DR. WALLACE: I'm 12 and have a 10-year-old brother and we both live with our mother. Our parents are divorced. My problem is that I get blamed for everything my brother does wrong.
I'll give you an example. Five minutes ago, he got angry because our puppy wanted to play with me rather than him. Did he walk away and say that he'd play with the puppy later? No! Instead, he ran to his room and slammed the door. This caused a picture hanging on the wall to fall, breaking the glass and scratching the picture.
Was my brother punished for his temper tantrum? No! I'm sent to my room for "aggravating" my little brother. It's not my fault that the dog enjoys my company more than my brother's.
I called my dad and explained everything to him and he said to ignore my brother when he has a bad temper. That's very hard to do. Do you have any better advice? Remember, this guy is a little monster. — Sissy, Waco, Tex.
SISSY: It appears that Mother Nature has decided that 10-year-old brothers will always pester older sisters. I don't know why, except maybe it teaches sisters the meaning of tolerance. Thank goodness this stage doesn't last too long (though I realize even one day seems too long right now.) Sooner or later, almost certainly, the two of you will be good buddies. Honest!
Try hard to share with your brother and include him in some of your activities; and, even though it might be difficult, give him a word or two of praise every day. And, above all, don't argue with him.
No one said it was fun for a 12-year-old girl to have a 10-year-old brother, but when you're older you'll be glad he's around! Just wait and see.
THE RISK IS STILL THERE
DR. WALLACE: Tattoos are in. I'd like to get the tattoo of a butterfly on my left shoulder and my boyfriend is pushing for me to get one. But I haven't done so yet because I'm concerned about getting an STD infection from the tattoo needle. My boyfriend says it's impossible to get a sexually transmitted disease from being tattooed.
I'm not so sure about that. What is the truth? - Adella, Las Vegas, Nev.
ADELLA: People can become infected with an STD by sharing needles for any reason, including doing drugs, ear piercing, or tattooing! Of course, all tattoo artists say they use new needles for every tattoo they perform. I'm sure most of them do. But the risk is still there.
NOW I HAVE A 'REAL' MOM!
DR. WALLACE: I'm a 13-year-old girl and my mother is an alcoholic. She used to get drunk every day. When I was younger I thought all mothers got drunk, but as I grew older I found out this wasn't true. I couldn't invite my friends over because my mother would embarrass me.
Then one day my father and I convinced her to get help and she did. She missed my birthday because she was getting treatment, but when she finished, she gave me my best present ever — a sober mother. I love her very much and consider her my hero. I am so happy that I now have a "real" mom. I'm the happiest girl in the world. — Happy, St. Paul, Minn.
HAPPY: I share in your joy! I wish your family, and especially you, joy forevermore. Your letter made my day!
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.