Dear Annie: I have been fighting a lot with my 16-year-old daughter, “Rebecca.”
It has escalated to the point where she moved into an apartment with her 19-year-old boyfriend, “Rick.”
I am not comfortable with the age difference and have tried to talk to her, but she just won’t listen. I don’t know Rick very well, and I am worried about my daughter.
Rebecca comes home only to ask for money, do laundry or get a few personal items.
When I try talking to her during those times, she throws a tantrum and storms out.
I saw a therapist about it, but that led nowhere. Taking away her car keys, phone and credit card has done nothing. What can I do? — Desperately Confused Mom
Dear Mom: Is Rebecca considered a legal adult in your state?
If not, you can report the situation to the police.
It is a drastic step that may get her away from Rick, but it will likely estrange you completely.
Your second option is to get to know her boyfriend.
Part of the problem is that Rebecca is in full-blown rebellion, and your disapproval of Rick is a compelling reason for her to stay with him.
Stop railing against the situation.
Instead, invite Rick and Rebecca over for dinner. You need to find out whether he’s a good guy, and if not, help Rebecca see that for herself.
Dear Annie: I have known “Georgiana” since grade school.
She’s a good- hearted, loyal, trustworthy person, but is quite difficult to be around, and I can only take her in small doses.
My mother reviewed an autism website and discovered that Georgiana displays many of the traits and characteristics of someone with autism.
However, she grew up at a time when learning disabilities were not commonly diagnosed, and she never got the help she needed.
Both of her parents died when she was in her early 20s, and although she’s in contact with her extended family, they provide minimal support.
Now things seem to be piling up.
In four years, Georgiana has had five different jobs.
She’s currently unemployed and owes thousands of dollars in credit card debt. She is barely making it.
We want to help by directing her to the support she needs, but she is very stubborn and defensive, so we are reluctant to approach her.
If she does have autism, how do we convince Georgiana to be evaluated by a specialist? — Bedford, Mass.
Dear Bedford: It is possible that Georgiana suffers from Asperger’s, which is a high-functioning form of autism. She may also have an underlying mental illness or simply lack social skills.
In order to influence her, you will have to spend more time in her company and perhaps enlist the help of her extended family.
Ask if she’s seen her doctor lately, and whether she would allow you (or one of her relatives) to accompany her to her next visit.
Whoever goes with her can mention these concerns to the doctor.
Dear Annie: “With a Grateful Heart” is exactly right: Placing a child for adoption takes courage.
I am thankful for my loving and devoted parents, siblings and large extended family.
My dad was my coach, my mother baked cookies, and my sibs and I rode bikes and built forts.
I attended excellent schools and earned college scholarships.
I am educated, well-employed and married to a wonderful man with whom I have four children. I am adopted and am living the American dream.
I have met my birth parents and half-siblings. They are amazing people, but encountered hardships and tragedies I never had to deal with.
My birthmother gave me an immeasurable gift by putting my needs before her own.
My husband and I have already agreed that if one of our children should accidentally become pregnant, we will guide her to choose adoption. — The Luckiest
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. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com