DR. WALLACE: My parents want me to study hard to try to get a scholarship to a large college about 25 miles from our home, but I don’t feel that is realistic for me.
I’m a boy who will become an official man when I turn 18 in four months. I have decent grades but I’m not even close to a scholarship level. I’ve had consistent grades over all four years of high school, so I think that for these last five months studying all day and night is not going to make a huge difference.
I also asked my very bright girlfriend to look into this scholarship idea and she told me after she researched the matter that I literally have no shot at one!
The good news is that I’m very interested in attending a vocational trade school in an area I’m really interested in. If I succeed there, I’d be able to acquire a really good job that pays quite well. That’s my preferred plan, and since I’ll be 18 soon that decision should be mine soon enough, right? — Trade School Bound, via email
TRADE SCHOOL BOUND: Given the background you’ve provided in your letter I agree with your strategy. You researched the possibility of a scholarship and realized that path was very remote for your current circumstances. You have a good plan in place when it comes to your first job after high school as well.
Trade and vocational schools these days are excellent opportunities for individuals who are interested in learning valuable skills that can lead to a fruitful and often lucrative career. Those who study hard and apply themselves in these fields often succeed and enjoy the work as well.
CAN MY MOM SEND ME TO A FOSTER HOME?
DR. WALLACE: I’m a 15-year-old girl who is growing up fast. I have a lot of friends and we all like to have fun together. We laugh a lot, and we hang out as much as we can. My mother doesn’t like this, and she doesn’t like my friends either, so she tells me to get new friends and to stop acting so silly around my friends. She says this because she sees and hears us laughing a lot.
So lately now my mom tells me that since I seem to never listen to her anymore that she’s going to send me to a foster care home if I don’t behave as she wants me to. Do you think she is serious about this threat? And if she is, could that even be possible? It’s not like I’m an orphan or anything like that. — A Girl With Fun Friends, via email
A GIRL WITH FUN FRIENDS: Your mother is probably tired of chirping at you for what she views as your unacceptable behavior, and this is causing her to make these statements to try to shock you into calming down and behaving more in a manner that she prefers.
Why not try to keep your friends but also get along at least a bit better with your mother? Do what you can when you can to be helpful to her and let her know how much you appreciate how much she does for you. This might sound counterintuitive, but I trust it will help take some of the edge off her frustration. Also remember to give mom a big hug here and there and tell her that you love her. This will also help to lower the tension between the two of you.
Since you like your friends and your social life, do your part to protect that valuable part of your life. Keep your behavior within reasonable limits and seek to enjoy your time with your friends but simultaneously seek to keep your mother’s blood pressure from boiling over. You’ll soon be 16 and it’s time you start to realize that it takes forethought and good decisions to live your best and most compatible life by taking into consideration everyone around you.
Do this and the talk about foster homes will cease, which will be a good thing for both you and your mother.
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.