: The last presidential election has proved to be so divisive that it has ended friendships and caused rifts in some families. Blocking your son from your phones was a mistake. It would have been better to have just told him you would prefer not to discuss politics via text messages.
Until both sides can start listening respectfully to each other, healing and understanding will not happen. Unblock your phone and let your son know that he hurt your feelings, which is why you did it.