Dr. Wallace:

My parents have been married for 18 years and now they have decided to part ways by agreeing to get a divorce. Even though my mom and dad did not seem happy and argued quite a bit, their decision to get a divorce has come as a complete shock to me.

I was told last night that my dad will be moving out of the house in a few days and that my mom and my younger brother and I will be staying in our house. Now I’m really worried about our future. I’m angry that they couldn’t work things out and keep our family together.

Sometimes my parents got into a heated discussion about my grades and the amount of time I spend with my boyfriend. This has caused me to feel guilty and partly responsible for their breakup. I love both of my parents very much and I always will regardless of what the future will bring. Please convince me that I’m not to blame for their separation. I know deep down that I’m not to blame, but yet I have this gnawing feeling that I am. Please help.

— Nameless,

Shreveport, La.

Nameless: When parents decide to end their marriage, their decision was not made because of their children’s behavior. They go separate ways because they feel a divorce will make their lives more enjoyable. You did nothing to upset them and they just wanted out.

Divorce is a time of change, but the love a parent shares with a child doesn’t go away because one of the parents is no longer living in the house. Divorce creates a new life and new challenges. Parental love from each parent can still make the future bright for their children. Stay in contact as much as possible with your father.

Dr. Wallace: Last week I had to see the school nurse because I had a fever and an upset stomach. The nurse called my mom and said to come to school and pick me up because I was sick.

When my mother arrived, the nurse told her she should change my eating habits because I was obese. I admit that I am chubby and should probably lose 30 to 35 pounds, but I am not obese.

My mother and I are disappointed with the nurse for calling me obese. Mom wants to tell the principal about this, but I don’t think she should. What do you think! Regardless, I will never see the nurse again, even if I’m dying.

— Nameless,

San Jose, Calif.

Nameless: Tell mom to forget about meeting with the principal. The nurse meant no harm.

“Obesity” is a clinical term, not an insult. Someone is considered obese if she weighs at least 20 percent more than the ideal weight for her height. For example, if you should weigh 130 pounds, you’d be considered obese if you weighed 156 pounds or more.

The school nurse was not calling you a name. She was simply informing your mother that it might be wise for you to change your eating pattern to reduce your calorie consumption, thus losing some excess weight.

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.

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