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Dear Dana is an advice column especially for teens in the Monadnock Region.  The column gives teens a person to ask the questions they cannot ask others.  Dear Dana provides down-to-earth advice in order to help teens in the Monadnock Region.

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Dear Dana is an advice column especially for teens in the Monadnock Region. The column gives teens a person to ask the questions they cannot ask others. Dear Dana provides down-to-earth advice in order to help teens in the Monadnock Region. Click on a Category below to read questions that have already been answered.

You are right to worry. I am sorry you have to go through this with your friend. Being concerned is the first step to helping her. Your friend may be sad about something in her life and that may be having an effect on how she is eating. It sounds like she is not eating well and needs help. I would encourage you to talk with her and suggest that she tell an adult. If she is not up for that idea, you might want to tell an adult for her. It might seem like you are not being a “good friend” by doing this, but the truth is that getting help with eating problems and emotions when they first begin is the best way to avoid more dangerous problems in the future. Hang in there, and help her out!

It sounds like your parents are concerned about your safety! I know this can be hard but it’s a great thing! It’s all about trust and them wanting you to be safe. NH law requires that teen drivers may only have one passenger for the first six months. Even if your friends have been driving for longer than that, your parents are not allowing you because they care for you, not because they want to make your life difficult! I would encourage you to talk with your parents and see if there could be some guidelines put into place to allow you some options but also make them feel comfortable. Make sure that they know that you understand the driving and riding laws such as wearing seatbelts, driving and talking on the phone, drugs and alcohol, etc. If all else fails, have faith that your parents are protecting you. Your day will come eventually.

Are the body-police at your school? It’s just not cool when other kids judge anyone else’s body. If you are naturally heavier, thin, or a different skin color, those bodily differences are normal and beautiful in their own way. If you feel uncomfortable, you could speak with your school nurse or Doctor to see if your weight is healthy. Maybe after hearing it from them, you will feel more confident in how you look.

Friends (11)

If you think that your friend is in an abusive relationship, you need to encourage her to talk with a trusted adult, or call a local domestic violence center. In the Monadnock Region of NH you can get help from Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention.

Whether you go to the party depends on whether you really want to go. You should never do any activity that you don’t really want to. Think about where the party is being held. Will you be safe? Will there be responsible adults available in case things get out of hand? If you decide to go to the party and feel uncomfortable, you can always
• Say “no thanks”
• Give a reason, for example: “My parent’s won’t let me”
• Leave

Cutting and other forms of hurting oneself can be very serious, dangerous, and sometimes even life-threatening. If you know your friend cuts herself, you need to encourage her to speak with a trusted adult. If she doesn't do this though, and continues to hurt herself, it would be important for you to take the risk of telling a parent, counselor, or other responsible adult, even if she is angry with you. You may also find it helpful to share your own feelings and concerns with a trusted adult because these types of issues can feel overwhelming and confusing.

Even if your friend wants you to keep it a secret, it will help him/her more if you tell someone, ideally a responsible adult you can trust. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse can scar a person for a long time.  The sooner the abuse is stopped the better off your friend will be.  Tell your parent - or whatever responsible adult you choose to tell - that he or she can report the abuse to the New Hampshire Division of Children Youth and Families at  1-800-894-5533.  If it is the weekend or evening hours they can call the local police department.  If you want, you can even make the call yourself.  Remember, calls made to the 800 number may be done anonymously.

Look around and you're sure to find friends who are interested in making healthy choices. If smoking is going to make or break a friendship, how good is that friendship?

The old child’s saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me” is not true. Name-calling is verbal abuse and it is hurtful, mean and harmful. You can remind your friend that you care no matter what anyone says and encourage them to talk to someone. If it is happening at school, the school counselor would be a good place to start. You can go with your friend to provide support, or you could go on your own to talk about how to help. The bullying should stop, but your friend might be concerned that it will bring further harassment from the bully/ies. Remind your friend that the abuse is not their fault and that you will stand by them all the way.

Tell someone. Contact your local fire department. Do not let it continue, it may only get worse. There are programs that can help, such as the Juvenile Fire Setter Program.

You sound like someone whom people enjoy being with, and that’s a trait that will serve you well in your life. The fact that you are clearly trying to be considerate of the feelings of these two girls may be one reason they both like you. You already realize it’s not possible to choose just one friend, nor do you want to. Just be honest with them both. Tell them you will do things with them separately if they don’t want to be around each other. You might go to a movie with one, or go shopping with the other. It’s not your job to try to make them become friends with each other, but since feelings can change so quickly that might happen anyway. I might also tell your friends that when you are spending time with one of them, they cannot talk badly about the other friend and that they should just enjoy the time they are spending with you. If they are both bullying you into not being friends with the other, then maybe you should not be friends with either of them anyway. True friends would look out for your best interest as well as their own. Just be true to yourself and do what’s comfortable for you, and not for them.

I am so sorry your friend is moving! At any age, losing a friend to a move is very hard. I am sure your friend was friends with you for many reasons. She thought you were fun, kind, caring, etc. The very things that your friend saw in you; are the things that will help you get new friends.

Overcoming shyness takes time and effort, but can be done! It’s all about confidence. You need to have confidence in yourself and be yourself. True friends will like you just the way you are. Try joining a club at school, or a sports team. In order to meet friends, you will probably have to be a bit bold and go for it. Once you find an activity you enjoy, it will be easy finding someone else that enjoys it too. That’s where friendship can start.

Hello! Making ANY changes in life is difficult. At the age of 14, everything is changing in your life as is, so moving to a new location and attending a new school can be very hard. Once you spend some time there, you will get use to it, and start meeting new people. 

Making friends and fitting in is something that you can do, but will take a bit of time. I would suggest getting involved in as many activities, clubs, sports, and meetings as you possibly can. This will encourage you to meet new people and enjoy things you like.

First, let me say that I know it is hard to not fit in by not having the things everyone has. However, having the “cool” stuff is not what is important in life. It’s what’s inside that counts. If you are a friendly person, people will like you no matter what. Now, having said all of that, if you actually like the stuff that other kids have and you cannot afford them, you could always try to get a small job, like a newspaper route or babysitting. That way you will have a bit of money to spend on clothing and music. Just remember that what you wear does not make the person you are.

If you think you are pregnant, for your health and safety and that of the baby’s, you should seek medical attention right away.

Some symptoms of pregnancy include:

  •       A missed period
  •       Nausea
  •       Fatigue
  •       Sore or enlarged breasts
  •       Headaches
  •       Frequent urination

If you think you might be pregnant, the only way to tell for sure is to have a pregnancy test. It is most effective to have one done by a medical provider at Planned Parenthood or by a medical professional.

It is possible to get pregnant during your period.

You can't get pregnant the first time you have intercourse. Wrong!! There is a risk of pregnancy every time you have unprotected sex including the first time you have intercourse.

Douching after sexual intercourse will not prevent pregnancy.

Not all people lose weight when they start smoking. People who do lose weight may be losing weight because they're substituting cigarettes for food. Instead of turning to substances for help with your weight issues increase your activity and watch your diet.

There really is no safe tobacco. Chewing tobacco is leaf tobacco that is chewed by placing a wad between the cheek and the teeth and sucking on it. Chewing tobacco damages the lining of the mouth and throat and can cause cancer. People who use chewing tobacco are more likely to have mouth sores, bad breath, gum disease and increased cavities.

Ask smokers not to smoke around you. If you live with a smoker, ask him or her to smoke outside. Try saying, " I know it's hard not to smoke and I don't want to hurt your feelings, but the smoke is bothering me. I'd like to ask you a favor. Would you please move so your smoke is not blowing on me." Try not to nag or complain. It might make it worse. Some smokers will be willing to help. Be careful not to criticize.

The greatest risk from having oral sex is the potential of getting a sexually transmitted disease. Any unprotected sex carries a high risk of becoming infected. Another risk related to any sexual activity may include feelings of decreased self-esteem if you are not ready to be sexually involved with your partner. Open communication between partners is important. You may also want to talk with an adult you trust before engaging in sexual acts.

Most forms of birth control do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. Remember - you can’t tell if your partner has an STD without a lab test.

You are right to worry. I am sorry you have to go through this with your friend. Being concerned is the first step to helping her. Your friend may be sad about something in her life and that may be having an effect on how she is eating. It sounds like she is not eating well and needs help. I would encourage you to talk with her and suggest that she tell an adult. If she is not up for that idea, you might want to tell an adult for her. It might seem like you are not being a “good friend” by doing this, but the truth is that getting help with eating problems and emotions when they first begin is the best way to avoid more dangerous problems in the future. Hang in there, and help her out!

Are the body-police at your school? It’s just not cool when other kids judge anyone else’s body. If you are naturally heavier, thin, or a different skin color, those bodily differences are normal and beautiful in their own way. If you feel uncomfortable, you could speak with your school nurse or Doctor to see if your weight is healthy. Maybe after hearing it from them, you will feel more confident in how you look.

The first thing I would say is hang in there; this is a common problem with youth your age. I would suggest that you see a Therapist or your Doctor and let them know how you are feeling. I know it can be hard to open up to people you do not know and trust, but sometimes you have to put your guard down in order to get help. There will be Therapists and Doctors that you don’t like, and it might take awhile to find one that you can bond with. I would also lean on your parents and family if you feel you can; they can be some of the greatest supporters in your life. The most important thing is to pay attention to your feelings and find out why you are feeling this way. Hang in there.

I think you need to focus on what makes YOU feel good about yourself. If YOU are happy with your body, then that is a good thing! If you are not happy with your own body, then you can focus on what would make you happy. Maybe participating in an after-school sport, or eating healthier would be a goal you might have. You and your Doctor are the only people that can determine whether you SHOULD lose weight or not, or whether you want to lose weight. You didn’t mention how tall you are, and how much you weigh can really depend on how tall you are. It seems at the age of 13, you should be focusing on other things in your life other than your weight, like having fun! Figure out what makes yourself feel good, and follow that.

The answer to this question just has to do with confidence. As a 15 year old, you are most likely still struggling with self-esteem and confidence. The only way to become my confident in yourself is to just let go, try, and believe that you can do something. You will always run into situations in your life where you try and you fail, but you have to get right back up and try again. There is no stronger force than you believing in yourself.

Having said that, join a dance class! Ask around and see if any of your friends would be willing to join with you. Either way, sign up to try the dance class, even when it starts o feel a bit uncomfortable, still go and push yourself through the class. Do not let fear keep you away from trying something new.

In regards to your weight, not all dancers are skinny. You would be surprised. Dance is an expression of your feelings not a beauty pageant. Taking the dance class might just give you the exercise you need to get in shape. HAVE FUN!

In society today, there are many youth that are struggling with what you are going through.  Society is telling kids to be thin, thin, thin.  Never once is society telling kids to be healthy!  Many youth your age are overweight.  So, DON’T feel like your alone! 

The best answer for you is to go see a Doctor or someone that knows your health history.  They would know best what would help you in regards to getting healthier.  Your height can make a big difference in how much you weigh.  I would also encourage you to eat healthier; fruit, veggies, lean protein such as chicken, and whole grains such as wheat bread.  Never starve yourself, because it will only make you more unhealthy that you are.  Always try to be active as often as you can.  Walk to school, join an intramural sports team at school, go to a local gym with a family member or friend, or maybe participate in a teenage support group for overweight youth (Your doctor could direct you to one).  Try to find active things to do with your friends on the weekends.  The most important thing is for you to find whatever makes you feel healthier, not just dropping the pounds.

Feeling unhappy about yourself is a hard thing to feel. I think the best option for you is to sit down with your Mom and be honest about the way you feel. Make sure to explain to her why you feel this way. I would also suggest going to talk with your Doctor about your weight with your Mom. He/She will be able to tell you if your weight is appropriate for your height. You can also discuss options with him/her for how you can feel better about yourself. 

These days society makes it easy for kids your age to feel like they are fat. I would encourage you to do whatever makes you feel the best and to just be healthy.

Understandable that this puts you in a hard position! I do think that it is beneficial for everyone to be honest with their parents and have open communication with them. Doing this usually only makes you closer and builds trust between you and them. There are a number of reasons why your mom might not want you to see a therapist such as: transportation, insurance, money, and possibly feeling like you don’t trust her with your feelings.

An option might be to talk with another adult (school counselor, relative, neighbor, family friend, or friend’s parent) that might be able to give you guidance, or talk with your mom about why you would benefit from seeing a therapist. School counselors are a great resource.

If you truly do not feel you can talk with anyone other than a therapist about what is wrong, try telling her that it is important to you to see a therapist to help you sort out your feelings and learn ways to manage them rather than act out in negative ways and that maybe after talking with the therapist a couple of times, you might be more comfortable to talk with her.

Another option would be to have your mom go with you to the appointment and the therapist might be able to figure out a way to get you the help you need and calm your mom’s fears at the same time. Communication between teens and parents is very important in creating a bond of trust between all involved.

Try not to feel embarrassed to talk to your Mom about shaving your legs because that’s what Mom’s are for! All women go through the situation of deciding when to start shaving their legs. Your Mom might be helpful in this situation because she has been through it. She might even be willing to give you some pointers! If you still are not comfortable talking with your Mom, you can always talk with an adult you trust at school, or maybe a relative. This is all part of growing up, and it is something to be excited about!

I bet it is hard having a friend that you are this concerned about; especially if she is also not spending time with you. I would encourage you to speak with an adult that you trust about your friend. This adult could be a parent, relative, another friend’s parent, guidance counselor, etc. It sounds like your friend might not have a good self image. It might do some good to talk with her about your concerns. If she still does not seem to be getting better, I would speak with her parents about it. This can be a very dangerous thing, and she may need medical attention. Being this concerned about her makes you a great friend. Ultimately, this is your friend’s decision and choice, and she and her family need to help her make it.

Law (11)

Juvenile records are not erased when the juvenile becomes an adult. They are permanent but confidential and cannot be given out to anyone without a court order. The Armed Services, colleges, or some employers can request release of juvenile record from applicants.

Any juvenile who is found violating the law or whose welfare is in danger may be arrested or taken into custody by the police. A youth taken into custody will be released to a parent, guardian or released to a relative, friend who is authorized by the parent or a judge. A delinquency Petition can be written up requiring the youth and parent to appear in Juvenile or Family Court.

Remember that the police or a Juvenile Probation Officer can take you into temporary Custody if they believe a youth is placing themselves in danger.

If your friend is under 21 it is illegal. You run a risk by being with anyone doing anything illegal. If you are driving any passengers who have alcohol or drugs with them; you will be charged, taken into custody, and your vehicle will be towed.

In New Hampshire, all offenses involving drugs or alcohol can prevent you from getting a license or cause you to lose your license.

In New Hampshire, you can be charged with transporting alcohol or drugs. If there are minors in the car, your car will be towed. You can be fined and you can lose your license. There are severe penalties for driving while drinking or using drugs; this includes possession and transportation of alcohol or drugs.

In New Hampshire, if you're under age18 your driver license is a 13-month youth operator license. During this time your license can be taken away for any violation, including traffic violations.

During the first 6 months, no more than one non-family member may ride in the vehicle, unless there is a licensed driver over the age of 25. A violation of this law could mean a loss of your license. There must be a seatbelt for every passenger and everyone under the age of 18 must be wearing a seat belt. Youth drivers are not allowed to drive between 1 am and 5 am.

Consult your local New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles or your driver manual for other rules and regulations.

Youth between the ages of 16 and 18 can only have a license with parents consent. Parents can call the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles and request that their child's license be suspended.

Any alcohol possession and intoxication by a person under age 21 is punishable not only by a minimum fine of $250, but also by the suspension or revocation of the minor's drivers license. Police officers do not have to observe a youth consuming alcohol but can consider circumstantial evidence such as the odor of alcohol or signs of alcohol impairment.

In New Hampshire, there are laws related to adults and juveniles(youth). A person is considered an adult at the age of 17. There are two types of juveniles under the law - a Juvenile delinquent or a CHINS. First there is an arraignment; followed by an adjudicatory hearing, to determine if the charges are true; then a Disposition.
Dispositions can include:

  • Fines of up to $250 and/or monetary repayment to victims
  • Youth assigned to a Juvenile Probation Officer. Juvenile probation, which is called Conditional release which may include curfews, limitations on travel, regular meetings with a Probation Officer, mandatory Urine Tests
  • Up to 50 hours of unpaid public service work can be ordered.
  • If under the age of 17, youth can be sent into a treatment placement or the Youth Development Center(YDC).
  • Parents can be held responsible for damages caused by the youth and/or some of the cost treatment of the youth. – An example: up to $10,000 for vandalism damage!

In New Hampshire, you are considered an adult at the age of 17 for criminal offenses. If you are charged as an adult, under the Right to Know Laws, all information is public and can be printed in the newspaper. The fine payment is very high. You can lose any opportunities for financial aid for college. This will remain on your permanent criminal record.

If you're under 17, you can be charged with a criminal offense, taken into custody and taken into Juvenile Court. The consequences may be similar to those listed above. In New Hampshire, if you are between 15 and 21 years old, all offenses involving drugs or alcohol can prevent you from getting a license or cause you to lose your license.

IT IS NOT EASY!  You are not the first teenager to think that shoplifting is easy!  In many stores there are cameras and security guards that are paid to watch for shoplifters.  It is very easy to get caught! 

If you are caught shoplifting, you will be approached by the security at the store you are in or possibly after you leave the store.  From there, the security will call the local police and your parents.  Your parents will come to the store and the police as well.  You will most likely be charged will shoplifting, which will usually mean that you will go to court and appear  before a Judge.  You may be ordered to participate in community service work (non-paid service to your community), apology letters, have to pay restitution back to the store you shoplifted from, and a possibly pay a fine to the court.  In addition to all the court ordered items, you might also not be allowed to go back into the store you shoplifted from again and will have a juvenile record!

The cd, bra, shirt, etc that you were thinking of stealing is NOT worth it!

You cannot believe everything you hear, and it seems like you are not believing your friend. In this case, that’s the right thing to do. It is absolutely illegal to drink alcohol before the age of 21 in the United States. It is also illegal in the State of NH to provide alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, so both the Father and Son might be participating in illegal activity. The laws are different in different states, so it is good to check with your local police to find out what is illegal. Good idea to question your friend’s answer!

Talk about this with your parents, or an adult you are comfortable with. Tell them how it feels to be compared to your sister. Keep reminding yourself about all the things you like about yourself.

The reality is that you can't change their behavior. What you need to do is take care of yourself and keep yourself safe. It's best not to try to talk to your parents about your concerns while they're under the influence. Choose a quiet time to share your concerns.

You can seek out someone in your community that you feel comfortable talking to. Local agencies and schools often offer confidential support for someone in your situation. Whatever you do, don't try to carry the weight of your fears alone. Seek out support.

It sounds like your parents are concerned about your safety! I know this can be hard but it’s a great thing! It’s all about trust and them wanting you to be safe. NH law requires that teen drivers may only have one passenger for the first six months. Even if your friends have been driving for longer than that, your parents are not allowing you because they care for you, not because they want to make your life difficult! I would encourage you to talk with your parents and see if there could be some guidelines put into place to allow you some options but also make them feel comfortable. Make sure that they know that you understand the driving and riding laws such as wearing seatbelts, driving and talking on the phone, drugs and alcohol, etc. If all else fails, have faith that your parents are protecting you. Your day will come eventually.

I think this is a normal fear to have as a 14 year old. This is the time of your life when you have to build trust between your Mother and yourself. Moms both want and hate to see their child grow up. I am 28 and mine still doesn’t! This too is normal.I would talk with your Mom and let her know you feel this way. Communication can improve your relationship with your Mother. In order to build trust, you have to start somewhere. First, ask yourself if you have shown responsibility by helping do things at home, and following through on any commitments you have made. If not, make an effort to show you are responsible. Next, try asking to go to the movies, or to the mall. Let her know who you are going with and when you will be back. Start with small things. At the age of 14, there are many things your Mother might not want you to do yet. Whenever she says it is unsafe or she doesn’t want you to do it, there is usually a good reason. Make sure to find out that reason. EVENTUALLY, you will build trust with her and be able to do some of the things you want to, but yet under her rules.

Hang in there!

First of all kiddo, this is your parent’s car you are talking about! So truly, it is up to them if you get to drive their car or not at all. In the State of New Hampshire, you have to be at least 15 ½ years old and with a licensed driver of at least 25 years of age in the car. Please check the NH Department of Motor Vehicles to make sure that is correct and to check on all other driving laws in New Hampshire.

Understandable that this puts you in a hard position! I do think that it is beneficial for everyone to be honest with their parents and have open communication with them. Doing this usually only makes you closer and builds trust between you and them. There are a number of reasons why your mom might not want you to see a therapist such as: transportation, insurance, money, and possibly feeling like you don’t trust her with your feelings.

An option might be to talk with another adult (school counselor, relative, neighbor, family friend, or friend’s parent) that might be able to give you guidance, or talk with your mom about why you would benefit from seeing a therapist. School counselors are a great resource.

If you truly do not feel you can talk with anyone other than a therapist about what is wrong, try telling her that it is important to you to see a therapist to help you sort out your feelings and learn ways to manage them rather than act out in negative ways and that maybe after talking with the therapist a couple of times, you might be more comfortable to talk with her.

Another option would be to have your mom go with you to the appointment and the therapist might be able to figure out a way to get you the help you need and calm your mom’s fears at the same time. Communication between teens and parents is very important in creating a bond of trust between all involved.


Talk with your mom. Explain to her how you feel. You might be surprised how much she will open up to you when you open up to her. There might be a possibility that your mom is worried that spending time together as a family might give you false hope that they might be getting back together, or she may have other reasons why this would not be comfortable for her.

Although your parents might not love each other like married people do, they care for you and your brother. If your mom still says everyone cannot spend time together, it is important that you spend quality time with each parent when you can.

What a situation to be in! Having to make this decision, must be hard for you. I would go for whatever your heart tells you that you want to do the most. If you cannot decide still, then decide to do half-and-half. It might be possible to attend half of the game and half of the dance. If all else fails, you can always attend a game another day or try to talk your school into having another dance again soon. Maybe you could even be on the school social activities council so that you can encourage more school dances! Good luck!

Try not to feel embarrassed to talk to your Mom about shaving your legs because that’s what Mom’s are for! All women go through the situation of deciding when to start shaving their legs. Your Mom might be helpful in this situation because she has been through it. She might even be willing to give you some pointers! If you still are not comfortable talking with your Mom, you can always talk with an adult you trust at school, or maybe a relative. This is all part of growing up, and it is something to be excited about!

First of all, you have some proving to do with your mom if you really want to go to this party. You need to make her feel comfortable about the situation. If you truly know it is going to be a simple sleepover; maybe a movie or three, popcorn, soda, lots of talking and yelling and staying up REALLY late, encourage her to contact the parents hosting the party and confirm that they will be checking in on all of you throughout the night. Let your mom know that she is welcome to call the parents to check on how things are going.

As we all know, parents sometimes feel they cannot just go by what comes out of their teen’s mouth…so don’t take it personally. She is being protective because she LOVES you, not because she wants to make your life miserable. Consider yourself lucky to have such a loving mother. Your mom might be worried that there will be drugs, alcohol, sexual activity, or fighting at this party. Remember, this is not the time to experiment with drugs and alcohol. This is a time to open up the trust you have with your mom. If she lets you go to this party, she will let you go to other parties by proving to her that she can trust you. If you make a wrong choice at the party, you may lose her trust.

Maybe it is possible for you to go to the party for part of the night and come home at a certain time. That might be an option where you and your mom can find common ground. If you still cannot get your mom’s permission to go to this party, I would just try to understand that she is protecting you, so most likely the party is not a safe place for you to be. Trust her!

If you are in a relationship with someone and you made an agreement about not seeing other people, you are breaking someone’s trust if you do. Would you really want to do this to someone you like? Would you want someone to do this to you? Remember, it is up to you whether you act on your feelings or not.

If you are sure that you want to end your relationship, then you need to tell your boyfriend or girlfriend yourself before he or she finds out from someone else. It is important to be honest and to speak with your boyfriend/girlfriend privately, unless you are afraid of them. In that case, speak with a trusted adult about your situation.

First of all, you are 13, what does “ask him out” mean anyway? I think you should always be courageous and be yourself, so if you want to ask him out, then go for it! Don’t wait around playing hard to get if you like him. He might be waiting for you to ask him. Maybe asking if he wants to meet you at a dance or see a movie with you and your friends. GO FOR IT!

Either way could be true! The best way to find out if someone likes you is to ask them and watch the way they treat you. Also, if you like someone, go for it and do not listen to those boys thoughts on what you should do! I have always heard that if boys pick on you, that means they like you!

I know that sometimes it is hard to speak up and express your feelings to other people.  As you get older, that courage will grow and you will be able to do it a little more.  For now, the best way is to see if he might want to talk with you or sit next to you at a school game or assembly, or maybe to play a game on the playground at recess.  If he says he will, then it is likely that he likes you.  If he says no, then maybe he just isn’t ready yet.  Remember that boys mature later than girls, so you may be ready to like him, but he might not be ready to like you!

First of all, it is totally normal at the age of 14 to not have had a real boyfriend yet. This is the age when all of this starts to happen. Second, if you are trying to find a boyfriend, then maybe it is your choice of guys that is the problem.Having a boyfriend is just like having a friend. You have to be yourself and if it is right, they will like you for who you are. Sometimes the best relationships start off by being friends. Get involved in activities where both boys and girls are involved. Just start spending time with a guy friend and maybe something more will happen. Hang in there, your time will come!

I always say, BE YOURSELF. If you are only comfortable giving as much attention as you are now, then that should be ok. Your boyfriend should understand that giving more attention might just not be your thing. If he does not understand that, then maybe he isn’t right for you. However, if you do want to show more and are comfortable doing it, I would use the classic ways like making him a card, writing him a letter, making him food, or going somewhere special with him (dance, movies, etc). In no time, he should see that you do like him, and you might become more comfortable with showing how you feel.

I can understand that you feel awful having people saying things about you that are not true. Some people will continue to tell rumors about many things in life. You need to be able to let their words slide off your back like a duck. Try not to take anything they say to heart. As long as you are happy with what you are doing, then what others say and think does not matter. Good luck!

I know how tough it can be to put your feelings out there and to feel like the other person doesn’t feel the same. There are many people in this world that cannot express the way they feel in words. Your boyfriend just might be one of those people. You should be able to tell whether he does truly “love” you by the things he does for you or the way he looks at you and treats you. If things don’t work out the way you had hoped in this relationship, I am sure someone else will come along that might make you happy and be able to talk about the way they feel. Hang in there!

You clearly have done some careful thinking about what is right for you. Good for you!  If you aren’t ready to participate in any sexual act, DON’T DO IT. It’s important to realize that getting involved sexually is a big responsibility with both emotional and physical consequences. It’s not something you do because someone else pressures you into it.

If your boyfriend doesn’t understand and respect your decision, he probably isn’t right for you nor is he a very good friend. A real friend doesn’t try to make you do something you don’t want to do. A real friend supports who you are and respects your decisions. Maybe you should leave this relationship. The pain of a break up will be less than the pain of doing something you didn’t want, nor were ready to do.

 It is difficult being around a girl that likes to “flaunt” herself and get’s the boy’s attention that way. However, you should stay strong in what you believe in. If you do not want to “flaunt” yourself, then you shouldn’t. Do only what is comfortable. There are many ways of “flaunting” yourself that you might be comfortable with. Maybe do your hair differently, or find a new trendy “cool” outfit to wear that you feel comfortable in. If guys are not paying attention to you because you are not wearing “flaunting” clothing, then those are not the guys you should be talking to. A good guy will be interested in you, not your body only. I am sure you are beautiful and the appropriate guys will find that out without you showing off your body to them. Stick with your values!

Seems like you might have gotten yourself into a sticky situation! I would say that you need to weigh out your feelings. Figure out if you have stronger romantic feelings for him or if he means more to you as a friend. Then make your decision based on those conclusions. Sometimes it isn’t worth ruining your friendship with someone, but sometimes people can date after they have been friends and possibly be friends after that. Just depends on who this guy is, and what you and him are like together.

School (3)

Before you make this life-altering decision, talk to your guidance counselor or another adult you can trust. There is help available to get you through. Services like tutoring or extra-credit work that can be arranged between you and your teachers may be helpful. Guidance counselors could even talk with your teachers to see if they’re willing to work with you through a transition period till you feel comfortable and your grades improve. School is sometimes very tough, but if you stick with it, you’ll feel great in the end. Ask yourself, “If I quit, what will I do?” Remember, jobs are hard to come by and even more so without at least a basic high school education.

I am not sure how old you are, but, I would suggest getting through high school as your first step! Many columnists have degrees in journalism and or a specialty such as food medicine, psychology of youth, sociology, etc. This type of degree you would get through college and a bachelors degree, or possibly an associates degree. I do believe though that having good sense and writing ability is a good start!

You should consider speaking with a guidance counselor, administrator, and/or teacher at your school before you blow up. The adults at your school are there to make your learning environment the best for you. It is their job to help you sort out these problems. They might be able to give you advice on how to handle your feelings and the other girl, or possibly set up a meeting for the two of you to talk and work out your feelings together.

I would like to also suggest that it is never beneficial to hold in your problems like this. It is best to get your feelings out when you first go through them. Having your feelings all pent up inside you, will only make you feel worse in the long run. Find someone you can talk to, and remember that you will not always like everyone, but need to find ways to get along with everyone when you are around them.

The following are some warning signs of depression:

  • sadness or crying
  • anger or frustration
  • lack of emotion
  • isolation or withdrawal from social contacts (such as friends, co-workers, family, etc.)
  • loss of interest in once favored activities
  • loss of energy and ambition
  • change in patterns of sleeping and/or eating
  • neglect of personal hygiene
  • change in effort toward school work

Depression is very different for each person. If you experience these or a combination of these signs, speak to your parent, school nurse, or counselor so you can get some support. There are very effective treatments for depression.

Yes, having many different feelings is normal for teens. If your loneliness continues, it might be a sign you are depressed, which a doctor can help you with. Get some help sorting this out. Speak to a trusted adult or counselor about these feelings.

It is great that you recognize that you want to get some help in dealing with your anger issues. It will be helpful to speak with a trusted adult and your guidance counselor. There are many programs and groups that may help you work out your feelings and help you deal with your frustrations.

What you are experiencing is grief, and it is perfectly normal and natural when we face a terrible loss. We all grieve in different ways, so allow yourself to go through it and in time you will start to feel better. You will always miss your loved one, but time is a healer. You may want to talk to a friend or someone you trust and let them know what you are feeling. Knowing someone cares and understands can be healing in itself. If your feelings and mood swings continue for extended periods or become unhealthy, for example, you stop eating, isolate yourself for a long time, or lose interest in things you previously enjoyed, you should talk to a counselor or other adult.

About Dear Dana

Dear Dana is a free advice column made especially for teens in the Monadnock Region. The column gives teens a person to ask the questions they cannot ask someone they know. Dear Dana will review questions received. The question and answer will be anonymously posted on the web for others to see. 

Dear Dana realizes how hard you work on your letters and how important the issue is to you and she wants to ensure you get the attention you deserve. Dear Dana provides down-to-earth personal advice in order to help teens in the Monadnock Region.

Dear Dana is from the Monadnock Region. She has seven years of experience working with kids from 5-18 years old. She understands the difficult situations that come up in teenagers' lives these days. Please feel free to write her and she will do her best to give her carefully thought out opinion.

You can contact Dear Dana at youthservices@ci.keene.nh.us

Disclaimer

Dear Dana offers her opinion on a variety of teen subjects. While Dear Dana will give careful consideration to your question, it is just one opinion and not expert or professional advice. Please consider other sources of assistance; the names and contact information of people and agencies can be found at our resource listing. Dear Dana is not liable or responsible for the results of following her advice in any given situation. You can contact Dear Dana at: youthservices@ci.keene.nh.us.

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