DR. WALLACE: I'm 19 and have a nine-month-old son. The baby's father (we're not married) also lives with us because I thought I loved him. He recently started being verbally abusive to me. He's also involved with drugs, both as a user and a seller.
About a month ago I kicked him out because he refused to stop smoking in the house. He smoked two packs of cigarettes a day and made the whole house smell like a furnace. I refuse to have my son breathe secondhand smoke. I have since moved in with my grandmother and have started a good part-time job. She is an excellent sitter and really loves baby Justin. I'm really happy as for the first time in a long time, my son and I have a bright future.
Last week my son's father called and said he wanted us to be a family once again and that he had eliminated all of his bad habits — smoking and drugs. He said he would get an "honest" job if I took him back and said that he misses our son. I really don't know what to do. I honestly don't believe I could love this guy even if he did change his ways. But it might be better if he returns because of our son. — Mother, Fort Walton Beach, Fl.
MOTHER: Don't let the father return! A family is built on love, trust and the blessing of the marriage ceremony. Right now, all three of these necessary ingredients are missing.
YOUR WORDS ARE BETTER THAN MINE
DR. WALLACE: I'm writing in response to an interesting letter to you from a supposedly young disabled student. As a person with a disability, I don't think that letter came from the disabled student. I believe that someone knowing you would take the matter seriously wrote that letter for a family. From experience,
I'd guess it was written for a grandchild.
No young person with a disability would use the term "confined to a wheelchair." That phrase is intensely disliked by the disabled community. Most of us view our wheelchairs as prosthetic bodies that allow us to live up to our potential and achieve full lives. We do leave our wheelchairs for numerous activities. I have actually been asked, "How many times have you been out of that thing?" and "Do you sleep in your wheelchair?"
Your column is read by many young people who lack the facts about people with disabilities, and since teens are our future, would it be possible for you in a future column to point out that disabled people can and do live happy, productive lives? Many disabled teens sit at home because their peers are afraid to invite them out, unsure what to expect. Also, many people believe that paralyzed women cannot bear children — a totally false assumption.
A word from you would do a lot of good for these young people. — Jerome, Kissimmee, Fl.
JEROME: Your words are much better than mine. Thank you for sharing your very useful and heartfelt information for our readers.
HIS FAMILY ADORES ME
DR. WALLACE: My boyfriend and I have been dating for four months. He is a terrific person — intelligent, ambitious, responsible, hardworking, family-oriented and very loving and caring. He's everything I ever wanted and needed in a partner.
I've been in several unhappy relationships. This guy is the first one that has treated me with decency and respect. Both he and I feel like we were meant for each other. Even though we are just 18 and still in school (we graduated in June), we want to get married someday. We care for and love each other very deeply. Our backgrounds are similar and this enables us to communicate very well. His family adores me and my family loves him.
I don't have a problem. I'm writing to you because I respect your opinion and I'd like to know what you think about our relationship. — Nameless, Birmingham, Al.
NAMELESS: It appears that you and your boyfriend will be spending many happy years together. You are, indeed, a blessed couple and I wish you both the very best!
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.