DR. WALLACE: I'm tired of being hassled, harassed and looked down upon by people just because I don't always dress and look like everybody else. I have my own style, and I really don't care what anyone else thinks about my appearance.
I get snide comments and condescending facial expressions from strangers because of the way I look and dress. I do not do drugs, smoke or drink. I happen to attend a very prestigious private school, and I plan to study chemistry at a really good college when I graduate from high school next year.
I detest war, corruption, racism, sexism, injustice and violence. Please, fellow citizens of America, don't judge, lest ye be judged! Remember, we all are individuals, and we should all live and love together and let one another get on with our lives, right? Yes, I'm a girl of 17 who likes to have a unique style and look, but under all of that, I'm basically the same as everyone else, even those who look down upon me or judge me without ever getting to know me or hearing me speak a single sentence. Am I out of line to complain about this? — Alternative Girl, via email
ALTERNATIVE GIRL: I am a firm believer that a human being should be judged on his or her specific character and actions — and the character of the friends they keep.
Your situation is a great reminder for everyone to never judge a book by its cover. Take the time to understand the content inside, and keep an open mind. Each person has taken his or her own journey in life that has helped to shape them into the unique individual they are today.
I'll say that our society has come a long way in this regard over the decades, but it still has plenty of room for further improvement.
I commend you for seeking to become the best version of yourself with your ambition, discipline and desire to succeed in your chosen field.
ANSWER THE TOUGH QUESTIONS FIRST
DR. WALLACE: My daughter is extremely intelligent and graduated with honors from her high school this past June. She is 17 and will be 18 in another three months. When she was younger, she skipped second grade, allowing her to graduate early.
My daughter is extremely unhappy with my husband (her stepfather). Last night, when she came home after work, she announced that in a month she plans to move to her boyfriend's parents' house.
I don't like the boyfriend, and I must say that I do not like his mother either, especially since she is a nosy busybody. She and I have had several verbal disagreements regarding her micromanagement and deep involvement with my daughter and her son. She's literally right in the middle of their relationship, doling out advice on every single topic like it's candy on Halloween. She should spend more time teaching her son to be a gentleman and mind her own business when it comes to my child.
Since my daughter won't be legal for another three months, can I consider her a runaway and have her boyfriend's parents arrested for harboring a runaway? — Frustrated, Upset Mother, via email
FRUSTRATED, UPSET MOTHER: Most states would consider a 17-year-old high school graduate an emancipated minor, which would allow her to leave home without parental permission. A call to a legal aid department would be helpful in garnering details on the specific laws in your state.
With all due respect, Mom, you may be taking the wrong approach to this brewing crisis, in my humble opinion. There is so much negativity emanating from your communication that I'm concerned the atmosphere in your household may be one of the reasons your daughter is seeking to flee.
Is your daughter simply more interested in getting out of your home than she is in going to live with another specific family? What is the problem between your daughter and her stepfather? Is it possible that the rift can potentially be mended via open dialogue, or has it already developed into a no-win situation? I suggest you strive to answer these questions before you try to solve your problem via avenues of legal recourse.
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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