Sense & Sensitivity

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter just told me that she is pregnant. She is a sophomore in college, and she has been on a fast track in her career. She does not want to have an abortion, but she has no money, and the father is not interested in being involved.

My husband and I want our daughter to complete her education. Otherwise, how will she be able to take care of this child? We are debating what to do. We are just now enjoying being empty nesters, but we wonder if we should take the baby and raise it until she finishes school and gets a job. Or she may put the child up for adoption. We are so torn about giving the baby away. It’s all so difficult. What do you recommend? -- Baby Talk, Cincinnati

DEAR BABY TALK: This is a decision that the three of you should make together. Starting with your husband, though, talk about what you are willing and able to do and what ground rules you would like to put in place if you were to take the baby for a while. Would you expect your daughter to participate in the child-rearing? Will she live at home with you and the baby? What would you expect of her?

Next, sit down with your daughter and talk it through. Find out what she wants. If her desire is to keep the baby and she accepts your offer to help, discuss the terms. Put them in writing so that you will have to them refer to over time. Recall that taking care of a newborn is hard work. It may not last forever, but know, too, that many grandparents end up being primary caregivers for years. If you are up for the challenge, go for it. But remain clear with your daughter so that she honors her end of the agreement.


DEAR HARRIETTE: Recently, someone sent you a letter asking how they could mention to their friend that their child has bad body odor. I just wanted to mention that sometimes children can be put on medication that helps with body odor and excess sweating when normal deodorant is not enough. A consultation with a dermatologist can be helpful in determining which medication is the best. -- Concerned Reader, Colorado

DEAR CONCERNED READER: Thank you for your recommendation. It is generally wise to check with your doctor if your body begins to do something unusual. With children, especially as they approach adolescence, many hormonal changes occur, including the onset of body odor. In some instances, bathing more mindfully helps, as can deodorant. But checking with a doctor is smart to ensure that there are no medical problems and to find out if there is a simple solution outside of the normal options, like deodorant, to solve the problem.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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