Sunday, July 26, 2015

Who's parenting?



Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I’m a single mom with a 15-year-old daughter who is in her second year of cheer at high school. Last year, I let her have a phone for emergencies and she used all her text time and then some. I took her phone away every time she went over her texting limit. Then I just did unlimited texting.

She was bullied and called a slut and a whore at school, on Facebook, and by texts. The principal said she was tired of all the drama from the girls at her school, but she did find out the bully was a former friend of my daughter’s.

My daughter said she was a virgin and there wasn’t any reason that this other girl was saying these things. She became very depressed and almost tried to kill herself.

I told her that I was going to limit and check her Facebook and phone this year and she went ballistic. So I took her phone and it said something like, “The slut is on the cheer team again! Who knows how many guys will get in your pants this time. You’re not going to fool anyone this year. We’ll make sure of that.”

Then I saw her return text saying that girl was just jealous because Sean (not his real name) was sleeping with my daughter and not her. I was shocked and my girl said she wasn’t a virgin and hasn’t been one since last year. I started crying and said I wanted the phone back for good. My daughter threatened suicide again and said really mean things to me.  

She is all I have. I don’t want to lose her.

Broken Hearted Mom

Dear Mom,

We understand it hasn’t been easy to watch your daughter go through all her pain from her choices. “Slut-bullying” is the most common form of bullying (it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not) and it’s wrong. You must go to school (or other) officials who can help stop this savage bullying.

You must set strong boundaries in order to help her know she has rules to keep her safe. Rules are meant for the benefit of your daughter’s emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well being. No rules mean she will surely take control of her life and yours too evidently. Don’t let her bully you. Stand firm! Without boundaries, it’s not going well for her and she’s risking STD’s - sexually transmitted diseases, emotionally stunted growth, and more. She has lost her self-worth but you can help her get it back.

You need to show her that you care and you are not afraid of her threats and manipulations. She’s living a dangerous life and you need to stop her phone, internet and all social media—now!

Change schools, if you must, so she can start over and hopefully realize she doesn’t need to be a victim and she can’t bully you because she was bullied. You need to be the leader in your family, so start leading and watch her change. She will change once she sees that you care.

Permissive parenting is one reason we are becoming a society of victims instead of leaders. Stop being a friend. You are her parent. 

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Worried mom's 11-year-old is cutting



Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,                                           

My daughter, Jane (not her real name) has been acting secretively this summer and won’t come out to the pool without shorts on. Actually, she has been very quiet lately, introverted, and she seems depressed. She wants to be alone and at the same time she told her sister (whom she admires a lot) that she is lonely and no one likes her at school.

She’s eleven and going into sixth grade at a new middle school. Her sister, Jody, is entering eighth grade at the same school. Jody (not her sister’s real name) is very outgoing and a competitive gymnast who wins many awards for her efforts. She is very helpful to Jane, but I can tell she doesn’t want Jane to constantly be around her friends.

Jody told me yesterday that she found the blades pulled out of the plastic razor and blood in their shower. When I confronted Jane and asked what was going on, Jane froze up and shrugged her shoulders. She would not make eye contact with me.

Since then Jane avoids me and reads in her room with the door closed. Jody said she cries all night long and said, “Mom, do something!”

I don’t know what to do.

Signed,
A Worried Mom 

Dear Worried Mom,

Non-Suicidal Self Injury or NSSI is in epidemic proportions currently. It commonly starts around your daughter’s age, eleven. You need to take your daughter to a doctor and have a complete body check. Be straightforward in your resolve to help Jane.

She needs to then have professional care to address her possible depression, social anxiety and self-harm. Repeated self-injuries may bring relief and even cause a positive state of being which could cause her to sink into addictive behavior with self-harm. Unlike suicide, which is permanent, self-harm is a temporary relief from intense internal pain.

In Jane’s mind, self-injury is the only way she can deal with her social stressors and fears. Loneliness is the number one reason girls are cutting, scratching and scarring their bodies. It’s important that she learns direct communication with her peers and not a pseudo-self presentation on Facebook. Do not allow her to be on Facebook right now.

Allowing Jody to rescue her doesn’t benefit anyone in your family. As her parent, she needs you to guide her towards healthy activities and new friends. Sign her up in classes that develop her talents and create friendships. Encourage her to become involved in sports, theater, art or community service that challenge her to reach out to her peers. Otherwise, Jane will remain a victim and she won’t learn to empower herself as a leader by defining herself.

Strenuous exercise will give her a healthy release of adrenaline. However, be careful not to put her into competing and consequent comparisons classes with her sister, Jody. Jody needs you to steer her towards freedom from unhealthy caretaking at her young age.

Arrange fun activities for your whole family so all of you may enjoy a social connection too!
 
Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pregnant and bullied



Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,                                           

I’m 14 and going into high school. My boyfriend is 16 and he talked me into having sex with him after I kept saying no for like 3 months. He kept saying, “But you slept with Kevin (not his real name).”

Now I am pregnant. He said he would leave me if I had an abortion, which I didn’t really want anyway.

He doesn’t want to tell his mom. His mom is really strict and wants him to go to college. He said he’d find a way to get money to me and my baby.

I told my parents my boyfriend was the father. They want me to give the baby up for adoption. They are furious with my boyfriend and won’t let me see him (but I still do because my parents work).

He still hasn’t told his mom and he’s mad that I said I had to give the baby up for adoption. He yells at me and calls me names and tells me he hates me. Then he had his friend call me and say I was a whore and I ruined his life. Now everyone at school is mean to me and he says it’s my fault.

Should I keep the baby? All I do is cry. Help!

Signed,
Pregnant and Bullied

Dear Pregnant and Bullied,

You are a victim of a troubled boy and of your own lack of self-worth. You need to learn that you are worthy of real love and not just sex.

The father of your baby is not mature or kind enough to be a father and if you become a mom in order to get a boy to love you, you could ruin an innocent child and their entire life plus your own life.

If you give your baby up for adoption or even if you don’t, your “boyfriend” will not treat you any better. He doesn’t know how to love and respect even his own self.

We believe that giving your child up for adoption is giving him or her a fighting chance to grow up with mature parents who will do all they can to help their child get a great education, feel secure, and loved is the best answer.

Think about the following before ever having sex again while you are young and not quite sure about who you are and what you need from a man … not a boy:

·         There are over 700,000 teen pregnancies each year in the US
·         3 in 10 girls will get pregnant at least once before age 20
·         More than 30 girls between 15-19 will get pregnant each year
·         16% of teens that are 15 will have sex
·         48% of teens by age 16 will have sex
·         Approximately 40% of teen moms will not graduate high school 
·         Sexually Transmitted Diseases are up and growing in numbers

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Monday, July 6, 2015

"Hypernetworking” teens and bullies



Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,                                           

My mom made me stop Facebook because I was bullied again. Girls from my school that I thought were my best friends, are saying that I’m having sex a lot. They call me a whore and I’m not.

I live with my dad and my grandma. I thought my dad would get it that I am depressed. They don’t get me.

I don’t do anything. I used to spend a lot of time on Facebook.

The first time those girls were mean to me, they tried to take a picture of me going to the bathroom, I was scared. I only go during the middle of class now.

They also said I was a slut. My friends talked me out of doing cheer and now they are in it and I’m not.

My mom said I’m bullied because I spend too much time on Facebook. It’s not fair.

Signed,
Off Facebook Again!

Dear Off Facebook Again,

“Hyper-networking” teens (those who spend more than three hours per school day on online social networking sites) are 110% more likely to be a victim of cyberbullying, compared to those who don’t spend as much time on social networks. Your mom is trying to stop you from being cyberbullied.

Don’t pull away from your mom—she does “get you” and how you were dissed: 
• She gets that this is destroying your self-worth and causing you to isolate from creating true friendships.
• She gets that this is emotionally devastating to you.
• She gets that you have been ambushed because your “friends” envy you.
• She gets that you are depressed and she knows suicide rates are up for your age.

Continue talking with your mom. Count yourself blessed that you had the courage to tell all the adults in your life. You’re among the low percentage of girls who tell.

You need to ask for a confidential meeting with your mom and your school. Invite all adults you’ve told. Don’t stay a victim by staying in touch with your enemies.

Part of your solution is to make yourself a leader. Join clubs, church, and community activities. You will gain new friends and you’ll define yourself in a better way.

Going from Victim to Survivor to Leader  (we call that the Triangle of Triumph) will help you feel a great sense of worth.

Once you’ve traveled our Triangle of Triumph, you may create a new Facebook account for a few true, real friends only. Then time yourself to one hour a day.

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri