Dear Abby: Learning disability could be root of dropout’s problems

Dear Abby: I’m 18 and a freshman in college. My 16-year-old brother is supposed to be a junior in high school, but he’s still taking freshman classes. He has gone to school maybe twice this year. He just gave up and dropped out.

All he does is stay home, sleep and text all day. It makes me angry because I don’t work right now, but I clean, cook, do laundry and take care of my younger siblings while he does absolutely nothing.

Mom has given up on him. She begs him to go to school and get an education, but he tells her he’ll just become a hobo. I don’t know what to say to him to get it through his head that he needs to finish school. What would you do? – Big Sister in New York

Dear Big Sister: If your brother is a junior and still taking freshman classes, he belongs back in school. He may be lazy, but he may also have learning disabilities. If he doesn’t get the help he needs to earn a diploma, he’ll be virtually unemployable by the time he’s 18. Your mother should visit his school and talk to his teachers and the principal about this.

Dear Abby: I’m a 15-year-old bisexual girl, and I have a big problem with relationships. They make me feel awkward. I don’t like holding hands and the mushy-gushy stuff hurts my soul. I’m asking for help to come out to my parents and also what I should do about not liking relationships. Am I the only one like this? I told my friend once, and she was really confused. – Awkward Teen in Texas

Dear Awkward: I do not think you should come out to your family until you are sure of exactly who you are. From the tone of your letter, you appear to be still trying to figure that out – which is completely normal for someone your age.

Please do not put any labels on yourself right now. Concentrate on school, friends, things you enjoy. Give it time, and I predict that in a year or two, when you are more clear about things, you will know what to do.

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