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

— January 22, 2017 —

This is a minuscule problem but I feel like I should bring it up. I'm 12 years old and my mother is 42. Whenever we are in the car, my mother never buckles her seat belt. It's an embarrassment and a safety concern. She won't buckle her belt until we're 20-30 minutes into the actual drive. It's also embarrassing because when I carpool, my mom will tell everyone to buckle in and won't do it herself. That's the other thing. I have a younger sister who is 9. One time she refused to buckle her seat belt and my mother wouldn't leave the parking lot until she did. When she did leave the parking lot, my mom wasn't even buckled herself! I tried to bring it up once and she just got angry and said she could do what she wanted because she's a grown adult. The other thing is texting while driving. She always texts while driving. I recently collaborated on the making of a No Texting While Driving campaign and my own mother signed it. Now she just texts regardless. I feel ashamed and worried about my mother. Ideas?

— Concerned Child, 12

 

Dear Concerned Child,

Your problem is not a minor one. It is completely understandable that you are concerned about your mother’s actions, and it shows how much you care. It is great to know that you are mature enough to realize the do's and don’ts of driving before you yourself have even begun to drive! Maybe you could look up information about accidents resulting from texting while driving and the effects of not wearing a seat belt and share the facts with your mom to show her that there could be large negative consequences to her actions. Explain to your mom that for the same reason she won't drive until your little sister buckles her seat belt is also why she should buckle up. And tell her that the safety of everyone in the car is at risk when she doesn’t buckle up or texts while driving. If she doesn’t listen to you, think about talking to another relative who might be able to get through to your mom. You might also tell her that you feel so unsafe when she drives without a seatbelt or texts while driving that you don’t feel comfortable having her drive you or your sister anywhere.

signed, Emily

 

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— January 8, 2017 —

I've been having a really hard time at home lately. My parents, more so my mom, have been threatening to beat me and hurt me. I don't feel safe at my house anymore and I'm not sure what to do. Advice?

— Lexy, 11

 

Dear Lexy,

While your parents may be using threats to control you and do not intend to actually hurt you, it sounds like you are really concerned about your safety. If that is the case, you need to immediately find another adult who can help you. Please tell a teacher, your school principal, a nurse or another trusted adults what your parents have said or done to you. And let me know what happens.

signed, Dr. M.
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— December 24, 2016 —

Hi there. So, I'm not sure if my sister (who is nine) and I have an emotional problem. My mom has bad anxiety and it seems as if it passed on to the two of us. When I get nervous, it feels like my heart stops beating for a second or something and I panic. I'm not sure if this is a panic attack. I can't seem to stop feeling guilty over something I did wrong. When I get frustrated, I start to cry. I'm twelve years old! I'm too old to cry. But I do it, and I can't help it, I just break down. Recently, my sister has been acting the same way. She cries or feels guilty when she loses something, like a book. It's awful for the both of us. Our parents just tell us to stop stressing, but WE CAN'T! Do we have a mental problem, or are we just overdramatic?

— Emotional, 12

 

Dear Emotional,

First of all, people of all ages—including adults—cry. So you’re definitely not too old to shed tears occasionally. Second, when your parents tell you to “stop stressing,” that’s not particularly helpful advice. It would be better for you and your younger sister to learn strategies that you can use when you’re feeling sad, anxious, or frustrated. The next time you’re stressed, figure out why you’re in that state and then brainstorm what actions you can take that would help to ease the stress. For example, if you’re nervous about an upcoming test, create a study schedule that will give you time to prepare. Or if your sister loses something, work with her to come up with ways to either find the missing object (maybe retrace your steps) or create specific places for specific items (perhaps all library books should be placed in a colored basket).

Since you don’t want to go through life like your mom—with “bad anxiety”—talk to her about why you would like to get help now. If she or your dad won’t take your concerns seriously, find another adult—perhaps a school nurse, a caring older relative, or a teacher to talk with. There are many techniques you can learn, including breathing exercises and changing the way you think about and respond to your stress, that can help you live a less anxious life.

signed, Dr. M.
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— December 10, 2016 —

My dad is in the military so that means I don't see him a lot but the problem is that every month he leaves us for a whole weekend or sometimes for entire weeks but the worst part is that he went overseas one year and it was hard. And he’s going back overseas next summer and won’t come back until 2018, which means that he will miss X-mas, my b-day and lots of other stuff so here’s what I need to ask. How do I make my dad leaving us not make me feel sad?

— Missing Dad, 11

 

Dear Missing Dad,

It’s normal to feel sad about your father being away from home so much and especially during holidays and special occasions like your birthday. Before your dad leaves on one of his long deployments, figure out together how you can keep in touch. For example, you can send him video clips of your sports or music performances or even of you telling him stories about your friends and school events. Perhaps the two of you can FaceTime or Skype on your birthday or on other special days (recognizing that it will not always be possible for him). While it's natural to be sad some of the time and to miss your dad, you should also be able to continue enjoying the many positive things that are still part of your life—to have fun with other family members and with your friends. And when you are feeling particularly sad about your father’s absence, think about people you can talk to about your situation and who will be able to support you emotionally.

signed, Dr. M.
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— November 26, 2016 —

There is this guy in my class I really like, and he is really cute too! The only problem is, he is a bully! He isn't a bully to me though. He is really nice to me!!! My friends all say I shouldn't like him but instead just this other guy who I also like. Even if he is not a bully to me, does that still mean I should quit liking him? I have another problem too. This summer I have grown (In the breast area) and I am now bigger than all my friends. Of course, I am still pretty tiny. I really want to grow!!! Is that okay? Is there a way to make me grow quicker? My last problem is that I just learned about periods. I want to have mine because I want to be the first one of all my friends to have it. Is that weird? Yes, I talk about it with my friends. Should I keep it private? Or is it okay to discuss it with my friends? Please answer all my questions!!

— Triple Trouble, 10

 

Dear Triple Trouble,

I will answer all your questions but there is a theme that I want to address first. The things you are wanting to change seem to be out of your control. One cannot make themselves like or not like someone, nor can you make your breasts grow or your period start.

What you can do about the first question is to think about why you like a boy who is a bully. Bullying comes from a deep sense of feeling small inside and in needing to make themselves feel more powerful, they may puff themselves up into a bully. Maybe you like the boy you're attracted to because he's aggressive and you're not. He may not act like a bully toward you now, but at some point you might become his victim since bullies often change whom they attack.

In terms of your other questions, it’s certainly okay to know what you want and to talk about your body with your friends. There is nothing you can do to make your breasts grow or your period begin—your body will do what it needs to in a natural way. It sounds like you are feeling a lot of pressure to grow up and compete with your friends. Try to be patient and enjoy each change—even when you’re not the first one to experience something. That’s a sure sign that you are maturing.

— Mrs. B.

 

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— November 13, 2016 —

I'm in fifth grade and want to be an author. Please don't tell me that I should take writing classes, or anything, because even my teachers tell me that I am good. They moved me to a sixth grade writing checklist, and I was the first student in my teacher's class to put an actual, detailed, battle scene in my writing. Of course, this battle was in my mind. But, I don't know what to do, because I love to write, I even have an account on a writing website where I post stories. Please, I want to actually get a book published.

— Parmise, 11

 

Dear Parmise,

Even good writers can get better, and one of the ways to improve is by having others critique their writing. Just telling you that you are a good writer will not do that, but getting constructive criticism will allow you to see how you can go from good to better. You can get such criticism by asking for feedback on specific aspects of your writing or on something you are struggling with—for example, ask how to make this sentence, section or description better. When I look at the first book I published, I can now see how I could have made it better. And I am most proud of my most recent book, Breaking Through! Helping Girls Succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Three of us worked on that book, and we gave each other helpful feedback as we worked on each chapter. So, continue to write, get feedback, and challenge yourself by exploring new ways of writing—such as essays and fiction. The more you practice, the closer you will get to your dream of getting a book published.

signed, Dr. M.

 

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— October 29, 2016 —

My friend and I just had a big fight. While we were lining up for PE, she said she didn't want to be friends anymore, just because we had an hour of iPads, and I didn't want to make an iMovie with her. I ended up hanging out with someone else. During actual PE time, she kept talking to me, saying she wanted to be friends again. I told her I didn't want to be friends anymore. She started blubbering about how she has no friends, when really she knows all these people. I want to be friends, but I don't want to keep fighting. Once we fight, we make up. Then two days later, we fight AGAIN. Please help me!

— Sophia, 11

 

Dear Sophia,

Good friends often fight because they feel so comfortable with each other that they are not afraid to show their true feelings. But because frequent fighting is stressful, it’s time for the two of you to talk about what you can do to reduce the amount of conflict. First, let your friend know that while you like spending time with her, you also like having other friends and sometimes doing activities she’s not interested in. And tell her that she should feel free to do that as well. Second, assure her that during those times, you still value the friendship you have with her. By telling her that, she might feel less insecure.

signed, Dr. M.

 

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— October 14, 2016 —

I like this girl, and she likes me back. The only problem? My parents aren't into the whole "middle school dating" thing. They don't know that I like her, but she and I talk a lot over text, and my dad is starting to catch on. I don't want to tell my parents, because for some reason I get really nervous when the subject comes up. What should I do?

— Jacob, 12

 

Dear Jacob,

If your dating consists mainly of sending texts back and forth, your parents shouldn’t object. Besides, you’re at an age when you will need to have many difficult conversations with your mom and dad. You might as well begin by talking about the girl you like. You don’t have to give every detail to your parents, but if you don’t tell them anything they might imagine a situation that is very different from the reality.

signed, Dr. M.

 

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— October 5, 2016 —

I have an 11, almost 12 year old sister. I am very concerned since I hear her crying at night because we're moving. She constantly states that I have a better future because I'm going into 5th grade, but she's going into middle school. She's always depressed, our mom doesn't make it better by shouting and cursing, not to mention our parents are divorced and hate each other (it is true, my dad even said so), and I am so confused! Please help!

— Sister, 10

 

Dear Sister,

You are a very caring sister to be concerned about your older sibling. Although you can let her know that you’re happy to listen to her talk about what’s bothering her, you cannot solve her problems for her. If your mom is not willing to set aside her own issues to support her children’s emotional health, perhaps there is another relative—maybe your dad or a grandparent or aunt—who not only would listen but take some kind of action, either by talking to your mom or reaching out to your sister. And remember to take care of yourself (talking to friends, exercising, working on a hobby, or listening to music, for example) since you are living in the same household as your sister and have to cope with all the stress around you.

signed, Dr. M.

 

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— September 18, 2016 —

I am 11 years old, and I longed for a little brother or sister for a long time. My wish came true a little while ago. My little sister came into this world on July 21st 2016. I was excited at first, but that excitement has worn off. I have to share a room with the baby. She only sleeps two hours in a night. For the rest of the night, she just cries. We can't go anywhere without packing the diaper bag. It takes forever to locate her blankie and pacifier. Diapers are another thing. My mom grounded me because I was out past curfew and now I am on diaper duty for 3 months. I really hate it because she always squirms and makes a mess of it. I also cannot go to the mall. Why? Because on the days I ask, my mom says "there's too many germs at the mall" and I end up not going. I don't even want to look at the baby. She steals my spotlight, cries, and needs someone to clean up after her all the time. Can you help me figure out how to give my little sister a chance?

— Big Sister Blues, 11

 

Dear Big Sister Blues,

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Infants don't offer many benefits to older siblings, but when they become little sisters they do (although that will take a while). You are going to be the brightest star to your little sister, but she has to grow up a little first. Big sisters are very important and are deeply admired and loved by their younger sisters. You just have to "wait it out.” While you’re doing that, sing or play your favorite songs to her, and find other ways to entertain her. You might be surprised at how many things will make her laugh.

Keep in mind that what you’re dealing with is not your baby sister’s fault. It takes time for a family to get used to a new member. Tell your mom that diaper duty should not be a punishment and will only make you resent your little sister more. There are other punishments for broken curfews. Have you told your mom that you feel that the baby is getting all the positive attention? That often happens. Ask your Mom if the two of you could have some special alone time a couple of times a week. Maybe the two of you can go out for ice cream or take a walk. Things will change, and I think it's important that you be allowed to feel as you do.

— Mrs. B.

 

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— September 5, 2016 —

I just moved schools because my dad moved for his work. At my old school people used to say I was a rich brat because my dad and mom are rich. Once at school my housekeeper and nanny picked me and my little sister up in a limo and everyone was whispering and saying stuff like: “show off” and “such a brat.” And this boy at my old school used to like me but all his friends said I was a dumb blonde and my parents were too young. But that is not true. And my mom is always at her modeling shoots and dad is always working and I don't want to bother them. I am really nervous about my new school because my parents are not taking me on my first day and I am not sure how to make friends. I want people to see me as Brittany. Not a super rich girl who can get what she wants. Also it is my 11th birthday coming up 2 weeks after I start school. My mum says I should have a MEGA party but I just want to have my party alone but she just says: “Use what you’ve got and we’ve got a lot.” Please help me.

— Brittany, 10

 

Dear Brittany,

You can’t control what your parents do or say, but you can make sure that you don’t flaunt your family’s money. People will like and respect you if you act in a real way, showing that you care about how others think and feel. If you don’t want a big party, let your parents know that you’re trying to fit in at your new school, and having a “MEGA” party will do just the opposite. Instead, ask if you can invite just one or two people to hang out with you, doing something low-key, maybe listening to music together. Even if your parents are busy, you still deserve their attention, so don’t hesitate to tell them what’s bothering you.

signed, Dr. M.
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— August 20, 2016 —

I am nervous about middle school. First of all, I'm nervous about getting lost, but that isn't my biggest fear. I'm nervous about not finding my locker because we get locker assignments on the first or second day of school. I know I can stay organized but I'm nervous about my locker because it’s so small and I might forget my combination. The lockers are literally about as tall as my torso (and I have a small torso) but not even as wide. There is also the girl problem factor. I'll have an emergency kit but I don’t even know if it'll fit in our locker! Anyways, please help with just general advice on middle school.

— Elberta, 11

 

Dear Elberta,

As someone who has been to middle school and high school already I can tell you everyone faces these same fears at some point. It's good that you're working on being organized during middle school because that will be good practice for you when you start high school and especially need that strategy. Lockers seem scary but once you get the hang of them they're not bad at all. My first piece of advice is you should definitely keep your locker combination and location of your locker written down where you can find it easily. Perhaps you can keep it on your phone or a notebook you'll always have with you until you feel you've memorized the information. My other piece of advice is for the “girl problem.” If you're allowed to, carry a purse or backpack around with you and keep the kit in there. In terms of your fear of getting lost, you might have to ask for help the first week or so but in a short time, you should have no problem finding your way around. Just give it a little time. I hope you enjoy your year!

signed, Emily
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— August 6, 2016 —

I like this girl, and she likes me back. Her parents know and are cool with it. The only problem? My parents don't want me dating. I have her number, and we talk all the time. I would love to date her, but I'm afraid that my dad will be angry with me. All my life he has told me to just hang out as a group and not date anyone. How can I get around this without getting in trouble? If I start dating her, then her parents will tell my parents. What should I do?

— K, 12

 

Dear K,

Perhaps you need to explain to your parents what dating means to you and why you want to date this girl. How would it be different from the relationship you now have with her? You talk all the time and you like each other. Does it make the relationship more special when it’s called dating? Instead of trying to “get around” your parents’ rules, have an open, honest discussion with them and see if you can come up with a compromise that would would work for all of you. Remember that while your relationship with this girl is important to you, so is the one you have with your parents.

signed, Dr. M.
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— July 22, 2016 —

Last year, my grandfather passed. I no longer have any grandparents. I always feel guilt because I never got to say goodbye because I didn't think he would pass so soon. My dad has told me "You could've gone to Arkansas (where they lived) whenever you wanted.” He doesn't know the guilt I feel. I need help on what to do. I miss him SO much and I feel so much guilt about never saying goodbye. What do I do??

— Katie, 11

 

Dear Katie,

It’s too bad your dad doesn’t understand or care about how guilty he’s making you feel. You’re already sad because you no longer have grandparents, and you clearly regret that you never had an opportunity to say goodbye to him. Try to forgive yourself, since you would have done things differently if you could have seen the future. And when you think about your grandfather, focus on memories of the two of you doing something fun together.

signed, Dr. M.
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— July 8, 2016 —

I feel I don’t have any friends. I have acne and wear braces so I am very self-conscious and embarrassed. I often watch other boys in my class having fun in the playground and wish I could join them. I feel so lonely. What can I do to make friends?

— Caleb, 12

 

Hi Caleb,

I'm so sorry you have to deal with something like this. It's not fun—really for anyone in this situation. This is what I think you should do: you might want to be brave and just go over to them and hang out with them. Some of them, too, might have acne or wear braces. Even if they don't now, they will. Acne and braces are the two things that almost all young men have to go through at some point—even me!

I know being brave is hard, but I know that being lonely is harder. Hope this helps you to work up your confidence to take action!

signed, Anil
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— June 17, 2016 —

I am a huge fan of your website! And I need your help quickly or else I could get in trouble and even lose my bff. So I accidentally told my bff about something that I was not supposed to tell her. And if she tells our teacher I could get in huge trouble and not march on graduation day !!!!!!!! And I risk ending our 8 month friendship—and it's our last year of elementary school (6th grade) and we plan on going to the same high school!!!! So is it possible that I ruined my entire life because of my stupidity and carelessness?

— Breanna, 11

 

Dear Breanna,

Discuss the situation calmly with your friend. She might be just as shaken up as you are. If she is a real friend she will listen to your side of the story and understand that you made a mistake. But also remember that we have to deal with the consequences of our actions. If something happens and you get in trouble at school, discuss an alternative with your principal/teachers other than not walking on graduation.

signed, Emily
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