Dr. Wallace:

My mother is always on my case to keep my bedroom tidy. I told her it would be more fun keeping it tidy if I could decorate it the way I wanted to. Mom is debating this.

Don’t you believe that teens should be able to decorate their rooms any way they want, within reason? My mom doesn’t like to see nails or tacks put in the walls. That means I can’t put up my pictures or posters. Your opinion would be appreciated.

If you put my letter in your column, and if you agree with me, I’ll send you $10!

— Nameless,

Crown Point, Ind.

Nameless: Several years ago, the Dow Companies published a booklet entitled “Helping Your Teen Develop High Self-Esteem.” In a “Hints for Parents” section, it states: “Teens are more likely to clean their rooms if they are allowed to decorate it in a way that pleases them.” It adds that teens should help select the color of the walls and be allowed to put up decorations such as posters or memorabilia.

I was going to answer your interesting letter even if you hadn’t offered the gracious $10 gift, but since you did, please give the gift to your local animal shelter. Animal shelters throughout the United States and Canada do a wonderful job caring for homeless or unwanted animals and finding them homes with families who will love and care for them!

Dr. Wallace: When I was a high school sophomore I dated Tony. He was a perfect gentleman and I cared for him very much. Kids at school considered us to be the perfect couple. At the beginning of my junior year, my parents told me we were much too serious, so they made me break up with him and forced me to attend a private Christian school.

I didn’t see or speak with Tony for nearly two years, but it happens that we were both in our first year at Indiana University and were surprised to find out that we were both attending I.U. We haven’t dated yet, but we would like to.

Do you think I should tell my parents, or should I just keep quiet? I love my parents but I can’t allow them to rule my life forever. I’ll be 19 in a few months.

— Sarah,

Fort Wayne, Ind.

Sarah: Tell your parents that Tony is attending I.U. and you haven’t seen him socially, but you would like to. Who knows, they may not be opposed to it now. In fact, they may be happy you will be dating Tony. At least they know him and know he is a good person.

Your parents might be unwise if they still insist you cannot date him, but honor their wish until you can convince them you enjoy being with Tony. When they finally agree, make sure your relationship with Tony does not interfere with attaining your educational goals.

— Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.