Q: I am a 12-year-old girl in seventh grade. My mom died two years ago, and my dad got laid off from a job, and we had to move in with a lady and her two daughters. One of her daughters is 6, and she is a brat. She gets angry with everything. I get away with nothing. She tries to purposely get on my nerves. When I try to defend myself, I get in lots of trouble. She has a sister who never wants to do anything. I've talked to others and followed their advice but nothing seems to work.
A: It must be very difficult to live with another family after having lost your mother. Maybe you wish she was around to look out for you as no one seems to be doing that now, not even your father. Have you talked to him about how you feel, or are you afraid to worry him? If you think he could help, try talking with him about how sad and angry you are, and how you wish someone would be on your side. Maybe he's worried that the lady will not want the two of you in her home if you misbehave, so she is expecting you to control yourself all the time.
I also wonder if you still have many feelings about your mom and need help with them. These feelings may be making it hard for you to adjust to living with another family, especially if you're angry and sad frequently. If this is going on, you need to talk to your father about seeing a therapist. To find a therapist in your area that you can afford, call the youth crisis hot line at (800) 422-0009 or talk to your pediatrician. You've had to face too many difficult events lately and could really use help.
Q: I'm 14 years old. My boy friend goes to the same school I go to. He used to go with a girl that is also in the same school. She says she still goes with him, but he says he doesn't. What should I do?
A: It's hard to know who's telling the truth, but over time you'll figure it out. If the other girl is being honest, your boyfriend won't be able to hide his actions from you. He may avoid spending time with you and you may even hear that he's been with his ex-girlfriend. However, if the girl is lying, your boyfriend will be there for you, and over time, you'll be able to decide if he's truly reliable.
Q: I am a 14-year-old boy. I broke up with my girlfriend. She was witty, pretty, smart and nice. But now I regret doing so. I see her hanging around other boys and kissing them and I become very jealous. I don't know if I should tell her my true feelings or just let her live her life.
A: It's unclear why you broke up with her. It's also unclear if you still really care for her or are only interested in her because other jTC boys are. If you think you truly care for her and broke up for the wrong reasons, you could try talking to her. Maybe she still likes you and is trying to make you jealous. Or, you may find out that she is no longer interested in you and then you will have to let her live her life and move on with yours.
Q: My mom and I are going to Patterson Park to ice skate and the problem is I don't know how. Please help me.
A: You're probably not the only one who doesn't know how to skate, so don't worry about being left out. Get your mother or a friend to help you and eventually you'll learn.
Dr. Sokal is a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist practicing in Baltimore. If you have a question, send it to Kids Ask, Features Department, The Sun, Baltimore, Md. 21278.