Teen Talk

Readers’ letters praise columnist, take her to task

Kelly Richardson
Kelly Richardson Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

DEAR READERS: I hope you have all had a wonderful summer filled with family time, swimming, relaxing and popsicles. As we get ready for the next school year and the start of a new chapter for many young people beginning a new journey, I wanted to share some recent reader responses. I was so touched by all the letters I received about the column to my graduate. That column seemed to connect with many readers and I appreciate the kind words so many of you wrote to me after.

As always, thank you for reading Teen Talk. For those who take the time to write me, whether you agree of disagree with my advice, I appreciate your opinions and value the time you take to share your thoughts with me. Enjoy the last part of summer and for those starting school, study hard and have fun.

DEAR KELLY: I usually think you offer good solutions to those seeking your guidance, but you totally missed it today (July 12). Your solution was to put one’s head in the sand and ignore mom’s infidelity. Emotional relationships with the opposite sex lead to greater infidelities. Perhaps a little fling with a trainer is no big deal to you, but what is this teaching a teenage girl? She was crying out for her family, but you boiled it down to: You’re making assumptions and it’s not your problem to worry about. You really got this one wrong.


KELLY: I think you missed the mark on this one. I am an older brother to four sisters. They are strong, independent college-educated women. But if I knew that one of their potential roommates was already putting their safety in danger by allowing strangers in their home, I would be doing my best to get them out of that house. If I knew that one of those men not only already disrespected women and treated them like objects, but also expressed an interest in treating my sister that way and had the lack of brains to try to pursue her despite her protests, I’d be advising her to look into a restraining order and also helping her find a new place despite the lost lease.

This girl and the other roommates need to put distance between this girl and the dangerous men she is bringing or potentially bringing through their front door. I agree she needs help, but not at the expense of their safety.


KELLY: As a longtime subscriber and former Bee delivery boy, I really enjoyed your May 24 column. Extremely well written, moving and emotional, I started to moisten around the old eyes while reading. It brought back memories of my kids and their early journeys in life. Now, my grandkids are in high school or close to high school age. I wonder can they grow strong and avoid the challenges and pitfalls you referenced? My generation had its challenges, but today’s society is remarkably different and more challenging. You’re spot on when you state be kind – think what the world be if that were true of all of us.

This 73-year-old grandpa loved what you wrote. Looking forward to reading you again.


KELLY: I am the grandmother of eight, six of them teenagers. Four years ago, my oldest grandchild started high school. I cut your article on starting high school out of The Bee and my granddaughter ( rather shy and unassuming ) went for tea and we discussed it. A tradition was born. I have continued to use your article with two of my other high school grandchildren. Now two more will start high school this year and their siblings remind them that they will go have “The Talk” with Nana. My oldest grandchild will graduate this year. I was so delighted to see your column on life after high school. I see a new tradition in our future. Thank you.


KELLY: Even though I’m in my late 60s and my children are grown, I really look forward to your column. I usually feel you give really good advice that doesn’t just apply to teens, but everyone. However, I think you missed part of the boat on the “Partying Friends.”

What you told the writer was spot on, but my main question is, “Where is the father in all this?” Seems to me there is no parental guidance and if the dad is aware and letting this go on with underage kids, he is largely at fault. Not only for not controlling the situation and allowing underage drinking, but not informing the other parents that their children are spending a lot of time at his house doing things they would not be happy with. What if a drunk teen gets in a car accident? What if a girl is raped? These are the kind of things that happen when teens party unsupervised with liquor available.

Also, where are the parents of the “friends”? Do they have any idea of what is going on? Do they condone it? The girlfriend’s concerns really should be at the bottom of the list.


KELLY: Re: SacBee, Tuesday, May 3, 2016 – “Partying Friends Cause Rift”

I wonder if you didn’t miss one glaring issue that might solve Stuck Girlfriend’s problem?

If underage teens are drinking beer at Patrick’s house, his father is exposed to an enormous civil liability if any of those teens are involved in an automobile accident after leaving his house. The father could also be guilty of a misdemeanor, providing alcohol to a minor, if the minor consumed alcohol in the father’s home with the father’s knowledge.

If you’d mentioned that in your column, all Stuck Girlfriend would have to do is show your column to Patrick’s dad. Just a thought.


KELLY: Thank you so much for your column today on teenage drinking and driving. When my husband and I were raising our three teens in the Bay Area, it was our worst nightmare. We would say to our kids, “Always ask yourself, are you making good choices?” And thankfully, at their wonderful high school, that was the daily prayer before heading off to class. We have been blessed that our children are healthy and alive, but I remember when I was in high school out on the country roads, after prom, eight teens climbed into a car and barreled down the highway to go to get pancakes. All eight were killed after the driver slammed into an overpass at over 80 mph. These beautiful girls were my classmates and I have never forgotten them. In that day, it was beer found in the car. I think now it is probably stronger than that. In honor of my friends, thank you for what you do every day to help teens, and actually all ages, to be mindful of our actions and to realize that choices made today can impact our tomorrow. Thank you.


KELLY: I was so touched by your March 8 column. I thought of a couple of suggestions for you to maybe pass on:

I’m a retired adult, but when I was a kid I was also really good at art and loved drawing, painting, and making things, including needlework. I was also good at science and my parents pushed me to major in pre-vet at UC Davis. I got a degree and a job where I worked for 33 years, not as a veterinarian but a steady job with a pension that kept me too busy to enjoy art or sewing. One of my classmates had a double major in wildlife biology and art and she ended up illustrating textbooks about fish. She is a renowned painter of fish. Another field your letter writer might consider is medical illustration, which would combine a medical education with art. Dentistry also requires skill at sculpture and jewelry making.

Of course, he or she could find a trade position where there was enough free time to devote to establishing an art brand that would sell and become profitable. Just some ideas.