DR. WALLACE: I've been grounded for a month because I came home after a date with my boyfriend with alcohol on my breath. I can handle this, but I also can't go out with my boyfriend for two months because they blame him as much as they blame me. That's not fair. He didn't pour the drink down my throat or threaten me with violence if I didn't drink the beer. I don't drink, and I don't like the taste of beer. I drank it because I was with a group of kids who were drinking, and I didn't have the courage to say, "No thanks" when one of the beer-drinking guys handed me one.
I admit that I was weak, and I'm now paying the price for my mistake. But I'm upset that they're also blaming my boyfriend for my error. I tried explaining this to my parents, but they refused to be reasonable. He is getting punished, but he committed no crime. What can I do to get my parents to realize this? — Anonymous, Biloxi, Mississippi
ANONYMOUS: I agree that you are responsible 100% for drinking a beer and, as you are now well aware, it was an unwise decision. Your parents were disappointed that you betrayed the trust they had in you and are including your boyfriend as a part of your problem. Learn from this experience. Take your punishment and stop telling them, "It isn't fair." Life, at times, isn't fair. Remember, if you hadn't given in to the peer pressure to take a sip of beer, you and your boyfriend would likely be holding hands and enjoying each other's company right now. Absorb your punishment and tell your parents you will accept the two months away from your boyfriend, as that was their decision.
However, in my opinion, it is OK to tell them that it indeed was not your boyfriend's fault and you would appreciate them speaking to him about the incident after the two months are up. This way, you show respect to your parents but give your boyfriend a way to hopefully ease his way back into their good graces going forward.
I'M A CANDIDATE FOR ANOREXIA
DR. WALLACE: I've always been rather slim and want to stay that way, but lately I've been adding a pound here and there. I want to stay thin, but I am well aware that I'm a prime candidate for becoming a victim of anorexia.
I've heard tragic outcomes of young girls who are overly compulsive with their body image, and I don't want it to happen to me. What can I do to make sure I stay slim but don't go off the deep end into self-starvation? — Concerned, Ames, Iowa
CONCERNED: Don't look at food as the enemy or try to keep your slim figure by severely limiting how much you eat. Instead, focus your attention on nutrition. Eat plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a moderate amount of lean meats, chicken and fish. Two extremely healthy foods are broccoli and cantaloupe. Learn the calorie counts of your favorite foods; eat more of your nutritious, low-calorie favorites and less of your favorite higher-calorie foods, but do not eliminate them completely.
Get regular exercise, and maintain balance and moderation in your life: Don't push yourself to extreme behavior in the name of an ideal figure, especially the illusion of the ideal level of "thinness." The anorexic — either consciously or subconsciously — is willing to sacrifice his or her life for this ideal by convincing themselves to think that the only way to stay slim is to avoid food. This decision will wreck your health and prove fatal, should it take root and carry on unchecked.
You can't live without food, so focus on eating plenty of healthy foods during regular meals. Stay active, let yourself enjoy what you eat and, indeed, enjoy your life!
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.