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D E C E M B E R '98

 
Dear msX,
alright, my problem seems similar to a previous one posted but I need some advice, and I want to keep it nameless. I have a friend who has a friend who was at least one time sexually abused by her father, and he yells a lot too. I know it sounds a little out there, but my friend is in the school band with me, and she says she has a friend with this problem. I gave her the number on the home board (the abuse hotline). but my friend said her friend doesn't believe they work, she doesn't want to call them. I told her to tell the girl that she doesn't have to tell them any personal information about herself, but the girl still doesn't want to call. she thinks it is her fault, even though it isn't. if it was my friend I would call the police, or tell someone with some power (a principal, teacher, etc.) but I don't even know the friend of a friends' name. what should I do, and what can I do?
Signed, needs advice quickly

Dear needs advice quickly
You sound like a good friend. Here's what I would do....of course, you know your school staff better than I do, so fill-in the blanks as appropriate...

Talk to your band leader, guidance counselor, health teacher, or assistant principal. Pick the one you trust the most, one who you get good empathetic vibes from, one who's going to listen to you with both ears. Or, if you have advisories at your school, this is something you could bring up during your advisory period. Ask the sympathetic grownup if it would be possible to set-up a group discussion that will include the friend-who-has-a-friend and lead it into discussing issues such as abuse and the responsibility of reporting it. Perhaps when other people bare their souls, your friend will be prompted to bare her own. Even if she doesn't do it in the group session, she will know that there are grownups out there who will be willing to talk to her when she's ready. It is really all you can do for her.

BTW, very often people talk about "friends" when it is really their own problem. I am not sure if this friend is talking about herself or another girl. Just keep this in mind.

I hope you can set the wheels in motion to help this young lady out. Your heart is certainly in the right place.

Happy holidays,

msX

Dear msX,
I'm 14 yrs. old, but most of my classmates are 16. Surprisingly my closet friends are all guys. We all talk a great deal, they tell me about their problems at home, their 'crushes', and feelings about different girls...Oh, and we have had very detailed conversations about sex, oral sex, marriage, abstinence etc...

We talk A LOT. So much that they consider me one of the guys. My problem is that I'm really becoming attracted to one of them. He doesn't know at all, but I don't want to start feeling weird or jealous about him. What should I do?

Signed, J.

Dear J,
Ain't it wonderful to have platonic male friends? Being one of the guys allows you insight into the workings of the species that you will never get looking from afar. Having close male friends almost guarantees an escort to any important social event should you be without a significant, significant other. It also says something good about yourself, being accepted into their inner sanctum.

Sometimes some wonderful relationships begin with a friendship. Why don't you wait and see what happens with the object of your affections? If you make your feelings known before he's ready, you might scare him away and lose the entire friendship. If it's meant to be, it's gonna be in time. Be patient and enjoy your status as one of the guys.

Take it easy,

msX




Dear msX,
I was the one that wrote to you about my how my parents won't let me date. Well, now I have a new problem. I have a friend who has some problems, she threatens to commit suicide and her parents don't care about her at all. Her younger brother hits and abuses her and parents just say "now thats not nice". Her father has punched her before and I noticed that both this girl and her mom have scares all over their body from picking at sores. She needs help sooo bad I want to help her but I really can't. She refuses to see the school counselor and she wont talk to anyone but me because Im her only friend. The other day we got into a fight because she broke something of mine and then she didn't tell me until I found it, later on that day on the phone she told me she doesn't deserve to live and she was crying hysterically. The next day I noticed something, on her wrist she had scraped a huge hunk of her skin off and I asked what is that and she said" You doubted me". I'm so afraid and I don't know what to do about her. If I get in a fight with her I'm afraid she might do something and I'd feel responsible. Please help!!!!!!!!
Signed, Friend


Dear Friend,
This problem is much too big for you to deal with. Your responsibility is to pass it along to someone who has the apparatus to help your friend and her family. You may think telling a grownup is betraying your friend, but when you keep a secret like this, you become an accomplice to the abuse by helping to prolong it. Take what you told me to your most trusted grownup...your parents, a teacher or counselor, or clergy person, an adult sibling...and give them the problem. Then it will be up to that grownup to take a look and decide if the situation warrants calling in the authorities. And you will have done all that you could as a kid and will have no reason to feel guilty.

When someone threatens suicide, it is always important to take them seriously. Even though some people throw the phrase, "I'm gonna kill myself" around when they really mean "I'm really pissed off that I broke a nail" it is better to err on the side of caution. And some kids over-dramatize their home situation in order to gain sympathy. But, this girl shows other signs of depression and it is so much better to be safe than sorry when someone's life may be in danger.

You can do this,

msX


Dear msX,
I'm very unpopular in school. I have a few good friends but I really want to belong to the popular group. Any Ideas?
Signed, Unpopular

Dear Unpopular,
What is it about those popular kids that makes you want to be one of them? If you want to be a part of their group, you have to know what they're about. Are they into sports? Yearbook? Music? Hanging out? If you want to be a part of them, sharing an interest is a beginning. Being friendly is another thing you can work on. If you're shy, work of speaking up. I'm not saying you should change to fit in. Stay yourself...just find something you happen to have in common with one or two of these kids. That could be the magnet that will draw you into their group.

But, be warned. You really don't know these kids like you do your close friends. Once you get to know them, they might not have the same appeal. Often people look great from a distance, but when you examine them close up, you can see the flaws and imperfections that all of us have. Be careful what you wish for and don't throw your old friends away.

Notice I didn't tell you that these kids MIGHT be at the pinnacle of their entire lives. That is something you will find out for yourself. Some people have their fifteen minutes of fame very early in life and burn out to lead very ho-hum lives later on. It depends on what they're popular for. And, you might not be ready for your fifteen minutes until much later on...in any case, it won't hurt you to try.

Good luck,

msX


Dear msX,
Hi, I have been taking oral contraceptives for the last few years. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years now, and are very happy together. I was late for my period last week and worried that I may be pregnant. So we took a test, it turned out negative. I was, much to my surprise, very disappointed. When I asked him if he was happy/relieved it was neg., he said not really, and that if it would have been + that he would have been happy and supported me 100 I always wanted to get married first, then do the baby thing, but I am getting older now, and am with the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I want to quit taking the pill and try to get pregnant, but I am not sure how to approach him with this subject. Any suggestions?
Signed, Getting Older


Dear Getting Older,
You didn't say how much older you are getting, but the baby hunger hits women at different times in their lives. You had a very real moment to look into the future and imagine what it would be like if you really were pregnant. You were probably frightened and your mind focused on all the positives of it...tiny little feet and fingers, soft talc-y skin, cute little outfits, a little person who resembles you or your loved one. I think you are mature enough to know that there's another verse to this poem and that having a baby is something that is best prepared for -- at least a little. Anyway, I think you have to be off the pill several months before it is advisable to start trying to conceive - this is something you should ask your doctor - so that is the second step.

Tell this man of your dreams how you feel. Tell him you would like to have a child more sooner than later and understand that you must stop taking the pill in order to clean out your system Make an appointment with your doctor to consult about interim birth control. Tell your love that you would like to open discussion about when to have a baby (and get married, in whatever order you're comfortable with). Let him offer his feelings, you tell him yours, and if they meet somewhere in the middle, you have a plan.

Babies are wonderful miracles, but they take lots and lots of time and hard work. They are a lot easier if both parents are ready for their arrival.

Best of luck,

msX


Dear msX,
I have a question. My mother said that sometime after you get your period, you have to visit the gynecologist. So, I was just wondering how long you had to wait until you go, once you get your period?
Signed, Wondering

Dear Wondering,
You mean how soon after you start menstruating should you see a gynecologist? Or, how soon after your period should you make your appointment with your gynecologist? Most young women do not seek out a gynecologist until they become sexually active. I like your mom's idea of making an appointment just for a baseline examination and to get you accustomed to taking care of your health. It sounds like you have a very open-minded, forward-thinking mom.

(It is usually better to see the doctor several days after you have finished your period for a general check-up, although in an emergency, a gynecologist will be able to examine you when you have it.)


Speak to your mom and ask her if she thinks it's time.
msX



Dear msX,

well I guess the way to start this out is Iím 15 and I like an 18 year old. it's very mutual. we aren't dating, for a number of reasons, but this guy is my best friend. one of my best friends, I can talk to him about anything, and we talk about everything, it is just I don't know how far I am willing to go with him, I don't want to do anything Iíll regret, and he knows this, he doesn't pressure me to do anything. but I know that whatever I do with him my parents will disapprove of, especially since he's 18, and Iím still a minor.
Signed, still a minor

Dear Still a Minor,
Slow down, you're going too fast. If you don't slow down, you'll get to too far before you're ready to be there. When you build a house, you don't start with the interior. You draw up plans, pour a foundation, frame out the structure, before you start hanging wallpaper. You just don't build a good relationship overnight either. It takes lots of work, needs a steady foundation, lots of attention to detail. If you want it to withstand the elements and last into the future, I would suggest you go slowly, get to know each other really, really well before you become sexually intimate.

That doesn't mean you can't enjoy the building process. Spend time together, keep up your communication, continue to be his friend, hold hands, kiss, and SLOWLY see where this will lead you. You sound like a very sharp and concerned young woman to be concerned about your best friend's liability should you decide to have sex with him. then if you consent, it will legally still be considered statutory rape by your parents and the authorities. He can find himself in some serious trouble if your parents react like you think they will. However, you give them a chance to see over time that the two of you are really in sync and sincere, maybe then they can accept him as your boyfriend. He will have a much better chance of this happening if he's willing to wait until you're ready. Go slowly and savor your courtship...if the outcome is an intimate relationship, it will be that much better for the wait.

I hope it works out for you,

msX



Dear msX,
my name is Nikki and I have a problem. I have a guy that I fell in love with and Iím 13 and heís 16 well he was living with me and everything was fine but my step-dad. my step-dad said he had to go so he went. and now he broke up with me I gave him my virginity and all my love I have made him very happy in all the 11 months I have gone out with him. we have been through every thing together I called him today and he said he loves me and wants it to work. and so do I. I love Benny with all my heart and soul. but my problem is my step-dad he has a bad temper and is very abusive to my mom and I and she will not leave him so I can go live with my dad but I donít want to leave Benny. help please
Signed, Nikki

Dear Nikki,
Sounds like you are caught in a very tight corner. There are a couple of issues going on here. First of all, you need to talk to your dad (or another competent grownup) and tell him that your stepfather is being abusive. You cannot change your mom's choices, but you can work on your own. Does your dad live so far away from Benny that you will not be able to see him again? If there's any alternative available, you should not be living with an abusive man.

I don't understand how Benny was able to live with you, being a minor, and what his relationship is to your family. Did your step-dad throw him out because he found out that you were having sex? Benny could be in legal trouble for statutory rape, even if the sex was consensual, because you are so young. If you love him as much as you say you do, you don't want to get him into such serious trouble, do you?

And, if you are sexually active, I do hope you are using protection and will visit a doctor or clinic to learn more about having safe sex. Love is a wondrous thing, but when it happens too early, there are many complications that can arise that can have far-reaching consequences. You need to find a trusted grownup -- your dad, your mom, a doctor, a counselor -- and allow them to help you, one step at a time.

Good luck,

msX
 

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