DEAR AMY: My daughter is in college and is smoking pot. I am a high school teacher, and this is very much against my values.
I did not do this around her when she grew up (but her late mother did). I have provided tough love by withdrawing money and her vehicle, but her grandparents bought her a car and help her financially.
Is there anything I can do to get her to stop doing drugs? Her rationale is that it will be legalized anyway, and it helps her relax. I am sick about this and realize that with her at age 20, there is little I can do. Any advice? -- Worried Father
DEAR FATHER: Your daughter is doing something that is both unhealthy and (still) illegal.
She already knows that you do not approve of her choice. Because her grandparents are undermining you by enabling her, you cannot control her by withdrawing money, but you can insist that she not smoke if she lives at home.
At this point, you might make some progress by focusing less on her behavior and more on her underlying reasons and justifications. Why, at age 20, does she need help to relax? Is her life so stressful that she cannot manage without pot? How is she coping with the loss of her mother? Is this one way to deaden her feelings?
You should tell her, “Honey, I’m worried about you. I want you to know that I am on your side and I want the very best for you. I’m so sorry you feel like you need to anesthetize yourself and wish you would talk to me (or a counselor at school) instead of smoking.”
DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I have been together for almost six years. We don’t live together because he lives an hour away. He has two children and I have one. We are both divorced.
I am concerned about my financial future because I live on a single income. I’m 44 years old and most of my friends are married and have built (or are building) a financial future with their husbands.
My guy is a wonderful man and I love him but he has told me that if I move in with him he will not share his property, and he will ask me to sign a document saying that I have no claims on his property.
He has been divorced twice. Neither of us is willing to move and/or build a financial future together. I don’t make a lot of money to be able to have a decent retirement for myself, even when I have two jobs.
Should I continue with this relationship, or should I find a person with whom I can build a financial future? -- Strapped
DEAR STRAPPED: You should not count on finding any one person who can solve your financial problems and assure your financial future. That’s your job. Even your friends who are married may find themselves in a tough situation because life has a way of throwing speed bumps along even the best laid path.
You should focus on finding creative ways to cut your living costs and increase your income so you can start squirreling money away. The most obvious way to cut costs is through sharing housing. Perhaps you have a friend or a relative who is also a single mother. Co-housing could help both parties save on housing costs and living expenses. You could also share parenting duties, making it easier for you to pursue education or job training to increase your income.
A romantic partner who is wonderful, who loves you and wants to share everything with you is definitely something to look for. There is no guarantee you will find him, however.
DEAR AMY: “Disgusted” reminded me of myself. She is a 20-year-old who just seems a little more mature than the hard-drinking college students she hangs out with.
I was branded a “goody-goody” until I finally started hanging with people who had a little more self-control. -- Survived
DEAR SURVIVED: It’s not a lot of fun being a “goody-goody” during the party, but the payoff down the line is considerable.