Dear Dolores: I’m 19 years old and my parents are still overprotective. I know I’ve made some mistakes in the past, but they won’t let go. If I go out at all, I have to be home by 9:30 and if I’m not back on time, they go to my friend’s house to get me. It’s embarrassing. So, my question is, why are my parents so overprotective and how can I make them less so?
-Overprotected in Milwaukee
Dear Overprotected: Being overprotective is what most Latino parents think good parents are supposed to be. It’s hard to get them away from that line of thinking, no matter how old their children are. They think it’s a jungle out there and they want to save you from the dangers lurking around. In a way, it’s all about trust. In your case, I believe you lost their trust when you made those “mistakes” you acknowledge, but do not explain, in your letter. I don’t want to sound too old-fashioned but, this is what I believe: When you live under someone else’s roof, you’ve got to do your best to abide by their rules until you can afford to have a roof of your own. Meanwhile, keep an eye on your watch and gain back their trust, a minute at a time. Soon you’ll be able to go your own way without having wrecking your relationship with your loving parents.
-Patience is a great virtue, D
Dear Dolores: After getting over a six-year relationship, I recently started dating a man I like very much. He’s passionate, romantic, he cooks, he keeps his apartment spotless, and he takes me out and never looks at another woman when he’s with me. He tells me he wants marriage and a family, but doesn’t trust me because women in his past cheated on him. So he’s always checking my cell phone to see if I have new numbers or talked to other men. I can’t go out with my girlfriends without him. He wants me to dedicate myself to him and only him. Also, he has a temper and flies off his handle when I don’t do as he says. I have a 4-year-old daughter from my previous relationship and I don’t want her meeting another man who may eventually disappear as her father did. I would like this relationship to work. Do you think I can gain his trust and pray that his short temper disappears or should I walk away?
-Perplexed in Phoenix
Dear Perplexed: Can you make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? Can you erase the spots on a leopard? Can you make a cow sing? Can you get milk out of a canary? Can you… well, you get the drift. No relationship based on distrust can survive. And you have to think of your daughter. Do you want to be abused and disrespected in front of her? Keep looking. I’m sure you’d rather have a loving, trusting, good-humored man who keeps a messy apartment than neat-as-a-pin Mr. Control Freak.
-Good luck, D
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