DEAR ABBY: I am 14 and pregnant. My baby's father is a 35-year-old teacher at my school. He doesn't know I'm pregnant, and I'm afraid if I tell him, he'll be mad.
My parents know I'm pregnant, and they are devastated. But they do not know who the father is.
I am having trouble sleeping, and I'm sick most mornings. What should I do? Please help. -- PREGNANT IN MILWAUKEE
DEAR PREGNANT: You MUST tell your parents who the father is. You need their emotional support, and I'm sure you'll receive it once they understand what has happened. You should not have to tell this teacher about your pregnancy alone. Your parents, the principal and the local police should do it with you. If he does get mad, it should be at himself for betraying his trusted role as an educator and committing statutory rape. Please do not be afraid to speak up, and don't blame yourself. What your teacher did is criminal.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Jessica," is a terrific teenager. She works hard in school and has a nice group of friends. She and her friends have never been involved with alcohol or drugs, largely because they have stayed away from the crowd that uses them.
Next year, Jessica is going off to college where beer and pot will be everywhere. I am concerned because, unbeknownst to Jessica, there is alcoholism in our family. My father started drinking heavily after we kids were grown and gone. He was never abusive or falling-down drunk, but he was alcohol-dependent. He'd fall asleep in his chair by 7 every night.
Mother finally confronted him, and although he never sought professional help, he managed to get his problem under control.
I'm not proud our family wasn't more up-front about Dad's drinking. Mom and Dad both wanted to cope with it privately, and although Mom confided in my brothers and me, it has remained a family secret.
I know alcoholism may be genetic, and I am torn about disclosing my father's history to Jessica. I want her to know she may have reason to be particularly careful about drinking, but I don't want to spoil her relationship with, or her respect for, her grandfather. What should I do? -- WORRIED MOM, OAKLAND, CALIF.
DEAR WORRIED MOM: For the valid reason you have stated, you must discuss the potential problem with your daughter. Since her grandfather faced his drinking problem and dealt with it, I see no reason why it would cause her to lose respect for him.
Another important reason you should bring up this subject is the reality of binge drinking on many college campuses. Some young people who are away from home for the first time go hog-wild and do foolish things -- like competing to see who can consume the most alcohol in the shortest period of time. The results can be fatal. Also, people stoned on alcohol (or any mind-altering substance) may make other unwise choices, such as having unprotected sex.
You are a caring parent, and you have a year to discuss these subjects with your daughter. Start now, and next fall you'll send her off knowing you have prepared her to the best of your ability.
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