DR. WALLACE: I'm 16 and have been dating for over a year. I've gone out with several guys and have had wonderful times. I really think dating is an excellent experience in a teen's life. My older sister is 17 and a half, and she has never been on a date yet in her life. She likes guys, but she is just too shy to go out with one. The guy I am presently dating has an older brother who's 18, thinks my sister is cute and would like to take her out. He asked me to encourage my sister to say yes when he calls her. He called her last school year, and she wouldn't go out with him. Should I tell my sister this guy is going to call her again this school year and encourage her to go out with him, now that they are both a year older? — Hopeful, Helpful Sister, via email
HOPEFUL, HELPFUL SISTER: Tell your sister she will be getting a phone call from the brother of the guy you are dating and encourage her to say yes this time. You might even suggest a double date with you and your guy, which might make her more comfortable. If she again refuses, don't force the issue. Tell her you understand and will respect her wishes, but let her know you'll be there to assist her if she ever changes her mind. When the day she does decide to start dating arrives, I'm sure you'll be one of the first to know.
ALATEEN TO THE RESCUE
DR. WALLACE: I want to sincerely commend you for encouraging the teen girl from Battle Creek, Michigan, to contact Alateen. She needed help because her mom and dad were alcoholics.
I also came from an alcoholic family. My grandmother, mother and older sister all fell into the grip of alcoholism, and I'm convinced that without Alateen and my sponsor, I would have gone down the same path. It saved my life and has given me something I never expected: self-esteem and happiness.
The friends I've met via Alateen are the closest ones I now have and always there for me when I need them. They and the program have kept me from slipping into insanity many, many times. I am forever indebted to them for their strength and providing me with hope when I most needed it.
Teens, if loved ones' alcohol consumption is causing turmoil in your life, you're not alone. Contact Alateen. They will help make your life better! — Feeling Better, Tampa, Florida
FEELING BETTER: Alateen, a part of the nonprofit organization Al-Anon Family Groups, is for young people whose lives are being hurt by someone else's drinking. You can contact Al-Anon or Alateen by going online to find the nearest local chapter. I am pleased to hear you are feeling better and that this very valuable organization has been a big help to you.
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.