Advice for tweens and teens dealing with everyday issues
Life with tweens and teens is like living a guessing game, and often times they don’t come to us for guidance when they most need it. We like teacher and mentor Louise Palanker’s advice so much we’ve decided to have her answer questions each week on Sassy Mama. If your kids are facing similar problems, we think she’s got some great wisdom to share!
(If you or your tween/teen have a question you’d like answered, please contact us at [email protected])
I know you’re probably going to say that it’s normal and everyone matures at [his or her] own pace, but I’m 16 turning 17 and I’ve never kissed anyone. Most of my friends have had sex or at least kissed or hooked up with guys but I haven’t done anything. I’m not really sure if I want to do those things but it feels weird to not because everyone else is doing it. – Jade
Nice predicting! I am going to say that it’s normal and that everyone matures at his or her own pace. From there, I am going to go on to say that some people mature too quickly. You are not running a foot race. Sex is not a box you check which confirms that you are keeping pace with your age group. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Kids who hook up with someone they do not actually love just to say they did are displaying a certain lack of maturity. The more self esteem you possess, the less likely you will be to offer your body to just “some dude” because he and your girlfriends were urging you to go for it. That is pretty much the recipe for teen pregnancy.
You answered your own question in your own letter. You are not really sure if you want to do those things. So don’t. If anyone says word one to you about this just respond with, “I’ll know when I’m ready.” When you are with the right guy, the two of you will discuss your connection and decide what next level of intimacy is best for you. Kissing and sex are not something you do. They are something you share.
I have a friend. We have been very close since Grade 5. We are in Grade 12 now and we didn’t really talk in Grade 9 because we kind of drifted apart. We have reunited again, but my problem is that I always took advantage of our friendship. She was still there for me no matter what. All she wanted was to be my friend and I let her down. But I have told her how I feel. I apologised and she told me she forgave me, and she came over my flat and we had the time of our lives like old times. But something tells me that she doesn’t forgive me all the way. She’s not being shady towards me or anything. She actually is acting the same and I am probably over thinking this but I don’t want think like that, so any advice? – Elizabeth
Trust is earned over time. Renewed trust must be earned over even more time. You have named it. You have claimed it. You are a ‘recovering selfish little brat.’ Carry on. In a minute or two you will blossom into a fully realised worthy friend and spectacular person. Prove who you are and who you are becoming through your words and actions. Remember, too, that you don’t just need forgiveness from this friend. You also need it from yourself.
You have apologised for the way you behaved when you were a child. Your friend accepts your apology. That is so impressive. Once you are fully grown you will more greatly appreciate how young you were when you took advantage of this friend, and also how young you were when you recognised your error and made amends. Rather then dwell on how selfish you were at 14 why not celebrate how brave and evolved you are at 16? You have come so far in working on yourself and on repairing this friendship. Kids have many different reasons for being cruel to each other, most of which can be traced to self preservation. What matters is that you have passed through that phase, learned from it and become a more compassionate and caring friend.