DR. WALLACE: I live with my older sister and our mother, who divorced our father over a decade ago. We have had no contact with my father since we were little girls. In fact, we barely remember him at all. My sister is very beautiful, and she's a popular student at school. But even though my sister has a nice figure, my mother has been on her case the last several months to lose some weight. Mom has this philosophy that a girl can never be too thin or too pretty. Because of this, my sister is starting to starve herself! In the past months, she's lost more than 12 pounds and is now what I would call super thin.
I'm worried about her, and so is her boyfriend. He even asked me at school one day what was going on with my sister. I've discussed this with Mom, but she doesn't seem worried at all. Let me know what I should do, if anything. Maybe I am just butting in here, but there is this little voice in the back of my mind telling me I should do or say something. — Worried Little Sister, via email
WORRIED LITTLE SISTER: Talk with your school counselor, a nurse or a favorite teacher, and explain your sister's condition and situation. Ask one of these professionals to talk with your mother first and then to your sister. If your sister could be anorexic or preanorexic, she should receive professional counseling immediately.
You are wise to speak up. If it turns out that nothing is wrong, you can tell both your mom and your sister that you love them and only want to look out for them and their well-being. And if it turns out there is a problem, you will have done a great thing to seek professional help at an early stage, before a bigger problem might arise.
GIVE TEEN WOMEN A BREAK!
DR. WALLACE: I'm angry that you encourage all girls, even mentally, emotionally and physically mature young women, not to get involved with older guys. You're dead wrong in your assumption that older guys and teenage girls shouldn't be engaged in romantic relationships.
I've just turned 17. I'm a gifted student and emotionally wise beyond my years. Why should I get involved with a guy my age, who is a slave to his animal lust and who thinks he wants to be an automobile mechanic if and when he ever graduates from high school?
I recently met a guy at a college lecture, and we have been seeing each other for over a month. He has taken me to a new level of being in love. He is a wonderful, mature, intelligent and compassionate man who cares about our country's future. He's 28 years old. What 17-year-old boy do you know who has any of these marvelous qualities, much less all of them at one time? Give us intelligent, mature young women a break. Instead of focusing on the age differences, consider the maturity differences of all couples. — Mature Teen Who Can Handle Older Men, via email
MATURE TEEN: You may be the exception in dating an older man, but in the great majority of cases where teen girls see older guys, the teen winds up the loser. You're still a minor, and he's long been an adult by now. You have not mentioned your parents, if you still have them, and what their feelings are, or your current living arrangements if your parents are not in the picture. In any case, I'd suggest that you wait to enter any type of relationship with someone this much older than you are until you are at least a legal adult of 18.
Many men seek teen girls because they aren't able to find women their own age who want to have a relationship with them. Many female teens feel flattered to have an older guy show interest in them. But flattery can often lead to a lot of problems for some teen girls!
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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