DR. WALLACE: I'm 17 and considered to be a very attractive young female. For the past three months, I've been dating a nice guy, one who is every girl's dream. He is beyond handsome, highly intelligent, has a marvelous sense of humor and is the star basketball player on our school basketball team. He is the best date that I have ever gone out with, and I want our relationship to continue. I really don't want to lose him.
But if I don't change one of my flaws, that could happen. When he and I are out on a date and I see a cute guy giving me the "eye," I respond by winking at him and then giving him my best smile. Of course, my boyfriend has never seen me flirt like this. It happens real fast, and my guy has never seen me wink — not even once! I really get a rush when a guy I'm flirting with winks and smiles back at me.
Honestly, I wouldn't dump my boyfriend for any of the guys I flirt with, but I just can't seem to make myself stop winking at attractive guys. I know it has to stop before I lose a guy I truly value. What makes me flirt? It's like I'm addicted to being a flirt. — Flirty Girl, Syracuse, New York
FLIRTY GIRL: When boys respond to your wink and smile, you are having your needs satisfied. As in, "I need to be wanted and feel desirable." This also shows a lack of maturity on your part. Since you claim your current boyfriend is almost the perfect guy, you better keep your eyes on him and leave others alone.
Remember this: You don't know every single other guy who might be friends with your boyfriend. After all, he's on a sports team and is a popular young man. Imagine that the very next guy you wink at is actually going to be one of his friends. You don't know that he's not. Of course, this other boy will tell your boyfriend all about your winking. Hopefully, thinking this through will keep you from doing any more flirtatious winking. Don't spoil a good thing with immature behavior.
KNOW THE SIGNS OF DRUG USAGE
DR. WALLACE: Our family lives in an area of Chicago that has an overabundance of criminal activity, including drug selling and drug using. Our oldest son is 16, and so far, we believe that he is not using any kind of drugs, but we can't guarantee that he will remain that way.
What signs would we be looking for that would indicate our son may be using drugs? We don't want to accuse him or confront him at this time, as he's been a pretty good kid. We just want to keep alert and know what to look for, just in case. — Vigilant Mom, Chicago
VIGILANT MOM: Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education, or PRIDE, offers 10 suggestions for parents to be alert and to help children resist drugs. I trust these will help you. This list goes beyond just what to look for in your child; it also addresses how to best interact with your child on a daily basis.
1. Always remember that you, the parent, are your child's most influential role model.
2. Set expectations for your child, and follow through. Be clear that you want no drug or alcohol use, and tell the child what you'll do if he or she does not meet the expectations. Then do it, if necessary.
3. Keep reminding the child about your expectations.
4. Take advantage of teachable moments.
5. Know what's going on in your child's life — at home, at school and out with friends.
6. Know the parents of your child's friends.
7. Encourage worthwhile activities such as YMCA, scouting and school activities, especially athletics.
8. Be supportive of community anti-drug programs.
9. Know what you are talking about when you discuss drug use with your child.
10. Know and recognize the signs of drug or alcohol abuse, and act swiftly if you suspect your child of involvement: irregular sleeping and eating patterns, becoming irritable easily, not wanting to be with family, always short of money, easily swayed by peer pressure, being forgetful and school grades dropping are a few of the more reliable signs.
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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