DR. WALLACE: I've got a problem, and I don't know how to solve it. My parents are both professionals, so we don't have family money problems. My older brother and I receive $20 a week allowance and that's enough to buy things I want.
Lately, I have been stealing things I want from stores. I don't know what made me start, but I got a big thrill the first time I stole a pair of sunglasses and didn't get caught. It was so easy that I tried it again, and again, and again without being caught.
Now I want to stop completely — forever. My parents would be mortified if they would get a call from the police that their "baby girl" (I'm 16) was arrested for shoplifting.
Anything you can do to help me will be deeply appreciated. I don't want to be writing to you next time from a juvenile facility, but the urge to shoplift is overpowering. — Nameless, Naperville, Ill.
NAMELESS: You need professional counseling. Talk with a trusted teacher or your school counselor and they will see that you get the help you need. If you don't have a counselor or don't feel comfortable discussing your problem with a teacher, talk with your school nurse. She is a valuable person who can offer assistance to the student with a cut on her finger and also to the student who has a stealing problem.
I'm positive that with professional assistance you will overcome this. Admitting you have a problem and asking for help are major steps in rehabilitation.
You must also share your "problem" with mom and dad. They love you and will offer the support that you need.
IF SHE CAN'T ACCEPT YOUR OFFER, BREAK UP
DR. WALLACE: I've been dating a girl for over a year and lately she has become extremely possessive of my time. I always spend every weekend with her, but during weekday evenings I like to spend time with my buddies. This has really set her off, even though I've been seeing these guys regularly long before I ever met her. I've tried reasoning with her, but it doesn't do any good. What should I do? — Rick, Toledo, Ohio.
RICK: Nothing suffocates a relationship more quickly than one partner's extreme possessiveness. It's important for you to see your friends and you should continue to do so. It appears that your girlfriend is not willing to share you with others at any time.
Forget about discussing the matter further. The time has come to tell her that you care for her, but you are not going to spend all your free time with her, and if she can't accept that, break up. You might encourage her to spend time with her girlfriends or family during the week, but she probably won't take the suggestion.
I'M SORRY THAT I'M PREGNANT
DR. WALLACE: I'm 18, not married, but I'm pregnant. Many of my friends and family members have encouraged me to have an abortion. I'm sorry that I'm pregnant, but I can't do that because it would haunt me the rest of my life. Do most unwed pregnant teens give birth or do they have an abortion? — Nameless, Newark, N.J.
NAMELESS: According to MD magazine, about 60 percent give birth to their babies. The others choose to terminate the pregnancy.
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. E-mail 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.