Monthly Archives: January 2016

Dear Hope: Embarrassed to Talk to My Mom About Sex

Dear Hope,sex
I have so many questions about sex and I want to know about birth control. I am not asking you that, I actually want to talk to my mom about it. We have a good relationship. I can talk to her about anything. I’m just embarrassed to bring it up. What should I do and how do I start?
– Questions

Dear Questions,

I think your mom is the perfect person to ask. She was a teen once and she knows you best.

Maybe you could leave her a note. Just say I would like to talk to you about a sensitive topic and I’m a little embarrassed to bring it up. That lets her know you want to talk. Then she can bring it up when she has time.

You could also ask her to do an activity like take a walk. Sometimes when you’re doing something else it’s easier to bring up a difficult subject.

The best way to do it is just talk to her. You know you can talk to her about anything, so be brave and just start the conversation. You will be glad you did.

Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.

Dear Hope

The Lesson I Learned From My Dog

dog

Our dog’s life is simple. He sleeps, eats and goes outside to run around. He’s definitely not as young anymore and he now enjoys the consistency of his simple life. At least he did until this week when that all changed.

This week my dog taught me a valuable lesson. The lesson: never give up.

It all started when I went to the backyard to bring him in the house. We have two adorable dogs, Cassie and Shaie. Cassie came right in, but Shaie would not budge. He was fixated on a particular spot toward the back of the yard. No matter how many times I called, he would not move. Finally, after coaxing him in with his favorite peanut butter dog cookies, I went out to investigate.

What had his attention that long? I could only imagine. We’ve had many things in our yard that have called for his attention.

Their dog toys – Frisbees, balls, and what not
Dead things – mice, birds, etc. I know it sounds terrible, but we also have cats. It happens.
A live turkey baby – That Shaie carefully carried to safety.
Fruit and nuts – From a neighbors tree

As I approached the back of the yard, I saw a huge hole in the ground under the fence. Seriously. A huge hole. Even though Shaie is big, he actually could have gotten through it.

Looking closer, I could see it was filled with a big piece of concrete. I guess the neighbors behind us put it there. Good thing because trust me, given the chance, he would have gone right through the hole. He has always been a free spirit runner. Anyways I came I saw I checked. Problem solved. He can’t get out and he will get over it. Right?

WRONG
The next day he was back at that spot. Concentrating and obsessing about getting through that hole. He just sat there staring at it. I just imagined him making plans and formulating ways to get out. After what seemed like forever, I broke out the peanut butter treats once again to get him in.

Next day, the same thing. Again and again. Day after day. More obsessing. More planning.

I barely let him out the door and he would rush straight to that corner. What is with this? Why doesn’t he just give up? Why does he keep trying and trying?

He keeps trying because he doesn’t believe in giving up.

I saw this huge piece of concrete that he could never move or get around.

What I saw was a big obstacle.  What he saw was opportunity.

 

I realized it doesn’t matter how I saw it. I may think he will never get through. I might have given up by now. But not him. Not Shaie. He believes he will get out. He is trying to figure out a plan that works for him.

Watching him, I got to see his never give up attitude. What seems like an obstacle to one person (or dog) may seem like an opportunity to another. He had a passion, a dream, a determination to get through that hole. Even if I fully think he would not, he did not give up. He did not let my negative thoughts stop him. He taught me the important lesson to never give up. A lesson we all know but forget. When things get tough or we think we can’t, we forget to keep trying.

NEVER GIVE UP!

 

Never give up your dreams. Never give up on your passions. Don’t let obstacles get in your way. If it seems too big or seems impossible, find a different way. Shaie was determined and he never gave up. The big block of concrete did not stop his dreams. He found a new way. He started digging a new hole next to the concrete.

Take this lesson from my dog Shaie. NEVER GIVE UP!

– NBL V –

Dear Hope: My Girlfriend Wants to Hide Her Pregnancy

Dear Hope,teen pregnancy
My girlfriend just told me she’s pregnant. I love her and I will stick by her no matter what. We are going to have the baby. But I don’t know what to do because she does not want to tell her parents. She has a great relationship with them. They are not strict or anything, but she doesn’t want to disappoint them. I think we should tell both our parents. What do you think? Is it ok for her to not tell them? Can she hide it?
– Babyonway

Dear Babyonway,

Congratulations on becoming new parents. It may not be how you expected this to happen, but this is a new, wonderful journey for you both.

It can be scary to tell your parents. They have a certain idea of how your life should turn out. Their child being a teen parent is not what they imagined, but that doesn’t mean they won’t accept it.

I understand she doesn’t want to disappoint them, but they will find out eventually. It’s better to tell them now. She really doesn’t know how they will react. They might be very supportive. Even if they get upset, telling them early gives them time to adjust to the idea that their daughter is having a baby (their grandchild).

I think you definitely should tell both sets of parents. You will need their support, not only emotionally, but possibly financially as well. They’ve had babies, so they can help you prepare. Your girlfriend also needs good medical care. It’s important to take care of the baby and herself. When you try to hide a pregnancy, sometimes the health needs get neglected.

When you decide to talk to your parents, pick a good time. Don’t pick a time when they’re busy. At the same time, don’t use “it’s not the right time” as a reason to avoid telling them. Let your parents know you have something serious to talk about. Don’t drag it out. Just tell them. Be calm and explain the situation. Don’t be upset by the way they react. This can be overwhelming and they might need some time to process. Avoid getting defensive or angry. Try to understand this can be shocking to them. Remember they love you and this is big news.

Here is a helpful site: Teenage Pregnancy: 10 Tips for Telling Your Parents
This site is full of stories about how teens have told their parents they’re pregnant. It will give you some encouragement.

Remember, your parents ultimately want what is best for you. You need to be honest with them. Stay strong and continue to support each other. It is scary, but I know you can do it.

Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.

Dear Hope

Dear Hope Update: Is He Embarrassed by Me?

DEAR HOPE UPDATE:

Pretend Girlfriend, sent a letter in September asking what to do about a boy. Check out her original letter. She just sent in this update.

Here’s an update from Pretend Girlfriend:pretend girlfriend

Dear Hope,
I am pretend girlfriend do you remember me? I was the big girl. Well I did what you said and talked to him. It was hard, but I did it. I asked him straight out do you like me. He said yes of course he does. I asked him why don’t we ever go out then he hesitated. I pushed for an answer and he said you know how it is. I said um no how is it. Then he said well you know I don’t want my friends to get the wrong idea. Right there I knew what he meant. I was ok in private, but he would never really date me. I wanted to cry right then, but I held it in. I realized he didn’t deserve to see me cry. He didn’t deserve ME! I told him to leave. He seemed confused and I just said BYE. I thought I would be so upset after, but I actually felt relieved. Don’t get me wrong it still hurt my feelings, but it was good to know. I felt stronger somehow. It made me start thinking a lot. Thinking about everything, life, school, me. I wanted to be by myself to think so I started taking long walks to think. I have actually lost 15 pounds. I have never cared about my weight and I still don’t, but I do feel better. I think I will keep walking and see how it goes. As far as boys it will happen when it happens. Anyways I guess I just wanted to let you know how it’s going and to say thanks. Thanks for your help. I think originally I wanted help keeping a boy, but I ended helping myself.
– Pretend Nothing

Dear Pretend Nothing,

Hello Pretend Nothing, (by the way love that name) yes, I remember you! I’m so excited that you emailed again. Love getting updates.

I’m sorry that you were hurt by this situation, but I’m so proud of you for talking to him. You needed to know what was really going on. It’s important to find out the truth, even when it’s hard to do. When you know the truth, you can decide what to do with it.

I hope he will eventually realize that what he did was not ok. If he liked you, he should have been proud to take you anywhere. His loss! We all know how amazing you are.

I think walking is a wonderful idea. It’s a great way to clear you mind. It’s ok to be sad and take time to sort through your feelings. It’s also nice to be able to move on.

Thanks for sending in an update. It’s always great to find out how you are doing!

STOP Hating Your Body! START Loving Yourself!

Love Yourself

 STOP hating your body! START loving yourself!

Keeping a healthy body image can be a challenge.
Body image is how you view your body. It is how you believe your body looks no matter what it actually looks like.

There is always a television show or magazine telling you how you should look. They are ready to give you tips and instructions on how to have the perfect hair and makeup or the perfect body. They try to make you feel as if you need to do this to look “right,” or to be accepted. Everywhere you turn there are flawless (photoshopped) pictures of celebrities trying to reinforce that if you’re not perfect, you’re wrong. Even your family and peers can say things that make you question the way you look and feel about yourself.

You are worth loving.

When you’re a teen your body and emotions go through a lot of changes, changes you might not have control over. There are some you may like, some that may just be an annoyance, and some you may absolutely hate. Maybe you’re three inches shorter than your friends because you haven’t had your growth spurt yet. Maybe you have “blossomed” over the summer, but your friends haven’t. Maybe you have been working out, but all your friends have bigger muscles. Maybe you’re just right, but you don’t see it that way so you have an unhealthy body image.

You are worth loving.

I “blossomed” way earlier than the rest of my friends. While they were still wearing training bras, I was trying to figure out how to actually contain mine. My friends were all jealous and the boys loved it, but I hated it. I hated those two big balloons that were suddenly there. I had always thought I looked fine until they came, then my body image got all screwed up. I started thinking I was fat just because they puffed out my shirt more. Then I realized my self-talk was to blame. I got a better attitude, figured out which shirts looked best on me, and felt better about myself. They just become a part of who I was. They weren’t a negative thing, just a piece of me.

You are worth loving.

How you look at yourself and how you talk to yourself, (your self-talk) determines how you feel about yourself. It creates your body image. Sometimes our self-talk distorts things and it may not have anything to do with your actual appearance. Your self-talk can have you thinking you’re bigger or smaller than you actually are, that your skin color is not right, or that your nose is too crooked.

No matter what body shape you are
No matter what color eyes or hair you have
No matter what your skin color is
No matter how tall or short you are
No matter if you’re the first out of your training bra

You are worth loving. You deserve to love yourself. You are worth protecting.

Every part of you is worth caring for. Once you understand that, you are on your way to a healthy body image.

It can be challenging to look in the mirror and not see flaws. Especially when everywhere you turn someone or something might be saying you should be different from what you are. It’s not easy to maintain a good body image, but it’s important to have confidence and to treat your body with respect. Having good self-talk is an important first step to having a healthy body image.

– NBL V –

Dear Hope: I Want to Be Comfortable Around People

Dear Hope,Anxiety
I am beginning to realise that I cannot handle being amongst a lot of people. When I say a lot of people, I mean shopping centres, weddings, restaurants etc. I was never like this before I used to love going out, now though I hate it when someone asks me to join them. I get so anxious, my heart starts beating really fast and I start to shake and other things begin to happen too. I am comfortable talking and being around people in small spaces but it’s just large spaces and lots of people that make me feel uncomfortable. I don’t want to become anti-social, i want to be comfortable around people. What do I do?
– SK

Dear SK,
The anxiety you’re feeling is not uncommon. Many people deal with this. The good news is you are aware of it and want to try to fix it.

Here are some things you can do before going and while you’re out.

Positive Self-Talk – Think about the positive things that will happen and concentrate on those things. The friends you will see. The activities you will be doing.
Use positive self-talk before you go out to give you that “I can do it” attitude.
You can also use this tool while you are out to keep reminding yourself you are doing ok and you will be fine.

Practice – Spend some time in front of your mirror. Sometimes the anxiety can come from not knowing what to say. Practice introducing yourself. It will give you a chance to get comfortable with what you are saying. Also think about what you might say if you need to excuse yourself. It might feel awkward to talk to yourself, but it will help. When you have to talk someone, you will already know what to say and it will come out more easily.

Breathe – This is so important! Take several deep breaths. Inhale through your nose for about 3 to 4 seconds. Hold it for about 2 seconds and then exhale through your mouth for another 3-4 seconds. Breathing in and out slowly will help relax your body. This is something you can do right in the middle of a group and no one will even notice. When your heart starts racing take a few deep breaths.

A friend – Bring a friend with you. When you can, bring someone who you trust and that knows your situation. They can help advert attention from you if you’re feeling overwhelmed or they can help you through a crowd. Sometimes, just knowing you are with someone you trust and enjoy being around can help put you at ease. A good friend can help in many ways.

Know yourself – Know if enough is enough. If you are breathing and talking positive and it’s not helping, take a moment away. Excuse yourself and go to the bathroom if you can. Have a few minutes alone to relax and start over. If you decide it is too much, it’s ok to go home. The point is, you want this to work and you are trying. These things take time and there is no rush.

Remember size doesn’t matter – One person or one hundred people, they are all just like you. We are all just people and we all have insecurities and anxieties. Ten people are just five small groups of two.

Take it one-step at a time. It will take time and practice to become more relaxed. If you can, keep increasing the size of the crowd as you get comfortable. Don’t stress yourself out and jump right into something you are not ready for.

Anxiety is different for everyone. For some it goes away easily for others it requires a bit more help. Always do what is right for you. Never be embarrassed or afraid to ask for help. You may want to consider talking to a counselor or a therapist.

Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.
Dear Hope

Dear Hope: My Friend Won’t Stop Borrowing My Stuff

Dear Hope,borrowing
I have this problem with my friend and I have no idea what to do. She is always borrowing my stuff. At first I didn’t mind, but she never returns anything. I try and say no, but she pushes and makes me feel guilty. I’m tired of it, but I don’t know how to say no. Now she wants to borrow my new stuff. She came over the day after Christmas and was like wow this stuff is cool I will have to borrow it. Yeah my stuff is cool, but it’s mine. I want to say back off, but I can’t. I don’t want her taking my new stuff cuz then I won’t have it any more and I just got it. What can I do?
– It’s Mine

Dear It’s Mine,
It sounds like your friend might be taking advantage of you. She may not be doing it intentionally. She probably really thinks she will return the stuff, but then forgets. Even if she intends to return your stuff, she isn’t actually returning it. You need to stop letting her borrow. I know that’s difficult, but you need to be strong. It’s your stuff. You have every right to say no. It’s ok to say no.

She is not respecting your feelings or your stuff. You need to have a talk with her. Tell her how you feel and explain why you are now saying no. Let her know that you will not let her borrow anything else. Explain that this does not change how you feel about her as a friend. You respect her friendship enough to stop this now.

If she’s a good friend she will understand. If she doesn’t then you need to remember you are still doing the right thing. It’s your stuff. It is your right to keep it. You got a lot of nice gifts for Christmas and you should be able to enjoy them.

If she does ask again, be brave and firm. Stand up for yourself, say no and mean it.

Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.

Dear Hope