Dear Dr. Wallace:

I’m in 11th grade and considered a better-than-average student in everything but math. My dad makes me take all the advanced math classes, and when I don’t pull an A or a B, he gets upset and puts me on restriction.

I’m tired of sitting home almost every weekend because I have a mental block when it comes to math. Please help me with my problem, even if it’s only a few words of encouragement.

— Math Not My Bag, Waco, Texas

Dear Math Not: Tell your father about the gifted genius Albert Einstein, who had problems in math when he was a schoolboy. Then have him make an appointment with your counselor. You should take an aptitude test in this subject. If your results are not the best, your counselor will be able to show Dad that you might never do well in math. This may show him that his “punishments” are not going to help you in the long run, and perhaps he will cease with the penalties.

If you get behind or confused in your math classes, don’t be afraid to ask your teacher for help.

Not understanding the basics will cause you a lot of problems when you try to learn the more complex problems.

Hang in there and do your best to learn all you can in this subject. The good news is once you’re older, you can seek a non-math-oriented career.

Write to Dr. Wallace at

Write to Dr. Wallace at