Life Advice



Ask Amy: Parents hesitate being awkward with sons

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

And so – your reaction to her behavior should also be very clear and easy to follow: “You can’t seem to follow what we’ve asked you to do at the end of your visits, so you’re going to have to find somewhere else to perch during your trips to Chicago.”

Dear Amy: I wonder if you’d consider a different viewpoint regarding your advice to “Concerned Grandma,” the woman worried because her 17-year-old grandson’s parents allowed him to drink at home in an effort to normalize drinking before college.

I grew up in a country where it was common for older teens to drink at home. Wine with a meal or a small cocktail before dinner was all considered normal. When I arrived in the states in 1974 to attend college, I was horrified to see how my classmates drank themselves into a stupor.

I remember one winter how distressed I was to see some of them passed out on top of snowbanks.

My brothers also attended college in the US, and we all agreed it was a very “American” thing.

If Concerned Grandma is otherwise confident that these are sensible parents, perhaps she would feel better knowing that other cultures deal with youth drinking in a different way. Not better or worse, just different.


– Long-Time Lectora

Dear Lectora: I agree that this is a distressing “American thing.” Thank you for offering a sensible perspective.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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