Dear Dr. Wallace:
First of all, I’ll say that, for the most part, I’m a very happy 15-year-old teen who loves both of her parents very much. But there are some times when my father is unreasonable. In my family, the pecking order is my father on top followed by my mother, my two older brothers, then me. I’m at the bottom. My father owns his own insurance agency and he spends a lot of time at work. The only day he has off is Sunday.
If I want to do something or go somewhere, I’ll ask my mom. If she says no, I accept that. But when she says yes, I expect her permission to be honored. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn’t, and that really makes me frustrated.
Let me give you an example. I’ll ask my mom if I can go to the mall on a Saturday to help my friend choose a new bathing suit. Her mom will drive us there and pick us up. I think this will be an enjoyable afternoon and so does my friend. Then when my mom tells my dad about our mall date, dear old Dad will say, “She’s not going to the mall without adult supervision.” Then Mom will say, “But George, Tina’s mother is going to drive them to and from the mall.” Then Dad will say, “No adult supervision; no mall — period. And remember, I’m the boss.”
I think that if one parent says yes, the other parent should also say yes. I think my dad should have allowed me to go to the mall this time, but say, “From now on, all mall visits will require adult supervision.” Do you agree?
Lake Charles, La.
Dear Terri: It’s crucial that parents act in concert on issues concerning their children, and unwise for one parent to overrule the other, especially after plans have already been set in motion. In parenting, your father is making a critical mistake.
Your father and mother definitely need to talk to each other and reach an agreement on the general guidelines for either granting or denying you permission to do something — hopefully, with your father promising to show flexibility and respect your mother’s opinion. Then they need to agree that the first answer given to you is the final answer.
Since most of your special requests are directed at Mom, she should not say yes or no unless she is positive that will be the final answer. All she needs to say is, “I’ll discuss it with Dad and we’ll make the decision together.” That way, you won’t wind up making plans only to be informed later that your plans have to be cancelled. Dad may continue to be the boss, but make sure he reads this column.
Dear Dr. Wallace: What can I do to get rid of pimples on my nose, neck and chest? Is medicated soap the answer? Am I eating too many sweets and fatty foods? I also work out a lot and that causes me to sweat. Could that be the cause of my problem? Do you know of any home remedies that might help me? I don’t want to go to a doctor.
Lake Charles, La.
Dear Butch: What you have is the curse of many teens — acne. It’s caused by overactive oil glands that block the pores in the skin. This abundance of oil starts during the teen years and, for some, lasts well into adulthood. I have received hundreds of home remedies, from egg yolks to baking soda. It would be impossible to list them all. I hesitate to list any for fear that some might cause more harm than good.
I always encourage those who suffer the emotional trauma of acne to get immediate help from a licensed dermatologist. I have witnessed the dramatic improvement of acne patients in a short period of time. There’s no reason not to see a dermatologist.