I’d like to respond to your response to the girl who was in the 11th grade and wanted to stay with her aunt in Newport Beach, Calif., rather than move to Pittsburgh with her family, so she could graduate with her friends. She also was involved in athletics and student government.
You said she should move with her family because she would be separated from her family for over a year. If she had been in the 12th grade you said you would have advised her to stay with her aunt.
As someone who had moved six times by the time I was in seventh grade, I can truly sympathize with this girl’s desire to finish her last year and a half with her classmates. Being a teen is tough enough without being ripped away from familiarity of her town and friends.
Young people need roots. My last move was when I was in seventh grade and that ended the moves. I went to high school at one school and did very well academically and participated in extracurricular activities.
If the girl had asked me for advice, I would have encouraged her to finish her high school education in Newport and then reunite with her family in Pittsburgh after graduation.
— Allison, Tampa, Fla.
Allison: Thanks for sharing your multi-move experience. I know it can be traumatic to be uprooted from a familiar school atmosphere and start all over somewhere else. But you haven’t changed my mind. Someone in the 11th grade has over a year to re-establish herself and turn the new school into her “real” school.
And over a year is simply too long for a young person to remain separated from her family, as far as I’m concerned. Mom and Dad’s guidance is more crucial than ever during those years. For that reason, I only recommend that high school seniors stay behind when a family moves (if appropriate arrangements can be made) so they can graduate with their class.
Dr. Wallace: My father is an alcoholic. He has a good job and rarely misses any work because he does almost all his drinking at home after work. We’ve tried to get him to quit drinking, but he says he needs alcohol to help ease the pressure of his job.
My boyfriend says alcoholism is an inherited trait and I have a good chance to become an alcoholic because it’s in my genes. I know this isn’t true, but he insisted that I write to you for an answer. There is no way I can become an alcoholic just because my father is one. I’ve never had a drink of alcohol and I don’t plan to. Please tell me I am correct.
Nameless: Your question can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Since alcoholism does tend to run in families, the children of alcoholics are at greater risk, according to “Youth and the Alcoholic Parent,” published by Al-Anon Family Groups. However, they also have greater motivation not to drink because they know first-hand its devastating consequences.
In your situation, the chances of you becoming an alcoholic are almost non-existent!