Help for trou­bled teens of­ten is close to home

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN STEVE BECKER

DEAR ABBY: “Fed-up Fa­ther in Min­nesota” (Jan. 20) caught his dif­fi­cult 16year-old daugh­ter smok­ing pot and is con­sid­er­ing send­ing her to a place for “trou­bled teens.” We sent our son to such a pro­gram on the ad­vice of an ed­u­ca­tion con­sul­tant, and he al­most didn’t make it back alive. An un­treated men­tal ill­ness had been mis­di­ag­nosed as a be­hav­ioral prob­lem, and his ill­ness went from bad to worse.

You gave the right ad­vice. Get an eval­u­a­tion from a rep­utable clinic or men­tal health pro­fes­sional, then look for op­tions as close to home as pos­si­ble. Ado­les­cence is not for­ever. Par­ents need to hang on and not be lured into think­ing there’s a mag­i­cal so­lu­tion. — ANN IN CHAPEL HILL, N.C.

DEAR ANN: I ad­vised “Fed-up” to have a psy­chol­o­gist iden­tify what’s trou­bling his daugh­ter, and that send­ing her away should be only a last re­sort. Readers were ea­ger to com­ment:

DEAR ABBY: “Fed-up” should con­sider an in­ter­ven­tion like the Scared Straight pro­gram. Teens are shown where their bad be­hav­ior leads, tour a prison and see in­mates serv­ing time for sim­i­lar con­duct. The in­mates also share their sto­ries in an ef­fort to turn the teens’ lives around. Some­times a rude awak­en­ing is the an­swer for a young per­son trav­el­ing down the wrong path. — BRIT­TANY IN THE SOUTH

DEAR ABBY: I was sent to board­ing school be­cause I was act­ing out and prob­a­bly on my way to big­ger trou­bles. While there, I was ex­posed to more than I’d ever been at home. There were poorly su­per­vised kids en­gaged in sex­ual ac­tiv­ity, ev­ery re­cre­ational drug imag­in­able and freeflow­ing al­co­hol. I sur­vived, but had the good sense to tell my par­ents and didn’t re­turn for a sec­ond year. What worked for me was at­ten­tive par­ents and a good ther­a­pist who pro­vided me a safe, con­struc­tive way to sort out my is­sues. — BOARD­ING SCHOOL SUR­VIVOR

DEAR ABBY: “Fed-up” said the prob­lem with his daugh­ter started when he mar­ried his sec­ond wife. There ob­vi­ously are is­sues be­tween his wife and daugh­ter that need re­solv­ing. Ship­ping the girl off won’t fix them.

My step­fa­ther was abu­sive to me and my brother, but our busy work­ing mom didn’t be­lieve us. My brother be­gan hav­ing be­hav­ioral prob­lems at school and at home, so Mom gave in to our step­fa­ther’s sug­ges­tion to send him to mil­i­tary school in an­other state.

My brother never for­gave Mom for it. He left home at 17, and they have been es­tranged for 33 years. It is my mother’s big­gest sin­gle re­gret. — MARY KATE IN ILLI­NOIS

There are many deals where suc­cess or fail­ure for the de­clarer de­pends strictly on the op­pos­ing dis­tri­bu­tion and/or the lo­ca­tion of spe­cific key cards. But there are also many deals where the out­come de­pends on how de­clarer elects to play rather than on how the op­pos­ing cards are di­vided. It is these hands that are of the great­est in­ter­est to most play­ers.

Take this case, where the de­fense starts by play­ing three rounds of clubs, de­clarer ruff­ing the third. How should South pro­ceed?

One pos­si­bil­ity is to play for West to have the king of hearts, in which case two suc­cess­ful heart fi­nesses will al­low South to avoid a heart loser and to dis­card one of his los­ing di­a­monds. De­clarer’s only losers in that case would be two clubs and a di­a­mond.

A sec­ond pos­si­bil­ity is to at­tempt two fi­nesses in di­a­monds against the miss­ing king and queen. If West has ei­ther or both honors, de­clarer will lose only two clubs and a di­a­mond, even­tu­ally dis­card­ing his heart loser on dummy’s fourth di­a­mond.

Ul­ti­mately, the proper line of play boils down to a ques­tion of prob­a­bil­i­ties. Since there is only a 50 per­cent chance that West was dealt the king of hearts, and about a 75 per­cent chance that he was dealt one or both di­a­mond honors, it fol­lows that de­clarer should pin his hopes on the di­a­mond suit.

Ac­cord­ingly, af­ter draw­ing trumps and dis­card­ing a heart from dummy, de­clarer leads a low di­a­mond to dummy’s eight. In the ac­tual deal, East wins with the king and re­turns a club, ruffed by South. De­clarer then leads the di­a­mond 10 and lets it ride. When the 10 holds, the fi­nesse is re­peated, and the con­tract is made.

Note, though, that if South starts by lead­ing the 10 of di­a­monds ini­tially rather than a low one, he goes down. In that case, he’ll find him­self in the wrong hand af­ter the sec­ond di­a­mond fi­nesse wins, and even­tu­ally he’ll have to lose a trick to the king of hearts.

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