DEAR ABBY: My 18-year-old son, "Jeff," has a 17-year-old girlfriend, "Connie," who is pregnant -- but not with his child. Jeff has decided he will sign the birth certificate to give the baby our last name. (The real father wants nothing to do with Connie or the baby.)
I have no say in this matter. Her parents know all about the pregnancy but don't see it as a problem. In fact, they have decided not to tell other family members that my son isn't the father.
When I try to warn Jeff about what he's getting into, he cuts me off and says, "It'll all be OK, Mom." Abby, my son is making a lifetime financial commitment and can't begin to appreciate the whole picture. He assumes that Connie's folks will "take care of everything."
I am at my wit's end. Any advice you can offer would be deeply appreciated. -- FRANTIC IN IDAHO
DEAR FRANTIC: Take your son to an attorney immediately. Let the lawyer explain what Jeff's obligations will be if he abets this deception. Your son appears to be idealistic and romantic. However, he should not declare paternity for a child that is not his. It's unfair to the child -- and lets the biological father off the hook.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 19-year-old girl and have a problem with my parents. When I was younger, I could talk to them about anything and everything. They respected my decisions and supported me whenever they could -- until I reached junior high.
At that time, I noticed that I liked girls more than boys. When I told my mom and dad, they dismissed it and said it was just a phase. It wasn't.
I secretly dated one girl in ninth grade to find out if that's where my feelings were headed. Then I "came out" to my friends. They were cool about it and supported me 100 percent. I didn't have the guts to tell my folks until I was in the 10th grade.
They exploded. Mom cried for hours; Dad kicked me out for a week. My parents have had no trust whatsoever in me ever since. We don't talk like we used to -- and whenever the subject of my sexual orientation comes up, my parents call me a slut, among other things. I've moved out three times, but I always go back because I don't have enough money to make it on my own.
I'm now dating a wonderful young woman and it's getting serious. I don't dare tell my parents because I'm afraid of their reaction. Please help, Abby. I need your advice. -- DESPERATELY SEEKING LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE IN KANSAS
DEAR DESPERATE: I am sorry you are not getting the support you need from your family. They need to understand that sexual orientation is not a choice. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG) could offer them some much-needed insight and support. They can call the organization at (202) 467-8180; write to 1726 M St. NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036; or go online to the Web site at www.pflag.org.
I have a different resource for YOU. Please contact The Trevor Project. It's a 24-hour toll-free hotline that promotes tolerance and provides support to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth.
The Trevor Helpline crisis line is the only 24-hour, 365-day toll-free line solely dedicated to counseling gay and questioning youth. Trained counselors are always there to help, and they welcome calls from any teen who is having problems relating to his or her sexual orientation -- whether the person is struggling with self-doubt, peer pressure, lack of acceptance, rejection by family members and/or friends -- or having thoughts of suicide.
Call (866) 488-7386 or go online to www.TheTrevorProject.org.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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