Q: I'm a 14-year-old girl who has a problem. I'm talking to several people, and I'm trying to choose which one I should stay with. I like all of them a lot. But I like one more than the others. But what if he is just playing with my mind? If he is, I'll be giving up several great guys who I know will treat me right. I don't know what to do. Please help.
A: It doesn't make sense to go with someone you don't trust. So don't rush your decision. Take some time to see if you can trust the boy you like the most. If you're worried you'll lose the other guys and there's one in particular you'll really regret losing, consider going with him and giving up the one you can't trust.
Q: I am a 15-year-old girl. I am in love with a boy who is a year younger than I am. I care for him more than this world, but I know I don't know what love is at my age. I dream of him at night, and sex comes into the picture. We are going to be seeing each other, and he wants to have sex with me. My mind says I want to have sex with him, but I'm afraid of the consequences. What should I do? I'm afraid he only wants to have a date with me just to have sex. I really want him to care for me the way I care for him and to go out because of that reason. How do I turn the situation my way?
A: Since your feelings are so strong toward this boy, it could be hard for you to resist having sex with him, especially if you believe he'll like you more if you do. But please don't. You realize yourself that there can be unpleasant consequences to having sex and you may end up feeling used and hurt rather than loved. The only way to turn the situation your way is to take time getting to know this boy to see if he's honest and caring toward you. Building trust in a relationship takes time and certainly doesn't happen by having sex right away. In fact, if he's the kind of boy who'll care for you in a deep way, he'll respect you for not immediately having sex with him.
Besides, you and he are very young and it's wiser to wait until you're older to have sex. The more partners you have sex with, the more likely you are to acquire a sexual disease including AIDS, and it's less likely that you'll learn to engage in more meaningful relationships, where sex is only one way two people care for one another.
Q: I'm an 8-year-old girl. I like this boy in the fourth grade every time I see him. I already have a boyfriend who is in the second grade. We've been going together for a year. Who should I like?
A: You may have a crush on the boy in fourth grade, but it doesn't seem that you really know him that well. So why not stick with your boyfriend, if you still like him? If you're kind of tired of him, maybe you should stop going with him for now and make sure you're focusing on schoolwork and not just boys.
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.