DEAR ABBY: I am a 16-year-old girl, and my 45-year-old father acts even more childish than me. He doesn't have a stable job, and he stays out late or never comes home at all. My father complains that we don't have enough money, then he goes and blows his paycheck on booze and his girlfriend. I need a car to get to work, and I'll be going to college in two years. I can't pay for it all myself.
How do I get dad on the right track?
- Heading for College Soon
DEAR HEADING: I wish I could tell you how to motivate your father to behave more responsibly, but a lesson you should learn early is that you can't change someone else. Your father is a self-centered individual, but only he can change his behavior.
Small college scholarships are offered by some fraternal organizations. I'm glad you wrote, because it's never too early to start exploring what's available. Talk to a counselor at school about what you need to do to earn scholarships. You should also look online or at your local library. You appear to be focused and mature, and with some guidance you can accomplish your goals.
DEAR ABBY: I am a fire officer who has seen too many families experience accidental home fires, many with fatal results. It is devastating to find out that a life could have been saved had someone taken the simple precaution of replacing a dead battery in a smoke alarm.
Please remind your readers to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when they turn their clocks back to standard time Sunday.
- William R. Metcalf, president, International Association of Fire Chiefs
DEAR OFFICER METCALF: I hope my readers will take your letter to heart as I have, and buy those replacement batteries today. Early Sunday, you'll be turning your clocks back an hour. Before you do, be sure you insert fresh batteries in your smoke detectors and test the alarms.