Dr. Wallace:

I want a college degree! My uncle, who owns a company, said he’d hire me and eventually give me part interest in his company if I graduate from college. He only wants to see the college degree; he does not care what major I choose.

What major do you think is the easiest to earn? That’s the one I want. I’m not lazy or dumb; I’m just a realist. How about physical educational or art? I’ve heard these are easy majors. Please hurry with your advice, as I will be graduating from high school in June.

— Realist,

Chicago, Ill.

Dear Realist: Unless you plan to enter the field of medicine, stay away from physical education. Many PE courses are required for pre-med students. And unless you’re a gifted artist or have a strong desire to study art, do not become an art major. Why not concentrate on becoming a business major? If you are planning to eventually own a partial share in a profitable business, it makes sense for you to learn as many business fundamentals as you can before you embark on this interesting opportunity your uncle has offered. I’m rooting for your success!

Dear Dr. Wallace: You have previously stated the parents should not tell a teen “Because I said so” when responding to why a request has been denied.

I disagree. Parents are the boss and in control, and when I tell my two kids “Because I said so,” that’s all there is to it. If they utter one word after they have been told this, they get put on restriction for a week. Believe me when I tell you “Because I said so” is very effective. Just ask my kids.

— Mom in charge,


Dear Mom: I do believe fully that parents are the boss and need to be in control of their children, but I also know there are many ways to be an effective parent.

While the “Because I said so” philosophy apparently works with your children, at least on the immediate level of exerting your will in specific circumstances, the children miss the benefit of your reasoning and, thus, a chance to learn. “Because I said so” seems like a method of last resort, when you’re too tired or impatient to explain yourself further.

Let’s say your son asks permission to go to the mall with several friends and is told no and he then asks, “Why not?”

You reply, “Because I said so.”

Then your son’s friend asks his mother the same questions and is told no. When that boy asks why, his mother answers that she doesn’t think the mall is a good place to hang out because it isn’t fair to the stores in the mall to have a bunch of teens milling around with very little money to spend.

In both cases, the teen is not permitted to go to the mall, but I feel that your son’s friend can deal with the disappointment better then your son. He realizes his mother respects him enough to explain her reasoning, and knows the decision is not an arbitrary one. Open communication between parent and teen is vital to a trusting relationship.

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