From the U.S.: I’m 17 and I’ve been dating my girlfriend for a year now. She is pregnant and is having the baby which I am happy about. Her parents are a little more understanding and supportive while mine on the other hand aren’t taking it so while. Other than trying to help me and be there for me it seems like they are only there to protect themselves by not wanting people to know and making harsh rules. Its always been a constant battle with my parents even before. the baby news. They are a strict traditional family and we live in a society where generations are changing.

I want more freedom especially now that im having a baby which I have to take care of but they don’t seem to want to let me grow up and take responsibility. They yell and make up new rules to to keep me from growing up. Im no angel but I don’t deserve the treatment they give me. On the other hand my girlfriend and my parents don’t get along. I feel like they make me choose between either my girlfriend or my parents.

Obviously my girlfriend means a lot to me cause not only because of the baby. My parents tell me they are here for me but constantly do something to push me away. My girlfriend isn’t there to listen to me cause she only gets angry at the thought of my parents. I feel like I have no one

A: It’s difficult for me to help you because the information is incomplete. How are you and your girlfriend going to care for your baby? Are you getting married? Do you have a good job? Are you planning to support the child you helped bring into the world? How are you and your girlfriend going to make sure you both get your high school diplomas? Has either set of parents offered to let the three of you stay with them while you get on your feet? If so, have you had a serious talk about rules and roles? Or are you getting ready to move into a place of your own?

The answers to such questions are important. If you are manning-up and doing all you can to be a husband and father, you have the right to demand being treated as an adult. If you are continuing to act like a boy, then your parents are only treating you accordingly.

It takes more than making a baby to make you a man — or a father. Rather than continuing to fight about rules with your folks, you and your girlfriend should be focusing on the future you are making for yourselves and your child. Act like a man who is seriously taking on the responsibilities of being a father, and both sets of parents are likely to show you a new respect.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie