DEAR ABBY: I am 18, and graduated from high school last spring. From the time I was 14, my parents and I didn't get along. But I did become close with one of my teachers. "Mr. Carson" was always there for me when I needed an adult perspective about a problem. Sometimes he was the only person I could talk to. (He talked me out of suicide a couple of times.)
Don't get me wrong; Mr. Carson was always professional. He never tried to take the place of my parents. But because I turned to him first, my parents called me a worthless daughter. They even went so far as to inform me I was no longer welcome in their home.
After that, I became depressed and made some bad choices. When I became pregnant at 17, my parents refused to let me back in their home. Mr. Carson and his wife helped me to pay for my pregnancy and get through it emotionally. When I needed advice, Mrs. Carson was always there for me.
I am now raising my baby. My son is the best thing in my life. I'd like him to meet his grandparents, but my parents refuse. I have tried everything, but now I have given up. I want my son to have a grandma and grandpa in his life. Would it be OK for me to teach my son to call the Carsons "Grandma" and "Grandpa"? They are the closest thing I have had to parents for more than a year. Or should I continue trying to get my parents to change their minds? -- PARENTLESS IN RICHMOND, N.Y.
DEAR PARENTLESS: Give your mother and father until the end of the year to change their perspective. If their attitude hasn't mellowed by then, by all means ask the Carsons if they would like to be your son's honorary grandparents. Children need love, and unlike your parents, your teacher and his wife seem to have it in abundance to give.