Updated: April 25, 2013 6:35AM
Dr. Wallace: I’ll make this short and simple. Carrie is (was) my best friend. We even shared a locker at school. Last week she asked me if I had seen her class ring, which, she said, was left in our locker. I told her I hadn’t seen it. The next day, she took all of her things out of the locker and left a note that said only one word: “Thief.” I was totally shocked. I couldn’t believe what she had done. I tried to talk to her at school and went by her house to find out what had happened, but she wouldn’t talk with me.
Yesterday at school, she came running up to me all bubbly and said that she found her class ring in a side pocket of her backpack. She never used that pocket before, so she hadn’t bothered to check in it. She said she was wrong for accusing me of taking the ring and for writing the one-word note. She also said that she would like to become my locker partner again.
I told her I needed a little time to think about it. I have made up my mind, but still, I am wondering what you would advise me to do.
Pat, Tampa, Fla.
Pat: Carrie made a serious mistake — one that cannot be easily undone. Sometimes an action changes things forever, and her vicious unwarranted accusation of you falls into that category.
I don’t see how things can ever be the same between you. She needs to demonstrate her remorse for what she did and ask your forgiveness. A superficial apology just won’t cut it. My advice to you would be not to continue on as locker partner with someone so untrustworthy. If she wants your friendship back, she must work hard to earn it.
Dr. Wallace: I’m 16, and my brother is 15, and we are good friends. My mom is nice to me, but she spends more time pleasing her son. My dad is nice to my brother, but he is stricter with my brother than he is with me.
My brother and I agree that favoritism takes place, and we both take advantage of it. Would you say the mother-son and father-daughter thing happens in most families?
Nameless, Atlanta, Ga.
Nameless: Good question. There are probably fault lines in every family to some extent — with a parent’s affection seeming to flow easier to one child than another, and ditto the discipline. And it just may be, if one were to look for a pattern, that dads are generally tougher on their sons, and moms are tougher on their daughters.
It is my experience, however, that in most families this doesn’t develop into outright favoritism. Most parents love all of their children equally, even if they sometimes show it to their children in different ways.
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