DR. WALLACE: I'm 19 and just finished my third semester of college. My GPA is 3.9, and I also work about 10 to 15 hours a week at my family's business. I am in the honors program, and I think I am a pretty responsible person. However, my parents still treat me like a kid in many regards. For example, my curfew is 11:30 p.m. (I still live at home), and they discourage me from attending any parties. I'd like to take a weekend and visit my boyfriend of three years, as he is in college about three hours away from me. However, my parents refuse. It's not that they don't approve of our relationship: They think my boyfriend is great. It's that they don't want me to see him without adult supervision. I suggested staying overnight at a hotel or a friend's place instead of his apartment with him and his roommates, but they still won't budge.
What really makes me mad is that my brother was given permission to visit his girlfriend for a week a few summers ago when he was 19. I'll be 20 in a month, but this problem isn't going away. My boyfriend, who is 20 years old, returns to our hometown on occasion but because he doesn't have a car, he is not always able to spend money on bus fare. I own a car that I have paid for myself. What do you feel is an inappropriate curfew, and what is your opinion on the subject of me visiting my boyfriend? Maybe they will read your response and take your advice. Thank you for your help. — Anonymous, Normal, Illinois
ANONYMOUS: The time has come for your parents to place their trust in you versus what I consider overly strict discipline. They should be thrilled that you are living at home and treat you like the highly intelligent young lady you are. Your trip to visit your responsible, well-liked boyfriend is indeed warranted in my judgment. And as for your curfew, I'd ask for midnight. That should give you some extra time for your outings but still keep your parents happy it's not too late an hour for you to be returning home.
DELAY YOUR SEXUAL GAMES
DR. WALLACE: I'm 17 and have the life I'm seeking to live all planned out for myself. I'm going to college to become an attorney, and I plan to practice law in California. The only thing that could alter my plans would be an unwanted pregnancy before I reach this career goal. Of course, I wouldn't have the child if it were to come in the next few years: I would have an abortion. My boyfriend uses protection, but I've read that condoms are only 97 percent good for preventing pregnancy. That leads to a 3 percent chance they might fail. Actually, that's a pretty high failure rate in my opinion.
My parents would fund an abortion for me for sure if I became pregnant, but I'm an independent person who would like to pay for the procedure myself. What kind of money am I talking about? How expensive is an abortion? Are they easy to arrange? Do they hurt? — Curious and active young lady, via email
CURIOUS: You speak of an abortion as though it were a minor scratch covered up by a Band-Aid. A medical doctor can give you an approximate monetary cost of an abortion. However, the monetary expense is relatively small compared to the emotional price a young lady like you could potentially endure for an entire lifetime. The emotional scars of an abortion may never go away for some young women who, at the time, consider an abortion to be no big deal. Therefore, my advice is to think carefully about the consequences you would face.
For a young lady with her future plans so organized and in order, why take the risk of an unwanted pregnancy and abortion at this point in your life? Hold off with your sexual games until such a time that, when you may someday become pregnant, you and the baby's father will consider the child to be a blessing — hopefully after you are married and intentionally seeking to start a family.
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.