DR. WALLACE: I have a serious "trust" problem with my father. Andrew and I have been dating for the past nine months. I'm a very good student, active in school activities and teach Sunday school at our church. I've never been in trouble, and I'm not involved in drugs, alcohol or tobacco. I am also proud to say that I'm a virgin and have no plans to become sexually active.
Andrew is a nice guy with a great personality. He's popular at school and gives the outward appearance that he is a "lady's man," but he really isn't. He only gets average grades and, at times, is the class clown. He has been suspended from school a few times, but not for anything serious.
It so happens that my dad doesn't care much for Andrew. He hasn't made me stop seeing him, but he has come close. Andrew and I talk on the telephone every night, and it's fun. But my dad has the telephone rigged so that all of our conversations are taped. Then my dad listens to them when we hang up. He told us that all calls would be taped and so we're not surprised and we are careful of what we discuss and the words we use.
Do you think my dad is being a "wise parent" by taping us or do you think that he is making a big mistake? My dad knows I'm writing to you. — Nameless, Lima, Ohio.
NAMELESS: You should have earned your father's trust with your outstanding citizenship and scholarship, and your moral standards. By taping your phone conversations with your boyfriend, he is really saying that he doesn't trust you.
Trust should be given freely from parent to teen and honored until the trust is broken by the teen, if ever. I think dad is being overly cautious and very unwise.
THERE IS NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT
DR. WALLACE: I'm 12 and want to get my ears pierced, but my dad won't let me because he thinks I'm too young to make that decision. I'm very mature for my age. I am an honor roll student and I dance 13 hours a week at a dance studio because I compete on a dance team. Also, when I was 4 I had leukemia. It took two and a half years, but I finally overcame it. My dad said he would consider your opinion. — Ashley, Oceanside, Calif.
ASHLEY: I would agree that you are a mature young lady who deserves to start having some grown-up privileges. As long as your father is not philosophically opposed to ear piercing and will allow you to do it eventually, I'd say there's no time like the present.
THE NEW TEACHER IS REALLY STRICT
DR. WALLACE: My favorite teacher was fired by our school district about a month ago. There have been a lot of rumors floating around over why she was dismissed, but no one knows for sure. The teacher who has taken her place is a man and he's really strict. This makes me miss her even more. I know where she used to live, but when my best friend and I drove by the house, it looked vacant. I also tried calling her, but her phone was disconnected.
I'd really like to contact her to tell her I miss her and wish her all the best, but I don't know how to reach her. I called the school district and was told she didn't leave a forwarding address. Can you help me? — Student, St. Paul, Minn.
STUDENT: Since you know her previous address, send a thank you card to this location. Chances are good she provided the post office with her new address so her mail could be forwarded to her.
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.