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July 13, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

My parents recently split up. Well now I live at home with my Dad. So now I am responsible for the housework. I feel like my Dad doesn't understand how hard it is to have responsibilites one day when you've never had them before. He expects me to do all the house work and he NEVER helps me! To be quite honest he is a pig. Well now he is dating someone and all of his attention is directed to her. I feel like I am being neglected and unappreciated even more.... What should I do?

-- Molly

Dear Molly,

Uh-oh. Well, if I thought that the problem were really the housework, I'd say this (and so would Belleruth): sit down with a third party -- preferably a family therapist, if you can swing that, or at least an adult family friend you trust -- and crank out some reasonable mutual expectations with dad.

But never mind working out a chore-chart -- have you had the chance to work out your feelings about the divorce and your new living arrangement? Oh, I've got a million questions: Where's Mom? Did you choose to stay with Dad? And most important: how old are you? Depending on your age/state -- try not to freak -- you could actually be in a legal (that is, illegal) neglect or abuse situation. Now I don't intend to, like, turn you against your Dad. But you do need a hand, and not just around the house. Do you know whom to ask: a guidance counselor, clergy person, a friends' parent? Please, Molly, put down the dishrag and pick up the phone. And let me know if there's something else I can help you with (but I don't do windows).

Breakup Girl



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