DR. WALLACE: My son and his three good friends are huge sports fans. Almost every Saturday and Sunday, they are glued to my 60-inch television set watching sports. Football, I think, is their favorite because they cheer or boo the loudest during football games, especially when Notre Dame is playing.
About a month ago, one of the boys brought over two 6-packs of beer, and all four of them had three beers. Since I'm divorced, I decided that it would be better that my son drink in the house rather than somewhere else.
Lately, the boys have been drinking a lot more. After last Saturday's game, I counted 20 empty beer cans. That's a lot of beer for four guys to drink in an afternoon.
I told my son that this "beer thing" has gotten out of hand and I didn't want any more beer drunk in our house. Of course, my son became upset and said all the guys are over 18 and that if they were old enough to go to work, they were old enough to enjoy a beer or two (or three) relaxing watching sports on the weekend.
All four boys are high school graduates and work for the same construction company, owned by the father of one of the friends. What should I do? It's going to be hard to stop this "beer bash." — Mom, South Bend, Indiana
MOM: You're right that it has gotten out of hand. If they are going to take advantage of your hospitality — and your 60-inch television — they are going to have to show you respect and obey your rules.
My advice is to lay down the law, in no uncertain terms. Explain to them that if one of them, after getting inebriated in your living room, gets into an auto accident on the way home, you could be held responsible for the damages and even arrested for allowing underage teens to drinking your home with your consent. You should also mention that you would be devastated if an innocent person was harmed by one of the boys driving home after consuming alcohol in your presence.
You have no choice but to inform the boys that you no longer will allow them to drink beer at your house. My guess is that the allure of football on the big screen will be enough to get them to accept your hospitality on your terms. Offer soft drinks, juices and "yummy" snacks. That should be more than enough.
BLAME THE MOVIE "CINDERELLA"
DR. WALLACE: I'm a stepmother to two children who live with their mother. I do everything I can to be fair to the children when they come over to visit their father. I'm kind, gentle and very compassionate towards them. Still, they consider me to be the "evil" stepmother. I had nothing whatsoever to do with their parents' divorce. I didn't meet their father until a year after he was divorced.
I've talked with several other stepmothers, and they, too, often get the "evil" treatment. I realize that children suffer when parents separate, but why blame the stepmother unless she caused the split?
Where in the world did the phrase "evil stepmother" come from? I never hear about any evil stepfathers. — Stepmother, Lafayette, Louisiana
STEPMOTHER: In, time, your stepchildren will accept you as a good family member because you are a kind, gentle and compassionate person.
The burden of a stepmother being "evil" can be traced back to the Grimm Brothers' story of "Cinderella." It was brought to the screen in living color when Walt Disney's "Cinderella" was an extremely popular family film.
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.