I Want To Help my Little Brother

By Dr. Robert Wallace

September 17, 2020 4 min read

DR. WALLACE: I'm 16 years old, and my little brother is just 7. He's a nice boy, and I only see him when I visit my dad. My little brother has his own room, and when I visit, I share a room with him at night since there are two beds in the room. This is fine. I don't have a problem with it, especially since he is a respectful little kid who is no trouble at all during the day. But I do notice that my little brother has a night light and keeps the door open. When I asked him about this, he said he's fine. But I've noticed that, some nights, he cries and whimpers during the night. It actually sounds like he's having nightmares. When this happens, I wake him up and try and ask him if he had a bad dream, but he always says he didn't. Now I don't know what to do. I sure would like to help him if possible — Concerned Older Sister, via email

CONCERNED OLDER SISTER: There can be many reasons why your little brother feels anxious about the dark. It's easy for a child's imagination to run wild sometimes.

You should get your father involved to teach your little brother how to self-soothe and feel secure in his bed at night. Oftentimes, a regular routine can be a big part of alleviating stress or worry that a young child might become susceptible to. With a suitable routine in place, this fear should eventually go away, usually after a period of a few weeks to a month or two.


DR. WALLACE: I'm a girl who is now 17, and I want to get a job. I know a lot of people lost jobs due to the COVID-19 virus and the fact that our country closed a big portion of our economy due to the pandemic.

But now, through networking with some of my friends, I've found two connections for suitable jobs that I could take on the weekends. However, my mom says no to me working and says that I can get an allowance from her.

So, this presents two problems. One, she only gives me a modest allowance that won't allow me to buy any clothing or accessories I like or any activities I wish to pursue. I want my own money so I can spend it however I want to!

I now know that I can absolutely get a job, but I don't want to make my mom mad, because other than this issue, we get along pretty well. What should I do? Or, better put, what can I do? — Eager to Earn, via email

EAGER TO EARN: For what it's worth, I think getting a part-time job is a great idea. I feel your mom may be more receptive to your idea if you first address that you'll promise to keep up your grades up in school.

I suggest you make any part-time job privileges dependent on your grades being at (or above!) your usual level of achievement.

Then, once the issue of your grades and studies is addressed, ask your mother if there is any other concern that she has. Since you mention that you have a very good relationship with her already, sit down with her at a suitable time and let her know just how important this is to you. Promise to follow whatever rules she may enact, and then keep your promises if you are allowed to work part time.

And if mom still won't allow it now, don't pout or start a fight. Ask her if there might be an opportunity to work at a future time, and keep politely asking her at regular intervals. I trust your opportunity to work will eventually come about.

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.

Photo credit: smengelsrud at Pixabay

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