DR. WALLACE: I’m a 14-year-old girl, and I want a lock on my bedroom door for privacy. I have two brothers, and at any time of the day or night, they just barge into my room without knocking or asking if they can enter. Once they get into my room, they disrupt anything and everything I’m doing. I could be studying, playing a video game or talking to a friend on the phone. No matter what it is, they jump in and knock out my agenda.
This is why I want and urgently need a lock. I asked my mom and she suggested that I ask my father for one. But my dad is kind of mean and I’m scared that he will say no, so I have not asked him yet. Would you let me have a lock on my bedroom door if you were my father? — Terrorized Little Sister, via email
TERRORIZED LITTLE SISTER: I think your request is reasonable regarding your door; however, I’m not your father. It’s his house, you’re his daughter and it’s truly his decision. However, having said that, I do have some advice for you to consider.
You need to ask your dad to help you with your situation. Don’t specifically ask for a lock; rather, explain at first to him what is happening. Tell him that you love your brothers, and that you of course want to interact with them in the best way you can within your family. But let dad know that there is a time and place to have “sibling time” and that your brothers are being disruptive and disrespectful. Ask dad not to punish your brothers, but simply to help them be more respectful of your personal space and time.
You could casually mention that a lock on your door would keep them out, but even a small sign held up with twine on the outside of your closed door could say, “privacy please.” If your father would allow this — and enforce it — this would cure your issue without the expense of a new locking doorknob. Give it a try; write again with the results when you have time.
Privacy for a young lady is essential. Brothers should never barge in unannounced. I trust your father understands this and will help you to achieve the privacy you deserve. Speak with him about this today.
I WANT TO KEEP MY SON
DR. WALLACE: I am a father at the age of 20, and I want to keep my son even though my child’s mother wants to give the baby up for adoption. His mother and I are not in a relationship now, nor have we ever been in one. Our union was just a one-time thing. Like magic, she got pregnant, even though we were only intimate with each other one early fall evening last year.
Now that she’s had the baby, she wants to give it up for adoption. Do I, as this child’s father, have any rights to see my baby boy? — Confused New Father, via email
CONFUSED NEW FATHER: You do indeed have rights, and, in the United States, the mother needs your permission before she can proceed with any legal adoption. You should speak to trusted adults you may know who can help guide you to file for custody of your son.
Depending on your state and local county regulations, you may need to get an attorney to assist you. There are many services, some free of charge, that may exist near you to help you in this regard. I’d suggest quick action if you do wish to raise your son yourself. Raising a child is a huge responsibility, so be prepared for your life to change in many ways — some that are wonderful, and some that are indeed quite challenging. Talk to other parents you trust and gather all the advice and assistance you can. I wish you, your son and his mother all the very best going forward.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.