DR WALLACE: I'm 13 and never, ever have any money to spend. I'm too young to get a job, and I do my chores faithfully. I'm not asking for much money, but I feel weird when my friends ask me why I never have any money, and I have to reply by saying my parents simply don't give any.
My dad says kids shouldn't get handouts for doing chores. But having no money is lousy, even at my age. You'd be surprised at all the ways my friends find to spend the money their parents give them.
I can't buy anything or go anywhere that costs money. When I do get money as a gift, my parents make me put it in the bank, and I even have to show my dad my bank statements! Do you think I should get an allowance now that I'm officially a teenager? I should also tell you that at least my dad did get me a nice cellphone, and he pays the monthly charges for it. — Cash-Poor Teen, via email
CASH-POOR TEEN: I'm in favor of allowances if the family finances can afford it. If properly supervised, an allowance can be an important learning tool for children, teaching them how to save, budget and spend their money wisely.
If your father is used to having you do regular unpaid chores at home, ask him politely, on a day and time that he's in a good mood, if you can do a bit extra work for him to earn a modest bit of money.
Explain that you'd like to have a bit of money to spend like your friends do but that you will also bank and save a good portion (say, 50%) of all money you earn.
If good old dad still won't go for this, ask him if you can do paid yard work for an elderly neighbor, or even offer to do dog-walking or give car washes in your neighborhood to earn some money, all with his advance approval and blessing. I trust that if you approach your father earnestly, he's quite likely to accommodate you in one way or another.
KEEP BUSY TO RECOVER QUICKER
DR. WALLACE: I'm 15, and the guy I really care for broke up with me today for another girl. This really upset me. I feel depressed and in need of a real ego boost. It's a terrible feeling to be dumped, especially as a teenager, because I now have to explain what happened to all of my girlfriends.
What can I do to get over it as quickly as possible? How long will it take for me to feel good about myself again? Worst of all, these days, I always wonder what my ex is doing, and that drives me crazy. — Dumped and Depressed, via email
DUMPED AND DEPRESSED: Most of us have been dumped at one time or another, and it always hurts, irrespective of our gender or circumstance. Here's the good news: You will recover! And this is likely to occur much sooner than you would think.
It will take some time, but the process of recovery can be hastened with a good attitude. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, and do your best to redirect your focus. Keep moving, and resist the urge to rethink things over and over again. Yes, you should grieve for the relationship for a brief period of time, but then move on. It sounds as if you may have already had some time to grieve, so now focus on getting involved more with friends and family. Indeed, use the pain you feel as an opportunity to broaden your horizons.
Get involved in something new — volunteer work or some activity that your family or friends enjoy that you might not yet have tried. The more you put yourself out there the sooner you'll meet the person who will make you realize breaking up with your ex actually might have been one of the luckiest days of your life!
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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