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Dear Mrs. Web,

Many people tell me I am ugly. I feel like I will never have anyone love me because I am so ugly. There is guy I talk to often. We have never met in person and I afraid when I meet him he is going hate my looks. I am afraid I am going lose him as a friend and that he will never talk to me again. What can I do to be prettier?

When I hear someone tell me that the people in her life call her "ugly," I cringe. Because instead of looking at the reality, which is that these name-callers are cruel, mean people, the hurt person actually believes the cruel remarks. Moreover, they are lies.

Go to any church, play, or concert that has a mix of ages and look at the married couples, old and young. Are they all raving beauties? No, of course not, they are mostly, plain looking, every day people, just like Dear Mrs Web.  

Having a loving, lifelong relationship has little to do with the symmetry of your face, but has instead is about the warmth and energy you project in your life. Being truly beautiful is about health, radiance, and the spark of life you show to the world. When you are interested in others and have hobbies and passions that you bring to relationships you show the true inner grace and beauty that actually changes the muscles beneath the skin of the face and beautifies all.

Begin by smiling. Be well groomed. Pick your best feature, eyes, lips, shiny hair, attractive ears, and highlight it. By finding grace and joy in your life, and an interest in others, you will find love. I donít know how old you are, but many women blossom after high school.

Donít ever let anybody determine how you feel about yourself. No one should have that kind of power over you. Stay away from people who tear you down.  You are a unique gift to this world. Never forget that.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I have a friend who is being abused by her ex-boyfriend. She told me she is scared and doesn't know what to do. I have told her to go to the police and report him but she refuses. I have run out of advice to give her and I need your help!

If you are young and live at home, tell your parents. Otherwise, I would contact her parents or other close family members immediately and tell them what you know. Voice your concern for her. If you are at college, go to the counseling department, guidance office, or student health center immediately and tell them what is going on with her.

You are right; she is in harmís way and she wonít move on her own. Donít worry about losing her friendship. Getting her outside help is the best thing any friend could ever do.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I've been married 15 years, Two children, a son 8 years old, and a daughter 14 going on 30.

I have lost her, and she hates me. She won't look or talk to me. Why? Because I won't let her date an 18 year old. Heís a nice kid but I think he is too old for her. My wife overruled me and permitted the relationship to continue. I strongly disapproved. When he came over to meet me, I tried to be nice but ended up threatening him. He drives my daughter and her girlfriends wherever they want to go.

Last month my daughter, the boyfriend, his brother, and another juvenile female, were arrested for shoplifting. My daughter denies any direct involvement. She has been lying, skipping classes, and sneaking around.  I have grounded her, suspended all telephone privileges, and cut her allowance. I'm the meanest Dad around. My wife now agrees with me and supports me in my opinion that 18 is too old. How can I legally keep him away from my daughter?

Depending what state you live in statutory rape laws and restraining orders may be legal means to separate your daughter from this young man. There is, however, something more important at stake here. It is your daughterís unwilling heart, and the need for your wife and you to pull together when dealing with her.  Your daughter sounds like sheís unraveling. This sometimes happens. It could get a lot worse.

This is the time parents need to step in with an intervention. I am going to recommend family therapy for all of you as being the best pro-active step you can take now. Before you have an angry, pregnant, runaway on you hands. Donít wait. I am the voice of experience speaking.

Both you and your wife need to sharpen your team skills and your daughter needs a safe place to blow off her anger. Sometimes children react to a parentís negativity with huge bomb-sized negativity of their own. A relationship with a teenager is about connection and love, tempered with firmness and increasing responsibility.

As an aside, any eighteen-year-old attempting to date a fourteen-year-old is way out of line. I donít care how nice he is.  Have you talked to his parents?



Dear Mrs. Web,

You once said you believed that some people should marry early. I am an 18 year old male. I have been involved in an intimate relationship, which broke up a while back. We even had a pregnancy false-alarm. Do you mean that I should think in terms of a bride now? Before I even start college? Even if I had someone right now, how could it work out? 

I am saying that if you are old enough to have pregnancy scares, you are old enough to shoulder the responsibilities of your behavior. Each time you have sex you have a certain probability of fathering a child, even with all the protection money and technology can buy. 

You need to realize the profound responsibility of that act. Dear Mrs Web believes that every child born needs to have a father who deeply loves and commits to its mother - and marriage is the only place in this world that kind of commitment happens. Therefore, I would recommend you look at your behavior and realize that you may need to be married to live your life with integrity. 

How does a young marriage work out? Well, it is hard. It requires discipline, and giving up a lot of hopes and plans and education, or fulfilling them piecemeal. 

Married housing, in my opinion, should be brought back to campuses. One must realize though, that early marriage often closes off many career options.  Further education can be back-burnered, indefinitely. Life is a series of tradeoffs. Men and women do this all the time, to fulfill their desires, obligations, and commitments.  This is why people who postpone emotional and sexual entanglements are usually have a better footing in their professions.

I recommend the courtship books on my website, especially Josh Harris's book: I Kissed Dating Goodbye. He was nineteen or twenty when he wrote it. He writes about marriage, commitment, and the future as a man today. One does not have to agree with everything that he says to get something out of the book.



Dear Mrs Web,

I just told my mother I was sexually active. I am 13. She hit the ceiling. She took me to the doctor for disease and pregnancy tests. I need help but it is hard to deal with this problem when my mother is so flipped out.

Some of the kids at school have found out about what I did and my reputation is gone. Since the guy I had sex with is the boyfriend of a really tough girl, I am being threatened all the time and I am afraid. I donít know what to do. I tried telling an adult at school but I just got a lecture.

Your mother is upset because she is seeing her daughter make poor choices that can and will affect the rest of you life. I think it is time to sit down with her, take a deep breath and tell her how sorry you are and how badly you need her to help you. You need to pull your relationship together with your mom.

Tell her how difficult it is for you at school and that you fear for your safety. Perhaps she would be able to arrange for a transfer to another school. If you are religious, get to a church with a good youth program

There is a terrific book called Life on the Edge. It talks about the choices we make as teenagers and how they affect our entire lives. It is a great book for both Moms and teens to read, perhaps together?



Dear Mrs. Web,

You occasionally mention the courtship model of romance. What exactly do you mean by that?

Courtship is a method of finding and choosing your forever life-mate. It has become popular in the conservative religious communities and is slowly spreading as teens and adults find they need a better way to develop and evaluate relationships.  

Courtship requires people to get to know each other as friends within each otherís family settings. Courtship requires both participants to rely on and work with other trusted adults to discern whether this particular person would be the best person for a future marriage and family.  Courtship helps people plan their futures together.  

There are many forms of courtship models currently available. Some require large amount of direction and intervention by a parent or other trusted adult and others have the parents involved but not directing everything.

I like courtship because it takes the sexual pressure off people. It asks you to bring potential life-mate into your home and into your life so you can assess them in the everyday, not on dates. It asks you to spend time with the person in only group settings thus keeping the sexual pressure to a minimum. Additionally, it has you talking directly to another adult or group of adults you respect and who care about you about the relationship.  So, lifetime decisions are not made in a alone and in a romantic thrall.

I hope you like this introduction. There is a lot more about it out on the Internet, check my links page.  My popular Topics to Explore Before Marriage is excerpted from the popular courtship introduction, Of Knights and Fair Maidens.

Courtship is becoming popular and I expect it will make a bigger impact in the coming years. I think people are tired of bouncing from relationship to relationship and marriage to marriage.  Nationally, people are looking for ways to better ensure a lifetime commitment.  We all know the old dating and serial relationship methods don't work.  It is time for courtship.   As usual, Dear Mrs. Web is again on the cutting edge of social change.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I want a baby very much. I know this may not be the best time but a baby seems to fulfill every desire I have in life. I have experience with children. Every time I hear the word "baby," I get a warm feeling.

I wanted to have a baby with my boyfriend but he moved away. I met another guy who helps his sister raise her baby. He loves babies too. But he is a high school drop-out and doesnít have a good job or a car. My first boyfriend is moving back and now he wants a baby. Dear Mrs. Web, I donít know which guy to pick as father to my baby.

My dear, you want a baby to fill your needs.  Babies are fun and wonderful, but they need a lot more than you can provide single-handedly. The last thing any baby needs is an unwed mother. So stop thinking of yourself and think of the baby.  That is the true mark of a mature person.

Before you make a baby realize you need a committed husband, not a boyfriend. Your baby needs two parents married and committed to each other. It is unfair to the baby to use it to make you feel good. Do the hard work, and find, and marry a good, caring man who will support you while you stay home and care for your children. Do not expect any less.

So, have a baby with the man who will stand and proclaim in a marriage ceremony that you are his wife and that he commits to you and to raising your children together. Any other option is third-rate and not good enough for any baby.



Dear Mrs. Web,

Last year I met a guy and we slept together. I became pregnant. I was 14 and he was 15. Our parents found out and his parents told him never to see me again because it probably wasnít his baby. He broke off with me. I lost the baby in my fourth month. I havenít really seen the guy in over a year.

I recently ran into him at a school function. I still love him, Dear Mrs Web. I want to try to get back with him. My friends think I am crazy, they think I deserve better. But I love him. Please help me.

My dear, you are 15 years old. You have been pregnant, miscarried, and abandoned. Now you want to go back for more. It sounds like you want to be loved and cared for more than you care about your well-being and safety. I donít think what you are experiencing is love.  Love takes a long time to grow and is kind, caring, and protective. Love involves being cherished. These things are not in the relationship you had with this young man.

Have you tried to talk to your mom? If your mother is not available to you is there another woman in your life who would listen to you and give you guidance? It sounds like your heart wants to connect so badly, that you lack judgment about relationships. This sometimes happens. When emotions overrule better judgment. I recommend you listen to the counsel and judgments of people who care for you, a mother, aunt, older sister, or an adult good friend.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I am the 17-year-old who wrote to you about his mom leaving him in a military school. Well, things have changed. I AM OUT OF HERE!!!! YES!!! within a day or so. I found out through my brother that Mom had sent me an e-mail inviting me home for the Christmas vacation. However, I had no way of knowing because I had deleted all of her e-mails.

My brother told me that mom wanted to use it as a sort of trial period. She wanted to talk and to see how things went. I realized that I blew my best chance to get out of here. Mom reached out. She had shown some maternal concern.

I decided to take a chance. I wanted to get Mom to take me back. I promised to do a WHOLE lot better and asked if I could come home. She could set the terms. I figured that an "I love you mom" could not hurt. 

I thought that even if she said yes, she would have conditions. Even if she did, it was better than this place. But she didn't do that. She seemed happy and surprised. She  said she would make the plane reservations and I could come home now.  I was stunned! My jaw almost hit the floor. It was that easy.

She said that she wanted  us to communicate again. Did we ever! We talked for over 2 1/2 hours. We agreed about most things. Some we did not. Still, it was a good talk. She said that my behavior was getting to be more than she could take. She said that I was self-destructing and she could not stop it. She said that if I were 10 years younger, she would have paddled my bottom, but did not know how to help me now. She also admitted to needing a break.

She told me how great it was to hear from me, how much she loved me, and how great it would be to have me home. She sounded like she was crying. Although it's not a condition of me coming home, she wants our family to go into counseling.  She also said she would get busy cooking all of my favorite foods.

The counseling sounds like a good idea.  I need to learn to control my  impulses. I realize now that I gave her a difficult time.  There has been a lot of pain between us for a while. Without help, we may end up just being civil and putting up with each other until I leave for college, assuming that I can get my grades back up.

It will be great to get back to a regular school again. I realize that she's taking a gamble on me. Once I get home, she's rather stuck with me. I could go bad again, but am determined not to. I am leaving! I may have a few choice words for my former commanders before I leave. Or, I may just leave without saying anything.

In any case, I AM OUT OF HERE! You were right about bitterness eating away at people, especially in this case when reaching out was not that hard. Thanks for the advice.

You are welcome. You know sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. If I was in your shoes, I would have learned that my anger can get in my way of seeing things clearly and can hurt the ones who love me. That I will bite off my nose to spite my face.

That is good information to know about oneself. It will help you not sabotage yourself in the future. Now go treat your Momma well, now. And that brother, too.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I just made the most awful discovery! My 18-year-old daughter, who we are supporting while she is going to school, pierced her tongue! This past summer she pierced her navel and we had a discussion and she agreed that while living here and being supported, the house rule was NO tattoos, and NO body piercing.

We allow her freedom with just about everything else, provide transportation to and from work, school etc. I told either she gets rid of the piercing or moves out. It pains me to do this but I feel there must be some standards set. 

We have supported her both financially and emotionally in everything she does and I am not a control freak about her activities or friends. I would appreciate your input about this and generally about adult children living at home but not supporting themselves.

If no-piercing was a rule of your home and she willfully broke it, I would say she has a monthís notice. People who are being supported are dependents. They follow the rules of the house. She is old enough to support herself.

There is a time when adult children need to make their own way. An inability to follow the rules of the home is a good indicator. I am not talking about shattering family bonds here. I am talking about it being time to move on and this can be done in a loving and dispassionate manner.

In my opinion, parents should provide clear rules and expectations for their adult children. In our home, we expect all adult family members to abide by the moral and religious standards of the family. We expect all adults to extend courtesy and tell people the time of their expected return when going out. Helping with general family chores as well as taking care of their own things is expected. In other words, we expect them to be family members, not boarders.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I did some stupid things at my old high school. My mom is helping me get through it. We are both seeing a counselor together too. I transferred to a different school to get a new start on my life. I am worried about beginning the new school tomorrow. I donít want to tell them about my past. Some pupils at this school are friends of students at my old school. What should I tell them if they ask about my past?

At your new high school, you say nothing about your past. If you are confronted about your past behaviors, I would say it is a lot of gossip and it hurts when it is brought up. This is the truth. Then change the subject. Have a couple of subjects thought out ahead to use to change the conversation. 

Lean on your Mom. She loves you and wants you to do well. Your counselor can help you try out new ways to act with your friends. I have a lot of faith in you.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I wrote to you earlier about my mother and military school. I have a follow up question. It concerns the tuition money my Mom was not refunded when I withdrew from the school. We have been getting along pretty good. We do, however, disagree about the issue of the tuition money. She feels that I should pay her back for it. I disagree because she placed me there. It was her idea. She also thinks it was a wonderful opportunity for my personal growth. I thought it was a prison.

If this were something we had agreed to before I came home, then I would willingly pay up. However, it was never mentioned. Why do you think she would be so adamant about this issue? I think I am on solid ground and am in the right on this one. Part of me just wants to refuse to pay. But our relationship has been better. I hate to see money mess it up. What's your opinion?

I remember you letters. I think your mother took a big leap of faith when she brought you home. I think she wants something more from you. Show her you donít have to be petty or argue. I would keep the peace and fork over the money. It would be the adult thing to do.



Dear Mrs Web,

I am the guy who wrote to you about his mom sending him to this military school. You chewed me out. I want to go home so that I CAN finish high school and go to college. Is that wrong? In my letter to you, I expressed regret for all of things I did. I lost spot on the football and basketball teams, my girlfriend, and memories of my senior year. This school is pointless to me. Did she send me here so she could make suffer? You bet she did.

I can be successful in a regular college. There is money left to me but Mom controls it. It would not cost her anything. The college I would like to attend is 200 miles from home. It's not as far as she would like me to be away from her. Still, it's far enough that we can lead completely separate lives and avoid each other almost entirely.

My first option is to move home for 4 months, finish college, and begin college this summer. I would not have to ever see her again once I graduate from high school. Mom and I could then make a clean break of it. I get my education and a chance at a career. Everybody should be happy.

My second option is to leave here when I turn 18 in a few months. I have an uncle with a construction company on the East Coast. I have enough money to get there. He could put me to work. I could get my GED later and maybe go to college part time somewhere. I want to put my life back together after what she did to me. It's going to be tough enough without either parent. Which one of these 2 choices seems best you?

If you want an either/or answer, I think both choices have good and bad points. Going to the local college begins you on your college career immediately, but allows you to immerse yourself in your anger. Going to your uncleís construction company may give you some distance and good physical labor to mature and work off some of your anger. However, you may get off track on your college plans.

You are right, I did chew you out. And I would do it again. Maybe your Mom made the wrong choice for you; I donít know that. It doesnít sound like your mother was rejecting you when she sent you so far away. It sounds like she was a woman without any idea of how to handle your behaviors and fearful for you.

Did she overreact? Maybe. All I do know is that she is doing the best she can. Thatís all anybody can do. She tried. That is what people who love do Ė they try. Moreover, sometimes itís not good enough, or itís not the right thing. You ended up feeling enormously rejected and abandoned.

I understand that you lost a lot when you went to military school. It sad that you canít graduate with your class. Instead of looking in at yourself and having your heart soften, though, you have become hard and bitter.

You are so bitter that you have emotionally cut your mother off and reject her at every turn. I have seen this behavior up close and I can honestly say that when one cuts off family members, it is a horrible burden that one carries until the end of oneís days. Bitterness poisons people and eventually seeps down to their core. It weakens them.

If your family has been through any sort of upheaval such as a death or divorce, then things have been tough all over. For all of you. However, the whole family does not have to be blown to smithereens. Giving others and yourself grace and forgiveness can go a long way towards maturing you into the kind of man you really want to be. Not an empty husk.

Enough lecture?



Dear Mrs. Web:

I am a 17 year old high school senior with a horrible life. Last spring I had some discipline problems at school and at home. I gave my mom a real hard time about things. I skipped school, went to keg parties, stayed out real late, had fights, and along with my friends, caused some property damage. I am guilty as charged. I would do many things differently now. I was too wild and am sorry about that.

Mom sent me to this private military-style school halfway across the country. I donít fit in and I hate it here. I have no interest in a military career and their routine is meaningless to me. I asked her to get me out of here. I promised to do better. She refused. She said that I needed the kind of structure that this place would give me. She said I would be here for a semester and she would then reevaluate.

I lost my temper, told her to leave and that under these conditions; I had no further need for a mother. Our relationship was over. I always accept my brother's calls as long as I donít have to talk to her.  She has tried to call and sends letters and packages, which I throw away without opening. I have had no contact with her since August. I was even stuck here for the holidays.

I am on academic probation here and will probably not graduate. I refuse to participate in any extracurricular activities. Now we are into the second semester and she still hasnít sprung me. That's the only way we could have patched things up and I could have forgiven her. for this. I want to get out of here. What do you think? Any ideas?

Wow! Let me see if I understand you correctly. Your mother has a difficult time handling your dangerous, acting out behaviors. Instead of letting you blow yourself up, as many parents do, she takes the best proactive stand she can come up with to help you find structure and keep you safe. She puts you in an environment with rules and regulations and high expectations. You bottom out academically and in sports to prove your point and whine incessantly.

Instead of showing your mother you can live within structure and succeed, you screw up. Not only do you screw up, but you place all your anger, hate and irresponsible thinking on someone who is doing her best by you.

This kind of irresponsible thinking and actions will land you nowhere.  It is time to grow up and discover the world does not revolve around you and your wants and desires. I think you need to get into line.



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