Dear Dr. Wallace:
Our family’s household consists of my parents, my grandmother and me. Grandma came to live with us after my grandfather died six months ago. I love Grandma very much, but sometimes she’s very stubborn, and that can be a bit of a problem, especially for me. This is because I am an only child. My mother was also an only child. My father, Grandma’s oldest son, has three sisters and two brothers. Grandma has often said out loud that she isn’t happy I’m an only child. She keeps telling our family that “only children” have a difficult time in life because they lack the necessary skills to be flexible, and flexibility only develops by living in a large family and dealing with unruly siblings!
When I discussed this with my mother, all she says is, “Grandma is old-school; you don’t have to listen to her.” I actually feel very good about being an only child. I do well in school, and I also have a lot of friends. I believe my Grandma is wrong on this issue, but I guess there is a chance that she could be correct. What do you have to say about this minor family disagreement?
— Only Child, via email
Dear Only Child: Since Grandma had a rather large family, she is a bit disappointed that her son and wife had but one child — you. But to set the record straight, only children do just fine in life. There is evidence that they even have slightly higher achievement motivation than children with siblings. They often test higher in creativity as well.
Furthermore, there are a lot more kids in your situation now than there used to be back in Grandma’s day. The percentage of women having just one child has increased dramatically over the past several decades.
Dear Dr. Wallace: My boyfriend and I dated for about seven months, but I finally got tired of him pressuring me to have sex. For the last month we were together, every date ended with me pushing him away and saying no.
Now my ex is dating another girl, and I find myself admitting that I’m really jealous, because even though his brain thought of nothing but sex when he was with me, he actually was a great guy most of the time. I know what this new girl has yet to learn: After a month or two of being a sweet, caring, near-perfect boyfriend, he will turn into a sex fiend and pressure her in a similar way. I don’t think she’ll have sex with him, because she is a very religious girl who has a reputation of being a virgin.
Should I call this girl and warn her about his sex-on-the-brain mentality?
— ‘Musical Chairs’ Girl With No Seat Any Longer, via email
Dear Musical Chairs: Do not contact this girl. She seems to have a high moral standard and likely can handle herself just fine. Since she has a positive reputation established for herself, she will likely know just how to deal with this lover boy.
It’s normal to react in a “poor me” manner when seeing a former boyfriend or girlfriend going out with someone else. You absolutely did the right thing to move on, in my opinion. It took courage to stick to your own character standards, and I commend you for doing so. When you began dating a nice guy that you like and who treats you the right way, you will barely remember the times when you had to keep pushing this former boyfriend away.