DR. WALLACE: I'm the mother of a 16 1/2-year-old girl. Next month, my husband is going to Hawaii for a week, as he just heard that the state has allowed visitors who test negative for COVID-19 to move about the state freely. His job involves coffee crops and harvests, and of course, some of the greatest coffee in the world is grown in the lava-rich soil of our 50th state.
He works for a major coffee distributor, and this company said that I could go with my husband, and they will pay my expenses. Visiting Hawaii has always been a dream of mine! And learning to do the hula dance has been one of the top items on my bucket list!
My daughter doesn't want me to get a babysitter for her, especially during these sensitive times. She says she can take care of herself. I must admit she isn't as mature a young lady as I wish she were at this tender age. Please give me your recommendation on what I should do. We do have several close family members and friends who could check up on her, and we can always FaceTime her while we are gone.
Even though I think she would be all right, there is something in the back of my mind that bothers me about potentially leaving her at home alone. Am I just an overprotective mom, or is my subconscious giving me good advice in its usual subtle manner? — Dream Vacation Anxiety, via email
DREAM VACATION ANXIETY: Do not allow your daughter to remain home alone for a full week at her age. If a babysitter is out of the question, see if she can stay with one of your trusted family friends or with a logical, compatible and trustworthy member of your family.
If these options are not available, I suggest that you stay home with her and practice the hula dance in your living room for now. Perhaps you'll have another opportunity to join your husband on a future business trip once your daughter is a bit older and in college. And don't forget that your husband might be open to traveling with you to Hawaii in a few years purely for a nice vacation, at a time when he does not have business meetings. I trust there would be new places and islands he has not yet had time to explore!
SECONDHAND SMOKE IS ALWAYS DANGEROUS
DR. WALLACE: I'd like to address this letter to all adults (including my mother and father) who smoke cigarettes in the family home. I know you address this topic often, and that's great because it is such an important topic, especially during these times when we spend so much time in our homes.
The Environmental Protection Agency has conducted many extended studies on secondhand smoke. These reports state that secondhand smoke contains carcinogens and dramatically increases the risk of pneumonia and bronchitis in young people. It kills about 3,000 nonsmokers every year because of the lung cancer it causes.
Now that we are positive that secondhand smoke is a potential killer, I would hope that all smokers quit smoking immediately. If they can't quit cold turkey, then they should get professional assistance to stop this expensive, nasty and deadly habit.
Smokers used to say: "Don't bother me about smoking. I'm only hurting myself, not you." This has been proven untrue for many years now.
Parents, you are all loved very much, and we don't want to lose you because you have a smoking habit. And I know you don't want to lose us because you have to satisfy a nicotine habit. Please allow love to overcome your desire to remain beholden to a dangerous smoking habit. Most smokers have said that they would like to stop smoking. Is there a better time than today? — End Secondhand Smoke, via email
END SECONDHAND SMOKE: Thank you for taking the time to demonstrate your passion about this very important topic. You've provided excellent advice, and I'm a big admirer of those who earnestly seek to help others and make the world a better place. I couldn't have said it better myself!
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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