Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.



  1. Hey Annie,

    I sometimes tell kids faced with bullying to imagine their bully as a 2-year-old sitting on the toilet and making effort faces. This usually breaks their miserable mojo. Then, they’re ready to see blue skies and solutions and they start smiling again.

    I loved your answer. It is full of human love and kindness. Beautiful!


    Comment by Family Matters — December 7, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

  2. Annie- what a great response. More teens need to realize they are amazing people with amazing journeys ahead of them. Unfortunately sometimes that journey has several bumps along the way. These bumps though help them get stronger and more effective in life. Terra’s forgetting that while she has one girl bad mouthing her, she has many kids backing her–what a compliment to who she is!
    Keep up the great advice–Lisa

    Comment by Lisa Merlo-Booth — December 8, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

  3. I’m feeling a genuine sense of gratitude and joy in reading this post. Beautiful words for a downtrodden soul. This kind of lesson in life is very difficult at any age.

    I did not have to deal with a bully until my forties. A neighbor/gossip spun my world in ways that befuddled my mind and shred my heart.

    So true what you said, “If you stay silent, she’ll keep doing it to you and to others.” This applies to adults as well.

    Thank you for being you.

    Comment by Dawn — December 12, 2009 @ 6:59 am

  4. […] For Teens: What Can I Do About These Rumors? [Annie Fox] AKPC_IDS += “1632,”;SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “What To Do When You Hear Rumors About Your Teens & Tweens”, url: “” }); Share This Article: […]

    Pingback by What To Do When You Hear Rumors About Your Teens & Tweens — just parenting advice — December 16, 2009 @ 9:36 am

  5. What a beautiful, sensitively written and accessible letter you wrote to that 6th grade girl. Your words pricked my eyes with tears. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Fayette — December 18, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

  6. Aww! Thank you, Fayette! Your comment pricked MY eyes with tears. I truly believe that tweens and teens could more easily bounce back from the “slings and arrows” of outrageous behavior from peers, if more adults pointed out the rumor victim’s innate awesomeness.

    Comment by Annie — December 18, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

  7. It would seem that most of this girl’s problem is psychological. The fact that you have already saved her from suicide is extremely worrying. I think she is in need of help.

    Comment by Clarence Reardon — April 1, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  8. Well me and my friend got in a fight coz of something she did and then sed it was all to do with me!
    She then started spreading rumors about me I when I sent her a text about it she didn’t reply and
    Now she is acting as if everything is ok even after she made people ask me all these questions about
    It I don’t kno what to do
    Please help x

    Comment by Confused — August 15, 2011 @ 10:42 am

  9. Dear Confused,

    Usually a person who is your friend doesn’t spread rumors, get other people against you and then act like everything is cool. Because she’s doing all of this I understand why you’re “Confused”. Here’s my suggestion, don’t pretend that “everything is OK” because that’s not how you’re feeling. Take the honest, mature, direct approach and talk to her. That means privately and face-to-face. When you’re with her (just you and her… no audience), calmly and respectfully ask her to help you understand what happened with the rumors and all the rest of it. Then close your mouth and LISTEN to what she has to say. It could lead to a really good conversation that will help you understand each other better and strengthen the friendship. It might also backfire if she’s not willing to talk about her part of all of this. if that happens, don’t get into a fight with her. Simply say, “OK” and walk away. Do NOT talk to other people about her… just take a vacation from the friendship and spend more time with people you can count on.

    I hope this helps!
    In friendship,

    Comment by Annie — August 15, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

  10. Hi annie umm ok so there is a rumor going around and I seriously feel like killing myself. They said I gave some one a blowjob but i never did. I’m only in 8th grade so I had no idea what that was. Truth is I kissed the boy but I didnt do anything dirty. Now everyone is calling me nasty, whore, hoe, and bitch. I’m like the most inocent girl at school and this rumor is pushing me closer to the edge

    Comment by lost&hopeless :( — December 2, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

  11. Dear Lost & Hopeless, I’m so very sorry that you’re going through this awful stuff. You don’t deserve to have people saying these means, hurtful and untrue things about you. You need help and I’m really glad that you wrote to me. I care about you and I want this stop so you can feel happy again.

    First, I want you to stay away from Facebook or any online social media site where you are reading the garbage that people are posting about you. If it’s coming to you in text messages, STOP READING THOSE MESSAGES and stop responding to them. That’s going to make you feel better.

    Next, and this is equally important… You need to talk to your parents. I know you may not want to, but you must. You kissed a boy. That’s not a crime. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. Tell them the truth and tell them about these awful rumors. I’m guessing that you know who is spread them. Tell your parents what you know. Have them go to the school and have a private meeting with the school principal. What these people are doing is harassment. And it’s not only wrong but it’s against the law. That’s right… there are laws in every state to protect students from bullying and cyberbullying (spreading lies online).

    I know that turning to your parents for help may not be easy for you…. but what you’re going through isn’t easy either. And getting your parents involved so they can get the school involved is the ONLY WAY this cruelty is going to be stopped.

    Please talk to your parents. And if you think it would help, show them my blog, your comment and my reply.

    Comment by Annie — December 3, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  12. Dear Annie,
    I study in an all-girls school, and around three weeks ago my batch had a soiree with our brother school of the same batch. I’ve made guy friends and so have my other girl friends. But there are rumors about me, my cousin, and our best friend that we are ‘flirt’s, ‘boy-crazy’, and even have some kind of Mutual Understanding relationship with boys. But we don’t! At least, my cousin and I don’t. I consider myself to be very conservative and disagree with the idea of having a romantic relationship at such a young age. People used to make fun of me and call me a nun but suddenly one of my own friends called me a hypocrite, I didn’t make some vow on not to talk to boys you know! So they should stop talking about me like I’m scandalously sinning. Girls in my school tend to judge and overreact when they hear that a girl is talking to this guy or friends with him.

    There’s this boy who people know likes me and we chat online sometimes on the weekends. But people are saying that I like him back (when I don’t, I just want to be friends). Some girl even told her mom about my friends and I. Her mom started gossiping about our ‘reputations’ with our close family friend who eventually told my grandmother about it.

    I feel like my cousin and I got dragged into this because one of our other close friends is literally over-eager when it comes to boys, she always comes up to us and talks to us about it, but we don’t know how to tell her that we don’t want to talk about boys anymore. I feel like I was honestly dragged into this because people know I have an admirer who I have chatted with, but I’ve told people I’m not interested in a relationship when they ask me if I like him.

    How can they believe that I am boy-crazy or a flirt? I’ve never chatted with a boy for more than 30 minutes and I am uncomfortable with the idea of flirting with a boy. I follow my chatting curfew and I have rules that state that I’m not chat with a boy unless he starts it, and that I should say goodbye when my 30 minutes are up or if i’m not interested in chatting anymore. I’m uptight about boy situations. So why are people assuming the worst about me and my cousin?

    What do I do Annie? Do I stop chatting with my guy friend? Do I stop being friends with the girl who gossiped and even TWEETED about me and my friends (but she deleted it). How do I handle this? Is it possible to clear up the rumours at all? We don’t even talk about boys in public anymore (we did it thrice and that was the end of it).


    Comment by Hurt — December 13, 2011 @ 3:08 am

  13. Dear Hurt,

    The girls who have “dragged you” into this are jealous. I’m guessing they’re imagining you as someone who is living a social life that they wish they had. Likewise, they may also be a bit bored (some people find it endless entertaining to invent juicy gossip and toss it around to their friends.) I’m also thinking that some of them are accusing you of things they themselves are secretly “guilty of”… By that I mean being “boy-crazy” or “a flirt.”

    The most frustrating thing about rumors is that you don’t have a whole lot of control over what people say about you, what people think about you (after they hear this garbage) or how much longer this stuff is going to be floating around stressing you out and damaging your reputation. You just can’t (on your own) clear the air of these stink bombs.

    So what can you do? You can continue to make good choices in your life. Hold your head up high and try to recognize that people can only take away your self-esteem if you hand it over to them.
    No way should you stop chatting with your guy friend! It sounds like the connection you have with him is positive and you shouldn’t have to give that up to try to please anyone else. (Cutting off the relationship with him isn’t going to stop the rumors any way. )

    As for the girl who gossiped about you and Tweeted about you in hurtful ways, you need to talk to her. She needs to know that what she did was not OK. By doing that you lost respect for her and she damaged the friendship. Tell her also that she can earn that respect back by personally telling each person she spread these lies to, that what she said isn’t true. If she does that, then she might be able to turn some of this negative stuff into something positive.

    I hope this helps.

    In friendship,

    Comment by Annie — December 13, 2011 @ 9:22 am

  14. UPDATE: Just got this email from another victim of a rumor:

    Hey Annie,

    I’m 13 years old and recently I called this girl a two-faced slag. I did it to cheer my friend. But them my friend went ahead, and told the girl what I said. She got made and made up a rumour that I don’t wear any underwear. Now everyone in school teases me and says “Ewwww” I only have one true friend. What to do with this girl?


    Hi Milly,

    Let’s take a look at what you did to contribute to this situation you’re in:You talked trash about this girl to cheer up your “friend”… that was Mistake #1. Surely you could have thought of a better way to cheer up a friend w/o back biting someone else, right?

    You ask “What do I do with this girl?”
    Here’s my answer: Apologize to the girl for what you said about her. Tell her you’re sorry. Either she’ll accept your apology or she won’t, but apologizing is the right thing to do.
    As for the rumor… there’s nothing you can do to UN-DO what she said about you that is now being repeated around the school.
    Here are your choices…
    1) Continue to get all upset every time someone at school looks at you and says “Ewwww”
    2) Get angry and make up a worse rumor about the girl who started it
    3) Realize that this girl and these other people are being cruel. I get that it hurts, but don’t let them bring you down.
    4) Stick with your “one true friend” and know that it will get better as soon as people get bored with this silly rumor. If it doesn’t get better, talk with the school principal, counselor and/or your parents. (seriously) What they’re doing isn’t OK.

    HINT: 2 of these choices are good ones. 2 are not at all helpful.
    Which 2 do you choose?

    In friendship,

    Comment by Annie — January 5, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

  15. Dear Annie,

    I’m 14 years old and in year 9. I’m from the United Kingdom. There is this girl in my year who is spreading a rumor about me that I like her when I’m positive I do not and I’m a VERY shy person and when someone comes up to me and says that I like her I get so angry and fusterated over it, I just can’t ignore it. This all happened when a small prank my friend did on her and I started laughing and she started threatning me that she would spread rumors if I did not apologize, I apologized many times but she would not accept it. Its like she wants me to get on my knees and beg her. Everytime someone reminds me of this I get so upset, angry and scared as I don’t want this getting out. I do not want to tell my parents as they will not pay much attention to it as they think it is a minor issue when to me its not. Annie please give me some advice 🙁

    Yours sincerely,


    Comment by David — June 7, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

  16. Hi David,
    By apologizing, you did the right thing and you did what you could to make up for laughing at the prank. You don’t need to get on your knees and beg her for anything. That would cause you to demean yourself and there’s no reason to do that. I understand that she was embarrassed, and I know that public embarrassment can make some people feel like getting back at the world! But what she is doing with this rumor, is wrong. Unfortunately, you can’t control her revengeful behavior, but you can try to get back in control of your own emotions. For example, the next time someone comes up to you and says “I heard you like this girl!” instead of getting upset, frustrated, angry and scared, (which isn’t working to help you at all) I suggest instead that you take some SLOW DEEP BREATHS to calm yourself down. Then look the person in the eye and calmly and say, “You shouldn’t believe everything you hear. It’s not true.” End of conversation! Think you can manage that, David?

    Comment by Annie — June 7, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

  17. I just got this email from a teen who read this blog. She’s suffering because of a rumor:

    >”There’s a rumor going around that me and a boy name Joe made out and now I have herpes! Like, I don’t even understand how that’s possible! And joe is totally a loser. Like, seriously. I’m kind of at the top at my school but today over 20 people came up to me and asked me about him and my “HIV”. My good friend asked him about it and JOE himself made it up! I just went over to him and said “f#$& you!” which made me feel better a little bit but still; how can I make this rumor just STOP! ?


    I wrote right back to her> “Dear Hurting,
    What’s happened to you is awful! I totally understand why this is so very frustrating and embarrassing and ANNOYING to you.

    When stuff gets spread around (usually lies) it’s not possible to Un-Spread it. However, you know the truth and when people come up to you (which I hope stops happening) you need to STAY CALM, look the person in the eye, and say (Calmly and maturely) “It’s not true. Joe made it up. I guess he wishes it was true, but it’s not. So, for the record, I didn’t make out with him… ever. and I don’t have herpes. If you want to believe lies, that’s your choice.

    As for Joe himself… I can understand your feeling angry enough to tell him “f$%& you” But maybe it would be even more satisfying if you went up to him (looked him straight in the eye… take a friend with you, as a witness) and calmly and directly say something like this, “You’ve been spreading lies about me. That’s really low. Stop it.

    I hope this helps.

    In friendship,

    >HURTING wrote back and said: Thanks, Annie 🙂 it’s nice having someone else care 🙂

    Always glad to help.

    Comment by Annie — October 23, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

  18. this situation kind of relates my situation right now and before reading your answer i thought to kill myself so this problems would stop, but then when i read your answer i felt strong again and made me think that what’s the use to kill yourself when you only live once.and so i thank you for making me strong and making me believe myself but i guess ignoring it is kinda better, cause as you said people who rumors all those things are the unhappy kids well and they don’t know our story yet. well i just wanna thank you 🙂
    lovelots 😀

    Comment by Emy — December 10, 2012 @ 7:51 am

  19. Dear Emy,

    I am so happy that this post has made you feel better and stronger. Do what you can to continue reminding yourself that you have your own journey in this lifetime. You have dreams, plans, and so much talent for making a positive difference in the world. Don’t let others drag you down or pull you off of your path.


    Comment by Annie — December 10, 2012 @ 9:52 am

  20. […] posted about it here. * Youth (and parent) mentor Annie Fox helps a girl having suicidal thoughts: “For teens: What can I do about these rumors?” * How the social Web helps stop suicide (in The Daily Beast) and an example of suicide averted, […]

    Pingback by Cyberbullying & bullying-related suicides: 1 way to help our digital-age kids - Connect Safely — April 20, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

  21. […] Youth (and parent) mentor Annie Fox helps a girl having suicidal thoughts: “For teens: What can I do about these rumors?” […]

    Pingback by Cyberbullying & bullying-related suicides: 1 way to help our digital-age kids - | — February 25, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

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