DR. WALLACE: My son is 13 and has always had difficultly learning. When he gets a C in a particular subject, my husband and I are happy because that is a passing grade.
He has been tested many times for various learning disabilities, but the result is always the same: He has a slightly below-average IQ.
Our son likes some of his classes, especially physical education. While he's not good in math, he is an excellent athlete! If he can keep his grades up, he will be a good basketball and football player once he is in high school.
Lately, his math teacher has been pulling him out of physical education and making him study harder for math during that hour. I don't like this idea. Do I have a legitimate complaint, or should I trust this teacher has his best interests at heart? — Worried Mother
WORRIED MOTHER: Yes, you do! Contact the principal, and chances are that this unacceptable practice will stop. If it does not stop, make an appointment to speak with the district superintendent.
It's fine that your son's math teacher is interested in wanting your son to do better in math, but he or she should not be adding more math time at the expense of his physical education.
A better solution would be to have a parent-teacher conference on how best to provide your son extra assistance with math at home. Perhaps you could hire a tutor rather than taking away his physical education time at school, which sends the wrong message; it comes off as a punishment to a young man who greatly values his physical education time.
REOPEN THE DISCUSSION
DR. WALLACE: I'll turn 18 in three months, and I have an outstanding relationship with my mother. We are totally open and honest with each other across a variety of subjects. I always tell my mom the whole truth, even if it means I might be punished. I do receive a bit of a "punishment reduction" due to my honesty on the rare times I've had to be punished.
Last year, for example, she told me I couldn't see a certain R-rated movie, but my 19-year-old boyfriend and I saw the movie together anyway. When I got home, I told her I saw the movie, even though I figured I would be grounded for a month. A little white lie would have saved me from this punishment, but I chose to tell the truth. She grounded me only for two weeks because I came clean with her.
Last night, my mother surprisingly asked me if I have ever thought of being sexually intimate with my boyfriend. This question came out of the blue and totally caught me off guard. I replied, "Mom, of course not." Well, I do kind of like thinking about becoming intimate with my boyfriend at some point, but I have not acted on any of this yet and have no immediate plans to do so. I'm a virgin and plan to remain one for the time being, but this doesn't cover just thinking about it, so I technically lied to my mom, and now my conscience is bothering me!
Should I tell my mom that I lied — or at least didn't give her a full answer? — Honest Daughter, via email
HONEST DAUGHTER: You have a great relationship with your mother and certainly have no need to carry around a guilty conscience over this matter. In fact, you did not tell her a premeditated lie; you simply replied quickly to a very surprising question that caught you off guard.
I suggest that you simply reopen the discussion with you mom and let her know that your answer to her question was incomplete at the time due to your surprise. What to do now from here? Simply tell your mom what you wrote to me in your letter: that you were surprised by her question and that you have thought about sex, but it ends there!
I trust that your mother will understand and cut you very appropriate slack under these circumstances. If you were my daughter in this situation, I would not dole out any punishment at all. In fact, I would be pleased that you are such an honorable, honest and open young lady.
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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