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Parents Should Not Choose Friends for Teens

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DR. WALLACE: My mother is always trying to pick my friends for me. I'm 13 and perfectly capable of choosing my own friends. The people she wants me to be friends with aren't interested in the things I like. I believe friends should have a lot in common. Since my mom reads your column, please answer my letter.
   
I told her I was going to write to you, and she said she was sure you'd agree that parents should choose their children's friends. I don't think you'll say that. -- Lori, Hammond, La.
   
LORI: Parents should not choose friends for their children, but they should approve of them. If a child's friend exhibits questionable behavior or a reckless attitude, parents have the right, and the obligation, to insist that the friendship be ended.

DO NOT COVER FOR THIS GUY
   
DR. WALLACE: I went to our high-school winter dance with a guy I really didn't know that well. The dance was only our second date. He took me to a movie a week before and I had a nice time. Halfway through the dance, he said he had to go to his car to get something. An hour and a half later he returned. When I asked him what took so long, he said he got sick and threw up and waited until he felt better to return. Since I had a good time talking to my friends, I really didn't mind his absence, but I was curious about it. I haven't gone out with him since.
   
Yesterday at school, he asked me to say I was with him the entire time during the dance. When I asked why, he said, "Please don't ask any questions, just cover for me." I told him I didn't know if I could do that.
He then started saying please and that I would be a true friend if I covered for him. I'd like to help this guy, but I'm not sure I could lie for him. I still don't know what he did on dance night, but I'm positive he was up to no good. What should I do? If I cover for him and he still gets caught, then I'm also in trouble. -- Troubled, Buffalo, N.Y.
   
TROUBLED: Tell this guy that you will not cover for him, regardless of who will contact you. Needless to say, do NOT go out with him again -- ever!

DIET PILLS ARE NOT AN OPTION
   
DR. WALLACE: I've gained over 15 pounds so far this winter because all I did was eat during miserable weather. I must lose these pounds before summer break. I'm not good at staying on a diet. Are diet pills the best solution? Are they addictive? How do diet pills work? -- Caroline, St. Catharines, Ontario.
   
CAROLINE: Diet pills are not an option for you, and it's possible to become addicted to their use. Diet pills contain ingredients that suppress your appetite or raise your metabolic rate by stimulating the central nervous system. They can also cause high blood pressure, dehydration and poor nutrient absorption. If used regularly, you must gradually up the dosage to keep getting the same effect.
   
Lose those extra pounds the old-fashioned way, with proper eating habits and regular exercise. You can lose weight this way if you put your mind to it.
   
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. E-mail him at rwallace@galesburg.net. To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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