DR. WALLACE: I'm 16 and live with my parents and my 11-year-old sister. My dad is an attorney and my mother is a registered nurse. They both work late and they usually don't get home until after 6 p.m. My sister gets home about 3:15 and I have to be home to watch over her until my parents get home from work. This means that I can't usually participate in any after-school activities such as Spanish club or pep club. I feel like I'm missing out on an important part of my education.
I love my sister, but I don't like being her babysitter every day at the expense of my participation in any afterschool activities. When I complain my parents won't listen and they say that I'm just being selfish. Do you think I'm wrong to complain? — Nameless, San Jose, Calif.
NAMELESS: We're all called on at times to make a sacrifice for the good of our family, but I don't think that's the issue here. You're being asked to give up a whole dimension of your life in order to provide after school care for your sister. Your parents should be able to afford to hire a trusted adult to watch your sister until they get home. This would allow you to round out your education (and simply to also enjoy being a teenager) with after-school activities.
EXPERIENCE IS A WONDERFUL TEACHER
DR. WALLACE: Several months ago, a young lady who was having a difficult time finding one good guy to date steadily finally decided that all guys are born jerks and only a small percentage of them turn out to be respectable. You did your best to convince her otherwise — that all males are born respectable and only a few turn out to be jerks.
I will concede that not all guys are born jerks, but I think many of them are. I'm 20 and have been married to the biggest jerk on earth for over two years. All of my family and friends told me that I shouldn't marry the guy because he was a loser and a huge jerk. I refused to take their advice.
On the day we were married, he left the wedding reception early to watch a football game on television with his brother. Then later, when I was seven months pregnant with twin daughters, my brother saw him in a bar with a "tramp." Three days after I came home from the hospital with our beautiful daughters, he went duck hunting for a week in Mexico with a bunch of his jerky friends.
My husband has never made me feel special on Valentine's Day, my birthday, or even during the holiday season.
Whenever I can get my life straightened out, I'm going to tell this jerk, "Adios forever."
Please "make my day" and print my letter. I promise that my next husband will have no "jerk" qualities. — Nameless, Somewhere in Texas.
NAMELESS: I wish you all the best. You will do better the next time because experience is a wonderful teacher.
LOOK FOR ANOTHER BEST FRIEND
DR. WALLACE: Last week my best friend stole $20 from me. I know that it had to be her (I'm 100 percent positive) because she was the only person in my room and she was also the only person who knew where it was hidden. Even my parents didn't know where I had hidden my money.
When I questioned her about it, she said I was accusing her and she no longer wanted to be my friend. Do you think I should apologize and tell her I want to remain friends? - Unsure, Mobile, Ala.
UNSURE: Why should you apologize to someone who violated your trust and stole your money? Look for another best friend, and, from now on, keep your secret hiding place to yourself.
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. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.