DEAR AMY: I’m a 15-year-old girl, and my dream is to dance competitively. I’ve taken jazz classes for almost six years, and I have a talent for it. My mom hates that I love dancing more than other team sports, and she looked appalled when I asked if I could try out for the poms team at my high school. When I asked her why she didn’t want me to try out, she said it is ridiculously expensive and that the pom squad was an elite club when she was in high school, and she doesn’t want me to get mixed up with that type of girl.
At open tryouts the girls were really friendly! They even asked me to have lunch with them!
My mom just frowned and went back to the old “we can’t afford it” line. I know we can afford this since my 13-year-old brother is a competitive gymnast who is talented, and my parents pay for things for him. I have looked at what it costs to compete and I found out it’s $15 cheaper per month than my regular dance class (aside from uniforms and entrance fees).
Do you think I should bring this up to my mom when the new dance season starts in June? Any advice on how I should ask her? She has a tendency to blow things way out of proportion when she says “no” to stuff like this. -- Dreaming Dancer
DEAR DREAMING: You might be correct that your mom can afford this. But maybe she just doesn’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for you to shake your poms on this particular dance squad. The person holding the purse strings gets to make the choice about what to pay for.
I have an idea to help you smooth this over, however: Research the entire cost of joining the pom squad (including uniforms and entrance fees). Spend the next six months baby-sitting, shoveling walks, mowing lawns, doing chores, etc., to earn the money required to participate.
Approach your mom with proof that you have saved this money and a guarantee that you won’t become an elitist snob and that your grades won’t suffer — and hope for a “yes” from her.
DEAR AMY: “Feeling Fleeced” was upset because his wife’s adult children always expected him to pick up the tab at dinner.
My parents expected my siblings and me to be financially independent once we graduated from college, and we all are. We treated our parents to meals as often as they treated us.
On the other hand, my in-laws always picked up the tab at restaurants. This has morphed into my husband’s siblings expecting their parents to pay for hotel rooms and airline tickets for trips they convince their parents to take with them. My husband has lost respect for his siblings for always having their hands out for these donations.
Now our daughter is 21 and close to graduating from college. She sees two very different families: One where her cousins are expected to be financially responsible, and the other side of the family where her adult cousins aren’t. Any advice on how to manage that? -- Difference of Values
DEAR VALUES: There is nothing to manage. You raised your daughter. You have introduced her to the value system you and your husband share. You should be consistent with your expectations that she attain financial independence (and also be generous and thoughtful toward others).
What her cousins do and how they are “treated” by the other side of the family is immaterial. You can assume that, aside from the immediate perks of getting handouts, your daughter will prefer to live her life the way she was raised.
DEAR AMY: The letter from “Enabler” brought back some memories. She had a (possibly alcoholic) neighbor and was wondering about giving him a gift of wine.
Back when I was a newlywed, I had a lovely, elderly neighbor whom I adored. She used to send me to the store for low-cal cookies and large bottles of scotch. -- Happy to Enable
DEAR HAPPY: Throw in a case of Fresca and you’ve got yourself a party!