DR. WALLACE: My best friend and I got into a very heated argument regarding my boyfriend last week. We both said things to each other that caused a lot of hurt. When I got home afterwards I went straight to bed and cried myself to sleep.
The next day I told my mother all about the incident and she said that I was right in the argument and that I should write this girl off as a friend. Then my friend called me last night and told me she was really sorry for her part of the argument. She said she really misses being friends with me and wants us to be friends again.
When I talked to my mom about this she still thought we should not be friends again because of what this girl said. The truth is that I said the same kind of stuff to my friend, or even worse. I really miss my friend and wish we could be friends again.'
My mother suggested that I write to you and find out what you have to say about this problem and she said that I should heed your advice. — Nameless, Jackson, Tenn.
NAMELESS: Keep the friendship alive! Both you and your friend want to forgive and forget, so it would be foolish to allow a single argument, and words spoken in anger, to cause the friendship to end. The friendship will likely be stronger because it survived the argument, especially when you both are gentle when next you disagree!
I WILL NEVER SMOKE
DR. WALLACE: You said that parents who smoke will have kids who smoke. That just isn't so. My mom is a heavy smoker, but she keeps telling me that smoking is a terrible habit and that she will never allow me to smoke. And I'm sure that I never will.
So I think your theory is all wrong. — Nameless, Galesburg, Ill.
NAMELESS: I said that there is a high correlation between parents who smoke and teens who follow their parent's tobacco habit. However, what parents say about not smoking is highly effective.
A study by Dartmouth Medical School found that, contrary to prevailing opinion, parents wield a big influence on whether their children smoke or not. A research team headed by Dr. James Sargent, associate professor of pediatrics, surveyed 372 rural Vermont fourth through eleventh graders who had never smoked. They were questioned about their parents' views on smoking and whether their friends smoked. The young people were contacted again two years later.
Of the 284 who said their parents disapproved of smoking, 19 percent had become smokers in two years. In contrast, 27 percent of the young people who said their parents were lenient about smoking ended up succumbing to the habit.
The study showed that parents do play a big role in their teen's choice about tobacco use. Surprisingly, parents who smoked but disapproved of their children ever doing so had just as much influence as parents who did not smoke at all. While other research has shown that peer pressure has a major influence on a teen's smoking behavior, this study has found that strong parental influence often overpowers peer pressure, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is good news when teens listen and obey parents who deliver a strong, clear message about behavior!
Mom deserves credit for "encouraging" you to remain smoke-free. Now if she could just "kick the nicotine habit," it would be wonderful!
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.