Dear Dr. Wallace:
I really need your advice. I’m 19 and the single mother of a beautiful 7-month-old daughter. The baby’s father is in prison for nine years. He and two friends were convicted of robbing convenience stores with the aid of a gun. The baby’s father received the stiffest prison sentence, as he was on probation for selling drugs during the time he was arrested for armed robbery.
I love my daughter’s father. We had planned to get married after our daughter was born, but as you can see, things didn’t quite work out. I’m working evenings at a nice restaurant, and I make decent money. My mother cares for the baby when I’m working. One of the restaurant owners is a young guy, about 26 years old. I have gone out with the owner at least 20 times. He treats me well, and I enjoy going out with him. He has a nice apartment and has invited me to move in with him. He said that I could sleep at his apartment after work and that I could return to my house in the morning and be with my daughter until I go to work in the evening.
If he asked me to marry him and said that he would support my daughter and me, I would say yes. I don’t love him, but I do like him, and in time, I might be able to love him. If I lived with him — part time — I would have job security, and that’s important for my daughter and me.
I discussed this with my mother, and she said she didn’t want to comment on the possibility of me living with my boss. I’d appreciate your honest opinion.
— Unsure, Las Vegas
Dear Unsure: Your prime responsibility in life is now the safety and welfare of your daughter. You belong at home with her during the night, not sleeping at a guy’s apartment. If, eventually, you find out that you do love him and he asks you to become his wife, say yes and then quit working and become a full-time mother and wife.
Your mother is a superparent to care for your daughter while you are earning funds to support yourself and your child!
Dear Dr. Wallace: My mom won’t let me choose my friends. She only lets me be friends with some of the kids who attend our church. That is why I don’t have any school friends. I sure would like to make friends with some of my fellow students at school. After all, I know a few very well, as we are in class together five days a week, and I only see my church friends one day a week. My church friends are nice, and I like them a lot, but I just want to add a couple more friends from my school to my friend group. Please address your response to my mom. Thanks.
— Anonymous, Fort Worth, Texas
Dear Anonymous’ Mom: I don’t believe parents should select friends for their children, but I do feel it is extremely important for parents to know all of their children’s friends and to stop them from associating with those they feel are unacceptable. Friends have a very strong influence on one another, especially during the teen years.
Few parents will buy the argument that “just because my friends get in trouble doesn’t mean I will.” This is not a risk a responsible parent is going to take. I suggest that you allow one of your child’s school friends to come by after school so you can meet him or her. A nice conversation can follow and you can be the judge of the character of this new potential friend.
You can make the final decision, but I feel that your teen should be allowed to have at least one or two potential friends from school “interviews” with you.
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