Dear Miss Emily:

My son's dad is a dead beat dad, to say the least. Well, he called my son(who by the way is 25 and a college graduate)not too long ago. He called me yesterday from a cell phone that he had stolen (a woman called me and told me). I know he is up to something, and I am terrified of my son being hurt or getting in some kind of trouble because of his dad. We do live in different states but I have this uneasy feeling; and I will do whatever it takes to protect him (my son).I tried to tell my son that no one steals a cell phone to call someone else; unless something is wrong with them.  Am I right?

------------------------------Miss Emily's advice---------------------------

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree. He is up to something, and it's probably a hand out. How did your son react to the call? Does he understand that any involvement with his father -- unless he were absolutely sure what is his motive -- could ruin his life as he knows it? Children often take on a pathetic, loser of a parent out of a sense of obligation and some misguided hope that he (or she) will atone for his bad behavior. You and I know that is elusive, at best.  If there were any chance of investigating this man, I would do it. Forewarned is forearmed!