Question: I am 14 and have crummy-looking pimples all over my face. What causes them, and what can I do to clear up my skin?

DR. DOBSON: Practically every part of your body is affected in one way or another by the period of change you are experiencing. Even your skin undergoes major changes, whether you are a boy or a girl.

A study of 2,000 teenagers asked the question, “What do you most dislike about yourself?” Skin problems outranked every other reply by a wide margin.

Skin eruptions occur primarily as a result of an oily substance that is secreted during adolescence. The pores of the skin tend to fill up with this oil and become blocked. Since the oil can’t escape, it hardens and causes pimples or blackheads.

When you get numerous pimples or blackheads regularly, the condition is called acne. If this happens, it will be important for you to keep your skin clean, minimizing the oil and dirt on your face.

If the problem is severe, as you obviously feel it is, you shou8ld ask your parents to take you to a dermatologist, who is a doctor specializing in skin problems. Acne can now be treated effectively in most cases.
QUESTION: My wife and I are extremely busy during this period of our lives. My job takes me on the road several days a week, and my wife has become very successful as a real estate agent.

Quite honestly, we are not able to spend much time with our three children, but we given them our undivided attention when we are together. My wife and I wish we had more family time, but we take comfort in knowing that it’s not the quantity of time between parent and child that really matters; it’s the quality of time that makes the difference. Would you agree?

DR. DOBSON: There is a grain of truth in most popular notions, and this one is no exception. We all can agree that there is no benefit in being with our children seven days a week if we are angry, oppressive, un-nurturing and capricious with them. But from that point forward, the quantity verses quality issue runs aground. Simply stated, that dichotomy will not be tolerated in any other area of our lives; why do we apply it to our children?

Let me illustrate:

Let’s suppose you are very hungry, having eaten nothing all day. You select the best restaurant in your city and ask the waiter for the finest steak on his menu. He replies that the filet mignon is the house favourite, and you order it charcoal-broiled, medium rare.

The waiter returns 20 minutes later with the fare and sets it before you. There in the centre of a large plate is a lonely piece of meat, one inch square, flanked by a single bit of potato.

You complain vigorously to the waiter, “This is what you call a steak dinner?”

He then replies, “Sir, how can you criticize us before you taste that meat? I have brought you one square inch of the finest steak money can buy. I doubt if you could get a better piece of meat anywhere in the country. I’ll admit that serving is small, but after all, sir, everyone knows that it isn’t the quantity that matters; it’s the quality that counts in steak dinners.”

“Nonsense,” you reply, and I certainly agree.

My concern is that the quality vs. quality cliché has become, perhaps, a rationalization for giving our kids neither! This phrase has been bandied about by over-committed and harassed parents who feel guilty about the lack of time they spend with their children.

The boys and girls are parked at child-care centers during the day and with baby-sitters at night, leaving little time for traditional parenting activities.

And to handle the discomfort of neglecting their children, Mom and Dad cling to a catch phrase that makes it seem so healthy and proper: “Well, you know, it’s not the quantity of time that matters, it’s the quality of your togetherness that counts.” I maintain that this convenient generalization won’t hold water.

There questions and answers are excerpted from the book Dr. Dobson Answers your Questions. Dr. James Dobson is a psychologist, author and president of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the home. Correspondence to Dr. Dobson should be addressed to: Focus on the Family, P.O. Box 444, Colorado Springs, CO 80903. ©, 1982, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.