Let's Get Through It Together - Month Seven

I am moving to another state and will have to make new friends at a new school. Can you give me any advice on ways to break the ice?

Kay S.
Greensboro, NC

Join some fun extracurricular activities as soon as possible. That way, you’ll immediately meet people who are interested in the same things as you are. Be as friendly and open-minded as you can be about everyone in your new school. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to someone you’d like to get to know in your class and ask him or her what it’s like to live in your area, what there is to do and where to hang out. If that goes well, you might ask him or her to your house for dinner and a video. And keep your chin up if you get lonely. Eventually, you’ll fit in and feel at home.


I am in love! The only problem is, the man is 50 years old and the father of my ex-boyfriend! He is extremely friendly and rubs my back, and his hands wander along my legs. What should I do?

Clarksburg, WV

Run! You didn’t say how old you are, but if you’re under 18, legally, this man is molesting you if he’s touching you in sexual ways. Even if the feeling is mutual, and even if you’re flattered by his attention, take my advice and find someone your age. It’s not bad to date guys a COUPLE of years older, but until you are an adult, a relationship with someone THIS much older is bound to have problems. This man may be taking advantage of you so you also might want to consider telling your parents about the whole situation.


My parents are divorced, and my dad takes my brothers and me on weekends. My dad is a different religion than I am. Not too long ago, I told him that I don’t want to go to church anymore. He told me that if I don’t go, he doesn’t want to see me. What should I do?

Lora H.
Paducah, KY

Wow, you’re in a tough situation where your dad, unfortunately, is the one acting like a child. I would explain to him that you love and respect him and want to spend time with him, but you don’t feel right participating in his religion when you don’t believe in it. Tell him that you’d like to keep your relationship and his religious beliefs separate. Hopefully he’ll get your perspective. If he still is adamant about forcing you to go to meetings and you truly are against it, you are going to have to deal with the fact that your relationship will be strained or even non-existent for a while until he accepts you as you are. Good luck.


The neighborhood I go to school in is very unsafe. I’ve seen muggings, robberies, shootings, you name it. None of these incidents have ever involved me, but I am afraid that one day they will. How can I play it safer?

New York, NY

Have you talked with your parents about how worried you are? Maybe you can transfer to a safer school. If that’s not possible, or if your parents won’t help you, perhaps there’s a safety program at school you’re not aware of. Or talk to your friends and see if they’re afraid also. Maybe, with a teacher’s or counselor’s help, you can contact your local police department and start a program that will help you take back the neighborhood from the bad guys.


When my best friend’s family moved away, she started hanging out with the wrong crowd. Now she lives with my family, and we think she might be stealing from us. We’ve confronted her about it, but she’s denied it. Please tell me what we can do!

Chandra B.
Langley, B.C., Canada

This sounds like a job for your parents, since you simply don’t have authority over your friend. Your parents need to talk to her parents and see what they think the right solution is. As far as your friendship goes, just try to be understanding and find out what motivates her to do the things she’s doing. Then ask what you can do to get her through these rough times.


There are guys in my class who are part of a gang. They sexually, verbally and physically abuse me and every other girl in my class. They were suspended for a week, but now they’re back and still doing it! What should I do?

Heidi C.
Saskatchewan, Canada

Go straight to your principal with a bunch of witnesses, i.e. friends and, hopefully, a teacher or two, and complain. If these guys are as bad as you say, there’s no reason why you can’t get them kicked out of school permanently. That’s why there are extension schools -- to get kids with social problems out of the school system, educated and back on track. If the principal won’t take control, talk to your parents and/or the police. If these guys are sexually abusing people, they should be arrested.


A girl at school and I have become friends, but when we do homework together, I do all the work and she copies! It seems like she’s using me for my brains and not for my friendship. Help!

Kelly F.
Vacaville, CA

Yep, you’re right, she’s using you. Do yourself a favor and dump her -- at least as a study partner. Find friends who are just as smart as you and who won’t try to get a free ride schoolwork-wise.


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