DR. WALLACE: I'm a 13-year-old girl and live at home with my parents and three older brothers. It's no secret that I'm Daddy's favorite child. Whenever I ask him for a favor, the answer is almost always yes.
Last night I made the mistake of asking Mom if I could host a slumber party for four of my closest girlfriends. She said no because our house was "too small." When Daddy came home from work, I asked him the same question and he said, "Sure, of course."
When I told Mom that Dad had said I could host the party, she got mad, started crying and went to bed. Now I feel terrible. What should I do about the party? I feel guilty — Nameless, Brooklyn, N.Y.
NAMELESS: You shouldn't feel guilty. You didn't cause the problem - your parents created it for themselves. They're out of sync and can't agree on what you should be allowed to do. The three of you need to sit down together and discuss the party's pros and cons. Abide by whatever decision results from this discussion.
GET YOUR BUZZ DOING SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE
DR. WALLACE: I use marijuana occasionally to get a buzz, but I can safely say that I'm not hooked on pot. I never use it by myself, but I will join in when my friends are lighting up.
I've read enough about marijuana to know that a couple of joints a week really won't do me much harm. In fact, there are several effective medical uses for marijuana, so it can't really be that bad. I have heard marijuana called a gateway drug, but I haven't been able to find out what that means. None of my friends seem to know and I don't want to cast suspicion that I smoke pot, so I don't ask my parents for the answer. Can you enlighten me? - Nameless, Seattle, Wash.
NAMELESS: Simply put, most hard-core addicts started out by using a "gateway" drug (marijuana, alcohol) before moving on to more potent drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Drug counselors estimate that over 90 percent of all addicts first started using a gateway drug, which, fortunately, does not mean that most users of gateway drugs will wind up using hard-core drugs.
Get your buzz doing something constructive and eliminate using marijuana immediately! It could bring unwanted major problems!
OUR WORLD IS NOT PERFECT
DR. WALLACE: I was dismayed at your answer to a boy who was being punched to the point of bruises by a neighborhood bully. You told the boy he has been used as a punching bag much too long and should defend himself by punching back.
What you're saying is when someone does you wrong — get even with him. That's wrong! Violence never solves a problem. It only compounds it. — Carla, Reno, Nev.
CARLA: I only advocate defending oneself by fighting when all other avenues to eliminate the bullying have been exhausted. In a perfect world, one would never have to resort to one's fists. Unfortunately, our world is not perfect.
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.