DR. WALLACE: You previously told a woman to leave her husband. That is terrible advice, as marriage is for life. Didn’t you ever attend a wedding and hear the minister say, “Till death do us part”? He said nothing about leaving when things got a little difficult.
My religion teaches that divorce is out of the question. I know you won’t print my letter because I disagree with you; still, I want you to read the Good Book before you tell a wife to leave her husband, even if they’re both 19. — Not Happy With You, via email
NOT HAPPY: Marriage is a sacred commitment, but there are times when even that commitment has to be broken. Wife-beating is one of those times. I don’t know where in the Good Book it says a wife should endure being beaten by her cowardly husband.
A situation where a man is physically beating his wife goes way, way beyond “a little difficult,” as you inferred. Any time an individual’s personal safety is in question, immediate and decisive action must be taken in the name of protection, safety and personal security. Even though I greatly respect and believe wholeheartedly in the institution of marriage, I stand by my advice in the particular case you are referring to.
DR. WALLACE: I am attending a new high school because I got into a fight at my old school. The girl I fought with wasn’t expelled, even though she told a teacher she was going to kill me. This situation became a big stink at my old school and was the talk of the campus for weeks. It seems my entire former school knew about this problem. I feel that all I did was defend myself, and yes, when things got physical, I did a good job of giving back even more than I was getting, if you get my drift.
My parents had me transferred to my new school because they were afraid for my safety at my old one. I hate my new school. The kids are stuck-up and unfriendly. Being here is like being in prison. When my new school plays my old school in sports events, I cheer for my old school.
I’m told that the girl who threatened me has been shipped back out of state to live with relatives there and won’t be returning to my old school, but my parents still say no to me going back to my old school. I think they are being unreasonable. Please help me. — Unhappy Girl, Tucson, Arizona
UNHAPPY GIRL: It’s not easy leaving familiar surroundings and friends, but I agree with your parents that changing schools was in your best personal interest.
It always takes time to adjust to a move. Getting involved in school activities is a good way of making new friends. All high schools have numerous clubs, associations and meetings where teens with similar interests gather and have fun together. Do yourself a big favor and get involved!
Stop feeling sorry for yourself. I guarantee that you will make new friends very soon. Your old high school is history to you now. Start cheering for your new one. And remember that grades are important, so do your very best in the classroom.
DR. WALLACE: I am 83 and mad as can be. Previously, a teenager from Halifax, Nova Scotia, wrote that her grandmother couldn’t live alone (I doubt that), so she was living with her granddaughter (the teen in question), her daughter (the teen’s mother), and her daughter’s husband.
It so happens that the grandmother doesn’t care much for the teen’s loud music, sloppy clothes, motley friends and unhealthy junk food. Grandma had the courage to speak out about the stupid behavior.
Did you praise Grandmother for her wisdom? No, you responded that the grandmother has a sharp tongue and if she doesn’t have something “good” to say, she would be better to keep her mouth closed. What’s the matter, don’t you like grandmothers? Don’t you think parents should live with children when they become old? — Grumpy Granny, Dothan, Alabama
GRUMPY GRANNY: I love grandmothers and grandfathers very much. I’m one myself! Their wisdom and experience contribute greatly to our society, and yes, I feel they should live with their children when it is the wish of both the grandparent and the son or daughter’s family.
In most cases, the arrangement is productive and happy. In some cases, unfortunately, the arrangement is counterproductive and unhappy. It’s usually a happy household that has the wise grandparent. I believe the age-old saying applies here: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” My logic applies in this manner since the grandparent (grandmother in this case) is not the head of the household: Her daughter and son-in-law are the heads of that household. Therefore, their rules apply — not Grandma’s. I realize it’s tough to stay silent on some issues that older adults, like this particular grandmother, are passionate about. But for the sake of harmony, it’s essential to allow the head of the household to set the rules and tone of the home, and this case demonstrates this all too well.
DR. WALLACE: I read somewhere that in the United States, pregnancy rates are the highest in the world. Is it that we are just bad, promiscuous teens? — Concerned Teen, via email
CONCERNED TEEN: No way! U.S. teens are among the best on Earth. There are several reasons why teens in the U.S. have high pregnancy rates among those countries with reliable statistics on this topic.
First, American parents are woefully weak in explaining sexuality to their children. Their parents didn’t tell them; therefore, they don’t tell their children. Next, as a society, we are very weak at informing young people about pregnancy prevention. Somehow, we feel that if we discuss prevention routines, it will encourage teens to be sexually active. Research surveys quite consistently tell us that this is not the case.
And finally, as parents, many of us stray away from teaching our children the moral responsibility of waiting until after marriage before becoming sexually active. Add it all up and our society has the highest teen pregnancy rate among the more developed countries around the world. The good news is that this rate has steadily declined over the past two decades.
ers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.