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‘Tough Love’ Works Well

Wed., April 1, 1998

Dear Ann Landers: This is for “Losing It in Longwood, Fla.” We, too, have a 17-year-old son who was a real handful. “Joey” lied, smoked pot, did poorly in school and had behavior problems. We tried to get help for him from his older brother, our friends and our priest, but Joey refused to accept help from anyone.

When Joey threatened to commit suicide, he was forcibly taken to our local hospital, placed under psychiatric care and scheduled for counseling. He was put on medication to control his anger and then released. Shortly after, he was caught vandalizing some retail establishments.

Because we couldn’t control him, the police suggested we file a petition with the court to take over. It was the most difficult thing we’ve ever done. Joey was ordered to pay restitution, placed on probation for six months and required to attend weekly counseling and anger-management sessions.

That was a year ago. The change in this boy has been phenomenal. He is like a different person. He was nominated last summer to serve on the youth group council as the regional leader for our church. Today, he is a happy, law-abiding young man with a bright future. - Tough Love Works in Portsmouth, Va.

Dear Va.: It works in a great many other places, too. I have been recommending “tough love” for years and will continue to do so. For those who want more information on how this works, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Toughlove, P.O. Box 1069, Doylestown, Pa. 18901 (

Dear Ann Landers: This is in response to “Louisville,” who joined the national debate about whether the toilet seat should be left up or down. In my house, you put the lid down. This prevents the dog from drinking out of it and klutzes like me from dropping makeup in it. - Fed Up in Va.

Dear Fed Up: You weren’t the only one who wrote. Here are more:

Dear Ann: When you stub your toe on the chair leg, do you curse the chair? If you bonk your head on the open cabinet door, why blame the person who left it open? That’s like saying, “Look what you made me do!”

“Louisville” said her friend groped her way to the bathroom without turning on the light because she didn’t want to wake her husband. Then, she fell into the toilet because the lid was up. Tell me: Who would she have blamed if the lid were closed and she sat down on that? How could anyone feel her way to the toilet and not feel where she was about to sit? - Family Man in Ill.

Dear Ann Landers: May I have the last word on the toilet seat debate? A toilet is not the most attractive household appliance. Closing the lid improves its appearance and prevents things from falling into the bowl. If the lid was not meant to be closed, then what is its purpose?

I have composed a short poem on the subject that I hope you think is worth printing. Thanks, Ann. - Lucy Prentice, W. Vancouver, B.C.


When a wife will wash her husband’s back,

Then get a towel from off the rack,

That’s love!

And when at night he warms her feet,

Although he shudders when theirs meet,

That’s love!

Or when she makes his favorite cake,

Though the day is far too hot to bake,

That’s love!

But of all the signs depicting love,

There are few that can compete

With the man of the house remembering to

Put down the toilet seat!

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