Dear Annie: I'm 20 years old and from New York. I've been in and out of my house since I was little. My mom and I would get into small arguments, and she would decide to send me to my dad's house. This took a toll on me; I feel like she doesn't want me here.

I came back a year ago, and she promised everything would change. But it's still the same, only worse. I want to go to college, but she won't let me because she's worried about how her rent would get raised because of it. To me, that's not fair. I have an older sister, and she has already graduated from college. So why not me?

I feel like the black sheep in this house, and she wants me to get a job, but it's so hard to find one. She thinks it's so easy, but it's not. I've had so many negative thoughts, but I won't do anything because that would make me weak. Please, I don't know what to do. — Black Sheep

Dear Black Sheep: The way your mother is treating you says everything about how she feels about herself. You are 20 years old and sound like a thoughtful and capable young person. If you want to go to college, then go to college. Don't let your unhappy mother spoil your dreams. The fact that you wrote this letter shows that you are on a path to success, strength and liberation from your mother. Continue to look for a job for yourself, not for her, and continue to look into ways to go to college for yourself and not for her. Ask your older sister and your father — and friends or counselors — for support in navigating this situation with your mom and the dark thoughts that arise. Perhaps your mom's worries are more about losing her youngest daughter than losing money on rent.

Dear Annie: I have a gift-giving question for you. My son and daughter-in-law were divorced several years ago. They share custody of my grandson, and I see him often. My ex-daughter-in-law has gone on to remarry and, last year, had another son. I remain friendly with her and her new husband and saw them all this past Christmas and gave both my grandson and his new brother gifts. My question is about Valentine's Day. I plan to give my grandson a card and gift, as usual, sent to my son's address. Is it OK to give his little brother a card and a gift as well? I do not want to appear tacky or tasteless. Your advice is appreciated. — A Question of Taste

Dear Question of Taste: Giving a gift to your grandson's little brother is very kind and thoughtful. Nothing tacky or tasteless about it.

Dear Annie: When my husband and I moved to Gettysburg, we found ourselves having lots of guests. One way to not feel "used and abused" is to ask guests to make themselves at home in your kitchen and surprise you with dinner one evening — their menu choice, their ingredients.

It's amazing how often they "make" reservations for the group at a local restaurant! — Enjoy Those Guests

Dear Enjoy Those Guests: What a funny suggestion, albeit a little passive-aggressive. Why not just suggest that you all go out?

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.