Dear Amy:

I'm a sophomore in high school.

Recently my parents found out that I had a boyfriend. They became really angry, but they allowed me to stay with him as long as we only talked on the phone, because he goes to a different high school.

I didn't keep my promise and started sneaking around to go see him.

My parents just found out.

I know they are trying to protect me, but I really like this guy and want my parents to meet him. Should I just give in or keep fighting for him?

I'm a good student in school, but my mom thinks I'll end up pregnant.

Dear Frustrated:

If you're "frustrated," I'd like you to imagine how your parents feel. They compromised with you, and you responded by betraying your promise - and their trust.

It's possible that if you had handled yourself with integrity, you and your boyfriend would have passed through the phone phase and been dating in person by now - with your parents' consent.

You're at a tender age when you're trying to discern how to get what you want with a minimum of trouble. But let me give you a short course on how the world really works.

Even good students can get pregnant. It happens every day (for further illumination on this topic, watch the excellent movie



Your choices bear consequences.

You should throw yourself on your parents' mercy, ask what you can do to get back in their good graces, and then, action by action, win back their trust.

Dear Amy:

As a child, I was raised by an abusive and very controlling mother.

When the first opportunity came along, I packed my bags and never looked back.

I tried for several years to have some sort of relationship with her, but that is impossible. She is always putting me, my career and my parenting skills down.

For the sake of my own mental health, I've had very little to do with her over the last two years. I don't call or visit unless I have to.

Ever since I moved to a new city, she has bad-mouthed me to her relatives, my father's relatives and even my in-laws. She tells them I treat her badly, and they believe her. My in-laws barely say 10 words to me now.

My mother has tried the same tactics with my husband, but he doesn't pay any attention to her.

I am completely isolated from all my family members, and I don't know what to do to remedy the situation. If I try to talk to her about her behavior, she only gets more abusive. She seems to live for confrontation.

Any suggestions?

Dear Sick:

You need to take your life back. Unfortunately, it might be at the expense of having any relationship with your mother.

You should contact other family members independently and do your best to establish and maintain relationships with them. When you do so, refute any untruths your mother has spread about you, but don't bad-mouth her - you would just be sinking to her level.

You will win this terrible power struggle when you're able to rise above the legacy of abuse and establish healthy relationships.