Mom plays favorites; promiscuous past; not-good-enough girlfriend: Dear Prudence dispenses advice.

Advice on manners and morals.
Feb. 3 2011 7:01 AM

Mom's Playing Favorites

I can't stand one of my kids and love the other to pieces. Am I a bad parent?

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—Prudie

Dear Prudence,
A few years ago, my best friend was going through a rough divorce and said she would never remarry. I told her she would change her mind, so she bet me $1,000 that I was wrong. Needless to say, she remarried within a year. Her new husband knew about the bet, and when they got back from their honeymoon he wrote me a check. I debated for a while about cashing it but thought a bet is a bet and cashed it. I've always felt weird for taking the money and want to pay it back. How do I do that, three years later?

—All Bets Are Off

Dear All,
This is why bets between friends are best if the stakes are a steak dinner and not a month's rent. Write your friend a card, enclose a check for $1,000, and say it makes you really happy to acknowledge her third anniversary to the love of her life—a man who's willing to write a check for a foolish obligation—by canceling out her payment for your prescient prediction.

—Prudie

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Correction, Feb. 4, 2011: The original home page headline for this column conflated the two children in the featured letter, describing the mother's situation as "I Love My Daughter Way More Than I Love My Son."



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Emily Yoffe is the author of What the Dog Did: Tales From a Formerly Reluctant Dog Owner. You can send your Dear Prudence questions for publication toprudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.)

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