DEAR ABBY: I just turned 20 and I desperately want a baby. I know it's not possible right now because I am still in school and will be for several years. I also want to be married before having children, and my boyfriend agrees. We take precautions and don't plan on having kids for a long time.
None of my friends, relatives or close acquaintances has young children I can spend time baby-sitting. I was wondering if you knew of any volunteer opportunities that will allow me to satisfy my "mothering" instinct until I can actually be a mother. -- Future Mommy
DEAR FUTURE MOMMY: One that might interest you is becoming a "cuddler." Cuddlers are volunteers who visit hospital neonatal units. They work with infants whose parents can't be there to touch them, and whose nurses have other important duties to perform. Of course, this would necessitate your willingness to undergo a background check and take a short training course.
Contact hospitals in your area to see if any has this program available.
DEAR ABBY: My 13-year-old sister has epilepsy and it's driving me mad! She has three seizures a month, and I'm usually the one who detects them beforehand.
Ever since she was diagnosed, my family has been giving her everything she wants. She gets D's and F's on her report card and they don't say a word. If I get a mere B, I get yelled at and punished.
I'm 17 and I realize I may seem petty, but I know my parents are spoiling her to the point where it'll come back to haunt them. The other day my sister wanted a new smartphone. When Mom said no, my sister purposely triggered a seizure.
My parents won't admit they're wrong, and we can't afford counseling with all my sister's bills. Please help me. -- Mad in Miami
DEAR MAD: You have my sympathy. I don't think you are being petty. Being the sibling of a sick child can be extremely difficult, and your situation is no exception. Parents often devote so much attention to the child who is unwell that the healthy one is starved for attention and positive reinforcement. The result is resentment that can last a lifetime.
Because what's happening is causing you stress, talk about it with a counselor at school. There may be counseling available for you at no cost to your parents.
Dear Abby, written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © 2015 UNIVERSAL UCLICK.