DR. WALLACE: I think you made a huge mistake when you advised a young teen girl to tell her parents about her 16-year-old sister smoking marijuana and thinking about trying cocaine with her boyfriend. This older sister was told by her parents to stop seeing this guy, but she was sneaking around with him without her parents knowing about it. She told her younger sister everything and made little sis promise she wouldn't tell their parents.
You told little sis to break this promise, thus becoming a tattletale. Once, early in my own life, I was a tattletale, and it brought me nothing but a lifetime of grief.
When I was 16, I saw my stepfather sexually molesting my 14-year-old sister. I told my mother, and she said I must have been dreaming because that could never have happened. Since she wouldn't listen, I went down to the police station and told them what I saw. To make a long, sad story short, our stepfather was arrested and wound up in prison. It turned out that he had molested other young children years before. When he was arrested, my mother bitterly blamed me, and from that moment on, she shut me out of her life and treated me like I didn't exist.
I am now 31 and haven't talked with my mother in 13 years. She refuses to talk to me ever again. I am sometimes a bit sorry that I told the police about my stepfather because it caused me to lose my relationship with my mother. — Tattled and Lost, via email
TATTLED AND LOST: I'm deeply sorry to hear about what you and your sister went through. Don't demean your own courageous actions by calling yourself a "tattletale." Sometimes, doing the right thing comes with a high cost, but what if you hadn't acted? Your stepfather's sexual molestation would have continued and might have destroyed your younger sister's life. You also protected other children who might have become this man's future victims, so you deserve to be commended, not condemned.
You are a hero, but your mother doesn't know or understand this, and that's very sad. She's apparently still in denial and has chosen to blame you for the mistakes of her husband, despite the evidence that convicted him.
My hope is that your mom somehow finds and reads this column, comes to her senses and contacts you. Many years have passed, and perhaps it's time for old wounds to heal.
DON'T SWEAT IN A RUBBER SUIT
DR. WALLACE: I need to lose a minimum of 12 pounds in four weeks for a special occasion. I've been told that working out vigorously in a rubber sweatsuit will be the best way to lose the weight I wish to drop. I've also heard from one of my friends that it's not safe to lose weight this way, so now I'm kind of worried. What do you think about this method? Is it safe? I'm 18 and pretty healthy for the most part. — Slimming Down, via email
SLIMMING DOWN: Forget the rubber sweatsuit as a means of fast weight reduction. Using this method can be dangerous, as the body is robbed of its ability to cool itself when it overheats.
The weight lost using this method would be very short-term because it's mostly water and very little fat. As soon as you quench your thirst, you would regain most, if not all, of what you had just lost via the massive sweating experience.
Follow a diet of full of nutritious foods combined with 30 to 45 minutes of daily aerobic exercise, and you can expect to lose about five to 10 pounds in the next month or so. This is a far safer and more realistic goal for you to pursue. If you follow this advice, you'll feel great about yourself at your upcoming event.
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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