Absence Makes the Teens Grow Weirder

Dear Carolyn,
I’m having a hard time with my twin teenage daughters. They are perfect angels when I’m in town, but as soon as I pull out, they start acting up. My wife is going crazy, and I feel so helpless. Teenagers are hard enough, but with an absentee dad, it seems even harder. I know they are good girls, but they push the envelope. When they screw up, I hear it from every side. Do you have any tips for long-distance parenting?

Dear Tommy,
First, I hear ya, brother. In my opinion, human teenagers are the vilest of all species. They lie, cheat, whine, pout, rage, sulk and did I already say lie? In some ways, you have the best and worst possible role. You get the good, then have to hear about the bad. This letter gives me plenty of clues to work with, though. You care. You have a good wife. She cares. The girls can be nice when you are home. And you are asking for advice. That means you are going to be OK. All of you. Here are my tips for dealing with the terrible teens.
·Don’t take any of it personally.
·Don’t believe anything they say.
·Set some rules.
·Set some consequences.
·Don’t deviate from either.
·Get through it.
If everyone survives, I’m here to tell you they turn back into actual human beings. For what it’s worth, I don’t think dads who are absent due to work are the same as absentee dads.
I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,
I just had to write and tell you about my brother-in-law. He’s that annoying, know-it-all type who always thinks he’s better than everyone else. I always felt like he looked down on me because I’m a truck driver. He went to law school and joined a big firm where he made a ton of money. He used to always try to talk to me about looking for a better “career.” I always just tried to let it go and not respond to the jerk, but sometimes it was really hard.

Well, well, well. Guess what. His big firm specialized in real estate, and he just got let go. All his investments are gone. He lost his house, car and beach house. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Should I send him a note asking him if he needs any help looking for a “better career?” I can tell him trucking is tough to break into these days, but I might know some people. My wife doesn’t want me to, but I’m thinking that would be the perfect end to a bad story.

Dear Jack,
Oh, goodness, you shouldn’t dangle such sweet revenge in front of me. I’m weak! I must advise you to take the high road and resist the urge to rub his face in his misfortune. Seriously. Resist.

But, if that’s not possible, please let me know all the juicy details about his reaction to your offer.
I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,
I know the working girls need to make a living. I realize times are tough. But the Lot Lizards are going freaking crazy! I can’t get any sleep because they are knocking on the door all night long. I’m at the end of my rope. Do you have any suggestions for how to exterminate the vermin?

Dear Bo,
I’ve had several e-mails about the increased activity and aggressiveness of the ladies of the night. Try parking under a light and putting a “No Lizard” sign on the door. Readers, please help us out here. Any new methods of shooing away the pesky lot lizards? Send me your suggestions, and I’ll run them in next month’s column!
I’m just say’n.

Visit Carolyn’s I’m Just Say’n blog for daily love and relationship advice: askcarolyntn09.blogspot.com

Carolyn Magner is not a professional therapist, shrink or even a very nice person. Her advice is meant to entertain you, not solve your terrible, desperate problems. E-mail Carolyn at [email protected].

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