Ask Amy

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 11:45pm

DEAR AMY: About two years ago I met someone online and ended up having a child with him after a very brief relationship. We didn't get to know each other well before settling down together. I feel so stuck now.

I want to have a normal family life for my child, but I don't want any relationship (either sexual or emotional) with this person or anyone else ever!

I've found out that I'm not strong enough to endure the trials and tribulations of a relationship. I've told my fiancé this, but he doesn't seem to think I'm serious, even though I've stopped having an intimate relationship with him and we no longer share a bed.

Am I being selfish? I've taken full responsibility for my actions, and I know I've messed up the lives of two people — my baby's and my fiancé's.

— Joyce

DEAR JOYCE: You seem depressed — and given the scope of your issues and the fact that you have a young child at home, it's not surprising.

Your baby needs parents who love, nurture and are committed to him. Being a good mother should be your continuing goal.

It's possible to be a good mom when you are single, but it's really hard to be there for your baby if you are so discouraged by your situation that you don't ever want to have another relationship.

See your physician for a check-up. You might be clinically depressed. You are definitely extremely discouraged. You and your fiancé must work out a way to realize your potential as parents, even if you don't stay together as a couple. A counselor or mediator could help you to work through this and stay amicable.

You should also seek out the company of other parents of young children — this will help you to feel less isolated and stuck, and it will be good for your baby to be around other young families.


DEAR AMY: I have close friends who have a teenage daughter who wants to be a pop star. Her parents have spent a lot of money on her lessons and classes at a local talent school, and have taken her to many local auditions, none of which has led to anything.

However, recently she was invited to sing for a "scout" located across the country. The family went and says the scout praised her voice and said she can have a hit song out next year — but they will have to make several more trips and pay production expenses.

I have tried to express my concern that this might be a scam, but don't want to sound discouraging or disbelieving, or be too prying.

Should I just drop it?

— Hoping I'm Wrong

DEAR HOPING: Your friends should check out this purported talent agency through the Better Business Bureau (BBB.org) and by speaking with other clients the agency has promoted. They should also be extremely cautious about any fees.

Unfortunately, scams in the world of modeling and talent agencies seem to abound. (Beware: One hazard of researching scams is that you start to develop a creeping skepticism about everything.)

You could help your friends by asking them what they know about this agency. Encourage them to be careful by saying, "Briana is talented, and I don't want anyone taking advantage of you or her."


DEAR AMY: Regarding throwing cold water on toddlers who are having tantrums, when my daughter was 18 months old and throwing a tantrum, a very good friend suggested I use this method. I did, and my daughter looked shocked, hurt and confused. I felt like a complete idiot. I never, ever forgot the look on her face.

She's a teenager now. I have only one regret in raising her and that is throwing that glass of cold water on her. That was the worst bit of parenting advice I ever received. A word of advice for first-time parents: If it sounds stupid, it is.

— Beverly

DEAR BEVERLY: Like you, I couldn't imagine doing this. I think it's violent and disrespectful. But I've heard from many parents who disagree.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com

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