Steel Advice: Dad wants in on secret

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DEAR STEEL ADVICE: My teenage daughter is applying for college. She has been very secretive with her essays. I have demanded to see her essays prior to submitting her applications. Is this overreacting as a father?


DEAR DAD: Let the kid fly from the nest. Her secrecy suggests the essays contain feelings she is not comfortable sharing. In your daughter's eyes your demand to see the essays implies you want to critique or embellish her work. You are in the initial stage of a natural separation process. If your daughter is adamant about not revealing what she has written, respect her privacy. Writing the essays is the start of the college journey. Your daughter will always hear your tapes in her head, but at some point you have to begin to let go of her hand. You are her parachute, protector and paycheck, but you are not her controller.

DEAR STEEL ADVICE: Here's my beef. When I go to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy the clerk sometimes asks me in a voice that can be overheard if my birth date is such and such. The other customers waiting around the counter perk up and start to calculate my age. What should I do?


DEAR SEEKING PRIVACY: A confessional is a private place. A pharmacy is public place. A store's open atmosphere makes it easy to eavesdrop. Pharmacy counter clerks need to practice courtesy, discretion and decorum. It is unnecessary for you to be asked personal information within earshot of other customers. Your birth date, address or Social Security number can be verified on a small screen at the checkout counter. Speak to your druggist by phone or send a note and request he/she review the store's privacy protocol and the 996 federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act controls. The physical layout of some pharmacies provides a better footprint for customer confidentiality. You may want to consider taking your business elsewhere.

Need some Steel Advice? Email questions to: or write to Mary Ann Wellener, Steel Advice Column, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Follow Mary Ann on Twitter at @PGSteelAdvice.

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