DR. WALLACE: I'm 16, and my brother is 17, and we both date regularly. I've got an 11:30 p.m. curfew, except for rare special occasions, yet my brother's curfew is always midnight. When I asked my parents about the 30-minute difference, they simply said, "Because we said so."
If they would have said, "Your brother is a year older, so he can stay out later," I'd have my answer and would likely accept that. But I can't accept their lame answer of "because we said so." I think they're making me come home earlier because I am a girl, not because I'm younger. When it comes to chores at our house, we both have equal work. And when it comes to our allowances, we both get the exact same amount. So, why isn't it equal when it comes to our curfew times?
I realize there's probably nothing you can do to get my curfew extended and I know my parents might even be upset when (and if!) they read my letter in your column, but I know it will cause them to at least think about my concerns and my viewpoint here.
Do you think that I should have the same curfew as my big brother? I hope I didn't put you on the spot with my question. All I want is your honest answer either way. — Earlier Curfew, via email
EARLIER CURFEW: I don't want to second-guess your parents about their curfew for you, but from what I've gathered in your letter, I do believe the likely reason is your age. However, I fully agree with your point about the disclosure of a reason, so I do believe it would be best if they would tell you their reasoning for this rule of theirs. An answer of "because I said so" in response to a child's question sounds a bit weak in this day and age. Young people socialize more, are more mature at younger ages and deserve to be treated accordingly.
Your parents, however, are the bosses, and you should honor their rules whether or not you are provided a more complete explanation. For the record, you can tell them that I agree with you on the explanation portion of their rule, but I firmly agree with them on the time of your curfew. Your curfew is quite reasonable for a 16-year-old.
READERS, WE'D LIKE YOUR FEEDBACK PLEASE!
READERS: There are times that very difficult-to-answer questions arrive in our inbox from readers who understandably find themselves in a quandary. One letter we received many years ago fit this description and was thought-provoking on many levels. Since society and societal norms have changed and evolved so very much over the past few decades, my staff and I have selected this particular letter to present to today's audience to request feedback on. Let's call this "Project Feedback," because the goal my staff and I have is to study how readers view past topics in today's world.
We will follow up and print some of the most interesting, representative answers by our readers in a future column.
Here is the gist of the original letter submitted years ago:
A 19-year-old wife wrote that she was pregnant, but there was a possibility that the baby's biological father was not her husband.
The mother-to-be, at a weak moment, confessed in her letter to me that she had sex with her husband's best friend. A girlfriend advised her to inform her husband that the baby might not be his. The pregnant wife said that she really didn't want to tell her husband because it might ruin their marriage. She asked me what she should do given these circumstances.
It was a very difficult question to answer back then. I had to give the lady in question what I thought was the right answer back at that time. For now, I will withhold the answer I gave back then so that today's readers can weigh in without any influence my original answer might spark.
We would like to hear what our readers think about this, both our younger teen readers and those who are old enough to have teens as children or grandchildren. We are very blessed to have readers of all ages who follow this column, and we would like to hear from each generation on this particular situation. Please contact my staff and I via email with your suggested answer if you would like your opinion and reasoning to be considered as an answer to this question. Provide your reasoning in as much detail as you feel is appropriate to support your answer. As we receive our valued readers' opinions, we will compile the data for a feature column in the near future.
Finally, since we are on the topic of evolving societal norms, please point out and suggest any other debatable topics where you've noticed society's stance has evolved and what your current (and perhaps past) take is. Include your first name and city if you wish for us to reference you, should your input be used in print.
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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