I received a big shock this past week. E-mails, many of them, asking for advice, from pre-teens. I had no idea that I was such a hit with the second half of Generation Y. I guess I’m the Hannah Montana of advice columnists.
A girl named Ellen in Illinois wrote:
I have these two little brothers and they don’t give me my personal space. They walk in my room while I’m changing or taking a shower and they won’t leave. They go through my
stuff and take whatever they want. I try to talk to my mom but she doesn’t do anything. She’s so busy all the time, like from working and going to school. My parents are divorced and my
mom is going back to college. I want to get a lock on my door. My mom won’t let me. What should I do?
I don’t usually do this, Ellen, but I’ll share a little bit of my personal life here. When I was a boy, my sisters used to hide out in my closet at night. I would shut off the lights
and get under my blankets, all snug. At that very moment, they would jump out of the closet. SURPRISE! They thought it was funny. I was terrorized. In fact, only recently in my life have I stopped
checking the closets before going to sleep.
Ellen, I think that a lock on your door is not the answer. I think that maybe trying to spend some more time with your mom is a better idea. Have you told your mom that you miss her? I think you
A girl named Carly wrote:
I am 11 years old. Last summer I met someone at my friend’s birthday party who seemed nice so we exchanged e-mails. Sometimes we forward messages to each other, like chain letters or
photographs. Just yesterday she e-mailed me a chain letter and the letter had a virus on it. The virus deleted a lot of my files and so when I told her not to forward anything else to me, she
called me “Little Miss Hypocrite.” When I told her it was because of a virus she said, “Riiiggghhtt. Of course.” Really sarcastic. I really feel like marching up to her and
slapping her in the face.
Carly, what exactly would that prove? Do you think that slapping her in the face would alleviate your anger? A slap in the face heals pretty quickly. Anger does not.
What’s my advice here? To be careful. Yes, be open. Yes, make friends. But recognize that trust takes time. And even when there’s trust, sometimes relationships don’t work out.
Relationships are tricky to figure out because human beings are tricky to figure out. In this case, walk away from this girl without reaction. Doing so will be a sure sign of your great maturity.
Lastly, a letter from Kathleen in California:
Me and my crush are both 12 and we’re at a big point in our relationship. He is going way too fast for me. He wants to do things I don’t (like french kissing and stuff). How do I
tell him to slow down and keep him my boyfriend?
Good question. I don’t usually do this but I’ll share a little bit of my personal life here. When I was your age, I was the timid one and my girlfriend, or crush as you now say, wanted
to do stuff like french kissing. She would take me into the closet. I would try, but after a few minutes I would feel really uncomfortable. I’d make up some excuse, like cold sores on my
lips, and I’d walk away. One day, I saw my crush kissing my best friend in the tire pyramid during recess. I think they might have been french kissing. I was heartbroken.
Perhaps that’s why all of my relationships as an adult end in heartbreak. But that’s another story.
As for you, Kathleen, you don’t have to make up some lie (like cold sores on your lips) to slow down the relationship. What you need to do is to feel comfortable in the pace. Go with your
instinct here and be honest with him. Do you really know what he’s feeling? Maybe he’s feeling just as uncomfortable as you but thinks, because he’s the guy, that he has to do things neither of you
are ready for. There’s a lot of pressure on guys to take action. Tell him that you’d like to lead for awhile. He might feel relieved.
I’ll also say this, Kathleen. If you lose your crush, it’s not the worst thing. Ask your parents how many crushes they had in school. I bet it’s a lot.
Finally, to all the kids who wrote in, a big thank you. Reading your letters is a great privilege. So keep writing. And please don’t feel frustrated if you didn’t see your letter here. After
all, there’s only so much space per column.