DEAR AMY: My granddaughter (age 15) spent the night with me recently.
After I took her home the next day, I noticed $50 in a drawer in the room where she stayed was gone.
No one else was in the room during that time, so I know she took it.
We had problems like this in the past, but I thought they were over.
When I asked her to return the money, she became angry and said she did not take it and did not understand how I could accuse my own granddaughter of doing this. If I push the issue I may lose her, but I do not think I should let it go.
And I do not want to go to her parents about this because it will make things worse between us.
But what to do?
— Unhappy in Maryland
DEAR UNHAPPY: I'm going to assume that your assumptions here are correct.
Your granddaughter is reacting in an immature (but age-appropriate) way.
Now you have to also act your age and resolve to do the right thing.
You have little to lose at this point, because she is already avoiding you rather than deal with her behavior and its consequences.
Because she has done this in the past, you should assume that this problem has not, in fact, gone away.
Her parents must be told. If she is stealing, they absolutely must deal with it, now.
Check your medicine cabinet (and elsewhere) to see if anything else is missing and let her parents know immediately.
The most compassionate thing is to force your granddaughter to deal with her problems, with your loving support. Don't be afraid of her reaction or behavior toward you, and tell yourself that she is a young girl having a tantrum because she got caught doing something she should not do.
DEAR AMY: I'm a physician who has worked peripherally with another doctor who wants me to provide a reference for some jobs for which he is applying.
My problem is that I don't think he's a very good physician, and if I'm honest with the potential employer, he'll know I said less-than-stellar things about him.
We work in a group that's mostly nurse practitioners, so there aren't any other doctors he can ask for a recommendation.
How would you handle this?
DEAR PERPLEXED: If you don't have anything stellar to say, then (by all means) don't shoot for the stars.
You can still provide a reference that basically states that you have worked with this doctor during (these dates) in a practice seeing (this many) patients.
State your colleague's specialty and say, "To the best of my knowledge, he is in good standing with the patients in our practice and with professional medical boards." (If, in fact, this is true.)
Encourage the person who receives the letter to call you with any questions.
This is a tepid, noncommittal statement that basically confirms employment and your professional relationship with the other doctor.
DEAR AMY: I disagree with your response to "Not So Shallow Hal," the guy who wanted his girlfriend to lose weight.
I exercise and eat right so I have energy and can ward off short- and long-term health problems and stay attractive.
Luckily, I have been married to a man for 22 years who watches his weight and health too.
We both believe in the importance of maintaining our vitality, and I do not think Hal is shallow for wanting a partner who is in decent shape.
I know this will sound snarky, but I am appalled by the people I see who are so heavy.
This puts a burden on our health care system. Being way overweight should not be the new normal.
— A in Illinois
DEAR A: Many people thought I was too hard on "Hal," but I was responding to the tone of his letter as much as his statements.
Insisting that you are not "shallow" pretty much invites the assumption that you are.