Books by Dr. M

Girls: What's So Bad About Being Good?, by Harriet S. Mosatche, PhD
Girls: What's So Bad About Being Good? How to Have Fun, Survive the Preteen Years, and Remain True to Yourself

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Kids

— May 21, 2016 —

I have been friends with my friends for over 8 years and they have always treated me like an outsider. Just last year they had a sleepover and didn't even tell me and I had to find out from a girl who wasn't even their friend. And today they hid all my books and wouldn't tell me where they were and they didn't even apologize. So I want to know, is this just joking or bullying?

— Honey, 11

Dear Honey,

Your friends may think of what they’re doing—excluding you from activities and hiding your books—as a joke. But if this kind of behavior is part of a pattern, then it’s bullying. Since you wrote that your friends have always treated you like an outsider, this might be a good time to work on building new friendships—with people who genuinely care about you. Think about classmates who seem kind and strike up a conversation to discover common interests. Or join a new club or team to meet a variety of potential friends. If you want to give your current friendships one last try, tell them directly (but not in a hostile way) how you feel when you’re treated with disrespect. It is possible that when they hear about the impact of their behavior on you, they might change their ways. But if they don’t, you already have a plan for moving on to new and improved friendships.

signed, Dr. M.
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— May 8, 2016 —

Hi there! I am a 12 year old boy and have had a crush on my best friend for a while (a girl). My other best friend (a boy) also likes her. She just found out that he likes her and claims she doesn't like him, but I don't believe her. She laughs at everything he says, she always chooses to talk to him out of all her friends, etc. Today in Science she seemed upset about something, and I asked her about it. She said, "It's you." And that is all. Now I am starting to take interest in her best friend, who has a boyfriend. I really want my best friend to like me, and I have since the beginning of the school year, but I can't figure it out. We do have a school dance, and I think I might ask her to that, but what else? Should I ask her out? I am starting to get really stressed about this. Thanks!

— Date or Wait, 12

Dear Date or Wait,

As you said you've had a crush on your best friend for a while now, so you obviously really like her. My advice would be to go for it, ask her while you have the chance. As for your doubts, you said that you think she likes your other best friend, but she has clarified that she doesn't like him. You said that she talks to him more, but maybe she talks to him more because she trusts him a lot as a friend, I'm sure even you have that one friend you can tell anything to. You also mentioned a bit of confusion in Science—maybe she was just having a bad day. If still in doubt you could ask her to the dance, as a friend of course. She couldn't say no to that! Now as for your interest in this other girl, I advise you not to go for her as it may cause conflict between you and her boyfriend. If all doesn't work try not to let this get you down. You will have other opportunities in the future, and you and she don’t have to stop being great friends.

Hareem

 

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— April 25, 2016 —

I have a problem. It’s my sister, she’s always getting me in trouble. My parents always blame me because I'm the oldest by 2 years. It's ok if she does something to me, but it's not ok if I do something to her. I’m sick and tired of her treating me like this, and if I tell my parents it's just the same old talk, plus they don't even believe me. I would spend 1 hour cleaning my room and she would just drop everything everywhere. She acts like she is the boss but she’s not. What should I do? You've probably heard these stories before. I just need a little advice. I don't know who to go to.

— Mia, 11

Dear Mia,

As an only child, I might not necessarily know what you're going through but I do know how to handle conflicts. You should definitely have a talk with your little sister about the way she has been acting. But, do not discuss the situation when you are feeling angry, frustrated, or upset. Try to listen to your sister’s side, and then tell her about your feelings. You might learn, for example, that she resents the privileges you have as the older sister or she’s frustrated—that she never gets to be first in anything. If the situation doesn’t change, you should probably have your whole family sit down and address the situation calmly. Express your concerns and explain that you feel that you’re being unfairly blamed for situations that are not your fault. If no one in your family will listen, think about another adult you can talk with—perhaps an older cousin, an aunt, a grandparent, or a teacher.

signed, Emily
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— April 9, 2016 —

I love your website. I have a bit of a problem right now. l have suddenly became super popular, and I HATE it. Everyone is paying attention to me and I feel like jumping into a hole. What should I do?

— Try 2 Be Happy, 12

Dear Try 2 Be Happy,

You don’t explain why you have suddenly become popular, but all the attention might bother you because you’re not used to it. In time, you might grow to enjoy the attention and use it to inspire others to do something that has a positive impact on your school or community. But also make sure you find places where you can be away from those who admire you, where you can simply relax. And spend time with your true friends, those who don’t want to be with you because you’re popular but rather like you for who you have always been.

signed, Dr. M.
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— March 31, 2016 —

I have an awful teacher at school. I mean, AWFUL. She makes us do excess, needless work, hardly ever lets us have recess when we should, and doesn't follow her own rules. We must have every book report book approved by her, but she won't even look at them. When we need help with math, she'll make us stand up in front of the class and explain what we don't understand. Everything is so bad that I've become terrified of school. I have panic attacks every morning about having to go to school, and it just scares me. I can't leave because I'm in a special program in school. Help.

— Scared Student, 12

Dear Scared Student,

I can understand why you’ve started to dread school. And it sounds like your teacher would not be likely to listen if you were to explain to her how you feel. You may need to involve a parent, describing, just as you did in your letter to me, why you are so distressed by how your teacher is acting, and be very specific. The more details you provide (such as how often she skips recess, how long she takes to give back a book report, which rules she violates, and how she humiliates students who do not understand something), the easier it will be for your parent to describe the situation to a school administrator. If you can’t talk to a parent or your parent won’t support you, think about other people you can talk with. Perhaps you can have a conversation with a school administrator who is kind and understanding or a school nurse or counselor who is trained to listen to kids. You shouldn’t have to be scared of school—that’s not the best way for any student to learn.

signed, Dr. M.
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— March 15, 2016 —

I am ten years old and am homeschooled. I don't have any friends and get very lonely. I just don't know what to do. Most of the time, when I’m finished with my schoolwork, I just lay in my bed bored out of my mind. I would give anything to spend one more day at my old school. I tried asking my parents, but they just say to hold tight and that we are moving and they will put me in a school where I can find some friends. But I’m not sure if I can wait any longer! So, should I hang tight till I move, try to be more social, or take it as a sign that I should spend more time with myself?? Please help!!

— Lonely Loner, 10

Dear Lonely Loner,

First, ask your parents when the planned move will take place. Having this information will allow you to think about what it will be like when you relocate and make the move feel more real. Second, while you’re waiting, brainstorm with your parents what you can do to have a more active social life. Maybe you can find a club, team, or youth group to join in your community. Third, when you are alone and finished with your homework, spend time on a hobby. If you don’t already have one, do some research to discover a couple that interest you, whether it’s creative writing, drawing, playing a musical instrument, or investigating nature with a microscope or magnifying lens.

signed, Dr. M.
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— February 29, 2016 —

What should I wear to school next year? This year I am applying to a private school and they have no uniforms. I have no idea what I am going to wear because I have been at a uniform only school for a long time. I know that the next school year isn't too close so that gives me some time. Please help and thank you

— Mel, 11

Dear Mel,

I think the best idea for your new school is to wear appropriate clothing even if there’s not a required uniform—maybe clothing options such as a button down shirt with nice slacks or perhaps a cute sweater with jeans for a more casual look. You’ve been given an opportunity to express yourself through clothing. As long as you don’t wear really short skirts, or anything that detracts from the school’s image, then what you wear should be acceptable. You could also visit the school before you start and observe what others are wearing.

signed, Emily
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— February 14, 2016 —

My 18 year old sister has a very abusive boyfriend. When she was babysitting me while her boyfriend was over he was very abusive and threw things to the ground. They never knew I saw. The next day I asked my sister if her boyfriend was nice to her. She said that he loved her just as she loved him. So far, I am not so sure about that. I told her about what I saw about his abusive behavior and warned her. She never listens to me and she is getting hurt! I want her to be safe, not sorry! How can I get her to listen?

— Kassidy, 10

Dear Kassidy,

I'm sorry to hear about your sister and her boyfriend. Sometimes, people caught in abusive relationships don't realize it and won't listen to anyone telling them differently. That's why I think you should tell your parents about what you saw. Maybe your sister won't listen to you because she thinks you don't know what you're talking about. But she might listen to your parents—and they are probably in a better position to handle this.

signed, Anil
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— January 31, 2016 —

My grandparents are coming to live with my parents, my sister and me in the United States. My family is Indian American and my grandparents live in India currently. As I have lived in India for three years with them before, I know that they can sometimes be a little nosy about my schoolwork or pushy about eating. Space is not a problem and we already have a room for them. I love them a lot, but I don't feel excited about them coming because of previous experience. What do I do?

— Nalini, 11

Dean Nalini,

It will be a bit of a challenge to get used to your grandparents living with you. Try to remember that when they ask about your schoolwork or tell you what to eat, they’re doing those things out of love and concern for you. You may have to gently remind them from time to time that you’re growing up and that you’re doing your best to do well in school and to take care of your health. Also, think about the positives of your situation—your grandparents can support you and spend time with you when your parents are busy.

signed, Dr. M.
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— January 16, 2016 —

My parents treat me and my twin like we are bffs. Since my she is a loser and has no friends I am forced to invite her to hang out with me and my friends. If someone doesn’t like her—I can't be friends with that person—and that's a lot of people. Since she is a copycat we have the same hobbies and activities, so I have to ride with her to these activities and I can’t carpool with my friends. My parents know we fight so I always hear lectures on how we are supposed to love each other. But I HATE HER!!! Please help me.

— Not a Twin, 12

Dear Not a Twin,

I understand why your parents want you to feel close to your twin, but they can’t force you to feel a particular way. It seems that the more they push the two of you together, the more you resent her. I have two different types of advice for you—one in terms of what you should tell your parents, and another regarding the way you interact with your sister. Let your parents know that the more they push you and your sister together, the more conflict there is likely to be. Suggest that they encourage your twin to be involved in activities that are different from yours and help her find her own friendship group. That way you’re not in competition with each other or forced to spend so much time together, which breeds resentment. Next, try to be a bit more understanding about your sister’s situation. You can easily make friends while she can’t. Instead of fighting with your sister, give her some suggestions about what she can do or say or even wear that would help her make friends. You and your sister might volunteer together in your community, something that you’re both doing to help others and takes the focus away from your relationship.

signed, Dr. M.
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— January 1, 2016 —

My friend’s birthday is coming up, and she invited me to her party. Unfortunately, it is on the same day as the school dance, and someone already asked me if I would go with them. I don't know if I should go to the dance or to my friend's birthday party. I don't want to let anyone down.

— Choices, 12

Dear Choices,

It's very difficult choosing between two fun things, but my best advice is to choose what you agreed to first. You should definitely let the other person know that you just can't go because you already promised someone else prior to getting that second invitation. Be completely honest because the worst thing is to lie your way out and possibly get caught. Doubling up on plans happens to everyone. Try to schedule doing something with the other person to show you do want to spend time with her/him. Good luck.

signed, Emily

 

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— December 20, 2015 —

I am a 12 year old girl and all my friends seem to be going through puberty a lot quicker than me (bigger breasts, especially). This might not seem like a real problem but people treat me as if I’m younger than I am, and it is driving me insane. I have always been the more mature and responsible one of our friend group but because of the way I look people treat me like an 8 year old. I am tall (5ft 1), as tall as everyone else in my class if not taller but no matter my height I am still treated like a baby. Please help me! I don't know how to handle it. (Also on a side note how do I tell my mum I want to wax my legs?)

— Feeling Small, 12

Dear Feeling Small,

Remember that your situation is temporary. You will not look or feel the same even in a year from now. I have gone through similar situations and the key to this situation is time. Everyone is unique, which is good because it allows each person to stand out in some way. What matters is what’s on the inside. Since you note that you’re the responsible and mature one among your friends, as soon as people listen to you, they will figure out that you’re at least 12. As for telling your mom about waxing, explain to her that you’re feeling a little bit uncomfortable about how noticeable the hair on your legs is and that you would feel a little more confident in yourself if you could wax your legs. Your mom was in your shoes once—she knows how it feels to grow up.

signed, Emily

 

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— December 7, 2015 —

My sister is driving me CRAZY! She's always putting me down and lowering my confidence. This is a serious problem that I've already talked to my parents about, but I need extra advice. This is NOT sibling rivalry. She is like an older, stronger, and meaner bully to me. I've tried doing everything I can like avoiding her and ignoring her nasty comments but it's NOT WORKING!!!! You've never answered my questions before but now I desperately need your help! My parents aren't helping much! HELP!!!!

— Julia, 12

Dear Julia,

I'm sorry you have to deal with such a mean sister. I know where you're coming from—my brother isn't always the nicest either!

Anyway, I think the best way to solve your problem is to have a talk with your sister. Now I know that might sound unhelpful, but it's a good place to start. Tell her calmly and plainly what she did and how her words and actions made you feel. It's possible that your sister might not know what she's doing is bullying or wrong—hopefully, this will fix that.

If that doesn't work, you can talk to your parents again. I know you've said that they aren't much help, but I'd suggest giving them another chance. But this time, go to them immediately after your sister bullies you. Tell them calmly and clearly what it is she did, how you felt, and how you'd like them to help you. For example, if your sister puts you down about a test grade, talk to your parents immediately. Lay out to them exactly what she said, what you said, how you felt, and WHY you felt that way. Hopefully, this will convince them that you're being serious and not just annoyed for no reason.

signed, Anil

 

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— November 23, 2015 —

I went to the amusement park with my friends for my BFF's birthday. We went to a cafe afterwards, and everybody was buying a t-shirt, so I thought, why not? And my mom gave me money to buy something so I bought a t-shirt with that money. When I got home, she got really mad about it. I don't get it. Why did she get mad? Another time, I finished soccer practice so I was going to ride the train, then I realized I forgot my water bottle at school. And my mom gets really mad when I forget stuff, so I ran back and got my water bottle. So I was a few minutes late coming back home. She got really mad. Why did she get angry?

— Why, 11

Dear Why,

I understand why you’re puzzled about your mom’s anger. Your mom had given you money to buy something at the cafe, so you didn’t do anything wrong when you spent it. With the second example, your mom might have gotten angry because she was worried about you when you were late getting home. But she should have said that to you and given you a chance to explain what had happened. It could be that your mom’s anger has nothing to do with you, but rather with something that’s frustrating her in her life. To try to find out more, find a time when you and your mom can have a private conversation. Describe the two situations and ask her why she was angry. Explain your side in both of these situations and see if she can give you some insights about her reactions.

signed, Dr. M.

 

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— October 18, 2015 —

I am a 12 year old girl and I love to act. It's what I love to do most! But amateur stage acting is not enough. I want a proper camera, lights, costumes and much better co-stars, and I need an agent for that! But every time I try to explain this to my parents they ignore me or say: "Don't bother trying to become famous." Or something like that. They just think I want to be rich and famous! I don't. I just want to be among people who feel the same way. Thanks for reading this!

— Lexie, 12

Hello Lexie,

At the age of 12 you will definitely need the support of your parents or another adult to get to the next level. There is nothing better than having someone you trust who believes in your talent. I wanted to be a singer and my parents never really thought of it as a true career. I kept singing and going to recording studios on a consistent basis. When I began to receive letters from music companies wanting me to write songs for their artists, my parents started to take more of an interest in my singing. In the performing arts industry, sometimes it takes someone outside of the family to recognize your talent, and that’s when your parents might begin to take this type of career seriously. Most parents do not feel that a career in the arts is stable enough, and they truly want the best for you. Also, remember that not everyone's path into this industry is the same. You already have the wheels moving in a positive motion, so keep doing what you love. When the right time comes, someone will notice you!

Velben

 

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— September 30, 2015 —

I am almost 12 and going into 6th grade! But I still don't have a phone!!!!!! Every single person in my class has a phone!! This girl got her first phone in KINDERGARTEN!!!!!! I have a really old iPod (4th generation), which is terrible!! Whenever I am doing something that has to do with the Internet it takes me back to the home screen!! When I begged my parents (when I say "parents" I mean Mom, my dad doesn't care about technology that much—he has a Blackberry) to let me have a phone they would say "you are not responsible enough! You can't even keep your room cleaned!" (Which is true but I am always busy!!) What should I do?!!!!

— Phone-less, 11

Dear Phone-less,

Since your parents have told you that you need to show that you are responsible enough to own a cell phone, you should show them that you are. You already realize that you are not keeping your room clean, which is one of the ways to demonstrate that you are mature. Instead of making excuses—“I’m always busy”— figure out how you can manage your time better so you can make sure your room is neat. Since a cell phone comes with a cost, decide how you’re going to contribute to that—a sure sign of maturity. Maybe you can suggest doing a couple of extra chores as your contribution to the monthly cell phone bill. When your parents do agree to allow you to get a phone, make sure you know the rules for its use (the number of texts you are allowed to send, for example) and honor your part of the agreement.

signed, Dr. M.
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— September 7, 2015 —

I have a friend who is a bully to mostly everyone else except me. She is really nice to me and always wants to hang out, but I feel like hanging out with her says something about me, considering the fact that she's a bully. She's also sensitive to people saying things about her and I don't want to hurt her feelings. What should I do?

— Unsure, 11

Dear Unsure,

If you enjoy hanging out with this girl and she treats you well, continue to do so—at least for now. I understand why you are thinking about what others who have been bullied by her might say about the two of you spending time together. However, the way I see it is that you have a great opportunity to help her learn other ways of being with people. When you observe her bullying someone else, let her know what you’ve seen and how her actions make people feel. Maybe she’ll open up to you about why she’s behaving that way. It could be because she’s been bullied at home or doesn’t know how to get attention in a more appropriate way. Be sure to tell her that you have fun when the two of you hang out and would like to continue, but it will be tough to do that when she’s not very nice to other people. And look for instances when she acts kindly towards others, remembering to tell her how great it was for you to see her acting in those positive ways.

signed, Dr. M.
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— August 20, 2015 —

I love this website. Well anyway here is what I need advice on. Next year, I am going to an all girls school and I'm excited but nervous about the new school. I am afraid of not making friends, dealing with the school work and more. Please help me!!!

— Brianna, 10

Dear Brianna,

I’m really glad you’re a fan of our website! Going to a new school is a big deal, so it’s not surprising that you’re nervous and excited. If you feel prepared, the adjustment to your new school will be easier. Visit the school before the new year begins to get a sense of the physical layout, so you won’t panic when you can’t find a bathroom or even your classroom on the first day. Once you start school, start conversations with other students by saying that you’re new to the school and ask what they like most about going there. Think about joining a club or team so you’ll meet others who share your interests. In terms of the work, make sure that you let your teacher know as soon as possible if you’re having trouble understanding a particular topic. And do all the things you know you need to do to stay alert and focused, like getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly.

signed, Dr. M.
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— July 29, 2015 —

Ok so I’m creating a club but I have so much to do. My friends don't know that and keep asking me if the club is ready but I'm like totally getting headaches over this. I mean all I've done is made a logo! I’m a total flop. Why is life so hard. What can I do!

— Totally stressed out, 10

Dear totally stressed out,

Creating a club is a big deal and a lot of work, but remember in the end it's also a huge accomplishment on your part. Making something you're proud of means taking your time and getting it right. Your friends are clearly very excited and can't wait to participate in the club, but you have to let them understand that something like that takes time and patience. Remind yourself why you wanted to create the club in the first place and how amazing it will be once it's done, not only for your friends, but for you, too.

signed, Emily
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— July 13, 2015 —

Hello. I am in a group of 4 friends and we are all pretty close. But lately 2 of my friends have been going out without my other friend, and my other friend is always hanging out with others. Today my friend was getting braces and had to take the whole day off school. But when I was on my way to my car I saw her with the friend she hangs out with a lot. They were obviously going out as I saw them get in the same car, but they don't bother to invite me anywhere anymore and I feel really sad and lonely. I'm too shy to confront them. What should I do? Thanks.

— Sad, 12

Dear Sad,

Friendships often change as people develop different interests. Although you’d rather not confront the friend you saw with your other friend, consider just having a friendly conversation. Casually mention to one or both of them that you saw the two of them hanging out together—no questions, no accusations, no drama. See how they respond then as well as in the days ahead. If they continue to exclude you, it’s time to do what your other friend did—find other people to hang out with. Maybe that friend can introduce you to some of her friends. Or you can join a club or volunteer in your community where you will meet others. Give new friendships a chance to develop, but don’t give up on the old ones unless they have truly decided to move on.

signed, Dr. M.
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