Annie's Mailbox: Should I try to get my kids' father to do something

Dear Annie: I have a toddler and another child on the way.

I’ve been with my children’s father for years, although we are not married. “Evan” does not have a job, and it seems as if he has no intention of ever getting one.

While I’m at work, Evan takes our son to his mother’s house and stays until late at night. He says he doesn’t like to sit around our apartment all day. I do not understand why his mother’s house is any better.

If we get into an argument, Evan will leave for a couple of days. I don’t know what to do because I love him and my kids need their father.

— Trying To Do the Right Thing

Dear Trying: If Evan takes care of the children, helps to keep the house orderly and cooks meals, it means he has a job no matter where he spends his time. If, however, he is dropping your son off at Mom’s so he can go to the pool hall or play videogames with his friends, that’s another story. You and Evan need to work this out together. Counseling will help.

Dear Annie: I have three siblings. Our parents have willed half their property to us, with the remainder to go toward scholarships to the college we all attended.

I feel they should give all their property to us to be used as we see fit. None of us is in financial need, but this would be a nice addition. I have tried to get them to see my side, but they remain adamant. Because of this, I have not spoken to them for six months. This does not seem to be working. Do you have any suggestions?

— Stiffed in Iowa

Dear Iowa: Yes. Stop. Your parents’ property belongs to them, which means they get to decide what happens to it when they die. You have no say in the matter, and pressuring them makes you seem greedy and ungrateful.

Not speaking to them for six months because you didn’t get your way is childish and manipulative. We hope you can be mature enough to apologize, and we hope they will forgive you.

Dear Annie: I read with interest the letter from “Raised in the Sun Belt,” who had misgivings about seeing a dermatologist who left most examinations to his assistant.

As a board-certified Mayo Clinic-trained clinical dermatologist with 30 years of practice, I agree with the writer that many of my colleagues, lured by lucrative dollars, are abandoning patients with medical problems to concentrate on cosmetic procedures.

Many cosmetically focused doctors dump patients on “physician extenders,” otherwise known as physician assistants or nurse practitioners. They take 18 months to 24 months of general courses to assist a general practitioner, and specialty care is only learned from the supervising physician.

The amount of training they receive is quite variable. They then see patients on their own. In many states, there is no law requiring the physician to be present at all.

More and more people are being cared for by those with less and less training. The result is misdiagnosis, mistreatment and increasing expense. There is no way a physician assistant can match the scope of knowledge the doctor possesses.

In my experience, a PA doesn’t know enough to adequately diagnose and treat dermatology patients.

The American Academy of Dermatology maintains that all new patients should be seen by the physician and any new problem should be evaluated by the doctor. If the doctor’s office looks like a showroom, the focus is on sales and cosmetics, not medicine. You’re no longer a patient. You’re a customer.

“Raised in the Sun Belt” is right to be wary. She should be seen by a well-trained medical dermatologist. Accept no substitutes.

— Deanna DuComb, M.D., Dermatologist

Dear Dr. DuComb: Thank you for weighing in. We appreciate the expert opinion.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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