Peer Pressure : Self Esteem : Deal with parent and other : Parent Divorce
Depression : School Stress : On Dating and "Getting People to Like You"
Pressure from boyfriends and girlfriends :People teasing me
Getting dumped or doing the dumping
On making and keeping friends: Friendships are flowers in the garden of life
The best advice anybody could probably give you is to treat people the way that you would want to be treated. Be yourself. "Donít play stupid--there are too many people out there who are naturally better at it than you are." If you act like somebody else, nobodyís going to be liking the REAL you anyway! Believe me, you are special and well worth getting to know just as you are.
Donít gossip about other people--direct your energy into positive efforts, like setting and achieving goals. You have better things to do.
"The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others."--Sonya Friedman. Donít make the mistake of being your worst enemy! Be your own best friend and take care of yourself! Your friends should accept you just the way you are because you are lovable just the way you are!! Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good about yourself and make you want to be your best. "Choose your friends wisely, you become what they are." Avoid negative influences. Respect yourself--donít let people take advantage of you or put you down. Real friends know the real you--and they STILL like you!!
Take time to really listen. Try and understand not only what a person is saying, but also what they may not be able to put into words. "I never ask a wounded person how he feels; I myself become the wounded person." --Walt Whitman
Practice compassion and trying to understand what other people are going through. You want to be empathetic--which means trying to experience an emotion as somebody else is experiencing it. Being empathetic does not mean being sympathetic, which means feeling sorry for somebody. If you are concentrating on how you are going to reply or thinking up things to say, then you are not listening. Send signals--both verbal ("that must have been really horrible for you") and nonverbal (nodding your head and eye contact)--to show that you are really listening.
Itís a wonderful idea to find a close friend you can trust who you think gives good advice. They donít have to be your age. They can be parents, teachers, family friends, or anybody you enjoy talking to. This person can help you sort out your problems and reach decisions in difficult situations. Build support systems for yourself! Also, learn how to keep a secret!! "Promises may get friends but Ďtis performance that keeps them." --Benjamin Franklin
There will always be people out there ready to tell you whatís best for you and how you should run your life, but only you can truly know what works for you and what doesnít; what feels right for you and what feels wrong. When you overstep your own boundaries, you are gonna feel really crappy. Listen to your heart. Trust your instincts. Funny things happen to individuals when they get clumped into a group. The people stop thinking for themselves and surrender their wills to the group. The group takes on a mind of its own. The people in the group depend on it to dictate what they will do or not do. Itís isnít easy to do what you think is right when all around you people are shouting that youíre wrong. But if you can keep your head when everybody else is losing theirs, then you can do anything. Staying true to yourself is essential to spiritual success. Donít forget that real friends, the ones worth having, accept you for who you are and not the person that they would like to make you. Real friends respect your decisions. You were given free will; use it.
Write down at least five different things that you can think of that you like about yourself every day!!! These can be small things--like picking up a turtle in the middle of the road and placing him on the other side, picking up somebodyís purse when they dropped it (as long as you did not proceed to run away with the purse, weíll be in good shape). Take care of yourself. This means avoiding negative people and thoughts. Pessimism is a waste of time. Become an optimist! Start monitoring your thoughts constantly--every time you begin putting yourself down, think about why you feel that way and what circumstances you are in that might lead you to this conclusion. Then turn the statement around and make it positive. Use affirmations. Hereís one: Every Day, In Every Way, I Am Getting Better and Better. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others--this will only lead to resentment and unhappiness. "Envy is ignorance...imitation is suicide."--Ralph Waldo Emerson Finding inspiring role models is okay, though.
Have a sense of humor! Learn to laugh at yourself and donít take life too seriously. Smiling has actually been proven to improve peopleís moods. Did you know that you can cheer yourself up by cheering up other people? Ask for hugs when you are blue! Learn to forgive yourself and others. You canít move forward when you are still holding back your negative feelings from the past. LET THE NEGATIVE FEELINGS GO! Watch them fly off into the clear blue sky and be burned into the sun. You donít necessarily have to be friends with people who have hurt you or even forget what they have done to you (forgetting may not even be possible), but let go of all the negative feelings about them which you have allowed to poison your soul. Youíll be doing yourself a favor. Consider this spring cleaning.
Develop a sense of self-worth by doing little (or big) things that you find meaningful and positive. It can be volunteer work or just listening to your friends when they have problems. "Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Deal with parent and other
Opening the Lines of Communication
If you want to be treated like an adult, then you have to act like one. People will ignore you if you throw tantrums. Donít be accusatory--no matter how wrong you may know they are. This means addressing problems in the following format (which is great for negotiating with parents or addressing any problem or confrontational situation):
"I feel (insert emotion here) when/that you (insert action here) because (your reasons). Please (insert what you want to happen here)." Example: "I feel upset that you gave me a B+ on this paper because I worked very hard on it and think I deserve an A. Would you please reconsider this grade or at least tell me what I can change next time to get an A?" Approach you parents at a time when you think they are open to listening to you. Donít ask them when they are rushing out the door because they are late for work. Say "Mom (or Dad), I have something really important to discuss with you." You wonít be able to get everything you want, but youíll feel better knowing that you tried your very best. And just like the New York Lotto "Cause hey--you never know." unless you try, that is. Try to see things from the other personís perspective. Good Luck!
Itís normal for kids to feel angry, hurt, guilty, sad, and scared about the future when they find out that their parents are getting a divorce. Suddenly youíre faced with all of these questions about where youíll be living and whoíll be living with you. Your lifestyle is about to change forever--pretty scary stuff. Itís also normal for kids to feel relieved, glad, and really ANY OTHER WAY. This is okay. All feelings are allowed, okay, and acceptable. Feelings by themselves are never bad; what you do with those feelings, though, can be healthy or unhealthy. Itís important for kids to find healthy outlets for their anger and aggression. Punching pillows is okay; punching people is not okay. Kicking stuffed animals is okay; kicking real animals is not okay. Donít take your anger or aggression out on other people or on animals. Crying is okay, too. Some kids find that keeping a private, secret journal that nobody else will ever read helps them deal with their feelings. Some kids take up karate or running to deal with their feelings. You can probably think of many other healthy, positive ways to express your emotions.
Talking with somebody often lessens the pain. You can talk to a parent, a family friend, a teacher, or anybody else that you enjoy talking to. It can be difficult to talk at first, but talking sure can make you feel better. There are also adults out there who are trained to talk with people about their problems. These people are called social workers and psychologists. Maybe you can talk to one of them.
When parents get divorced, it doesnít mean that they stop being parents and it definitely DOESNíT MEAN THAT THEY STOP LOVING THEIR CHILDREN! Even when a parent moves really far away, he or she is still a kidís parent! Parents are still parents when their children are adults. Once you are somebodyís parent, you are always somebodyís parent. Itís important to remember that itís NEVER A CHILDíS FAULT THAT THEIR PARENTS ARE GETTING A DIVORCE. No two divorces are exactly the same because the reasons people get divorced are so different. There are lots of different reasons. One thing that is for sure, though, is that kids are never the reasons that parents get divorced. It wasnít something you did or didnít do. But just like you didnít do anything to cause the divorce, you canít do anything to get your parents back together, either. Sometimes parents work things out and get back together, but most of the time this doesnít happen. Trying to act extra good or extra bad to get your parents back together is not going to work.
Life doesnít always go the way you want it to and some times are worse than others. Your parents may start dating again and meeting new people. They may even get remarried, which means that you may have a stepmom or stepdad or even stepbrothers and stepsisters. This can be really tough for you, but if you learn how to ask for help when you need it and try to accept or maybe even like the things that you cannot change, you could have two loving families instead of one.
Depression is a widespread mood disorder common among teenagers and people between the ages of 25 to 44. Being a teenager is such a difficult time because your body is changing so quickly and your head and heart are constantly struggling to catch-up. You are experiencing many new sensations and emotions for the first time. Life can be so confusing! Being a teenager is sort of like riding a roller coaster. Itís exciting and scary at the same time.
So how can you tell if you or somebody you love is depressed?
There are many different reasons people may experience depression. Some types of depression are genetically linked and are often treated using drug therapies. Other types of depression are caused by the environment. Environmental factors like divorce, alcoholism, abuse (physical, emotional, and/or sexual), job-loss, not doing in well in school, and fighting with parents and family can lead to depression. Traumatic events like rape, incest, death of a loved one, and physical injuries are also environmental causes of depression. People suffering from depression as a result of environmental factors could benefit from counseling or a combination of drugs and counseling.
If your school offers a study skills workshop of some sort, TAKE IT!! You just might learn something that you didnít already know. As soon as you start getting confused, alert your teacher. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS--OR AT LEAST AS MANY AS IT TAKES FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND A CONCEPT FULLY!! Chances are if you have a question, somebody else has the same one! Donít think that youíre bothering a teacher or slowing down a class by asking a question: youíre in school to learn. As a student, THAT IS YOUR JOB!! Teachers are in school to communicate important information in ways that you can understand: ITíS THEIR JOB!! So if anybody asks, youíre just doing your job! Duh. Ask teachers if you can stay after school for some extra help, too. You can even think of getting a tutor. Being organized is the easiest way to stay on top of schoolwork.
On Dating and "Getting People to Like You"
There is no magic spell or formula that you can use which will make you irresistible to somebody else. We know--weíve tried them all. Itís just a certain set of circumstances (when the planets are aligned, if you will) --being in the right place at the right time. Take care of yourself and make sure that the image that you want to send to other people about who you are is the one that is actually being sent. By the way, everybody is uncomfortable, scared, and nervous here! Girls do NOT have it easier and guys do NOT have it easier. There are many different viewpoints.
As far as being in the right place at the right time goes, itís gonna happen when it happens. Why donít you do something else in the meantime? Pursue other interests and make lots of friends, or maybe just a close few. Donít let finding a boy/girl friend become the sole focus of your energy. Desperation is a turn-off anyway. If you donít have a life--GET ONE AND DO YOUR OWN THING!!! Once again, BE YOURSELF!! Or at least find out who YOURSELF is!!!
Dates are supposed to be fun! You might forget this when youíre really nervous. Try and relax, though. Donít take things too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself. This is especially helpful to remember in embarrassing situations. So you just knocked the waiter out as you went to go and flex your biceps or maybe his mother is choking on the fake plastic nail you didnít realize you had lost in the soup bowl. This may not seem funny right now, and okay so maybe it wonít seem funny years from now....but, wow I forgot how this was supposed to end. Oh, yeah. Somebody, somewhere will find it utterly amusing. "Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone." --Eli Wilcox Wheeler This goes both ways, though. If somebody whoís trying to impress you makes a fool of themselves, donít automatically write them off. Think of all the different embarrassing things that youíve said and done when you were trying to impress somebody! Have some compassion.
TREAT OTHER PEOPLE THE WAY THAT YOU WANT TO BE TREATED. Try not to lead people on when you have no interest in starting a relationship with them. This is just cruel and youíre not being a real friend. Always remember that girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives, and lovers **must** all be friends first. Physical attraction alone will not sustain a good relationship, (And just to make it official, you NEVER owe somebody a kiss good-night. You should go at your own pace, this isnít a race. Donít let somebody else use you as their testing ground). Staring longingly into one anotherís eyes and professing undying devotion to one another 24 hours a day gets old really fast. Opposites may attract, but similarities in important issues (like having the same values) and keeping an open-mind so that you can explore different interests are what make relationships last. "Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction." --Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The heat is on: pressure from boyfriends and girlfriends
Being able to communicate is an important part of every healthy relationship, (please see Dealing With Parents and Others: Opening the Lines of Communication). You definitely should NOT do anything that makes you uncomfortable in any relationship--especially when it comes to having sex only because your boy or girlfriend is pressuring you. Let your boy or girlfriend know your boundaries. If they continue to pressure you, you probably ought to find a new boy or girlfriend who is more considerate of your feelings and respectful of your decisions! Having sex or going farther physically in a relationship will not strengthen the relationship if other aspects have not been developed. Did you get that? Itís not gonna make you closer! You shouldnít have sex to prove to somebody that you love them. If you think that having sex is gonna keep somebody from dumping you, THINK AGAIN. Donít substitute sex for love. In a healthy relationship, sex is a choice and you have sex because you want to express your love--not to win a bet or prove anything. There are many other parts in a relationship besides the physical anyway--work on getting to know the other person and learning all about them and their ambitions and dreams. Do you share the same values? Do you want the same things? You should have an identity outside of your relationship--not sacrifice your identity to the relationship. You donít want to be defined only as "So-and-Soís" girlfriend/boyfriend. Your dreams and goals are important! Never forget that! NEVER STOP GROWING AND LEARNING--this is what keeps relationships interesting!! Physical stuff is just one small part in the big picture!!
Getting dumped or doing the dumping
Nobody enjoys rejection. If you do, then you have some issues that should be dealt with in therapy. Itís especially awful when adults act like youíre supposed to instantly bounce back. As if it were no big deal. "What? You mean you canít just grow a new heart or something? Whatís the matter with you?!" Almost as old as the chicken and the egg question is "Which hurts the worst: doing the dumping or being dumped?" First heartbreaks are especially hard because you have no previous experiences to fall back on. Believe it or not, though, life will go on. Even when your feelings are telling you otherwise. Follow the techniques below and before you know it youíll be able to look back and say to yourself "I made it!"
Thought stopping Replaying the breakup over and over in your mind is not taking care of your soul. Spare yourself from suffering that kind of misery. Thereís just no point to it. Whenever you find your thoughts moving towards Mr. or Miss No-Longer-Special Someone, immediately start thinking of scenes or thoughts that do not involve that person. You can start writing the acceptance speech for your Best Actor/Best Actress Academy Award. You can think of new tactics in your plan for World Domination. You can find out how many marshmallows you can cram into your mouth. Try thinking of some of your own thought stopping techniques right now. Practice thought stopping at least ten times a day plus the times when the sad thoughts creep up on you.
Mental Ridicule You may not find this very nice. This is why youíre going to keep it to yourself and do this silently (thatís what puts the MENTAL in MENTAL RIDICULE; no, youíre not MENTAL if you do this). Over time, people tend to look back on relationships and glorify them when in reality they were actually pretty crappy. Now that you are out of the relationship, itís easy to forget how unhappy you were while you were in it. Get real and stop lying to yourself! Three to five times a day when youíre still getting over him/her, practice imagining your former flame in a ridiculous situation that you find funny. Youíll be armed when a real sad attack hits.
Pump Up Your Self-Esteem So youíve just had your heart ripped out and fed to a pack of starving wolves. We need to reinflate your self-esteem. Hey! "Thereís a lot of fish in the sea!" but what are you looking at them for? Youíre more interested in the merfolk. So every time you find yourself going "Iíll never find anybody as amazing as fill in the blank. Nobody in their right mind would like me, anyway," replace that yucky, no-no thought with a special, positive one. "I am kind to animals" and "I am a great sister/brother" are good ones. How many can you think of about yourself? Practice this technique at least twice a day so youíll be prepared in the event of a sad attack.
Form New Relationships And Lean On Your Support Systems You need your friends and family more than ever right now. New friendships (Note: Beware of the Rebound Romance Monster) will help you let go of the broken relationship and get on with your new, improved life.
If you are going to dump somebody and are afraid that they may get violent or abusive with you, break the news to them in a public, neutral place instead of at your house so that you can leave afterward. Make sure you have arranged transportation beforehand. Make the ending final and do not make arrangements to see each other again. Donít make any promises or future plans.
People teasing me
You have three choices here.
Option 1: You can ignore these dorks and hope that they soon find something better to do. This is good for light teasing.
Option 2: You can confront them and ask them to stop.
Option 3: You can ask an authority figure to talk to them. If the teasing turns into harassment and is just so obscene that you canít take it anymore, donít blow up. Go tell an authority figure. If things should ever get physical, you canít afford to ignore them anymore. Tell an adult before anything worse happens.