Teen’s sui­cide at­tempt is the sig­nal for friend to act

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN 360 LIFE - Jeanne Phillips Dear Abby

Dear Abby: I’m 13, and I’m writ­ing you about my best friend. Her life at home has al­ways sucked, but now it has reached a new level. Her grand­mother is no longer pay­ing for her tu­ition, her par­ents ver­bally abuse her and yes­ter­day she at­tempted sui­cide. Luck­ily, she called me and I talked her through it.

I don’t know how to help her. I can’t talk to her par­ents be­cause they’ll be no help, but I don’t know what will hap­pen if I tell my par­ents. Please help me. — Needs An­swers in Cal­i­for­nia

Dear Needs An­swers: You are a car­ing friend. The one thing you SHOULDN’T do in a mis­guided ef­fort to “pro­tect” your friend is to re­main silent. When some­one threat­ens sui­cide, it is time to act.

You should ab­so­lutely tell your par­ents every­thing you know so they can in­form her par­ents. If your par­ents are hes­i­tant to do that, con­fide in a trusted teacher or coun­selor at school so your friend can get the help she ap­pears to des­per­ately need. The Na­tional Sui­cide Preven­tion Life­line’s toll-free number is 800-273-8255. Please share it with your friend. But if she tells you again that she has in­jured her­self, call 911.

Dear Abby: I have a 23-year-old step­son who con­tin­ues to bully my wife into tak­ing care of him. She re­cently helped him to buy a home, even though she knew his cur­rent earn­ings would not be enough to cover his car, in­sur­ance, phone, ca­ble, etc.

He con­tin­ues to make his prob­lems ours. He called yes­ter­day telling his mom he needs brakes. We al­ready pay his in­sur­ance on the ve­hi­cle and other small, un­ex­pected bills. Oh, and by the way, he has a baby on the way.

I have tried re­peat­edly to talk to my wife about en­abling him, but she re­fuses to see that she is keep­ing him de­pen­dent. What can I say or do to help her get on the right path? — Man-child Prob­lems

Dear Prob­lems: Ide­ally, spouses are sup­posed to agree be­fore spend­ing large amounts of com­mu­nity as­sets. Mar­riage coun­sel­ing might help you to get through to her. But if it doesn’t, con­sider con­sult­ing a lawyer about pro­tect­ing your as­sets.

I agree that your wife is en­abling her son, and she’s not do­ing him any fa­vors in the long run. How­ever, if the money she’s giv­ing him is her own, you can’t stop her from do­ing it.

Dear Abby: We live down the street from my boyfriend’s mother. Our 3-year-old daugh­ter spends a few hours there while I’m at work and her dad is run­ning er­rands. My daugh­ter loves her grand­par­ents, so I don’t mind her spend­ing time with them.

The prob­lem I have is, my boyfriend’s mother re­peats every­thing I say to my daugh­ter right after I say it when I ask her to do some­thing! It drives me crazy. My boyfriend tells me to say some­thing to her, but I have no idea what to say. Please help. — Echoed in Alaska

Dear Echoed: Stop com­plain­ing. At least your mother-in-law agrees with you and re­in­forces what you tell your daugh­ter. Con­sider it a small price you pay for free baby-sit­ting.

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