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