DR. WALLACE: I babysit for a single mother. I'm very conscientious and considered an excellent 16-year-old babysitter. I've completed an American Red Cross course in babysitting, and I'm proficient in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.
Last night while I was babysitting, my boyfriend came over to pick up a library book he let me borrow. The book was due back to the library that evening or he would have had to pay a late fee. It so happened that the lady I babysit for came home early because she wasn't feeling well. When she found my boyfriend in her house, she really got upset. She told me that I shouldn't have had my boyfriend over and she would never use me again.
I tried to explain, but she wouldn't listen. Dr. Wallace, he was in the house a total of five minutes and was by the door leaving (with the book in his hand) when this lady came home. I really feel bad, but I enjoyed babysitting for this lady and her baby daughter. Do you have any suggestions to get her to change her mind? — Sad Sitter, via email
SAD SITTER: Discuss things with your mom and have her call the lady and explain your situation. It's worth a try. You indeed made a mistake, but it was a minor one that might be forgiven if understood in context.
With such a fine record of babysitting, it's obvious the mother overreacted. An apology from you could have satisfied her if she knew all of the facts precisely.
Let's hope you are reinstated.
It might be wise to follow up Mom's telephone call with a short letter apologizing for having your boyfriend in the house and with a promise it will never happen again. If you are not reinstated, consider this a hard lesson to learn but a valuable one. When you are entrusted with the care of a child, you are not to have visitors unless there is a true emergency, and returning a library book on time versus being one day late does not come close to an emergency.
A TEACHABLE LIFE LESSON
DR. WALLACE: I've been reading your column for quite some time, but I never dreamed that I would ever be writing to you. Actually, I'm addressing my letter to all the teenage girls who read your column. I hope I can spare them some of the misery that I went through concerning sex.
When I was 15, all my girlfriends were sexually active with their boyfriends. Me? I was a lone virgin. Soon they were encouraging me to have sex so I could tell my stories like they did.
I thought I was ready and in love with a guy I liked, so one night, I said yes. Well, I found out that he didn't love me, and soon he was calling me only when he wanted sex. I kept seeing him out of peer pressure, not because I really respected him or enjoyed the sex.
Luckily, I didn't get pregnant, but now that I'm older, I really feel that I was used and abused sexually. The emotional scars of my sexual awakening will be with me forever. I made a big mistake by having sex before I was really ready to handle it, and, more importantly, before I found the right partner at the right time in my life. I actually thought "everyone was doing it," and it so happened to turn out, they weren't. Next, I thought that I was physically and emotionally ready, and I wasn't even close on either level.
Girls, I plead with you not to become sexually active because you want to know what sex is all about or you feel you are missing out on something special. Believe me, you are not. The time will come when you are truly in love and mature enough to enter into a relationship. Let's hope it will be after you say, "I do," and once you've found that special someone at the right time in your life. — Anonymous, via email
ANONYMOUS: Your message to teens, especially teen girls, is a valuable example of a real-life story that provides a teachable lesson. Thank you for "telling it like it is."
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.
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