DR. WALLACE: My 16th birthday is coming up in a few weeks, and all my relatives are going to get me gifts. I'm a girl who knows what she likes, but I really don't think it's realistic to think my older relatives are going to get me gifts I'd truly enjoy. Most are from another generation that doesn't understand too much about today's teens!
So, my dilemma is that my mom always asks me for gift suggestions and then gets mad when I say, "I'd like some cold hard cash!" I don't understand why she gets upset with me, because I'm only answering her question honestly. I've even seen my mom in the past return gifts that were given to her by friends! She simply went to the department store and got cash for the purchase price. If people were to just give me cash, it would be less of a hassle than returning an unwanted gift, and this way, I could go out and select the exact kinds of gifts that I would truly enjoy and get the most benefit from. Don't you agree? — Realistic Cash-Loving Teen, via email
CASH-LOVING TEEN: I am not opposed to you telling your relatives that you prefer money for your birthday. And yes, a gift should make the recipient happy.
In your case, if you do end up with cash, you might later inform a few of your relatives of what you were able to buy with the funds they provided. It's a way to complete the circle of gift giving and receiving. If you bought a piece of clothing or an accessory, for example, you could later show it to a relative and thank him or her for providing the funds to purchase it!
MAJOR HAIRSTYLE CHANGE BRINGS TENSION
DR. WALLACE: Our 16-year-old daughter had beautiful brown hair that flowed to her waist in the back. I thought she enjoyed having long hair, but lately, she started complaining that it was too difficult to manage. When she wanted to get it cut, I reluctantly agreed.
Well, when my daughter came back from the hair salon after getting her haircut, I didn't even recognize her at first! In fact, I broke down crying. Her hair was so short that it looked like a haircut worn by girls who play sports on television. I really don't understand why she got her hair cut so short.
Needless to say, we haven't been saying much to each other lately. Do you think my daughter is trying to send me some sort of social signal by having very, very short hair? To make matters more unsettling, her boyfriend seems to like her hair even better short. — Confused Mother, via email
CONFUSED MOTHER: You're making way too much out of your daughter's hairstyle, almost to the point that I'm tempted to ask, what exactly is it that you love — your daughter or her long hair? Short hair isn't worth a single tear, and it most certainly is not worth damaging your relationship with your child. She has done nothing wrong here.
Your daughter, at the age of 16, has the right to wear her hair as she sees fit. Your daughter is growing up, and daughters often cut their hair to symbolize a break from childhood.
Now it's time to show your daughter how much you love her. Give her hugs and kisses, not frowns and the dreaded and harmful silent treatment. Forget about making her short hair an issue. It's the least of your worries. Hair grows longer every day. A relationship that's been cut off doesn't renew itself so easily. Don't let that happen for even one more day. Get over it, and get on with letting her know how much you love and accept her as she is.
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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