DR. WALLACE: My grandmother doesn't think girls should be playing sports because it isn't "ladylike"; people can play rough, and she doesn't want me to get injured. I've lived with my grandparents since I was born, so they are really my parents. I love them both, but I don't believe Grandma is correct in her thinking. Can you help me convince her that athletics are good for both boys and girls? I enjoyed playing on our eighth-grade girls basketball team, and I was a good player. I played in all of our games. I will be in high school in September, and I want to be a player on the freshman girls team. Grandmother keeps telling me that sports are for boys — not girls. Please tell my grandmother that girls also enjoy sports, and I am one of these girls. Yes, I still like the "girlie" things in life, too, but it just so happens that I enjoy sports and the camaraderie of my teammates and coaches. Grandmother also reads your teen column, so your advice could help (or hurt) my case. — Sporty Girl, San Diego
SPORTY GIRL: Athletic competition is a wonderful experience for both boys and girls. Many girls and young ladies are indeed excellent athletes and can be ladylike at the same time.
There are certain physical risks associated with all sports, but the benefits of competing athletically far outweigh the risks of injury. And when you compete in your official games, your grandmother may enjoy attending them and cheering for you and your teammates. I suggest you follow your desire to try out for the girls basketball team next fall at your new high school. Good luck! I hope you make the team!
I'M AFRAID TO TELL MY PARENTS
DR. WALLACE: I'm 19, and I was dating a guy who was 22. He was constantly telling me how much he loved me and how beautiful I was, especially during our romantic and intimate moments.
Now I don't see him anymore, and he refuses to return my calls — the reason being that I'm pregnant.
My parents don't know about my situation, and I'm afraid to tell them. I'm an adult at 19, of course, but I feel very alone and confused. I don't know what to do next. What things should I be considering at this time? I don't want to rush my thinking and make a mistake on a matter as huge as the little life that has started to grow inside of me. Help! — Anonymous, via email
ANONYMOUS: Your parents will find out sooner or later that you are pregnant, so have the courage to tell them as quickly as possible. After the first moment of surprise — and perhaps shock — your mother will know exactly what to do, and she will be your best friend who can help you with this journey you are now on.
As you mentioned, you are not set up to handle your present situation by yourself. There are so many things to discuss and do that the sooner you start, the better it will be for everyone. My advice is to discuss this with your parents in great detail and speak to an outside counselor and a person of clergy if appropriate for you. Consider all of your options quite carefully. Remember that, in the end, it's your body and your decision to make as an adult. My best wishes to you for a successful journey. Please start it as soon as possible.
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 [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.