DEAR ABBY: I'm a 17-year-old senior with a single, very controlling mother. It's impossible to have a sit-down conversation with her because she's always working to support us. She works as a dog groomer. She's always polite to her customers and friends, but she turns into a witch when it's just her and us kids.
I have never had any freedom. I go to school, come home and groom dogs, then it's the same cycle all over again. She makes me feel useless unless I'm working for her, and the truth is I think she wants me to live with her forever. She won't let me work, doesn't want me to go to college and won't give me my Social Security card or birth certificate, so I cannot get on with my life. Please help. -- TEEN WHO NEEDS ADVICE
DEAR TEEN: Where is your father in all of this? If your mother doesn't want you to see your birth certificate, it may be that there's something she's afraid you will see. Her controlling behavior does seem excessive for a girl your age.
In a few months you will be an adult. If you wish to continue your education, you should talk to a counselor at school about it and inquire about scholarships, student aid and how to apply. Do not let your mother's disapproval discourage you from trying.