DR. WALLACE: My best friend and I are very close. I've been to her house and she's been to mine hundreds of times.
My friend's mother has been in Mexico for over a month because her mother is extremely ill. Yesterday when I was at my friend's house, her father became sexually aggressive and said some very bad things to me when I pushed him away.
My friend was on the telephone in another room talking with her mother when all this happened. I was very shocked. I've known my friend's father for over 10 years (I'm 15) and he has always been a gentleman. I still can't believe this happened. I went into the room where my friend was, and told her I had to go home. My friend told me to wait a few minutes, but I told her I had to leave immediately, but I didn't tell her why.
I told my parents what had happened and they, too, were shocked and in disbelief. They told me I could never ever go to my friend's house again and suggested I start looking around for a new friend. I convinced them not to tell my friend and her mother what happened. Her mother has enough problems of her own right now.
I will never be in my friend's house again, but I want to remain friends with her. She is a sweet girl and a wonderful friend. What should I tell her when she wonders why I stay away from her house — if my parents even allow me to keep her as a best friend? — Nameless, Del Rio, Tex.
NAMELESS: No matter what, your friend is going to know something is wrong. You must be honest with her. When she asks why you don't visit her house any more, simply tell her that her dad said some inappropriate things to you and that he frightened you. Explain that your parents refuse to allow you to visit her house any more, but that she can visit you at your house at any time.
The sins of the father should not be held against his daughter.
TEEN BLAMES THE MOVIES FOR TEEN PREGNANCIES
DR. WALLACE: In a recent column you said that the United States leads all industrialized countries in teen pregnancies. The figures you presented show that American teenage girls become pregnant before marriage three times more often than teenage girls in Sweden, which had the lowest rate.
What makes American teens so much more promiscuous than those in all other industrialized countries? I blame it on our movie industry. Do you agree? — Nameless, Cedar Lake, Ind.
NAMELESS: There is no doubt that the movie industry has an influence on teenage sexual behavior. However, movies are not the major cause of the extraordinary high teen pregnancy rate in the U.S.
The attitude in Sweden is that teens are going to be sexually active, so condoms are made available at public schools and health clinics free of charge — no questions asked. Also, sex education in schools is made available for all students who care to learn — and most do.
On this side of the Atlantic, the role of sex education is left mostly to the parents. Unfortunately, many parents ignore this important duty. The percentage of American teens who are sexually active is lower than that of Swedish teens, but we have a much higher percentage of teen pregnancies, due to a lack of sexual education and the use of free contraceptives.
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.