Teenagers’ Decisions

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“Suzanne Gelb Image”

”Today’s Youth – Can They be Tomorrow’s Leaders?”


Dear Dr. Gelb:

When I look at today’s youth and the gangs, promiscuity, bad grades and crazy dress, and I think that some of them may be tomorrow’s leaders, this scares me. Maybe we need stronger restraints from government, even though I usually favor less government. Have we abused free choice to the point where control from an outside force is required?

Out of Control

A: Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Out of Control:

Sometimes I have concerns about that issue myself, especially when I go to the mall, drive by a schoolyard, or go in a restaurant where some young people hang out. However, as bad as it may seem, as a therapist I have had occasion to work with young people who suffered a lot of emotional agony, and they have taken advantage of the therapy to turn their lives around. The future has looked especially bright where parents have improved their skills to guide their children. This has led me to think and hope that there are probably many young people who will survive and become good leaders, just like there were those who survived the rebellion of the 60’s.

”Teenage Co-operation – Is it Too Late?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

My 15-year-old only wears these awful clothes that market a rock band, and she hangs out with kids that are addicted to this fashion. She won’t wear anything else I am having trouble putting my foot down. Otherwise, she has not given us much trouble although I have always let her pick her clothes, most of which I have not liked, but it has never been this outrageous. Is it too late to get co-operation? Should I threaten punishment to get her co-operation?

Dress Code

A: Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Dress Code:

Once a child passes age 12, I believe it is probably too late for serious change. As one parent who is struggling with her 14-year-old’s attire commented, “My foot should have come down the first shopping spree that I took Lisa on and allowed her to buy unacceptable attire.” That parent realized that any change that would come about now would probably have to come from her child, unless the parent can resolve the emotional reasons that prompted allowing the child to get away with it this long. Good luck.

Dear Readers:

Answers to questions in today’s column can be supplemented with excerpts from “Yesterday’s Children” (pp. 16-17) written by psychologists Marti Barham, R.N., Ph.D. and Tom Greene, Ph.D. For more information visit my Web site at:”’
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his long. www.DrGelbSays.com

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

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