Amy: Daughter is going nowhere

Dear Amy: Our brilliant, beautiful and talented daughter graduated from college with honors and a degree in music performance.

She is an awesome performer, but establishing a professional career in her field will require hard work and perseverance.

While her peers are finding jobs and internships, our daughter is on the phone all night arguing with her boyfriend and crying all day about their arguments.

He dropped out of college, has no job and lives with (off) his aunt (his mother kicked him out). He lives in another state.

In the meantime, our daughter has no job, and we have her student loans, car note and bills staring us in the face. Well, it's her turn to shoulder her expenses!

She has always worked up until now but says she's too upset and depressed to concentrate on her career. Oh, really? We're trying to be patient, but we're almost ready to send her to live with this guy's auntie, too. Any suggestions?

Amy says: Instead of expecting your depressed daughter to get a job in a field where her emotional state might prevent her from landing anything (it's hard to audition well when you are depressed), you should focus on the very immediate issue of finding something -- anything -- to help pay the bills. She needs another focus. And she needs to work.

So when she says she can't concentrate on a career, say, "You're right."

She might be able to pick up some shifts waiting tables -- in fact, working a busy night shift might be the best thing for her right now.

Also, suggest that she join a local music group where she can meet people who share her interests while keeping her skills fresh.

You are enabling your daughter by allowing her to wallow in her current situation. Take her depression seriously and do everything possible to get her to see a professional counselor.

Excising the ex

Dear Amy: I read with interest the question to you about what to do with the wedding album from a long-ago marriage.

My mother had a unique solution to this problem.

Without my knowledge, she took tiny scissors and carefully cut my ex-husband's face out of every picture. So now I am dancing with nobody, clinking glasses with nobody and feeding cake to nobody.

I wouldn't suggest that anyone else do the same.

Amy says: Whoa. A creative solution might involve another tiny pair of scissors, a photo of George Clooney and some surgical repair.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Av., Chicago, IL 60611.

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