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Dear Abby: I'm 18 years old and I have a son who's 3. I'm still in school and live with my parents.

My parents treat me like I'm a nobody and always bring up how I got pregnant. They barely allow me to take my son anywhere. I still have to ask them if I can go to certain places.

My dad takes it out on me when someone makes him mad. I'm always getting yelled at for everything, even if I did nothing wrong. My dad sees me as a failure even when I do something good for me and my son. Because I have a kid, he's never proud of me. I don't know what to do or how to make this better. 

Old Enough In the South

Dear Old Enough: Your parents are still punishing you for having the baby. I'm glad you stayed in school, because the more education you can attain, the better able you will be to support yourself and your child.

It is important for your future that you quit looking to your father for approval. He's wrong to take his frustrations out on you. You may have disappointed him, but you are not a failure. If there are other relatives with whom you and your child can live while you complete your education, please look into it.

Good marriage?

Dear Abby: So often we learn from your column what a good marriage is NOT -- how not to treat someone we love. Could you please describe for my granddaughter just what a strong, loving marriage IS? Paint a picture of what to look for in a husband and how to create a marriage that will last while bringing joy to both parties. Your experience can help me explain this to her.

-- Pondering Still In Honolulu

Dear Pondering: I can try. But before I do, I should mention that a good marriage may mean different things to different couples. To me, a good marriage is a solid partnership between two people who respect each other, care about each other and are mutually attracted. It helps if both have similar goals and values, and are willing to support each other in good times AND IN BAD. Like anything that's worthwhile, marriage takes work, patience and willingness to compromise. And of course, communication -- which includes listening -- is key.

Card space

Dear Abby: I have a workplace challenge that requires your expertise. Our company sends greeting cards for every event that you can imagine. It's an effective way to show the employees that we are a team and care about each other. The problem is, one staff member has a habit of writing a "manuscript" (heavy sarcasm) on the inside of every card, whether or not she personally knows the individual. This leaves little space for anyone else.

I have jokingly asked the young lady to please be conscious of space, but she doesn't get it. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but people here are getting fed up. Would it be rude to take the card to her only after everyone else has signed it?

-- Please Sign Here

Dear Please: Rude? Not at all. It's a practical solution. Bravo!

* * *

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

Dear Abby is written by Jeanne Phillips for Universal Press Syndicate. Write to Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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