Dear Dr. Wallace:

I’m 16 and have a huge problem with my mother. We live alone.

My mother has this hang-up about me being ill. I guess she doesn’t believe that I can get sick. I didn’t miss a day of school the last school year, but I should have. At least four or five times, I had a splitting headache or a sore throat and my mom made me go to school because, in her words, “You really aren’t hurting.” Mom doesn’t work, so I wouldn’t be home alone.

I have one and a half more years of high school remaining, and I don’t want to win the perfect attendance award just because my mom can’t understand that I can be sick enough to stay home once in a while. Please tell me how I can overcome this problem.

— Forced to Show Up No Matter What, via email

Dear Forced To Show Up: You don’t belong at school when you are not feeling well. It’s not fair to you or to your fellow students if you happen to have a contagious illness. If Mom makes this mistake again, go directly to the nurse’s office, and explain the difficult position you’re in. When the nurse calls Mom and informs her that you should come home, Mom might just come to the realization that it’s actually possible for her daughter to be sick. If you don’t have a nurse at your school, talk to your counselor. The results should be the same.

Dear Dr. Wallace: I’m 16, and so is my boyfriend. We love each other very much and plan to get married shortly after we graduate from high school. My boyfriend had been sexually active with his previous girlfriend, and I had been a virgin before we started a loving sexual relationship. Sharing sex with him is the most wonderful experience I have ever had. He said that having sex with me is the ultimate because we deeply love each other.

I agree with you that having sex before marriage is a huge mistake — unless the couple is sure that they are deeply in love. Being in love makes having sex beautiful. I know that you won’t print my letter, but I wanted you to know my feelings on premarital sex.

— Happily Active,

Chicago

Dear Happily Active: Your immature sexual fling is called lust, not love. When immature sexual feelings take place, the young lady is severely at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, emotional overload and pregnancy. I’ve received thousands of emails and letters from young women over the years that came to regret their premarital affairs and, in many cases, the impact that sex had on their relationship. It often ends in a negative manner, and the end result quite often is a messy breakup.

This guy tells you that he loves you because he enjoys his sexual encounters with you. He probably told the same story to his ex-girlfriend.

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