DR. WALLACE: I'm 17, and I want to end my relationship with the guy I am dating. But I can't break away because he has told me that he will seriously hurt himself or even commit suicide if I leave him.
Please help. I don't know what to do. — Anonymous, Austin, Texas
ANONYMOUS: Thank you for asking. I can tell you exactly what to do in this situation. You are in an unhealthy relationship that must end immediately. Plan to break off the relationship, but before you do, discuss this situation immediately with your parents. Then you and one or both of your parents should together contact the boy's parents to relay his threats of self-harm to them. Do this quickly and in person if possible.
Don't feel worried, shy or awkward in doing so. His words likely are a cry for help in some way. It's not your job to find out in what way he needs help. It's your job to immediately let his family know about his comments so they can help him right away. Words matter. It's sad that he said this to you, but you'll be glad to see him get the help he needs. Take action immediately. Immediately!
TELL DAUGHTER ABOUT SEX
DR. WALLACE: I'm 13 and starting to mature physically. It's time that I learned about sex and sexual reproduction. Everything I have learned so far has come from my friends, and I'm not sure all of it is true. I asked my mother to answer my questions about sex, but she always makes excuses as to why she can't do it "just yet." Sometimes she says she's "too tired" or "wait until my headache goes away."
Dr. Wallace, it's time for me to know all the true facts about sex. One girl told me that her best friend got pregnant just by kissing a guy. I know that isn't true, but those are the types of rumors that float around our school.
My best friend told me her mother answered all of her questions regarding sex and would be glad to answer all of mine, too. Should I have my friend's mother tell me about "the birds and the bees," or should I continue pressing my mother to do what she is supposed to do - tell her daughter the truth about sex? — Curious Cathy, Billings, Montana
CURIOUS CATHY: Your mom is missing the boat. As soon as a young person wants answers about sex, the time is right to begin talking about it with him or her. Some parents find doing so extremely uncomfortable, but they still need to make that effort anyway.
If her "headache" doesn't go away and she still refuses to have a serious talk with you about sex, then let her know that your friend's mother will. Chances are this will encourage Mom to fulfill her responsibility. But if she gives you permission to learn from your friend's mother instead, do it. Alternatively, your mother may give you permission to speak with a respected female staff member at your school. There are empathetic female teachers, counselors and administrators at most schools who would be glad to step up to help if needed in this regard.
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.
Photo credit: doctor-a at Pixabay