Dear Abby: Longtime family friend feels hurt by sulky teen’s attitude

Dear Abby: I have had a best friend for more than 20 years. We met when we were 18 and have been inseparable ever since. I was best man in his wedding, and when his first child was born, I traveled six hours to be at the hospital when “Sara” was born. I have never missed a birthday or Christmas.

When my friend announced they were moving from Ohio to Arizona, I knew I couldn’t be away from him and his family, so I moved as well. I have no family of my own, and I adore his two girls.

Well, Sara turned 13 this year and like most teenagers, she’s distancing herself from her family and even more so from me. When her mom and dad invite me for dinner or a family get-together, she barely acknowledges me when I say hi or ask how she’s doing. She wants nothing to do with me. It breaks my heart. I love her and I consider her to be family.

My question is, should I continue to go and support her with her sporting events at school? (I have never missed a game.)

Do I continue to shower her with birthday and Christmas gifts?

On one hand, I tell myself this is just a phase she is going through and to change nothing, hoping one day she realizes that I’m her biggest cheerleader and recognizes the love I have for her.

On the other hand, I think she’s acting like a spoiled brat, and if she doesn’t know how to treat people, then I want nothing to do with her. How should I handle this? –Un-Uncle in Arizona

Dear Un-Uncle: I am sure what you are feeling isn’t any different than what Sara’s parents are feeling right now. I agree that she is probably going through a phase and “just being a teenager.”

My advice is to give her some space and hope that when she finally pulls out of it she will recognize how lucky she is to have such a loving un-uncle.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.