Q I have just discovered I am pregnant, and am terrified of telling my parents. I am 17. As a family we have a lot of financial problems: my mum's BMW was repossessed at the beginning of the month, we have had to cancel gym membership and never go out as a family any more, and our holiday home in Portugal is up for sale.
My parents have always said that private school fees will be the last thing to go. So imagine how disappointed they are going to be to find out I'm pregnant after a drunken one-night stand.
A I am sorry to hear that you're facing a personal crisis, and that your family's financial worries are proving to be a burden on you in addition to everything else. You will need both the emotional and financial support of those around you now as you're still so young.
Have you told the father of the baby? You will need to speak to him about supporting the child too. I would urge you to break the news to your family as soon as possible. You're still technically a child and they need to know so that preparations can be made.
In terms of preparing for the baby's arrival, I suggest you appeal to family and friends for second-hand baby essentials, and check out online sales and charity shops to save money.
I know that you never intended for this to occur, but try not to feel regretful or disappointed in yourself, it has happened now and you must learn to adapt. Don't be afraid to seek outside support from pregnancy support services, such as crisispregnancy.ie.
Q My jealousy is getting out of hand, and last night I accused my boyfriend of going off with another woman when he didn't come home until 4am. He denied it strenuously and said it was another example of my paranoia. He said he had met up with a college mate and gone to a casino. I also behaved in a very possessive way when he went away for a weekend with a female work colleague -- he said it was for a business conference -- and he threatened to leave me unless I calmed down. I accused him of cheating when I found sexy texts on his mobile, but he said they had obviously been sent to him by mistake. How can I learn to be more trusting, as we have been together two years and living together six months, and he is a very good boyfriend in many ways.
A it does sound as though you have been over reacting to various situations. You don't seem to have enough evidence to justify your accusations, and tend to assume the worst. Your behaviour indicates to me that perhaps you have had an unfaithful partner before and this is why you're paranoid. Seeing as you tell me he's generally a good boyfriend, it would be a terrible shame to push him away with your unnecessary jealousy. My strong advice is to calm down and think twice when you feel the urge to launch into a jealous rage. Unless you have concrete evidence that he has been unfaithful, then you have no right to say anything. Work together to build a relationship based on a solid foundation of tolerance and trust.
Q How can I stop shopping when there are so many tempting things in the shops? Every day I fight the temptation to use my credit card, and it gets worse when I read glossy magazines and see celebrities with designer clothes and handbags and shoes. Am I supposed to settle for being someone who doesn't get nice things in life because my job doesn't pay enough? I am 22 and work in IT and get a kick out of my friends admiring how well turned-out I am. I am seriously in debt, though.
A I think this is something that almost every girl struggles with, whether they can afford it or not! It's dangerous to believe that if you're not wearing a certain designer, you will automatically be 'uncool' in the eyes of your peers. My advice is to get rid of your credit card until you have paid your debts and feel responsible enough to have one again. I would also urge you to see fashion and celebrity magazines for what they really are -- an important part of the massive money-making fashion industry. Try to focus on your own style and not what you're told to wear. Best of luck.
Q My mum has started internet dating, and every Friday her friends come around, get her ready, and give her a couple of glasses of wine to build up her courage. She is 46, and my dad left two years ago. I'm 14 and am finding all this talk of sex and men from my mum and her friends excruciatingly embarrassing. They don't seem to mind me listening, and some of what they say is very crude and graphic. My mum used to be quiet and ladylike. Is she having some kind of mid-life crisis?
A It must be difficult to see how your mum has changed priorities since your dad left, and that she is ready to move on and meet somebody else. But you must also understand that she is still quite young, and she probably feels that you're mature enough to deal with her meeting a new partner. While I understand you find it embarrassing, I feel it's important for you to support her.
I definitely don't think she's having a mid-life crisis, she's simply enjoying new aspects of life and sharing them with her friends. Do mention that her use of crude language is making you feel uncomfortable and you would rather she doesn't speak like that around you. Alternatively, arrange cinema nights or visit friends to avoid it altogether.