- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki,

Can parents be too hard on you? My parents have worried me to death with their endless expectations. I have always tried to do things their way, like who to date, what friends to hang out with, where to go, making good grades, repeating the ACT so I can raise my score from a 23 to God knows what.

Now they are telling me which college to go to and what my major should be. My dad even says he won’t help me financially if I don’t attend school in North Carolina because my parents are moving back there.

I am not interested in any school in North Carolina, and I’m not interested in becoming a nurse. I’m interested in music, which my parents believe won’t give me a good income. I have been accepted at the University of Texas and am very excited about this opportunity.

I’m at the point that I am becoming defiant and not talking with my parents at all. How can I compromise? — Parents Won’t Listen

Dear Listen,

Wow! It sounds like you’ve been making good decisions and will have many good choices upon graduation. This is definitely to your benefit. First of all, you should keep making the right decisions, even though you may be resentful toward your parents right now. As a parent myself, I think your parents are trying to make sure you continue on a positive path and one day have a viable career that will allow you to support yourself financially. Sometimes it’s hard for parents to let go and let their children make their own decisions.

It sounds like you are passionate about music. My advice is to tap into what you are passionate about; the earlier, the better. Keep researching all of the many things you can do with a major in music.

Try having a heart-to-heart with your parents. Let them know you appreciate all of their love and consideration thus far, and you hope that will continue. Let them know you are interested in music and attending the University of Texas.

They should accompany you to visit the college sometime soon. Most colleges will arrange and plan a visit for you. Solicit the help of other family members — grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. — to help you engage your parents in conversation. Take it from me, it often helps when my mother and siblings remind me of when I was 17. Plus my children get the biggest kick out of it! Hope this helps.

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I’m engaged to a man who isn’t settled. He won’t stick to anything and flounders from one project to another while saying this is his “big ticket” and claim to fame. I think the problem is he won’t commit to anything and he continually changes his mind and jumps to something else.

I’ve known this man for five years and he has always been like this. His family says this is normal. His mother said he did not graduate from high school, but he keeps saying he did. When I ask for his diploma, he keeps saying he will produce it for me; he lost it.

Do you think my fiance’s actions are a red flag? What qualities should I look for in a husband? — Looking for a Good Man

Dear Looking,

Keep looking — especially if you want to have some sense of normalcy and financial stability. Your red flag should be waving like never before.

What qualities should you look for in a husband? For starters, one who is settled, one who will commit and follow through instead of changing his mind as the wind blows. Even more, one who will not lie about receiving a high school diploma.

Yours is an easy situation because you haven’t made the mistake of marrying this guy. It’s simple, dump him and continue with your life. You’ll be glad you did.

&• Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her column runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at [email protected]

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