DR. WALLACE: I am an 18-year-old young lady and will graduate from high school next spring. I'm a good student, and I don't do drugs, alcohol or tobacco, but I am sexually active with my boyfriend. We have been for more than two years, and I'm proud of it. So is my mother. She encouraged me to get into a sexual relationship when I was 16 so I won't have sexual hang-ups when I get married.
I know you are not in favor of premarital teen sex, but I'm living proof that it can be successful. I did have an abortion last year, but we now use full protection, and I do not believe an unwanted pregnancy will ever happen to me again. You should know that there are different ideas that can succeed when it comes to teen sexual behavior. — Happily Active, San Francisco
HAPPILY ACTIVE: Encouraging a 16-year-old daughter to enter into a sexual relationship is ludicrous! If wisdom were a requirement for being a parent, your mother might not have qualified. Premarital teenage sex causes an enormous amount of heartbreak, anguish and emotional trauma for many young women.
I've received thousands of responses from teenage girls over the years that indicated they were very sorry they became sexually active early in life, and very few responses from girls who were happy with having sexual relationships before they became adults. You may indeed be an exception, but you should understand your circumstances are quite rare.
I stand by my advice that teenage girls should avoid premarital sex. There is a time and place for them to become sexually active, but based on my vast experience and observation of the high school age range, these years are not the ones. Quite often, far more harm than good ensues for those that do not wait.
WE GIRLS ARE NOT BABIES
DR. WALLACE: A 77-year-old man lives with our family, and here is my problem: Every time we go somewhere, he always says, "Do you babies want anything?" Or he says, "Can I bring you kiddies anything home?"
I am almost 13, and my sister is almost 11, so I wouldn't consider us babies at our ages. We are almost young women, especially me. I tried to ignore him, but it still bothers me. What can I do about this ridiculous problem? — Not a Child, via email
NOT A CHILD: You really don't have a problem. You are overlooking an important point: The 77-year-old gentleman is being thoughtful and kind to your sister and you. Yes, his language is quite old-fashioned and from an era long ago, but it appears to me that he means well by engaging you in conversation and looking out for you.
If being called "baby" or "kiddie" bothers you that much, politely tell the gentleman that you would really enjoy being referred to as "young ladies" or your first names. He may understand and adjust right away. However, if he does not make the change (remember, he might forget occasionally and not be doing it intentionally), you can tell him that you enjoy calling him by his first name, not "pops," "gramps" or "old-timer." Tell him it would be very nice if you all called each other your first names.
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.