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Keep swimming, mom will be there in spirit

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Updated: January 23, 2012 2:18AM



Dr. Wallace: Two years ago, I joined a swim team. In that time, I have become a very good swimmer and enjoyed being a member of the team. My parents are very proud of me.

This past year, my mother became very ill. She has recovered, but now she doesn’t want to watch me perform because the pool area is hot and steamy, which causes her to get headaches. Because my mom won’t be there to give her support, I’m not sure I want to be on the swim team any longer.

My dad really wants me to continue to be part of the swim team. What should I do?

Nameless, Mission Viejo, Calif.

Nameless: Absolutely, positively stay on the swim team! Maybe Mom can’t be there in person, but she’ll be with you in spirit. I’m sure she would be extremely disappointed if you stopped swimming because of her. Being sick is bad enough all by itself. If it causes you to abandon your favorite sport, think how much worse she’ll feel.

Perhaps, she can attend some of your meets for a short while and leave before she feels too ill. I assume that your dad can attend at least some of the time. We all need someone cheering for us whenever possible.

But remember that this is also about your own health and well-being. Swimming is an excellent way to stay in shape. It’s one of the best possible exercises.

Dr. Wallace: I have a big problem with my so-called “friend.” We met in fourth grade, and he was a good friend at the time. We are now both 13.

Lately, he is hanging around with other guys and ignores me, except for the times he knocks me around, uses me as a punching bag, and calls me names. He is much bigger and stronger than I am. Should I call the police?

Nameless, Des Moines, Iowa

Nameless: Calling the police is an effective last resort, but there are several things you should do before taking that drastic step.

First, discuss your problem with your parents and ask one of them to talk with the parents of your “friend.” It would be better if this could be a face-to-face meeting, but a telephone call can suffice.

If you are being knocked around by this guy when you’re at school, contact your principal. And if possible, have a talk with a school administrator.

If these meetings do not stop this bully, go with your parents to a police station and file a complaint against your “friend.” When a police officer talks with a bully and his family, it’s 99.9 percent certain the harassment will end.

As a former high school administrator, I feel bullies should be severely disciplined. Trust me, they were when I was principal at Garden Grove High School in southern California.



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