Q: I am a 12-year-old girl who likes a 14-year-old boy. We are both in the sixth grade. (I know he's failed.) We both like each other and so I asked him to go with me. He said, "I don't know." That was OK, but about a week later, I asked him for my answer and he said, "Maybe."
Then I asked him to go to the movies and he said, 'Maybe." I still like him and everything but this "maybe" and "I don't know" stuff is getting on my nerves. What should I do?
A: He isn't ready to go with you or he'd say "Yes." His answers are getting on your nerves because you're irritated that he isn't more serious about you. He just may not be as interested in you as you are in him, or he may not want to go with anybody. So right now, it would be best for you to remain friendly with him but not ask him to go with you. You'll only end up disappointed and more angry. It's possible that over time he'll like you more and be more serious about you.
Q: I recently read your letter of a 17-year-old incest victim. I can relate to many of her feelings. I am a 33-year-old mother of two small children. As a teen-ager I also chose to protect my parents by keeping silent even though my heart begged me to seek help for myself.
Last year I was faced with my family's secret horror. I always felt I was the only victim. Sadly, I was not. Most child molesters make many small innocent children their victims. Several of my five brothers and sisters were also victims of my father's and older brother's abuse.
All of us chose as children to be silent to protect the family and shield my mother's feelings. This is often what victims feel they must do at the cost of themselves. The longer we stay silent, the more we let incest take place. I am now in therapy and recovering from my abuse. I feel I am only just beginning to find myself. Abuse affects every aspect of our lives -- trust, love, intimacy and child-rearing. We, as victims, need to speak out at the cost of our families to help all the current and future abused children.
A: Your letter may be helpful to the 17-year-old and others who are having similar experiences to yours. It's very difficult to hurt family members even when they've hurt you, but sometimes it's necessary for one's own happiness, as you've stated so clearly. It's also hopeful to hear that you are getting help and feeling
better; so many victims of abuse may not believe that they'll ever feel better. Thanks for writing.
Q: I'm 13 years old, and one day when my friend was over we went in my brother's room. We opened the closet door, and there was a bag filled with pot at the top. I don't know if he's selling it or doing it, but I'm scared. There was a lot of it. There's no way I can ask him about it, and I don't want to tell my parents, but my friend and I don't know what to do.
A: Selling pot or using it frequently can be a serious problem and is illegal. Telling your parents may be difficult but necessary so that they can find out how involved your brother is with drugs. However, if you're afraid of how your parents will react or need to discuss your reasons for not wanting to tell, find another adult such as a teacher, school counselor, minister, relative, pediatrician or family friend to confide in. This person can help you decide how to approach your parents and get help for your brother.
Q: I have a crush on this boy that I really like. He asked me to be his girlfriend, and I said yes. Now all the big kids are teasing him and me. And I really don't like it.
A: Kids often tease girls and boys who are younger and like one another. It can really make you mad. Since it's kind of exciting when a boy and girl like one another, the big kids may need to make fun of you because of the exciting feelings or maybe because they're jealous. Try ignoring or avoiding them as you are lucky to have someone like you and they are being immature.
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 21278.