DR. WALLACE: I'm 14 and my parents are really strict with me. I've got an outrageous curfew, have to be in my room at 10 p.m., and can't even think of going out with a boy. All of these restrictions are put on me because my older sister was rather wild. She drank, smoked and dabbled in drugs. She also had an abortion when she was 17.
My sister is now 21. She is in her third year of college and is on the dean's list for academic achievement. Her goal is to become a trial lawyer and I am sure that will happen. It appears that her "wild" side didn't cause her to be a bad person. Now my parents are very proud of her.
By making me sacrifice having a "normal" teen life and being a "good" girl, they are risking that I'll be the opposite of my sister. She went from bad to good. It could be that they think I could go from good to bad.
Do you see my point? — Rita, Tampa, Fla.
RITA: You can't be compared with your sister. You are responsible for your life and she for hers.
Do well in school; enjoy your friends; and talk with your parents about how you can earn more freedoms. And when they give them to you, I'm positive that you won't abuse them!
LESS T.V. MEANS BETTER GRADES
DR. WALLACE: I'm a teenage girl who doesn't watch a lot of television. Still, teens are criticized for having poor grades because of watching the "boob tube" instead of studying.
My parents watch a lot more television than I do! — Nameless, St. George, Utah.
NAMELESS: According to Nielsen Media Research, the typical home has the television on for a little over 7 1/2 hours every day. Females 55 and over view the most television programs, averaging about 6 1/3 hours daily, while men the same age are next with 5 1/2 hours of daily viewing time. Teenage girls watch the least amount of television averaging 3 hours daily. Because of the popularity of sports on television, teenage boys log 3 1/2 hours, on average, daily.
Since teens watch more television on the weekends, the school-night viewing is below 2 hours. Research by the University of Michigan showed that, on average, the less television viewing time for students, the better the grades.
STEAK AND CHEESE ARE NOT BAD FOODS
DR. WALLACE: I lift weights and need a diet that is energy-filled before I work out. I have been eating steak and cottage cheese, but another guy I lift weights with said those are bad foods. Why is this? - Bud, Flint, Mich.
BUD: You should be eating foods that are high in carbohydrates. Such dishes (pasta, bread, potatoes, rice) are quickly converted into glucose that your body needs for fast energy. Steak and cottage cheese are not bad foods; they're simply high-protein foods. They're not recommended before a workout because the stomach must work harder to digest them, which means you have less quick energy.
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. E-mail 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.