Saturday, September 27, 2014

Stupid Without Sex

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,                                 

I’m 12 and I just got a boyfriend. Everyone I know has a boyfriend. You are weird if you don’t. I love him. He wants to have sex and I feel like I will soon but not yet and he gets mad at me and won’t talk to me for a couple of days. Then he says he’s sorry but says I’m being a little baby because I won’t have sex with him yet. Why is he so pushy? But my girlfriends are having sex. I’m scared but I feel stupid.

Signed,
Stupid Without Sex


Dear Stupid Without Sex,

How sad that you ended your thoughts feeling stupid about yourself because you are not ready to have sex. How great that you don’t feel ready to have sex in sixth grade. Too bad your girlfriends don’t see the damage train chugging along after them.

We are very happy that you wrote to us because you are feeling bullied into having sex when you are not old enough. Trust your instincts. They are there for a reason … a warning. 

Having sex so young will most likely make you feel like an object. We advocate waiting until you are married and mature enough to handle true love.

What does that mean?

You may feel treated like an object instead of a person. You may be treated like a girl who has no feelings or needs … especially when you are being “pushed” into something you don’t want to do. This means your boyfriend is being manipulative, disrespecting and mistreating you. What YOU want doesn’t matter to your “boyfriend”.

Take your power back and drop him. Listen to these facts which may make you a strong leader for yourself and your friends. YOU can help them to not fall into the same trap.

Facts (from diverse journals and articles):

•    Those who have a boyfriend at a young age are more likely to have sex at that young age and then have many more “boyfriends” (such as every six to eight weeks). This can make you feel worthless and numb. It can lead you to use drugs and alcohol in order to escape that numb feeling and/ or pain from so much loss and feelings of grief.
•     You loose your voice when you pretend you want something that you don’t really want yet. Loosing your voice means that you aren’t  expressing your needs, wants and feelings because you are having sex to feel loved and/ or accepted by your boyfriend who  could be having sex to fulfill his bodily needs and curiosity. Even if he also wants love and acceptance, he doesn’t have the right to “push” you into anything you don’t want.
•    Having sex too young may cause great feelings of anxiety and depression and will create feelings of regret and over-whelming feelings of loss of power and control.
•    Having sex at such a young age means statistically that you will have more sexual relations as you age and you may feel confused about what “normal” sex is and what real love is about which can cause serious problems as you get older and marry.
•    You aren’t experiencing “dating” which leads to having lots of friends and lots of fun until you find the right person for you – someone who is like you and respects you! You may get frustrated about yourself and feel guilty (especially if you have a religious upbringing). And if you do have a religious background, please pray about this and go to your clergyperson or your parents.
•    Your chances of getting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (even with oral sex) at your age (with an average of a new “boyfriend” every six to eight weeks) along with pregnancy are very very high. That will make you feel very badly about yourself in your future. You also increase your chances of contracting HIV and/ or Aids.
•    12% of 12 year olds have touched each other underneath their clothing and 6% have touched each others’ genitals. Decide now that you won’t do that and you’ll have the strength to say no.
•    In fact practice saying no out loud and ask God to help you.

So we ask you to say no now to protect yourself and make you feel great about who you are and not about what sexual attraction you are receiving. That can be a very empty feeling.

Define yourself with integrity, dignity and love. If you love yourself enough to do this now, you will be a great leader to others girls and that can start a domino effect.

Best to you! Good for you for caring about yourself. If you don’t care about yourself, the bullies will come out of the cracks and pounce on your weaknesses!

Let us know how well you learn to say no. We want to hear from you in any case. We care.

Signed,

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri







No Job 5.26.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My friend at work steals clothes. I don’t want to get into trouble and she told me to stop talking and looking at her. I guess she got scared I was going to report her, so she told the Assistant Manager that I took a bit, but she was really the one who did it.  The assistant said she was going to tell the DM (District Manager) but she never did. Then I heard my friend and the Assistant laughing and talking about me to some kids from school about what a loser I am and that they don’t know how I got this job cause I look “trash” and if they get caught they are going to blame me.

I call in sick all the time, so I can’t get blamed, but I’m going to lose my job. I already lost my friends. I’m going to quit school and go get another job and new friends, but I’m scared about putting down this job on my application. And I really liked my job.

Signed,
No Job


Dear No Job,

We applaud your faith. We applaud your desire to change your situation, instead of trying to change other people.  You have hope and goodness. You aren’t allowing their unkindness and cruel mistreatment (Not to mention criminal activities) to prevent you from taking positive action steps forward. You are a good, smart and the rare young girl who won’t let these mean bullies stop you from achieving your dreams.  Since you are young, it is wise to not put this job on future applications and don’t talk to anyone about your bad experiences since it will keep you a victim.

However, you will do well to stay in school (even if you have to switch schools or participate in homeschool type programs).  Take your leadership, courage and confidence and create a wonderful and happy life for yourself.

We believe in you! Thanks for being a great example of civility!

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri







Can't Stand This 6.23.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,  
                                                  
I'm 12 and my half-sister is 17. We get together on holidays, but our father is in jail for molesting me when I was 4-10. He was caught with his pants off in the bedroom with me and I had to go to court but I didn't remember a lot.

My mom is always being kind and believing me. She has taken me to therapy for the last couple of years.

But she doesn't know that my sister says mean things to me behind her back like, "you're such a little liar" and "you ruined our lives just to get attention" and more. She must also tell things like this to other people in our really small town and I feel like everyone's mad at me.

I don't want to tell my mom because she'll just make it worse and then no one will like me. And I don't want to hurt her feelings because she is depressed anyway.

Signed,

I Can't Stand This!


Dear I Can't Stand This,

We're so proud of you for being brave enough to write us and knowing that you need help to get through this tragedy in your young life.

It's great that your mom believes you and is trying her best to make sure you reduce the devastation of sexual abuse (Especially from your father): depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-esteem issues, dissociative disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and many other consequences from these sick and evil acts.

It may be that your sister is also a victim and she doesn't understand the damage she is doing by not believing you. She may not be able to accept the truth. However, unfortunately, this truth is something she will have to come to terms with and it's not your job to make her or anyone else believe you.

Your job is to know that God knows the truth, your mom knows the truth, your therapist knows the truth and most importantly ... YOU know the truth and your chances of having a normal and good life are so much better because you are accepting the truth and getting help.

You have a wonderful choice to have a happy and healthy life as an adult. Plus, you'll be able to be a leader when you become a parent and in your other life choices.

You are defining yourself now and no one else gets to do that. Not your sister or anyone else in your town. Never forget this!

No child makes up horrible stories to receive horrible attention. Remember this too.

Almost one third of all child sexual abuse offenders are relatives of the child, usually the brothers, fathers, uncles or cousins. Only about ten percent are strangers and the rest are acquaintances such as friends of the family, babysitters or neighbors.

The agony of what you went through doesn't need to be compounded by someone else who needs help also. Tell your mom so she can gain the tools to help. Tell her in front of your therapist so you may both benefit from professional help in going forward.

Make your life magical! Find your talents, get a great advanced education and help others who have suffered as you have. Stay close to your Heavenly Father and make a good difference in the lives of others. This is your recipe for joy in this life.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

No More Bullying 5.19.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My older sister took care of us when we grew up because my mom was a big party girl.  My dad lived in another state and we never saw him. We didn’t have any other family members around us and so my sister told us all the time how much she hated being stuck with us. She said we weren’t wanted by anyone and that we were worthless and no one loved us. She threatened us all the time to drop us off in a park at night or she’d hit us with anything she could find.

Now her girls, who are six and nine years old, come over and say that she says the same things to them. They say they want to come and live with our family. We go to church every week and they like us to take them, however, their mom said she will study the Bible with them and she doesn’t want us to have them over anymore. She’s a bully and her husband is worse.

Should I call CPS?

Signed,
No More Bullying

Dear No More Bullying,
We’re so proud of you and your desire to end your generational and cyclical family bullying and abuse (BTW – both mean mistreatment).  You don’t actually have grounds to report your sister to CPS because you can’t prove they are in imminent harm.

Also, you don’t want your sister to cut you out of their lives and her life because legal action isn’t your first priority. You can help their whole family by helping your sister. Focus on helping her vs. The girls by telling her you want to support her because you know she’s “overloaded”.  If you threaten her, she may threaten and blame her girls into keeping quiet (for fear of being reported to CPS and being taken away).

Your nieces will then have the added burden of keeping quiet, keeping secrets and maintaining a facade of happiness and emotional health.  Since you and your sister agree on one variable, you both believe in God. Please write her the following letter:

Dear Sister,

I know we both experienced awful abuse, bullying, neglect, abandonment and physical and emotional threats and actions. I know you want a better family than that, and your girls want a family with love and kindness.

I know we both believe in the bible so I know you’ll want to be reminded that all children of God deserve parents or guardians who know that it’s their responsibility and sacred duty to love and serve their children.

It’s a parent’s responsibility to make sure they never demean, humiliate, or cause emotional harm. Emotional harm can be worse than physical harm and both may be lifelong lasting.

There’s a great bible passage that’s good for all parents. It’s Matthew 18:5-6 if you want to look it up.

Your children are crying out for help, protection, and love. They are defenseless. You need to take action to change your behavior.

Tell me how I can help support you because I know you’re overloaded and things have to change for the sake of your family happiness. (End of letter)

We wish you the best. We want to hear back from you about your sister’s progress. Thank you for being willing to do all you can to help and assist the children.

Note: Young ladies – please read the above column and then write a letter to yourself about the type of parent you want to become. Write the top ten choices and change when needed as you mature.

Example:

1. I will speak in kindness to my children.

2. I will hug them and tell them I love them every day.

3. I will apologize when I make a mistake.

Put your special keepsake letter in a special box. Take it out every month on the first day of the month to read and live by.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri



Confused 4.28.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

We’re talking about bullying in my ninth grade class. I read about a girl, Felicia, who jumped in front of a train last year and killed herself. She slept with, like, 4 guys on the football team at a party. Then she said she was bullied. The newspapers said it was consensual sex. If it was consensual, how is that bullying? Just because they told on her? Why didn’t she just not get high or drunk or whatever and not have sex with 4 guys? I mean I feel bad for her cause she killed herself, but then I don’t feel bad for her cause she had sex with 4 guys. I mean, who does that? She had a “RIP Felicia” tattoo on her arm. So is she just-I don’t know-bad.

Signed,
Confused

Dear Confused,

It’s easy to be confused when someone commits suicide. It’s a final ending of a precious life. You may have loving friends and family who are truly committed to caring about you and all of your experiences (good or bad). You may have never been in a bullying or abusive situation (we hope not). You may have true confidence and feel a good sense of worth. We truly hope so, because if you are that blessed, it means you have an opportunity and a responsibility to be a good leader. What does that mean?

It means you may help someone else who is a victim. Felicia Garcia was a victim who told authorities and others that she was suffering continual bullying from several boys who had sex with her at the same time. That fact alone and her new behavior tell us that the “tough girl” was feeling vulnerable and wanted help. Apparently those boys felt no dishonor in what they did. Instead, they demonstrated their supposed superiority by publicly, horrifically and continually shaming her. Ask yourself if those four boys are perpetrators who took advantage of a 15-year-old classmate and ask yourself if she deserved it. Felicia’s parents died when she was young. She was put into the hands of an aunt whom she felt compelled to run away from over and over and then she was put into several foster care homes.

Felicia was also suffering from depression and taking medication for her mental illness (Mental illness isn’t any different than a broken leg but harder to treat). She also dated an older man. We don’t know if he was old enough to have committed a crime by having sex with her. It’s easy to be confused when newspapers report that Felicia’s sex was consensual. They failed to question if she was seduced or drugged. Another obvious question to ask is whether Felicia was taken advantage of? Especially when considering the odds against her were 4 boys to 1 girl. It’s easy to be confused with pseudo-confident people who cover up their pain with symbols like tattoos. Our guess is Felicia inked “RIP Felicia” because you couldn’t see her losses, her sense of not belonging, or her deep feelings (So deep that she couldn’t cry, as was reported, except in the days before her suicide) of abandonment and emptiness. So, how do you help someone who is so broken?

Be a courageous leader!

Help her to become a survivor by helping her to define herself in positive ways. The best way to teach her (and others like her) to define themselves is to be your best example. She is a child of God just like you. She is loved by God too. By your nurturing and loving example, she may learn that she doesn’t have to be tough exhibiting confidence. Stand up for civility! There’s no confusion about helping other girls to stand up and not become an object that can be toyed with.

Felicia was cruelly objectified when all she really wanted was to be loved. That’s a righteous desire. She was played with and didn’t learn that she’s a young lady who could have been treated with respect. She’s a daughter of God and thereby she’s a princess in His eyes. We applaud you for caring enough to take active steps towards making a difference in the lives of others. That is what matters the most. Our relationships matter the most… forever.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri







Missing My Daughter's Smile 4.14.14


Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I am the mom of my daughter who is in fourth grade. She is cute and funny and sweet. One day her teacher told the class to “expand their horizons” and sit with other children during lunch. So my daughter did just that.  She was surprised when her three best friends got mad at her for doing that. They had a sleep over and called to tell her that she was not invited. She was crying for two days and wouldn’t go to school.  When she finally did go to school, I walked her to her class and those girls got other kids to make fun of her. One of the girls accidentally (supposedly) spilled her lunch all over my daughter. She had to come home and change.

Even the new girls she sat with didn’t want her to sit with them because they said she really doesn’t like them. They told her that she should go back and sit with her old friends. She was very humiliated and confused. She was trying to be the nice girl she has always been.  I told the teacher and the teacher said she will have to work these “things” out on her own! I was surprised to say the least.

My daughter doesn’t smile anymore, won’t go to her ballet class and hardly eats. I’m so sad for her.

Signed,
Missing My Daughter's Smile

Dear Missing My Daughter’s Smile,

Thank goodness you are your daughter’s mom and you are being very compassionate.  All children do have to find solutions for their lives; however, this is beyond the usual problems a young girl encounters at her age. Your daughter is being ostracized, ridiculed, and betrayed by mean girls.  Her behavior shows she isn’t bouncing back to her regular activities which could greatly help her from being depressed. Especially her ballet exercise and expression. That activity alone may be very cathartic for her.  Her ballet class could help empower her and help her to stand tall, physically, emotionally, and mentally. She needs that to show others and herself that she has control over who she decides to be.

Explain to her that when she walks tall and genuinely smiles that she will be less vulnerable to the isolation, hurt, and sadness inflicted by her former friends. Help her to reach out for new friends in her ballet class and ask her to find new friends at church or in other activities she may want to participate in.  Go to your school’s Principle and get her school involved or change schools if necessary. Take her to a therapist for both of your sakes.  The agony of what you went through doesn’t need to be compounded by someone else who needs help also. Tell your mom so she can gain the tools to help. Tell her in front of your therapist so you may both benefit from professional help in going forward.

You are doing your best. Try to continue listening to your daughter, but help her to come out of her victim stage by defining herself through her talents (internal too.. Such as her sweetness) and not degrading these girls… Which only keeps her stuck as a victim.  She will become a stronger leader in our world by her diligent work on defining herself and trying to see the beautiful girl she is.  Ask her to try to see herself and others through the eyes of God so she may forgive those girls and feel free from their damages. Who knows how they may have also experienced pain through bullying and abuse from others (which does not excuse their actions but allows understanding).

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri










Not Bullied Anymore 4.7.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

Kids at school have always been mean to me. I found out why. A girl in my class asked if she could come over and talk to me. She came over after school one day and sat in my messy house. She didn’t even say anything about the mess or about my mom laying on the couch eating chips and watching TV.  She just looked me in the eye and said that kids were mean to me all my life because I smelled bad and she said it in a matter of fact way. I thought she was going to say something really cruel, but I was surprised because she gave me a list of things I should do.

At first I was mad at her and then I was embarrassed and I started to cry and told her to leave. She didn’t leave. She just sat there for a really long time. We said nothing and then she left and said she cared about me. I thought it was weird, but my feelings were so hurt, I cried myself to sleep.  The next day my mom woke me up and said that she was really a good person who was trying to help me. My mom never said anything else about it. My mom never says anything. I finally looked at the list and it was all about simple things like

1. Wash my hair

2. Brush my teeth long for two minutes

3. Take a shower every morning and put on deodorant.

That was ten years ago and I just graduated from a cosmetology school and got a job because I’m super organized and stylish. I’m not bullied anymore because that girl did actually care about me and taught me to be well groomed and to care about myself.  My mom actually makes fun of me because I’m so clean and fashionista. That’s ok. I love her. I just wanted to tell you to please tell the girls who write you to take of themselves so they won’t get bullied all the time like me. Like I was.

Signed,
Not Bullied Anymore

Dear Not Bullied Anymore,

Wow! You are so humble and have such a big heart! Congratulations for trying so hard to make life work for you and not being prideful. Your humility helped you to make good changes in your life.  It is very mature of you to see the correlation between good grooming habits and defining yourself in a healthy way so you became less vulnerable to bullying. By writing this letter, you have shown that you went through our Triangle of Triumph from Victim to Survivor to Leader.  Girls, please take our writer’s advise and work on changing yourself in ways that will help you grow. Growing up means you can accept good advice and change. Change can be scary and most of us can become bitter when someone advises us to change.  Learn to discern if someone is truly trying to help by asking yourself if the change that someone offers is sincere and truthful. If it rings true to you then work on changing yourself and be grateful that someone was honest with you.

If the person offering advice to you wants you to change for them so they may control you, learn to ask yourself if you trust their attention. Ask yourself, ” What’s in it for them “… If they are doing it to brag about how they changed you or for some other nefarious (look up words if you don’t know them and then communicate better) reason. Then you may learn to do things because it makes you feel better about yourself, not only to be a people- pleaser.

Thank you for caring and sharing!

(BTW – Your mom loves you)

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Speechless 3.31.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I heard my mom talking to my best friend’s mom (they are friends too). We go to a private high school and we don’t have a lot of kids in the whole school from kindergarten up to high school.  One of the high school teachers is dating a student and everyone knows about it. My friend’s mom is also a teacher at our school and this is what she said to my mom, “She’s a little slut anyway.”

My mom said that it wasn’t the girl’s fault. I was proud of my mom, but I’m afraid to say anything to my friend who says the same things like her mom. Most kids at school are saying the same things.

What do I say?

Signed,
Speechless



Dear Speechless,
It’s more about what you DO than what you say. What you do will quietly speak volumes to your schoolmates and hopefully to their parents.  We are proud of you for wanting to know HOW to help a bullied girl and a possibly abused girl. Here are some ideas:

1. Go to the police authorities and ask your mom to come with you. Tell them what you have heard (and that it may be gossip) and tell them what you personally know (if anything, please don’t say anything you do not know first-hand) i.e. you saw them together at a restaurant etc.

2. FYI: If the teacher is taking a student “out” and having any type of inappropriate behavior with a student, the teacher is not “dating a student.” The teacher is doing a wrongful act.

3. However, let the authorities handle the investigation. You have done all you can do once you have reported it.

4. We applaud you for taking actions that may help a girl who may be abused and is certainly being bullied. A girl’s past behavior does not mean that she deserves anything bad happening to her. She does not know her worth.

5. Do not announce or tell anyone that you and your mom are reporting suspicious activities because you do not need to become bullied yourself for helping someone.

6. Once you and your mom have quietly reported your suspicions to authorities, you have started a process of support for your classmate.

7. However, do not feel ashamed (you can feel quietly proud of yourself for helping someone who may not have had a wonderful home-life) that you reported the incidents.

8. If someone accuses you of reporting the incident, (which they should not know about because you may report suspicions to the police in complete confidence) do not discuss unless you are required to do so by the authorities.

9. Do NOT discuss this with anyone but the authorities for your own protection. Simply do not answer questions or accusations by changing the subject. You are never obligated to explain nor defend yourself for helping someone else.

Your mom’s friend is the one who is required to report these types of behaviors. It isn’t a choice. It is mandated by law for her to report inappropriate teacher student behavior.  However, you are not responsible to make your friend’s mom do anything and you are not responsible for the possible careless and reckless behavior and verbiage (look up the meaning of this word if you do not know it) of your friend or her mom.  You are responsible for the friends you choose and maybe you have out-grown this particular friend. Or maybe you may be the friend she really needs, someone who doesn’t gossip or over-share information with others. You have wonderful integrity and dignity. Maybe she’ll learn from you.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Gotta Change 3.24.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

No one likes me. No one cares about me. No one sits with me at lunch. I hear other girls whispering behind my back and I cry every night. The boys in one of my classes have tripped me, laughed at me and called me horrible names.  I get straight A’s and I play the flute.

I don’t care about these things anymore. I have tried to change. I lost weight, I got my long hair cut in a cool style and I colored it. My mom and dad paid a lot of money for my glasses. They got me cool clothes. It doesn’t matter

Signed,
Gotta Change


Dear Gotta Change,

You do not need to change who you are, you need to define yourself! You are talented and intelligent and caring!
If you define yourself, you will become less vulnerable to bullying. Define who you are and you will have more confidence. When you feel well enough about yourself, then you may forget about yourself. When you forget about yourself, you will participate in life and focus on the needs of others and how you may help them.

What does that mean?

When you know who you are, then you don’t have negative “self-talk” which stops you from helping others. Helping others will actually help take away your pain.

How do you help others?

Start by writing down the three things you said you are good at:

1. I am good at playing the flute.

2. I am good at studying and doing well in school.

3. I care about others.

Now tell how you can help others with the things you are good at:

1. I am good at playing the flute.

2. I am good at studying and doing well in school.

3. I care about others.

You do not need to REPLACE the “cool attributes” about yourself (talents, intelligence, and caring about others) with “cool things” (Hair styles, clothes, glasses). Those “cool things” may be good ADDITIONS to defining yourself, but not replacements.  Don’t be a people-pleaser, be a God-pleaser by following our Triangle-of-Triumph:  Go from Victim-to-Survivor-to-Leader! We’re proud of you for caring. You can do this and be happy and confident and less vulnerable to bullying.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri




Unforgiving 3.17.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’m a grandmother who has a daughter that constantly texts insulting remarks to her daughter, my granddaughter. They use horrible language and say the vilest things to each other.  My granddaughter then comes to my house after school and shows me the conversations. I’m appalled and disgusted.

I never spoke like that and neither did my husband or any of our other children. I always thought we were a civil and loving family.  I told my granddaughter that I’m sure her mom doesn’t mean it. My granddaughter told me, “I know, it’s just the way it is."

My daughter told me it was none of my business when I tried talking about it with her. I told my daughter that my family is my business and having civility is what we taught in our family.  My granddaughter walked in when we were talking about it and scolded me for being so hard on her mom?! She told me that I need to be more forgiving. She told me she forgives her mom all the time and that way it doesn’t ruin their relationship!

Should I just stay out of it?

Signed,
Unforgiving


Dear Unforgiving,

You are a dear, loving and caring family member and we congratulate you on your desire to promote civility. Thank you! It’s a much needed virtue in our society. 

The issue here isn’t about forgiveness as much as it is about having civility to one another. You recognize that we all need to be families and a society that depends upon having good healthy relationships with each other.

Ask your daughter and granddaughter if politeness, courtesy, kindness, respect, graciousness, consideration and love matters to them?  If they say yes (hopefully), then ask them to start treating each other in a civil manner that reflects the above mentioned values or, “it’s just the way it is” means they are accepting maltreatment between one another.

Maltreatment is one of the definitions of bullying. Tell them to please change their actions and become caring members of a caring family and society before they spread this horrible behavior and contribute to our society’s ills. The “ills” of bullying include the increase of suicides and Sociopaths (BTW-Sociopaths have zero ability to have empathy for others).

Thank you for trying to make, “the way it is” into “the way it should be” and must be. Remember that when you have given your one hundred percent towards creating harmony and decency with your loved ones (and it sounds as if you have done that) you have done your best. You cannot force anyone to behave well. It's not your fault. Don't let it weigh you down. Everyone has their own free will to make their own choices. Just continue to love them and be a good example. Your good example says who you are.

Our prayers are with you.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Should I Go 3.10.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My mom put me in pageants since I was two and “we” won a lot of prizes. Sometimes I loved winning the dolls and money and most of the time I didn’t because my mom would sell my dolls and stuff and say I had enough.  I won a prize called the Ultimate Grand Supreme once. She called everyone and even my dad came over for a party she gave because I won that prize.  The real reason I liked winning was because then my mom acted so nice to me and bragged about me to her friends. But if I didn’t win, she would say that I was stupid for doing a dance wrong or not smiling enough.

My mom ran around yelling at everyone about me not having enough time or that the judges weren’t fair. I felt so bad. She yanked on my hair and then she bought wigs. She sprayed hair-spray in my eyes one time. I had to have false teeth when my teeth started falling out when I was six.  She got really mad at me one time because my tooth fell out and I wanted her to put it under my pillow for the tooth-fairy. She threw it away and said that it was going to ruin my chances of winning, and made me stay up late practicing smiling, but not showing my teeth because my flipper didn’t fit and it hurt. I had to wear false eyelashes and most of my dresses were too tight because my mom said I didn’t win enough pageants to buy more dresses that fit.

I drank sugar drinks and energy drinks and now my dentist told me I have five cavities. My mom told me it was worth it because I won pageants. My mom said it helped pay for the nice things we have. 

Now I’m in junior high school and my mom put up all my pictures of me winning pageants on Facebook. Some boys saw them and said I was the ugliest girl they ever saw. My girlfriends said I look like a freak. They laugh at me and when I told them it hurts my feelings, my friends said it’s my mom they are laughing at because she’s in the pictures too and she’s really fat.  I come home from school every day and talk to people on-line that don’t know me in person yet, but they are my real friends now. One of the girls I talk to wants to meet me and wants me to take a bus to her town which is three hours away.

Signed,
Should I Go


Dear Should I Go,

We are so happy that you asked us about your most important question: Should you meet people that you don’t know and have only talked with them on-line?
Do not go! Please don’t go! You do not know if that person is a harmful person, regardless of the kind and caring things they say. You could be in very real danger.  Tell them they may come to meet you with a school counselor, teacher, or the police. If they are real friends, they won’t mind coming to meet you at a safe public place with other people that know you. Many predators hide behind pretend names and feelings. That is how so many missing persons wind up being abducted or worse.

We do not support pageants for children or youth under the age of 16. France, in fact, passed a law banning beauty pageants for children under 16. Any adult caught ignoring this law could face two years in prison and many fines. We should support the same laws here in the United States.  The French understand that children need to be protected from controlling adults who place children in imminent risk or serious harm. A child’s well being, safety (emotional, sexual or physical) is the responsibility of adults who should not subject children, youth and toddlers to adult competitions and often times adult talent routines and costumes.

Ask your school counselor or an authority figure to direct you and your mom to a professional therapist or social worker so you may work through your pain.  It may be necessary for you to switch schools. Drop off any social media for now (until you have had therapy with your mom) and stop communicating with your new unknown “friends” immediately. Do not see them. Develop new friends at church or other community activities.

Being in pageants does not define you. Develop new internal and external talents that you enjoy!

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri





Saturday, June 28, 2014

No Home Schooling Please 3.3.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

Last year, in middle school, I had three best friends and we did everything together. Except two of my friends started messing around with drugs and one of my friends and I didn’t want to so we hung out more over the summer. She must have told her parents because we are back in school now and the two girls got in trouble over it.

Now they blame me and they are playing tricks on me and getting other girls to be mean to me too. I just want us all to be friends again like we used to be friends. What should I do?

The other girl is being homeschooled now (Her mom told the police she was being threatened to be beaten up) and my mom wants to homeschool me now too, because my mom says I am being bullied and she is tired of seeing me get hurt and crying after school.??
Signed,

No Home Schooling Please
Dear No Home Schooling Please,

The great news is that you recognize that things changed and you are writing to express your feelings about those changes. Change is hard because it can cause fear. However, change may also cause you to grow into the wonderful woman you CHOOSE to be in your future.

It’s good that you decided to move away from the dangers that two of your former friends started to engage in. The girls who used to be your friends are making different choices than you want to make.

Congratulations for not putting yourself in the harmful way of drugs.

You cannot make them into the “friends” they used to be because they now want to bully you and your other friend for making better choices than they did. Your homeschooled friend may have been trying to help them and I imagine she could use your friendship now and you may need her kindness now too.

The type of emotion (and possibly physical) bullying the other two have thrown at you two is very harmful for you.

Your mom sees the need to remove you in order to protect you and allow you to stop being a victim which is great!

Learn to : Define Yourself Before Others Do so you may become a leader. Good for your mom because many parents don’t know what to do.

You are embarking on what we call the Triangle of Triumph! It will allow you to move past the Victim stage and become a Survivor (by learning to define who you are and who you want to be) so you may become the leader that God wants you to be!

Good changes may become exciting for you! Try to turn your fear into excitement by only looking forward and not turning back. Now new opportunities will be created for you, which will be the polar opposite of you feeling fearful.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Young And In Love 2.24.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I am 15 years old and have a boyfriend who is five years older than me. I was pregnant by him and I lost the baby. He blamed it on me. He said I exercised too much. He was the one who said I had to exercise every day so I wouldn’t get fat like his other girlfriend who had a baby by him.

He went to court over money he owes her. He sometimes pushes me or shoves me and it hurts my feelings, but he doesn’t seem to care one minute and the next minute he is telling me how beautiful I am and how mature I am for my age. I don’t want him to leave me. I love him.

Signed,

Young and in love

Dear Young and in love,

This man is an abusive bully who only cares about his own self. You need to never ever see him again. Don’t explain why or let him manipulate you by telling you flattering things. He does not love you and it does not seem he is capable of loving anyone.

You and your children will be bullied all of your life if you stay with him. You deserve more than this in your life.

Turn to God and find out your worth now before you can’t see how wonderful you are and the great life that is possible for you.

It is possible to set a good example for others around you by doing this. All things are possible with God.

You reached out for help and that is because you are capable and desire a better life. That is wonderful and mature of you!

Do not have sexual relations with anyone else until you are married and you know that your husband loves you. You may have to wait for ten years or longer, but in that time you will discover all your talents and become educated.

Concentrate on serving through your community organizations, school clubs or church activities and your beauty will shine from within too. You’ll attract a man who is capable of giving and caring and most of all has integrity and respects you.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Shy And Super Sad 2.17.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

This girl at my school was friends with me in the summer because her mom and my mom are friends. I told her all kinds of things about myself and my feelings. There was a boy that kind-of hung around us and he also seemed like he liked me at the beginning of the summer and then he liked her. Both of our parents don’t let us go out with guys yet because we are in the sixth grade.

When I started school, I went shopping with this girl and she told me that the clothes I bought were great and looked cool to me. Now she and the boy are going around the school with some other friends and they whisper about me behind my back and when I sat down at lunch with them on the first day of school all of the kids got up and moved away from me. One of the girls goes to my church and she doesn’t even talk to me anymore. They have all pointed at me and laughed at me and then don’t talk to me.

The bus driver said out loud to me that I should go and make friends and sit with other kids. They all heard and laughed at me. I don’t want to ride the bus anymore. I feel sick and don’t want to go to school anymore. I was so excited to go to school this year and now I hate it.

I don’t know what I did and why she is doing this to me.

Why are they all doing this to me?

This girl even told me I was too shy and she told me it was good that I was with her in the summer so she could help me To be popular and not to be shy.

Now I feel like a stupid jerk for believing her.

My mom and her mom think we are all friends so I can’t tell my mom.

Signed,

Shy and Super Sad

Dear Shy and Super Sad,

You have not done anything wrong. You do not deserve to feel sad. These are not your friends and you do not want them for friends. You started your summer, making yourself feel better about who you are and who you are deciding to be. It made you happy to not feel alone and shy anymore.  You chose the perfect path for you to walk on. The journey of defining yourself has five categories: ?

        1. What are your values? Values are demonstrated what you feel about your worth (honesty, kindness, gratitude, etc.… pick three and concentrate on them).

        2. What is your style? No one else may decide this for you (Sporty, Trendy, Romantic, Artistic, Classic pick one that is most true about you most of the time dress consistently in that style so you mirror your true self).

        3. What manners of poise (the way you behave, i.e. Table manners, considerate, politeness, etc.) are important to you? Pick three and work on behaving the way you choose.

        4. How do you want to present Yourself? (Choose presentation skills, i.e. Walking and sitting tall, speaking clearly and using eye contact). Pick three skills and work on them every day.

        5. What talents (internal, i.e. Loving, caring, nurturing and external, i.e. Ballet, chorus, soccer, etc.) do you want? Pick one in each category and try for six months and then choose another and try for six months.
You’ll discover what you are your best talents.

You can take control of your own life in a positive way. You cannot change anyone else but your own self. You can keep up the good work by not letting anyone else decide who you are.

Congratulations for being mature enough to seek help from positive sources. Keep it up. Talk to your church youth leaders or a school counselor you trust.

Girls (Or boys) who betray you, turn others against you, ostracize you, ignore you and single you out to humiliate you, which are all emotional bullying tactics, are turning their own fears of being shunned from seemingly “popular” groups to you.

Bullies don’t want to deal with their own fears. They play the “blame and shame game” to divert attention unfairly on you. It is cowardly.

All bullying is done by cowards who manipulate others for their own gain. She may have become scared because you started to be happy and she could have worried that you might outshine her. She may feel threatened.

However, have a timed pity-party (by yourself so you won’t try the revenge tactic which only hurts you).

Then do not spend one more moment, thinking about why because it doesn’t matter.

It takes a lot of courage to get up each morning and decide that you like who you are. New and true friends will be attracted to you because you learn to like you! Be your own best friend first and change your fears into excitement! Be excited about the new discovery path you are on. It will make you and those you love happy.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Ugly Ginger Giant 2.10.4

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I had a best friend who started saying mean things to me like, “Ur such a troll” or “Ur such a weirdo giant” and “Comb your oily ugly hair, ginger” and she’d laugh and whisper to her new friends. Her new friends used to not be her friends at all and she would tell me she hated them because they were so nasty.

I felt so bad that I finally told my mom because my mom wanted to know why I didn’t go over to her house anymore. I used to cry every night so I wrote her a letter asking her why she was doing this to me and she laughed about it and ripped it up in front of her friends.

My mom and dad went to the school and even my grandma. So the school said they’d talk to her and then nothing happened. So I had to go to another school.

I made a new friend and we are going to be in the same class in 4th grade together, but a boy in my new school used to go to my old school and went to a summer camp with me and started pushing me at camp and called me an ugly giant. The camp leader told me to ignore him, but now he’s probably going to keep acting this way in my new school and I’m scared he’ll make me lose my new friend and I’ll have to go to another school or something.

Please help me quick before school starts.??

Signed,

Ugly Ginger Giant

Dear (We can’t bring ourselves to use your signature title as you have bullied yourself),

In the movie The Help a young girl is told, “ You are good, you are smart, you are important.” You need to write this down and tape it to your mirror or closet (I am good, I am smart, I am important). Say this to yourself every single day to remind yourself that this is how God sees you.

You can learn to see yourself at your best. You are the one who decides and chooses to Define Yourself Before Others Do.

You do not deserve to have someone call you names, laugh at you, humiliate or physically harms or contact you. A consequence for the bully perpetrator should be demanded and the bully should be the one removed from the school.

Other appropriate actions, i.e. public service, social skills courses, mandated mentoring programs or civil service should be required by the school and camp leaders or authorities. Ask your parents to insist on actions to publicly protect and comfort you. All involved adults and students that participated (even by association with the events) need to be taught absolute intolerance for bullying (which is mistreatment).

Bullies are cowards because they don’t have the courage to become a better person in their own integrity.

Bullies seek to inflict their control on others (especially in front of an audience) because that is the only way they think they can build up their power. Putting down others does not build up a leader.

You can become a leader by taking advantage of your tall physique and walking with tall posture. Then style, your beautiful and unique red hair.

Present yourself to others with refinement. Look this word up and then continue to learn a new word each week of your life to increase your vocabulary because it will empower you with great communication skills.

Also, reduce or stop your texting and social media contact and increase your personal face to face communication instead. Texting can damage communication skills (Because of incorrect spelling and grammar etc.).

You can leave victimhood behind by becoming tall inside. How do you become tall inside? You become tall inside by being good, being smart and learning that you are important.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Scared Too 2.3.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I know someone down the street who is in a band with me and she plays the flute. She is really good, but she doesn’t have any friends that I can think of. She is really shy and looks kind of sloppy like she never washes her hair.

Every few days these other kids from the band start following her home and I have seen them push her, call her names and grab her flute and throw it away from her. She never ever stands up for herself.

The other day I asked her why she didn’t stand up for herself and tell anyone. She just shrugged her shoulders and ran into her house.

It happened again today and I said to, “Stop it” to the other kids and she said that it was okay and told me to go home so I did. But I turned around and they were really being mean and playing football with her Flute inside of her case.?

Signed,

Scared Too!

Dear Scared Too,

Congratulations for being brave enough to say something to those bullies. You are a Good Samaritan by observing and taking action. We hope you did so in a calm manner because you do not want to unwittingly incite the bullies with counter aggression.

Now you must go one step further to protect her and yourself.  You must report this now to a parent, school administrator or teacher such as your band leader. You should also call the police as it is happening because the bullies are physically assaulting your band-mate.

They will not stop bullying in your neighbor until they are reported to someone with authority. This is a statistical fact. However, they will now target you because you spoke out, but didn’t follow through and they will view it as weakness.

Your classmate told you to go home because she (unwisely) thinks they will stop if she isn’t going to report them. Bullies take action against others who seem weaker than they are because they like to control others. It makes them feel empowered (Even though it is false empowerment).

She may also have tried to protect you. Being quiet will never stop their attacks. In fact, when bullies are not thwarted, their assaults will increase and you both could be in serious danger.

First: Speak out to the authorities now!

Next: Invite your new friend over and have an evening of experimenting with makeup, skin care and beauty products. Your actions could help her feel like someone cares about her (Make sure you are genuine in your care). She may step up to take better care of her own self.

Her self worth will increase because you cared, and your self worth will increase because you served another child of God.

Congratulations on stepping out of your comfort zone. We’re proud of you for doing the right thing.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Pretty Pink Bra 1.27.14


Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My boyfriend and I have only kissed twice, but he asked me to send him pictures of myself in a bathing suit. So I sent him a picture of myself in a pretty pink bra which actually covers more of me than my bathing suit.

His mom is really strict and grounded him from ever seeing me again. Then his mom came over and told my parents in front of my nosy cousin. My parents just told me not to ever do it again. But my cousins and all of her friends and my friends aren’t talking to me.

My boyfriend won’t return my calls either. What is the big deal? Should I break up with him before he breaks up with me???

Signed,

Pretty Pink Bra

Dear Pretty Pink Bra,

This is not a “boyfriend”; it is a boy who wants to make you into a thing, or an object. You become a victim when you comply.

The big deal for you is to survive and thrive as a leader through the three P’s of self worth:?

•Privacy
•Protection
•Peace
How you dress and how much of yourself you choose to show, or not show to others, is a mirror of what you think about your worth.  Modesty, in your speech, dress, and behavior may define you as someone who is elegant and ladylike.

Define yourself as a smart, talented and beautiful girl – inside and out. Do not allow anyone else to objectify you with sexy pictures. They may escalate their requests and ask you to show more of your body.

If you send any nude pictures of yourself to anyone, this is called “sexting” and could be considered child pornography, which is breaking the law.

The following three P’s will help you to not suffer any more cyber bullying (which is the leading cause of suicide for girls), embarrassment, humiliation, being ostracized, loss of loved ones, betrayal, guilt, shame, and the demeaning act of being objectified.

The following three P’s will help you to be happy with yourself and become an excellent leader:?

        1. Privacy ~ God gave you your body to express love and intimacy in marriage. Using it as a tool to please your boyfriends will make you feel like an overexposed object, and not a girl who has a big heart, intelligence, and many internal and external talents. Keep your private underclothing to yourself. Empower yourself and help prevent victimization with privacy. Your body is a gift.

        2. Protection ~ Help protect your heart and your emotions by not over-sharing. Protect yourself from feelings of hopelessness and start defining yourself as a confident girl – a strong and capable person, free from sexual peer-pressure. Help protect yourself from the possibility of becoming a sexual assault victim by not exposing yourself and over-sharing your body with anyone. Help protect yourself from bullying, ridicule, and depression. Protect yourself by talking to a school counselor, therapist, or clergyman to help you through this learning process.

        3. Peace ~ Personal peace comes from feeling a sense of worth. Participating in school, church, and community activities will help you to feel your worth as you help others and become a leader. Peace comes from knowing you are a child of God and that He loves you and wants you to be truly happy.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Big Sissy 1.20.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I have a little sister who is my step-sister. She’s six and I was in high school. I go to visit my dad on the weekends. My dad and my stepmom make her cry by saying really bad things to her and she runs and hides in the closet.

The last time I was there, I started counting how many times they were putting her down like: stupid, spoiled brat, idiot, useless, worthless, lazy, whore, jerk, bad little baby (because she was crying again), un- cool, and “you’re such a pain in the butt” but after 11 things I just stopped counting.

I went into her room and tried telling her how pretty she is and that I love her and not to listen to her parents because they don’t mean what they say. She just kept crying and shaking her head and saying, “No, I’m not” and I don’t know what to do? Should I call CPS? That’s what my mom told me to do?

Signed,

Big Sissy

Dear Big Sissy,?How fortunate you are there to comfort her and build up her confidence. Your love is really important in helping her to feel like she is worth a lot! She’s a precious child of God! Thank you for being a part of the antidote. Bravo to you!

Your sister has been emotionally and verbally bullied which is no different than being hit by a fist except it’s a fist full of words and phrases! This type of abuse includes name calling, gossip, cruel rumoring (it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not), sexual innuendo, taunting and derogatory slurs.

Just like all bullying, it can leave lifelong effects of mental and even physical health problems such as depression, anxiety, food disorders, headaches, stomachaches and suicide tendencies. Suicide rates are epidemic now for teens.

You could be part of the solution to her possible lifelong suffering and the consequences that go with it.

However, since you have also experienced bullying at the hands of your father, please do not try to do it all on your own. Before you contact CPS (Child Protection Services), please ask your mom to go with you to her school and let them know what is happening and see if they can help her.

Be aware of the following Seven S’s to help heal yourself and your sister:?

        1. Seek help

        2. Safety first

        3. Secure environment

        4. Get Support

        5. Shameless are you

        6. Share feelings

        7. Stop Bullying (by saying, “Stop what you’re saying” and walk away)

 It’s wonderful that you have traveled the difficult but empowering journey of our Triangle-of-Triumph
(Victim to Survivor to Leader) learning to Define Yourself Before Others Do. Please keep it up so you may continue to be an example of overcoming challenges in this life and taking control of your own life.

You sound very mature!

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Ashamed Man 1.13.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,


I am a grown man who has carried around with him the burden of not jumping to the defense of a girl in my class when I was in high school and she was being ridiculed, bullied and I suspect worse.

I was too embarrassed to say anything because the guys were somewhat friends of mine. The girl was very kind and beautiful inside and out. I still remember the hurt in her eyes because I didn’t stick up for her. She probably thought of me as her friend because I did talk with her in one of my classes. I am sorry! However, I can’t shake that feeling that I should have, would have and so on. Now I have a daughter and I would never want her to hurt like that and not have someone help her out.
What can I do?

Signed,

Ashamed Man

Dear Ashamed Man,

Thank you sincerely for being a “stand-up” man. You have helped to start healing many hearts today, just by telling girls everywhere that you are sorry. Your apology will also give many girls hope. Hope that boys who may not stand up for them now, might stand up for them when they are grown men. You give hope to girls that guys may mature enough to take responsibility to not ever let a girl be humiliated, hurt or “worse”.

Boys need to be taught to be gentlemen and girls need to be taught to be ladies. This creates a civil society.

You are remorseful and that will start the process of forgiving yourself and others. How wonderful to be on the path of finding personal peace! You are also on the path of being a good example for your daughter. Start your daughter on the Triangle of Triumph pathway which is going from Victim to Survivor to Leader.

This will help her to be less vulnerable to bullying. Teach her that if she becomes a victim, she does not have to remain one. She may learn to define herself and then learn to be a leader.

Start a dialogue with her and help her to know that she does not have to feel badly if someone violates her with words or actions that hurt her in any way. So often the victim feels ashamed for no good reason, other than she may not feel good enough about herself.

Let her know you are there to protect her and that is your job as her parent. Reassure her that she is a daughter of God and she has great worth. Tell her to never fear telling an authority figure, if anyone does or says cruel things to her.

Show her you care and put her in classes that develop her sense of well being. Help her find her talents (internal and external). Have her identify and define those talents; such as compassion and a sport or something artistic. Have her focus on those talents for six months and then reassess her desire to continue or to find more talents. Six months is necessary in order to develop the value of commitment and the talent, of course.

One last effort you could make, if you know the name of the girl that has been haunting you, find her and tell her you are sorry. She may or may not be receptive but that isn’t the point. It may help heal her and you!

Congratulations. Now, forgive yourself and help anti-bully endeavors in any way you can.

Thank you for being a conscientious and civil person. We need more civility in our world!

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Not Dark Inside 1.6.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I‘m in High School and I have never had a date or even a boyfriend. The kids at school are always bullying me terribly and my teachers ignore them.
I think it’s because I take after my sister who wears a lot of black and dark makeup. But that’s my style and hers too. My brother and his friends make fun of us all the time. They call us names and it really hurts, but I still like how I dress. It’s me and so what if they make fun of me. I don’t like being like his friends, especially the girls because they act like they are better than me. He said I was a sick “Goth” Barbie doll and then called me the Barbie Devil-doll.

How do I wear what I want and get along with the other kids in my school and my brother. Shouldn’t he stick up for me? I would stick up for him and his friends.

Signed,

Not Dark Inside

Dear Not Dark Inside,

It’s wonderful that you want to Define Yourself Before Others Do! It’s also a very strong choice for you to be determined to dress in a style you have chosen for yourself. That is a great first step! Please know that others and how they respond isn’t something you can change. But you may change yourself to be happier with your own self because you decide how you want to be and that always brings peace and self-satisfaction.

You haven’t mentioned how your parents are dealing with the turmoil going on with your siblings and yourself, so please approach them and ask them for a family timed meeting. It’s important that you keep it timed and do not do this at dinnertime; as that is a special sacred home time to discuss loving, fun and happy events and also to learn about each other in a non-threatening environment. (If you do not have family dinner together yet, please encourage it for the sake of unity, understanding and fun together).

It’s also wonderful that you want to express yourself, however, sometimes our clothing actually hides our true self… Especially if you are hiding behind dark makeup and clothes, instead of enhancing your own natural beauty. Dressing in a dark manner may also be a way to build a security wall so others will back away from you and not hurt your feelings.

Others won’t understand what you are trying to express since dressing in the dark non-styled ways expresses nothing intimate and approachable about you and you sound like what you desire is to be approached and have loving relationships and that is noble and good.

Try choosing one of these following five styles:?

        1. Classic ~ timeless clothes in mostly solid colors (if you use black- add pops of colors in accessories, jewelry, shoes, purses, hair adornments etc…) that are simple and attractive on anyone. Style your hair away from your face or close to it and wear balanced eye and lip makeup.

        2. Romantic ~ Flowing styles that may have small prints, ruffles and ribbons in soft materials and muted colors. Wear curls and soft makeup.

        3. Town and Country ~ Sporty skirts or pants with easy neutral colors or bright tops with Khaki pants, etc. (No sloppy sweats or other cleaning-the-house clothes). Style hair straight or neat and maybe neatly pulled back. Keep makeup very light with sunscreen makeup, lip gloss and a touch of mascara.

        4. Trendy ~ Modest, modern and imaginative clothes that aren’t sloppy (no ripped jeans), always be neat and clean.(Mixing prints and materials is tricky and requires an advanced stylist to do correctly). Remember, don’t ever be distracting because that takes away from your big heart. Wear appropriate trendy makeup, but not wild. Bright lips without dark Smokey Eyes except at night for special occasions (Soft Smokey Eyes are good) or bright eyes and neutral lips.

        5. Artsy ~ This is museum art – like clothing, but not so overt that it is distracting and that’s all anyone notices. Interesting accessories are great, but again, not distracting. Bright lips and light eyes or vice versa is good makeup techniques for this style.

Note: Your clothing style should be clean, neat, moderate and modest, especially if you don’t want to be distracted with your look which may invite attention, critical eyes and mouthing off towards yourself. You say you like your dark look but Nevertheless, if they still bully you, please tell adults and ask for help! There is no excuse for bullying!

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

I Want A New Life 12.30.13


Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I am 12 years old and I have had a former friend telling everyone that I slept with my boyfriend (he’s not my boyfriend anymore). My sister, who is 11 years old and my former friend are best friends now and my sister will hardly speak to me. I tried telling her that I did not sleep with him. My sister and I used to share everything but now she moved into my older sister’s room instead of mine. My older sister who is almost 15 told my mom and my mom punished me and said she is going to tell my dad (They are divorced). My dad will kill me. I made my older sister tell me what everyone is saying about me.

She said they are calling me a slut. When I started crying and said I didn’t do anything, she just shrugged her shoulders and left the room. My older sister has had sex with a couple of guys, but no one in my family has said anything to her.
Why am I being picked on? Should I confront this guy and ask him why he is spreading these rumors? He has put pictures of me on his Facebook and called me a slut. I hate him. He was so mean to me. I don’t even want to live anymore and I told that to my sisters. I don’t think they care.

Signed,

I Want a New Life

Dear I Want a New Life,

First-Things-First! Congratulations! You are a courageous person to not join in and surrender to the appetites of your peers. It is a strong choice for you to continue living your chosen values and for being true to them. You are loved and we applaud you for living in truth! Truth will reign in the end. Truth matters, even when it isn’t acknowledged. God knows the truth. (Write that down and tape it inside your closet). Next ~

A “new life” is your choice.

Here’s how:

Go to your school counselor, clergy, and/ or a therapist and ask for help in communicating the truth to your family. It might be the difference in your family understanding you and the truth. Maybe you can all receive help together so you won’t feel so alone. Either way, please seek someone to listen to you and your needs.

You can only change your own self and not your family or others certainly you can’t change the unfair behavior of your former boyfriend. What matters is you, ask yourself what you want to do and who you want to become. You can decide your future.

Stop defending and explaining yourself which encourages debate. However, even if you did do what they are saying, it is really as important as the fact that you have been betrayed and feel alone and your issues need to be addressed in order for you to have healthy relationships in your future.

Tell your school what this boy is saying on social media and ask for help. Ask your school to attend to him and his wrong choices. Ignore him from now on. If you do not ignore him, he will fuel his gross ego with any attention from you. Don’t give him that power. Take it back for you! You deserve better than that.

You are too young for any kind of relationships with boys other than group activities with an adult leader in charge. You can change your life by becoming involved with a school or church or community activities (choose a comfortable and healthy environment). It will give you relief to serve others and help your pain.

Your responsibility is to find out who you are and to Define Yourself Before Others Do so you may make better choices in good guys. Do not date until you do that and that may mean when you are sixteen or older.

Become a leader in those activities and encourage other young girls to do the same. When other young girls see your good example (maybe even your sisters), they may be inspired by you and you may help save another girl who doesn’t want to live anymore!

For any girl in a severe crisis, please keep these Suicide Hotline numbers with you: 800-949-0057 / 800-448-3000

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

That Was So Yesterday! 12.23.13

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My so-called best friend just posted a picture of us (on Facebook) in bathing suits from last year when I weighed about thirty pounds more.

I worked hard all last year to lose the weight. I’m a freshman in High School with her and in a lot of school activities with her. I asked her to take it down and she said, “You should be proud you lost weight, don’t worry about it. You’re always so insecure”.

I told my mom and she said just ignore it.

Now I am just feeling so alone.

Signed,

That was so yesterday!

Dear That was so yesterday,

The good news is that you feel good about yourself and your accomplishment. The bad news is that she cyber-bullied you and emotionally manipulated you in order to make her own self feel powerful and better than you.

She has not learned the following lesson yet: Compare yourself only to yourself. STOP THE GOSSIP by not talking to her or others about what she did and talk to your clergy person, therapist, or your school counselor and ask for help.

Stop social networking. I am not a fan of social networking too many opportunities for “subtle” bullying. I advise everyone to not ever post a picture of someone else without permission from that person. YOU ARE ENTITLED to PRIVACY and to be respected for some good changes you make AND YOU ARE ALLOWED to make changes without others gossiping about your past. POSTINGS ARE PERMANENT and can be poisonous if you let them.

Give yourself a timed pity-party (cry into your pillow) and then try to forgive her (which doesn’t mean you should hang out with her anymore as she isn’t your friend right now). Stay living in the present and look forward to the future.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

Bang Bang 12.16.13

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

Rude girls and a dude at my school say I'm black. I'm not! My mom is white and my dad is both Hispanic and Black.

It makes me mad!

Signed,

What Am I?



The good news is that you are the one who decides who you are! Once YOU decide, then others won’t make you so mad.  We took out your angry and bad words. Mean girls and a bad guy will taunt, tease and do what they can to you because they are hoping you will become upset. You are “entertainment” to them and it’s wrong. They are bullying you.

Love yourself and stop responding to them. Stop defending and explaining yourself and you will stop being entertaining to them. If they don’t stop bullying you, go to your parents, your school authorities and tell them.  You are the person you decide to be. Be happy with all of your diversity (If you don’t know the word, look it up because it will help you describe your own self in the future)

Thank you for writing us. It shows you care about your happiness and we care too!

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Suicide 12.9.13

Dear Readers,                          

We want to address Miss Please Help Me, who has been severely bullied and tried to commit suicide three times with the last time being “deliberate.” She has clearly not done anything just to get attention. Who would want this kind of hell of attention? It makes no sense.  We want you to know that we believe you and believe in YOU!

You were left on a doorstep for three hours in subfreezing weather with only a yoga outfit on (as reported by People magazine). You became a victim of a “slut-shame” campaign and your sentence was a psychiatric hospital stay (again) to escape the brutal cyber-bullying.

The good news (and this is your BEST news so far) is that you understand that this assault won’t, “define you.” We applaud your resolve because you are the one who gets to define YOU.  None of the accusers can imagine what it feels like (as your mom said), “Sometimes I feel like the Dementors (from the Harry Potter stories) have come and sucked the joy out of everything.” However, the good news is that your mom knows this, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

We have a program to help girls Define Yourself Before Others Do. We want to help you go through our Triangle-of-Triumph… Victim-Survivor-Leader. We want you to have faith again in yourself and God. You said, “I quit praying because if God were real, why would he do this?”  God gave us all the gift of Free-agency. We get to choose how we handle trials and terror. The bullies can choose evil. Don’t give up on God or yourself. We are here for you. Contact us at rhondasstopbullying@gmail.com and look us up on www.rhondastopbullying.org.

Much love to you! We believe you! We believe in YOU! We want to help you!

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Parents Of A Redhead 12.2.13

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,


I’m a mom of a beautiful redhead girl who has just changed it to blonde because she has been ridiculed, teased and treated with horrible disrespect. Her father and I have been into her schools to discuss this obnoxious “Ginger-bashing” since she was in first grade.

We have educated ourselves on this terrible behavior and found out that she is a “Class 3” redhead (One with pale skin, freckles and apparently no soul)?! This was started by an adult TV cartoon show who suggested that a “Kick A Ginger Day” be a national holiday.

We read about violent threats and actions and even deaths that have occurred since 2009. We discussed this with our daughter and showed her pictures of wonderful redheaded celebrities. We even changed her schools because of the increasing taunts against her.

Our daughter is also tall, which means she is taller than most boys in her seventh grade class. She did have a 4.0 GPA. However, since she is now a blonde, she is more concerned about how she looks, what clothes she has on and what groups of kids like her (especially boys).

We don’t want her to think that being a pretty blonde is the most important part of who she is.

Help us, please. She’s our only child.

Dear Parents Of A Redhead,

It’s extraordinary that you and your husband have educated ourselves and communicated well with your daughter and her schools. You’ve been a great advocate for anti-bullying tactics. You’ve let your daughter know that she does not have to accept behavior hurled at her simply because of reckless prejudices.

However, you have done all you can now create a safe environment for her. To further obsess about a feature that your daughter was born with could cause her to think that she does indeed have something wrong with her.  She changed her hair color to become acceptable instead of changing it because she wanted to try a different look. It was her way of accepting peer pressure.  Bullying occurs when differences from the norm are decidedly intolerable. Redheads are in the minority, so she became a victim.

She needs your help to realize that her differences may help to define her as unique and special in a good way. Her distinctive talents (internal and external), her values and intelligence need to be focused on now. 

While it is natural for young girls to want to fit in with everyone else, it’s her amazing individual qualities that will make her shine and be a leader instead of a follower.  Please encourage her to be brave and go back to her original hair color and become engaged in activities in her school, community and/or church that give her leadership opportunities.

She may also need some assistance from a professional therapist to understand that this one feature doesn’t define who she is. She may need the extra strength to stand tall (tall girls have a tendency to slump and hide their beautiful stature) and appreciate her differences and not focus on them.  These experiences may make her heart grow with empathy for others in her situation. She can learn to make a good difference for others because of her rising above the bullying she has had to endure but has overcome.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Bullied Or Abused 11.25.13


Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,                              

I used to be best friends with a girl I grew up with. Now we are in high school and she hangs around different friends that use drugs. I used to try to have lunch with her and her new friends.

She started teasing me for not using drugs and said to her friends that I didn’t know what I was missing in a mean way. She’s getting worse every day. I try to be friendly to her thinking that it will help but she doesn’t stop. She even shoved me the other day and just laughed at me when I looked surprised.

Is this bullying or abuse? How do I stop her?

Signed,

Bullied or Abused?

Dear Bullied or Abused,

We applaud you for having a big heart and trying to stay friends, even when your friend has put herself in danger and bullied you.

You cannot help anyone else change. They alone must make their own decisions. We applaud you for not making the same damaging decisions.

Bullying and abuse both fall under the “maltreatment” umbrella. Her taunts are emotionally destructive to you. She is a verbal and physical bully and she is emotionally abusive to you. She is trying to suck your power away from you and trying to manipulate you to change.

Bullies are cowards who don’t have their own power so they steal it from others. Right now she is trying to fill up her own gas tank by sucking your power away from you. She is a power thief. She thinks that if she can fill up her tank by taking it away from others, she will win power over others.

For awhile she may be able to control some. However, she has not defined herself in a good, caring and loving manner. She may only destroy others with her stolen goods.

It does not seem that she will stop bullying you and actually her bullying may increase because she isn’t happy with her own changes (deep in her own heart). She wants someone who is decidedly good to fall and be miserable with her so she may justify her bad behavior.
GO TO AUTHORITIES. Go to your trusted school leaders, church leaders and parents now! Once she shoved you, it must be reported for your own safety.    

You have tried your best and we congratulate you for being a leader. You have refused to stay a victim and you evidently have defined yourself with many good values and internal talents like care, kindness and love.

We are sorry that you have lost a friend. You can only pray for her and let adults take it from here.

Thank you for helping to STOP BULLYING! Congratulations for taking back your own power ~ you need your own good fuel!

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Faces 11.18.13


Faces                      11.18.13

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,                                

Last night my husband and I went to a talent show where my daughter played the piano. She’s exceptionally talented and I’m not saying that because I’m her mom. She’s also very pretty and 12 years old.
She closes her eyes when she plays and she does make animated faces. She doesn’t realize that she does this. However, I overheard her really close friend and her mother laughing about the faces my daughter makes. Then another friend joined in the laughter ridiculing my daughter.

My husband went over and explained that he would appreciate it if they would not embarrass our daughter by laughing at her. They stopped but I can only imagine what else they do and say behind my daughter’s back.

My daughter has often had little riffs with her friend but now I am thinking it may be a bigger deal than this?

What do you think?

Signed,

Faces

Dear Faces,

As parents you were trying to “fix” an embarrassing situation and we applaud your love and care. However, if the friend is jealous and the mom isn’t mature enough to stop her own bad behavior, it could fuel the fire and elevate more bad behavior towards your daughter.

What can you do then?

First, don’t suppose that bullying or worse behavior is going on than intend but be aware.

Second, ask your daughter questions:

• How does your friend treat you … does she ever make fun of you?
• How does the mom treat you … is she caring towards you?
• How does your friend treat you when you are with other friends?
• Have you noticed anyone whispering about you behind your back?
Third, the BEST thing you can do for your daughter is help her leadership and Presentation Skills.

How?

• Have her join a club at school where there are opportunities for her to continue her talents
•  Teach her to sit up straight when playing the piano, open her eyes, smile and think inside of herself how much she enjoys playing for others and not only herself
• It takes 21 days to develop a good habit and start with six days of practice in a row
• Over twenty years ago, studies showed that a person has 20 seconds to give a good impress of themselves … now it is ONLY 8 seconds

You will help your daughter have courage, civility and confidence which are life skills that will help her stand up to jealousy or bullying her own self.

Congratulations for caring! Now start helping her to care about herself.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Suicide So Young 11.11.13

Dear Rhonda and Dr Cheri,
                           
My heart is broken. My daughter is only 12 years old and she downed about thirty pills from our medicine cabinet (all different kinds including anti-depressants, Viagra and anxiety medication) trying to kill herself and luckily her dad found her right after she did this.

She took a picture of herself naked, except she didn’t show her head. She sent it to a boy at school who said he liked her. He sent the picture all over the school. Someone printed it and put it inside her notebook.

She felt betrayed and confused because the boy told her she was “hot” and he liked her. Her girlfriends have all made fun of her. She has no friends now.

I am confused because I have talked with her about not putting pictures on her phone or Face book. But she said everyone has a boyfriend at her school. She is only in sixth grade?!

She is still in the hospital and doesn’t want to come out. We don’t know what to do and we’re afraid she will try to kill herself again. Her younger brothers and sisters don’t know. They think she is sick and we don’t know what to tell them?

Signed,

Suicide so Young

Dear Suicide so Young,

Our hearts and prayers are with you, your family and your community. Suicide is not what any family should have to deal with, especially at such a young age. You have done your due diligence. We are proud of you. Please try to not put blame and shame on yourselves as parents.

Civility in our society starts with a few important facts that all parents, teachers and community/ church leaders should know ~ according to the National Institute of Mental Health and many other organizations:

• Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in our youth starting as young as age 10
• For every successful suicide ~ 4,400 deaths a year for our youth every year ~ 100 attempts are made for every 1 successful attempt
• 160,000 children stay home from school every single day to avoid bullying
• Most suicide attempts (approximately 80 t0 90 %) are expressions of extreme distress ~ NOT harmless bids for attention
• Cognitive Therapy has proven success rates in reducing suicide attempts
You may start awareness in your family with easy to understand dialogue such as,” Susie is ill from some students who hurt her heart and she is now healing from those open sores. Those sores will heal into scars soon with your prayers.”

Now you may start awareness in your community by having anti-bullying/ suicide discussion groups specifically for girls (girls are 5 times more prone to suicide attempts, however, you may adapt our letters making them appropriate for boys) especially where any social media is used. 70 % of our letters are in regard to cyber-bullying such as your daughter’s circumstance.

We are not fans of social media for girls, which includes phone and computer access unless the parents are present at each and every interaction. The youth know how to fake Face book accounts for parental attention and then use other social media such as Whisperings.

Our suggestion is to have monthly small Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation for Girls anti-bullying group meetings in your community … you may use our Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri columns for Role-playing and discussions ONLY with our written permission. However, we require a professional therapist or approved expert to facilitate the group discussions.

Parents, please note that a popular myth for pre-teens today is to attach social success to having a girlfriend or boyfriend. Please dispel this myth with conversation about appropriate relationships and diverse friendships that are NOT SEXUAL in nature.

Exploring talents and association in church, school or community activities are proven to help dispel this detrimental myth.

Your love will get your daughter back to feeling a great sense of worth along with helping her to define herself with Courage, Civility, Confidence, Creativity and elegant Carriage. You may help her learn to stand taller by literally helping her to stand tall in her posture. That alone speaks volumes about her strength and
non-vulnerability.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Cutting Or Suicide 11.4.13

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,                         
Our daughter was bullied last year at her school with a half-naked picture sent by her boyfriend to his friends and then it went all over her school.
We immediately sent her to a private school in October, 2013. She seemed to be doing well until last month when she has become moody, sad, depressed and lashes out at everyone.
Even though we started taking her to a therapist, it turns out that the new school has some girls who found out about the picture and she is now being ostracized by them. Subsequently, she cannot move forward and started cutting herself.
The school brought all the girls involved into the office and now one of them has verbally threatened our daughter and told our daughter to go and kill herself. This girl denied saying it so my daughter doesn’t want to go to school, won’t talk to us about it and the therapist told us to look for signs of suicide attempts. The school didn’t do anything.
We don’t know what those signs are? The therapist said to see if she has withdrawn from activities, if she isn’t doing the things she used to love doing and wants to know if she says anything about not wanting to live or that the world would be better off without her. She is doing all the same things but not enthusiastically.
She has not done any of those things to us or around us, however, we found razors on the floor and her knee area was marked up from the razors but she didn’t bleed a lot. We called her therapist and her therapist said to take her into the hospital.
Our daughter didn’t want to go to the hospital because she was afraid those same girls would find out about her cutting herself. Our daughter said she’ll never do it again.
My husband told our daughter that this is becoming ridiculous and he’s not going to put up with it. Of course our daughter ran out the door and came back in an hour. When she came back, she said nothing about it and neither did her dad. I’m so mad at him!
Our daughter is fifteen. Her therapist says she’s guiding her, but we are afraid that our daughter may try to commit suicide. Is cutting necessarily suicide attempts?
Signed,
Cutting or Suicide?

Dear Cutting or Suicide,

Self-harm may happen in levels and, just like drugs, it may escalate until nothing is enough to take the emotional pain away except death … in the eyes of someone who is cutting. That is not to say that your daughter is necessarily at that last level. We don’t know.

It’s excellent that you have her with a therapist. You may also want to also contact the National Suicide Hotline together: 800.273.8225. It would benefit all of you and your whole family including your younger children. You and your husband also need to find help together so you may draw your whole family closer together.

Here are some of the signs of cutting and suicidal behavior:

• Alternating sadness with anger - that doesn’t seem to go away
• Withdrawal from others and activities ( especially if they enjoyed them)
• Wreak-less behavior i.e. changing behavior, taking drugs or letting academics go and changing her life around a lot ( not being consistent in her behavior)
• Secretive about activities and length of time in restroom or away from home
• Announcing that they can’t “take it anymore”
• Finding unexplained marks and/ or scars (if you suspect your child is cutting, take her to have a complete physical and explain it as her yearly physical). Tell your doctor about your suspicions

Here are some of our opinions:

• Take any threat seriously
• Don’t tell them they are wrong ( they feel worthless as it is)
• Take them to a hospital and/ or seek medical help immediately
• Don’t be embarrassed by their actions or ashamed – it’s about them - be a leader of love and empathy
• Teach our Triangle of Triumph – help them to understand they are victims of being bullied but they CAN learn to become survivors by our Define Yourself Before Others Do program, and finally teach them how to be leaders by becoming involved in mentoring programs (after they have healed), church, school and community activities.  CALL US IF YOU NEED MORE GUIDANCE : 928.515.9996
• Insist on seeing all phones and social media or take it away
• Most states have laws against bullying
• If the schools are not helping – call the police

Help us change the society our daughters live in … from environments of negativity, entitlements, and punitive bullying. Help stop the abhorrent reality TV shows (that have bullies as the stars) and other seemingly acceptable behavior in our world, to a CIVIL society where confidence, courage, creativity, civility and elegant carriage are the high standards of leadership! This is what your daughter so desperately needs.

And she needs the feelings of worth and love that she may receive by becoming a leader and mentor herself. Your unconditional love and acceptance of her is crucial.   We know you love her by writing to us for help. Let her know that you have done all you can, but you want to do all she needs for her to help herself.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Bullied By Dad 10.28.13

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
                                 
My dad is a teacher at my school. He is also the coach for soccer. I won’t be on the soccer team because he is so mean to me. But he’s so nice to all the other girls and they think he’s the greatest. It makes me sick.
He is even meaner to my mom. I wish she would just leave him. I would love to go to a new school and so would my brother.

My brother is always at his girlfriend’s house because he stuck up for my mom once and told my dad he was a bully. My dad yelled at him until my brother left the house. Then my dad acted all nice when he came back as if nothing happened. My dad thinks he’s all the nice things people say about him at school. He acts like he’s the hero or something.

Why would my mom put up with him saying awful things to her about everything? She even acts nicer to him when he tells her she is stupid. Yesterday my mom said she knew she was stupid for doing something wrong. It was sickening and I wanted to throw up! I think I should tell my dad he’s horrible?

Signed,

Bullied by Dad

Dear Bullied by Dad,

We’re proud of you for having the courage to want changes that would benefit everyone in your family including your dad. We understand that you do not want to live a fa├žade or lie. We know it must be frustrating and painful for you.

You are mature to realize and discern what the truth is. This allows you to grow up and break the cycle of emotional abuse and bullying when you are on your own.

You now need to accept the hardest fact. You cannot change your dad or your mom unless they see a need to change and want to change.

Your brother seems to want to escape and/ or deny his situation and it’s good that you have not chosen that pathway. The escape or denial pathway may set a pattern of possible self-damaging choices i.e. drugs and wreck-less behavior.

You have probably heard that you can only change yourself. That knowledge will help to free you of the mental anguish you are suffering now.

How do you make changes that will affect your life now?

• Find a talent you want to try i.e. musical instrument, art or photography and commit to it for six months and then re-assess if you like it and want to continue for another six months or try another talent. This process may take awhile to find something you love and you are good at. Don’t give up – it takes that long to really put your heart and soul into something. It’s also long enough to determine if that talent is really what you want. And if it isn’t something you want, you still gain wonderful experiences that will always enrich your life.
• Join a service club or group. Serving others will reduce your pain because you stop thinking about yourself and your problems and you learn problem-solving skills.
• Ask your mom to get you professional help with a therapist and be honest with her. Tell her that you hurt for her and you need help dealing with it. (She may even begin to actualize her own reality … but do not put expectations on her to change. It can set you up for more pain if she can’t or won’t stop her own denial).
We care and applaud you for caring about your family so much. Our prayers are with you.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri