Dear Barb: I have three teenage daughters whom I am raising on my own. They have always been great kids. However, my 16 year old, who has been dating the same boy for the last six months, just announced she is pregnant. I’m afraid I reacted rather badly. I was just devastated and probably said things I shouldn’t have said. I know my daughter needs some guidance. I believe she wants to marry this fellow, but I’m not sure that would be the right thing to do. I’m not sure how to handle this situation. I would appreciate any insight you can offer.
Mary – Quebec City.
Hi Mary, I commend you. It’s hard enough being a parent and even harder being a single parent. I think you are right in not pushing these two young people into marriage. Marriage is difficult at any age and even harder at 16 years old with a baby on the way. There are other options to consider, some of which may or may not be feasible for your family situation. At 16 years old, I think you will agree, your daughter needs to finish school. You do not mention how old your daughter’s boyfriend is, but I assume he is also a teenager. You need to decide how much assistance you are prepared to offer your daughter. Is it possible for her to remain at home and raise her baby with your help? If this is not an option, has your daughter considered adoption? There are many agencies that would help you and your daughter find loving parents for this baby. As you probably know, if your daughter and the father of her baby were to marry, the odds are against the marriage succeeding. Perhaps in a few years, after completing their education, this couple would be better prepared to enter marriage.
Dear Barb: I am a recently separated mother of one son. I was devastated when my marriage of 30 years ended because my husband found someone else. My son is 15 years old and disabled. I found it very difficult to live alone with my son. Therefore, I joined various singles clubs fully intending to meet someone. Eventually, I met a wonderful man, who was divorced and also had a teenage son. Everything seemed great at first. Then he lost his job and couldn’t pay his rent. I had room in my home, so I invited him to live with us temporarily. Well, it’s been a year and he’s still here. He has not been able to find work. He helps me a lot around the house and with my son. Everyone says he’s using me, which may be true, but I feel I am benefiting from having him in my home. Am I doing the wrong thing? Should I ask him to leave?
Confused in Forest
There is no right or wrong answer to your question. If you feel you are benefiting from this arrangement then who is to say it is wrong? On the other hand, you should not be the only one contributing financially to the household. Both of you should agree on an amount that each will contribute. My question to you is, why is this man not working? Is he actively looking for work? Is he happy to have you support him? You need to be honest with yourself about these issues. Sorry I wasn’t able to offer a more definite solution for you, but I think you are the only one who can answer your question.
E-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.