DR. WALLACE: I'm 15 and live with my mother and grandmother in St. Louis. We used to live in Minneapolis until my parents divorced. My problem is that I want to live with my father in Minneapolis.
I thought that a teenager had a choice of which parent to live with. After all, I am no baby. I can take pretty good care of myself these days.
Also, my boyfriend is back in Minneapolis, and I miss him a whole lot. I email him every day, and he answers me about once a month. He is a super good-looking guy (I'm not too bad myself), and I'm afraid if I don't get back to see him pretty soon, some other girl will whisk him away from me.
Please tell me how to get back to Minneapolis. My father will take me, but my mother won't let me go. I like Minneapolis much better than St. Louis. I've been here for two months, and I can't adjust. I'm having a hard time so far. — Unhappy, St. Louis
UNHAPPY: Chances are you miss your boyfriend more than you miss Minneapolis. In divorce situations, a judge decides with whom the children will reside. It appears that your mother has legal custody of you.
Minneapolis is a beautiful city and I understand why you miss it, but give St. Louis a chance. I've visited both Minneapolis and St. Louis, and both are extremely good cities in which to live. St. Louis also has its fair share of handsome young men. In time, one will catch your eye and you will learn to see St. Louis in a new way. Hang in there!
SAY THANK YOU VERY MUCH
DR. WALLACE: I'm 15 and have been told by a lot of people that I am good-looking. But when they say something like, "You are very pretty," I always say something like, "No, I'm not," or "I think my nose is too big."
This always makes my mom mad. She thinks I should say, "Thank you very much" when someone compliments me. But I think if I did, it would sound like I am conceited. Do you agree? — Shy Girl, Woodland, California
SHY GIRL: No, I don't agree with you: I agree with Mother this time. When someone pays you an honest compliment, the person is expressing a thought and, in doing so, wants to make you feel good about yourself. A simple "thank you very much," accompanied by a sincere (even bashful!) smile, would not be considered a conceited answer at all. If you feel especially comfortable at some point, you might reply, "You're quite kind. Thank you very much." This type of comment would come across as a humble reply to both acknowledge the person making the compliment and end the brief conversation appropriately.
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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