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Dear Abby: 'Latchkey' needs more from mom

Dear Abby: I disagree with the advice you gave to the girl who signed herself "Latchkey Kid in Seattle." While I agree that the last resort might be to find another adult the girl can stay with while her mom "entertains" her boyfriend/boss, her first step should be to try to solve the problem at home. A woman who devotes so much attention to her married boss at the expense of her own daughter is losing a lot of herself and destroying any future relationship with the girl.

I say the girl should talk with her mother about her feelings first, and how they can best balance the needs of both of them. Single parents can be blind to how their actions affect their loved ones when they become focused on their own needs. Mom should be told by her daughter how much she is needed and how important it is for her to know that her mom will be there for her. Companionship isn't the only issue here. The daughter needs her as a role model, parent and friend. The daughter should seek help elsewhere. — Michael M., Tampa, Fla.

Dear Michael M.: The mother knows what she's doing. The writer indicated that it happens regularly. That's why I told her to talk to her father or another adult relative, or parent of a friend, about spending time in another household while "Mom is out on her dates." Read on:

Dear Abby: I am an art psychotherapist. Abandonment is the worst kind of mental and physical abuse. That mother should be reported as a child abuser. Instead of directing the child to family or friends' parents to watch over her, you should have told her to go to the father, school counselor or another trusted adult for help in getting out of this dangerous situation permanently. I have seen the result of such neglect and abuse. It's horrible. Please advise other readers in similar situations that they don't have to be abused in this way. It could save a life. — Sandy in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Dear Abby: You missed the boat here. You should have advised "Latchkey Kid" to go over and hang out with Mom's boss's wife. She is obviously alone as often as "Latchkey" is — and she might appreciate the company! — Shannon in Port Charlotte, Fla.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © Universal Press Syndicate