DR. WALLACE: I know that you are a former high school principal so you should be able to provide me some insight to my question. Should parents be permitted to be chaperones at school-sponsored dances? Please answer yes or no and why you gave your answer. — Parent, Richmond, Va.
PARENT: No! Parents should be invited as guests to spend some time (say 20 minutes) to see for themselves what school dances are like and how they are supervised. Supervision of all school activities should be performed by credentialed school employees for legal reasons. It wouldn't be fair for a parent to be asked to break up a disturbance if one occurred or to make a decision on improper student behavior. Credentialed employees are trained and paid to make sure all after school activities are properly chaperoned.
YOUR HUSBAND AND YOU MUST STOP SMOKING
DR. WALLACE: My husband and I are both 20. We have been married for over a year and are the parents of a two-year-old daughter. Both my husband and I have been smoking for over four years and are totally addicted to cigarettes. However, we are aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke so we keep our house smoke-free.
Both my husband and I would like to quit smoking for a number of reasons. First, we don't want our daughter (and any other children we might have) to smoke. Next, we want to be around to see our grandchildren and don't want to leave this earth early because of tobacco related illnesses. And, finally, we would like to stop spending quite a bit of money on something that is going up in smoke.
My husband and I have talked about quitting tobacco, but we have not yet put out that last cigarette. If by chance if we don't quit smoking, is it possible that this will encourage our children to "light up"? Even if we do smoke, but encourage our children to never start smoking, will it convince our children as much as if we were non-smokers? — Mom, Anaheim, Ca.
MOM: The best way to ensure that your children will not become addicted smokers is for you and your husband to stop smoking and to encourage your children to never start.
Children often model the behavior of their parents in many areas of life. Smoking and drinking fall high on the list in this regard. It's always much easier to say "Do as I do." versus saying "Do as I say, not as I do." If you and your husband can indeed work hard to quit this habit soon, your whole family will greatly benefit for many decades. It's a worthy goal to aim to quit smoking. Do it for each other, do it for your family. When you do, you will benefit from greater health and you will have the moral high ground on advice as well.
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.