April 6, 2016
Attention must be paid… when they’re little and when they’re teens.
From today’s IN BOX, a letter from a teen who blames her mom for her falling grades and friendship issues. Fair or unfair? Read on…
My mom is incredibly busy at work and she just remarried. I’m 17 years old, but I still need her support and attention. If I try to ask her to listen to me for a minute or if I ask her for anything at all, she gets angry and annoyed, and I get a lecture and punishment.
My grades are going down, I’m losing my friends, people have started rumors about me, and I feel incredibly depressed. All these are consequences of my mom neglecting her role as a parent.
How can I get her attention without her getting agitated? – Neglected Teen
Dear Neglected Teen,
I’m sorry you are feeling so neglected at home. You know what you need and it sounds like you are not getting it from your mom. That happens. Sometimes kids (of all ages) wish they could get more attention, more understanding, more acceptance from their parents. On the flip side, some kids want less of certain behaviors from their parents (less criticism, less anger, less annoyance, fewer lectures.)
You say your mom gets “angry and annoyed” when you try to talk to her about this. Maybe she lashes out because she feels like you’re attacking her for not being a good mom. I’m not saying it is okay for her to treat you this way. It’s definitely not. I am simply offering a possible explanation to help you understand what might be going on with her, so you do not take it personally.
I am sure you are an awesome girl. And I understand that it hurts you when your mom acts too “busy” to give you what you need. I understand that it can cause you to doubt yourself. But here’s something to think about: You are 17 years old. At some point in everyone’s life we stop waiting for our parents to do things for us. At some point we must take care of ourselves and create close relationships with other people who can give us the support and understanding we need.
Maybe now is the beginning of that time for you. Instead of continuing to let your mother’s “neglect” upset you and bring you down, how about looking elsewhere for the support and positive attention you need? You deserve it. You might start by talking with your school counselor about what’s going on inside. You will find support there.
March 31, 2016
Stop kissing her right now or I’m gonna do something you won’t like!
I’m with this guy for like 6 months, he’s my first boyfriend and my big love ( even if he’s not my first I fell in love with)… I have a real problem, I’m jealous of his past. He lived so much with his ex and I want this relation to work out the best, but I don’t know if he thinks the same. How can I get over this jealousy? It’s driving me crazy! – Jealousy Sucks
Dear Jealousy Sucks –
It sure does! But you don’t have to let jealousy control you or your relationships.
You can’t change your boyfriend’s relationship history: who he has been with, how they felt about each other, and what they did. That’s over. Done. Same with your past crushes. (Yes, I’m talking about the first person you fell in love with.)
The only place we can live is right now. If we’re not here, we’re no where at all. (Think about that the next time you space out imagining your guy with his ex.)
Look, either this relationship is what you and this guy both want now or it isn’t. If it turns out the relationship doesn’t last, for whatever reason, then so be it. Take what you learned into your next relationship and do better. But if you can not “get over” your jealousy, then you will be equally jealous of the next guy’s ex or exes.
So what’s in the way of your just saying to yourself, “He is with me now because he loves me. That’s all that matters.”?
How do you kick jealousy to the curb? Sometimes it takes help. If you’ve got a school counselor, you might want to pop in and talk to him or her about how to deal with jealousy. You might also check out some library books about the subject (there are plenty!). Or have a look at this article I wrote. One thing is for sure, doing nothing, is probably not going to help. If you let your jealousy ruin this relationship and you don’t figure out a healthy way to deal with these feelings, the same mistrust and jealousy will likely mess up your next relationship. You don’t want that! So work on this. You can do it.
Good luck! I hope this helps.
Annie (aka Terra)
March 11, 2016
Open letter to all people of good will living outside the United States:
If you have been shocked and dismayed by what’s happening at Donald Trump campaign rallies, so have millions of Americans. Mr. Trump’s racist, anti-Muslim, sexist, anti-immigrant rhetoric and the violence he insights has appalled us. We are deeply troubled by and frightened at the possibility of a Trump presidency. But instead of soul-searching and doing the societal work to reduce racism and xenophobia in America, we’ve simply scratched our heads and asked: What the hell is going on with these Trump supporters that they are so filled with hate? I’ve asked myself that question repeatedly as Trump rally assaults continue. But I won’t be asking it any more. It’s a meaningless question.
To be “filled with hate” implies that nothing but hate exists within a person. We all have the seeds of hate within us. We also have a lot more. We are at the affect of an ever-changing mix of emotions that can, in an instant, turn a rational, cooperative person into a raging monster. We know this is true. We’ve seen it happen in ourselves. We’ve all, at times, been so filled with anger and resentment and so blinded by fear and ignorance we have wished another harm. We might have even felt so pushed over the edge that we acted on those feelings with ugly words and clenched fists.
There is no excuse or justification for violence. Our only hope is understanding how emotions affect us so we can learn to manage them without resorting to violence. That is our greatest human challenge.
Here in America, many of us have taken up this challenge within ourselves. We are also working to educate our children in the ways of non-violence. Undoubtedly, you are doing the same work. Wish us well in this endeavor. We wish you the same. Our shared humanity depends on it.
March 3, 2016
The list of Racist Things that Have Happened at Trump Rallies grows like weeds in manure. With fear and loathing I watch what Trump encourages his followers to do. As a Jew, I wonder when these bullies will put on their brown shirts. I wonder what it will take to wake-up the media and the community of the open-minded. Are we there yet? Or will it take more violence at one of these rallies? A murder perhaps? Think that will do it?
Where do white supremacists with their anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti–everyone but my kind rhetoric learn their lessons of hate?
You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.
“You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” is a cage-rattling song from the musical South Pacific. Written in 1949, the song openly examines racial intolerance and its power to divide us. The producers tried to ax it from the show. Fortunately, they didn’t win that argument.
Anyway, here are the lyrics. Find it on YouTube. Powerful stuff:
You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!
Just curious, how are you talking to your kids about what’s going on? And while we’re thinking about prejudice, what take-away lessons did you got from your parents when it came to how to treat people who are different from you? In what ways are you transmitting the same or different messages to your kids? As always, your comments are welcome.
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