DEAR ABBY: I am 14 and ready to have a baby. My boyfriend, “Matt,” is 16 and says he is ready, too. You should see how sweet and considerate he is around children.

As soon as Matt gets his car fixed, we are leaving New Jersey and not looking back. Before we go, I’d like to know what you think, Abby. Do you think I am ready to have a baby and raise it? – A.M. IN N.J.

DEAR A.M.: Babies are a full-time job because they are completely dependent. You and Matt would be doing your future children a huge favor if you both complete your educations and become financially stable before embarking on this “project.”

I have long urged women to be financially independent before having children. Matt may be a terrific young man, but what would happen to you and the baby if something were to happen to him? Before leaving New Jersey and not looking back, please read the next letter:

DEAR ABBY: I am 16 years old and have a 5-month-old daughter. I thought her father and I would be together forever, but I was wrong. I was in love with him for more than two years.

My problem is, I can’t seem to find a boyfriend who is right for me. Some boys don’t mind that I have a baby, but all they want to do is go out with their friends. After a long day of feeding, changing and taking care of my daughter, I want someone at home to comfort ME. Is there anything wrong with that? – LOVESICK IN NEW YORK

DEAR LOVESICK: Of course not. It’s understandable. Mothers need nurturing, too. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I am 19 and more mature than many teenagers my age. I have to be, since I am more than eight months pregnant. The baby’s father, “Rob,” and I are engaged and have been since before we conceived. Rob is also 19, but not as mature as I am. He still wants to go out with his friends, which is fine because we are both young. However, he doesn’t understand that we must find free or inexpensive activities because our money needs to go toward baby things – clothes, blankets, diaper service, etc. I think Rob neglects me emotionally because he is scared of growing up. I think he may even be in denial that I am pregnant.

Abby, I have prayed about this and believe that Rob and I are meant to be together. I know he loves me, but sometimes I wonder if we met too soon in life.

Do you think we should take a short break from each other? I can’t ask my family because they don’t like Rob, and Rob’s parents don’t like me. Any suggestions? – E.W. IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR E.W.: Before “taking a break” from your boyfriend, consult a lawyer regarding child support and custody issues. A short break could become a long one if the father of this child is deeply enough into denial. Please don’t wait. You’re already eight months along. Make that call today.

DEAR ABBY: Will you please settle a disagreement between my daughter and me? When is a child too old to be held? My 11-year-old grandson likes to sit on my lap when we watch television. He has been doing this since he was a baby.

My daughter says he is too old to be held. She says I baby him too much. What do you think? – LOVING GRANDMA IN OMAHA

DEAR LOVING GRANDMA: If he shows signs of immaturity in other areas, it could be a problem. If not (and he’s not too heavy), hold your grandson tight. The truth is, many of us would give anything to sit on a loving grandmother’s lap again.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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