Dear Annie: My husband and I recently visited the beach house of some friends. While there, I met an interesting lady who stuttered. At first I thought she had had too much to drink, but after 15 minutes I realized she had a speech impediment. I’ve never met an adult who stutters. At times it was very uncomfortable because I knew the word she was trying to say but could not get out.
Would it have been rude to complete the word for her, or should I have let her work through it? I felt very awkward. – Uncomfortable in Florida
Dear Florida: It is best to allow a stutterer to complete the word on her own, no matter how long it takes. If you expect to see this woman again, or if any of our readers would like more information, we recommend the Stuttering Foundation (stutteringhelp.org).
Dear Annie: My husband and I are at the end of our rope with our 18-year-old daughter, Kate, who just graduated from high school.
Kate has been dating a 21-year-old man for more than a year. She met him at my husband’s work. We don’t dislike Todd, but he has no ambition and is extremely lazy.
Six months ago, Todd lost his job. He made no attempt to get another and didn’t even apply for unemployment benefits. He cashed in his 401(k) and managed to blow $11,000 in two months. He doesn’t even own a car.
Todd managed to get rehired with the same company in another state. Now Kate has thrown her entire future out the door. Instead of going to college, she is planning to move in with Todd.
Kate is living in a fantasy world, thinking Todd can support her. We have tried explaining that she shouldn’t toss a college education out the door for any man, but she won’t listen and accuses us of wanting her to fail.
We have done a lot for Todd, trying to help him mature. However, my husband is hearing from Todd’s new boss that he is close to losing his job again.
My daughter is fully aware of this, but thinks she can motivate him. She actually calls him every morning to wake him up.
I know the answer is to shut down the gravy train to shock Kate into realizing how hard life will be. But how do you let your child make such a huge mistake? What happens if she gets pregnant and marries this idiot? – Feel Like a Failed Parent
Dear Parent: We suspect part of Todd’s appeal is that you are so opposed to the relationship. It’s time to refocus on helping your daughter prepare for her new life.
Discuss in a matter-of-fact way what kind of job she thinks she is capable of getting and how much she thinks she will earn. Teach her how to prepare a budget.
Ask whether she plans to get pregnant and how that will affect her financial situation. Tell her you love her and wish her well. When she sees that her decisions are entirely up to her, she might wake up. And who knows? Maybe Todd will surprise you.
Dear Annie: Your advice to “Bummed Out in Bradenton” was, as usual, right on. However, I would have added, “Don’t ever give up.”
My son was also 27 when he was released from prison for the second time on drug-related charges. It took two three-year sentences for him to realize he did not want that kind of life. I came close to giving up many times, but I knew his potential.
He completed his GED in prison and, the day after his release, enrolled in a community college. There he met a lovely girl whom he married. He went on to get a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and now holds a great position.
As proud as I am of his accomplishments, I’m even prouder of what he has overcome. – Glad and Thankful
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.