Ask Amy: Daughter’s online videos compromise future The Denver Post

Dear Amy: My husband and I have made sacrifices (driving older cars, modest vacations) to be able to send our kids to college with no debt.

One child, “Paula,” just finished her freshman year with good grades.

I recently discovered that Paula has publicly posted offensive videos, under her actual name, joking about serious issues like gender, race and disability.

I am horrified. This was not how she was raised. She said these are jokes, and no reasonable person would take them seriously. She believes that we are overreacting.

After much discussion, Paula finally acknowledged that others may judge her character based on the videos, which could result in her being blacklisted from educational and professional opportunities.

Amy, the videos are still up! Paula believes the risk is minimal, likes the attention, and has refused to take them down.

I worry that these videos are a ticking time bomb that will destroy her future.

My husband and I disagree on how to handle this.

I feel that our sacrifice should be commensurate with hers, and if she wants to make the adult decision to keep these videos up and risk her future, then she can likewise take the adult responsibility of paying for half of her tuition via student loans. He doesn’t want to “punish” her in this way.

What do you think?

– Offended

Dear Offended: I think your daughter could have a tough time entering the job market – if she is lucky enough to matriculate from college.

However, in my view, forcing her to go into debt because of her offensive online behavior might not be a good investment in the longer term.

She would have a lot of trouble retiring that debt if no one will hire her after college – and so it might be “cheaper” for you to pay for her schooling now, hoping that she actually receives an education versus possibly being on the hook for her debt later, when she will almost certainly be unemployed.

If she has posted material in a public forum, then you – as a member of the public – have the right to let her know what you think of her hilarious jokes. Share your unvarnished reaction and your sense of disgust.

One appropriate consequence might for you to let her know now that you will not financially support her, post-college. This might inspire her to think more realistically about her own future.

Dear Amy: My brother has been married many times. His most recent marriages were started during affairs, while he was cheating on the wife he was currently married to.

The problem is that my brother wants everyone to cut ties with his former wives in order to embrace the new wife, even during the time when young children were involved.

New wives scream: “I’m family!” although they were part of destroying previous families.

I am tired of putting in the effort, as history shows that they won’t be around for the long haul. The children are grown now, and we have independent relationships with them.

How should I handle this?

It’s like a bad movie and the lead actress continues to be swapped out.

I love my brother, even though I can’t stand his choices.

– No Popcorn Included

Dear No Popcorn: Because all of your brother’s children are now adults, all of the family members are liberated to form – or break — whatever relationships they want with your brother’s various wives, and to keep these relationships going after your brother has moved on, if they want to.

Your brother can choose a new wife, but he can’t choose your friends for you. Furthermore, these new wives can enthusiastically enter the family fold, but they also don’t get to choose your friends for you.

Yes, you should be cordial and friendly toward his current wife, and when that relationship inevitably gives way, you should accept the next partner and extend friendship toward her.

If your brother doesn’t want you to be friends with his exes, perhaps he shouldn’t create so many of them.

Dear Amy: I don’t always agree with you, but I almost always love your writing. This line about an older woman dating was true poetry:

“… if Barb is a woman of substance who has been single for a long time, she has already been to the puppet show and seen the strings.”

– True Fan

Dear Fan: Thank you! I took that concept from the wonderful movie, “Jerry Maguire.” Writer Cameron Crowe deserves the credit. I borrow from the best.

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

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