Dear Dr. Wallace:
I recently read your column about a teenage girl who said she felt that her mother favored her brothers over her. You didn’t seem to think it was much of a problem, but I am here to tell you that it is. If you don’t believe me, print my letter, and allow your teen readers to write and respond with their opinions.
I have one brother who is a year older and one baby sister. My brother can get away with anything. I could give you hundreds of examples, but it would take 10 full pages to list them. But I will list just a few.
Last year, I got my driver’s license. I am a good student and am involved in student activities. Only once was I allowed to drive the family car (we have two) to school, even though I had to stay late and couldn’t ride the school bus. However, my older brother has used the car just about any time he has wanted it. Sometimes, he even uses one of our family cars to ditch school! There have been many times when my mom had to walk home from work (about 2 miles) because my brother had the car.
Now let me talk about family chores. My brother has to take out the garbage daily and mow our lawn once a week. I have to set the table for supper and then wash and dry the dishes every night. I also have to wash clothes when my mom is unavailable. If my brother calls, my mother will stop whatever she’s doing and run to him. However, if I call her, she says she is too busy to find out what I want.
I have discussed this with my girlfriends, and they, too, contend that their moms kowtow to their sons and treat their daughters like second-class citizens.
— Unfairly Treated,
Dear Unfairly Treated: Mom clearly favors your brother over you — at least from your point of view. It’s not healthy for resentment to build in a family. My suggestion is that you document the instances of favoritism; then, the next time you bring the matter up with your parents, do so without anger or accusation. Stick to the facts, show your notes, and maybe you can turn things around with your family. Do not be condescending; simply point out how things feel from your perspective.
Your suggestion to see how other teens feel about parental favoritism is interesting and worth soliciting feedback on for evaluation.
Teens, here’s your chance to speak out. Do you feel that your parents show favoritism to one sibling over others? Is the favoritism gender-based? Email me your opinions, and give examples where possible. I’ll devote a future column to the responses I receive on this topic.
Dear Dr. Wallace: I read in a magazine that cycling was the most dangerous of all the sports, including football and hockey. I find this hard to believe. There aren’t that many cyclists that compete against one another, so why would this sport be so dangerous? What’s up with that?
— Anonymous, DeKalb, Illinois
Dear Anonymous: I agree that cycling competitively is not the most dangerous sport, but if you also include bicycle riding, it absolutely is. Many ride bicycles as a form of recreation and exercise.
Every year in America, there are more than 500,000 bicycle riders treated in hospital emergency rooms in the United States. Unfortunately, about 1,000 bicyclists die from severe falls or accidents with vehicles.