Life Advice



Tales from the Front: What happens when parents don't care

Cheryl Lavin on

Today's column is a prequel.

Remember Samantha, who started dating Chris when she was 15 and he was 19? He was trouble from the start. He drank and had anger issues and mood swings. But he told her he loved her, and to her, that made it all right. When she turned 16, he got an apartment and moved her out of her parents' home.

"When my father asked him what he was doing, Chris said I was moving in with him since we were getting married soon. My parents never seemed to care what I did, and when my father said OK, it just proved it."

That got me thinking. What kind of parents allow their 16-year-old daughter to move in with her boyfriend?

I asked Samantha about her family.

"Both of my parents worked. My mother worked the night shift at a minimum wage job and slept during the day. My father worked the day shift.


"I was the fifth of six kids. My two older brothers were living with us with their wives and their four kids in our three-bedroom ranch. We were poor and had little to go around. I will never eat spam, hash or powdered milk again.

"My parents rarely talked, and when they did, it was about money and it was usually a yelling match. I remember once, my father told my mother in front of me and my younger brother that he wanted a divorce. She told him fine, but he gets all the kids. That was the last time he ever brought it up."

Samantha says her mother tried her best, but her father was another story. "I never felt that he loved me or wanted me. He rarely talked to me. When he did, it was to yell at me.

"Once, when I was in Girl Scouts, they had a father-daughter dance, and I asked him to go with me. He said, 'Why?' and walked away."


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