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.

Write to Dr. Wallace at

Write to Dr. Wallace at