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"Teens Speak: Answers to Your Burning Questions"

Q.  How to stand up for someone who is being bullied and then they bullies you?  This causes anxiety which is added to issues with my parents. 

A.  Dear Feeling Bullied: First, that is a difficult situation, yes.  Guessing you feel betrayed at times.  Maybe deciding who to have as friends would be a start.  What is your definition of a friend?  What qualities do you want in a friend?  Who to have in your inner circle of friends?  This is not suggesting being exclusive, however.  Boundaries are not a bad thing but actually a protection, for you and others.  They keep the good in and the bad out.  People earn trust, they don’t automatically just deserve it.  Boundaries let others know who you are.  They are not for punishment or revenge.  Have you ever talked to this “friend” about how you feel?  Consider if they are truly a friend.  If you share with them how you feel and they don’t seem to care or change, consider they are not really a friend.  A friend respects others boundaries.  Before addressing the issue with this individual, pray and ask for wisdom.    We are counseled in Ephesians 4:15, “but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head ,Christ.    If you are dealing with an adult who is acting like a bully, then that is a different scenario, of course.  Bullying is using power over another person considered weaker.  No child should have to live under conditions in which they do not feel safe.  Please talk to a trusted adult and get some help from a qualified Christian counselor, if this is the case. 

Q.  :  At what age or time in life is it  the wisest to date?

A.  Dear Wondering When to Date that is a great question!  When is one ready to get into a dating relationships?  First, you need to look at who you are and what do you want to do with your life?  What are you looking for in someone else?  What are your values and does the other person share those same values?  Those who have lower standards tend to bring others down to their level.  Are your interests  similar?  Not all your interests have to be the same but having some in common is good.  What is it that attracts you to this person?  What do you not like about the other person?  Remember, others can’t fully fulfill us or meet all our needs.  Only God can.  Honestly, there will be things you notice and will not like.  Can you live with those irritating qualities or habits?  Are they deal breakers?  Consider the   opinions of others who might know this individual well.  Before getting into a dating relationship, make sure you are working on yourself.  Find out who you are and work on becoming  someone who would make a good partner.  Happy dating when the right time comes for you.     

Q.  Dear Feeling Anxious with Parents:  How are you suppose to tell your parents that they make you anxious without upsetting them?

A.  Sounds like it is time to have a chat with your parents.  Think of a way to express your feelings, a feeling word list is helpful, in a way which is respectful but honest.  Choosing your words wisely will help decrease defensiveness.  Using phrases such as, “I feel —, when  —.  None of us are mind readers but we often expect others to read ours.  Consider what you might notice as triggers and avoid these words or attitudes.  Ask them to hear you out and then give them a chance to respond.  Repeat to each other what you heard and understand the other to be saying.  This allows for clarification.  The person who is listening can then respond yes or no and provide an explanation.  Make sure the person talking is not interrupted.  Express your needs without being demanding.  Expect that they might get upset.  Remember that they may be dealing with their own anxieties.  Keeping things under the rug won’t solve the issue, of course.  Have the rule of no attacking each other.  Stick with the subject needing to be dealt with.  It is not a good idea to bring up the past,  either.  Try deal with one topic at a time.  If you are too afraid to go to your parents alone, ask a trusted adult to be an objective participant while having the conversation.  Remember Philippians 4:6,7. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.


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