DR. WALLACE: My mom has been a single parent ever since I was born. We have our disagreements, but we get along just fine.
About a year ago, she started dating a man who seemed like a good guy. Mom told me he was divorced and that his son and daughter lived in another state with his ex-wife. Two months later mom told me that she loved him and that they were going to get married and that we were going to live in his house.
All of this happened and now I have a stepfather. He is nice sometimes, but other times he is very demanding. I didn't have any rules to follow when I lived alone with mom. Now I'm put on restriction if I sass my mother. I'm put on restriction if one of my grades at school falls below a C. Every time I turn the wrong way, it seems that I'm on restriction. Sometimes I think people in jail have more freedom than I do.
Please tell me what I can do to get my stepfather to lighten up and allow me to be me. I need your help! — Anonymous
ANONYMOUS: My help isn't necessary. It seems like a drag because you're now told what you can and cannot do. This is been long overdue. It's not easy to learn responsibility and manners as a team, but the day will come when you will be thankful that your stepfather cared enough for you to see that you become a good citizen. Hang in there remember his actions indicate he truly cares about your and your life.
MOM IS MAKING A SERIOUS MISTAKE
DR. WALLACE: A year ago my mom got into a huge fight with her father (my grandfather). Since then, I have not seen my grandfather or my grandmother. I really love them, and it makes me sad that I can't be with them. My mom is very stubborn and refuses to have contact with my grandpa.
Last week, my mother got a call from grandma saying that grandpa is very ill and that he wants to see me and made peace with my mom. I was excited because I thought I would see grandpa and grandma again, and that my mom and grandpa would be friends. But this is not going to happen. Mom told me she was not going to see her father and that if he should die, she wouldn't attend his funeral.
I told mom that I wanted to see my grandparents and to find out about grandpa's illness, but she said that she wouldn't drive me there. If I went, I'd have to have someone else do the driving. I called my dad (my parents are divorced,) and he said he would be glad to drive me to and from my grandparents' house. He also said he would like to see his former in-laws because he likes them, too.
Even though mom said I could see my grandparents, she is upset I called my dad. Should I call dad and tell him that it's best if he didn't pick me up? I'm 14 and have four more years of living with mom, and I don't want her to be mad at me for all this time. What should I do? — Confused, via email
CONFUSED: It's a shame that children sometimes get caught up in and suffer from disagreements between the adults in their lives. You are a totally innocent bystander regarding the differences between your mom and your grandfather. It is fine for you to have your father drive you. When you return from this visit, be sure to thank your mom for allowing you make this visit, and give her a big hug.
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 [email protected] 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.