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Dear Annie,

I'm 13.  I have a problem with my dad.  He has been really mean latley, he says I'm a stupid and calls me an idiot. I know he hates me and it's probably my fault.  He gets mad when I mess up in math and one time he threw my finished homework into the fire. When I got upset he twisted my arm and it hurt.  When we were at a resturant I got in front of him in line and he punched me and left a bruise.  What can I do?

Signed,
Scared of Dad

                    

Dear Scared of Dad,

When your dad calls you ‘stupid’ and ‘idiot’ that is verbal and emotional abuse. When your dad throws you finished homework into the fire and twists your arm and hurts you because you messed up in math … or for any other reason …that is physical and emotional abuse. And the fact that he punched you and bruised you in a restaurant because you got in front of him in line is just plain wrong.

What makes it worse is that the people in the restaurant saw this and didn’t report this. Your mom may be afraid but your family is in trouble.

It is very likely that your dad’s parents or caretakers treated him the same way. That does not excuse his behavior. It’s just all he knows. Your mom sides with him and enables his behavior but she is probably afraid of him too.

Do you have siblings who are going through the same thing? If you do, Annie suggests holding a family meeting where all of the children tell your parents how much you love them but how painful it is to be treated that way. Ask if you can get family counseling.

If your parents get upset or you are uncomfortable having this meeting with them, tell a trusted relative. You can also go to your school counselor and your clergyman.

It is important to tell and get help for you and the entire family. This will allow the family to talk about what bothers them and a good therapist (many work on a sliding scale if your family doesn’t have the money) can really get to the core of the problem.

You can also report the abuse to Childhelp USA 1-800-422-4453 National Child Abuse Hotline but you will need proof of those bruises. Next time you have a bruise from your dad punching you have someone take a photo of the bruise.


You can also call

Boys & Girls Town National Hotline 1-800-448-3000 Troubled Kids & Their Families

Teen Help Line 1-800-400-0900 Help Line For Troubled Teens

You are in the middle of this and I know it hurts. Your dad doesn’t hate you he just needs help.

If Annie can help in any other way, please feel free to write again

Signed
Annie

      

Dad Hates Me

Hi Annie,

I'm here to ask you if you would be able to make my life a little bit better. My father hates me ... EX .. we were all playing the X-box and we don't have a memory card.
It was my turn so I had to start playing it and dad went out to the kitchen. As he was going I said "dad, stop. You are in my way and I can't see how to pause and play."  My brother took it from me and said it is my turn and pulled the game away.
Dad was rude, called me names and sent me to my room and said he never wants to see me again.

So here I am ... a teen who is hated by everyone.

Plzz help me if you can!

Signed,
Brittany, Age 13

   

Dear Brittany,

Ask your dad if you can talk to him when it's a good time for him. Tell him you love him very much but you feel very unloved by him. Ask him if you've done something wrong? If he says nothing tell him that's not what you're feeling. Tell him it hurts when he calls you names.
 
If the heart to heart doesn't help, talk to your mom. If that is not an option, is there a dult relative, pastor, or teacher you can speak to? It's really important to get it out in the open and communicate. Good luck and let me know if that works or if we can help in any other way.
 
Annie

                        


Thank U Annie. I sat down and talked to him and he told me that he thought I was gonna get pregnant. But now we are like a family again!

Thank U!
Brittany


Liking an Internet Stranger

Dear Annie,

I'm 14 years old and live in NYC. I spend a lot of time in chat rooms. A boy 16 has been chatting with me and I really like him. He tells me how pretty I am and how he can make me so happy. He wants me to meet him.

Some of my friends have met other kids from chat rooms and everything was OK.
I admit I'm a little scared, but what's the worst thing that can happen?

Signed,
He Makes Me Feel Good

 

Dear He Makes Me Feel So Good,

When you chat in these rooms, it's very likely you are speaking to an adult male who is posing to be a 16 year-old boy. His telling you that he can make you happy and he wants to meet you, makes Annie question his real identity and motives.

Your friends have taken tremendous chances by meeting people from chat rooms.
In fact, they are very lucky that nothing happened. They could have been a story in the news.

While it's nice to hear how pretty you are and how happy he can make you, Annie suggests going to your parents and telling them. Show them the correspondence and if they think it's okay to meet this "16 year-old" then they should go with you. If not they should report this to the police immediately.

The other thing is to be very careful who you chat with. It's sad, but true that there are a lot of sick adults out there who want to hurt kids and the Internet is a great way to do it. If you continue to chat, be on the alert.

Read our pages on self-esteem http://www.loveourchildrenusa.org/kidsteensselfesteem.php

and Internet Safety, Facts and Rules

http://www.loveourchildrenusa.org/parent_internetfacts.php

http://www.loveourchildrenusa.org/parent_internetrules.php

http://www.loveourchildrenusa.org/parent_internetsafety.php

They're Internet tips for parents but apply to kid. It will explain a lot more to you and your parents ... but Annie is asking you to trust her and talk to your mom and dad immediately. If you need Annie's help and would like her to talk to your mom and dad, email me their number. We really want you to be safe!!

Annie

                        

Dear Annie

My gosh .. I had no idea. Thank you so much!

I talked to my parents like you said and can't believe what danger I could have been in.  Annie, you saved me from being a story in the news!

Thanks,
He Makes Me Feel Good

Physical Abuse Sucks

Dear Annie,

Physical abuse sucks. I didn't realize it was wrong until someone in my family did that. I just figured it was punishment. My brother got thrown across the room one time. When he told his friend I made him shut up. I don't want part of my family to be taken away. It only happens once in a while. Then that person shoved my face into the floor and pulled my hair and dragged me in the living room screaming at me. It just happens once in a while so I don't have it NEAR as bad as some other kids. But it kind of scares me. I know it's wrong. What should I do?

Signed
Silent In Fear

                     

Dear Silent In Fear,

Yes -- abuse does suck and it is very wrong. And you may think you may not have it as bad as other kids ... but what you are going through IS bad. ALL abuse is bad.

You must tell someone. Annie knows your afraid to have your family member taken away, but would you rather be hurt or worse? If you tell your mom or a trusted relative, that person can get help. And if they are taken away for some reason ...then whether you realize it or not -- that is a good thing.

I know you don't see how it could be, but when you live in a home filled with violence, it can leave you with scars that will affect your whole future. If you can get help and the abuser is removed from the home and can get help, the future of the family has a chance to be strengthened and thrive.

It is very important that you tell a trusted adult! Don't stay silent. Don't be afraid. Annie knows you are courageous and you can do it!

If telling an adult is too difficult contact:

National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453

The Boys & Girls Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000

The Teen Help Line at 1-800-400-0900

If Annie can help in any other way, let me know!


Annie

Helpless to Help Friend

Dear Annie,

I'm 14. One night I was woken up by the phone ringing. It was my best friend. She was crying and very scared. Her father beat her. Her mouth wouldn't stop bleeding. I was so pissed. I could have killed her father.

I felt so bad that I couldn't do anything. I felt like a failure. What kind of friend was I? I couldn't protect her when she really needed it. Abuse is so ugly. It makes me sick!

Signed,
Pissed   

Dear Pissed,

It's scary when anyone you kow is being hurt ...especially your best friend. And when your 14, it's hard to know what to do. It is great that you were there to listen to her. And even better that wanting to kill her father was only an emotion that you would never act on.

Yes, abuse is very ugly! Keep supporting your friend and try to get her to talk to a trusted adult. If not her mom, then a relative or school counselor. If she has no adult she can talk to please tell your friend she can report this. It may seem scary but what her dad is doing is wrong, against the law and he must be stopped.

Either one of you can report the abuse to Childhelp USA 1-800-422-4453 National Child Abuse Hotline. You can also call Boys & Girls Town National Hotline 1-800-448-3000 For Troubled Kids & Their Families and the Teen Help Line 1-800-400-0900 Help Line For Troubled Teens. It will also be a good thing if your friend has a photo of her bruises.

Remind your friend that it's NOT HER FAULT!!! Once the abuse stops your friend can be free and go for counseling. It's the only way to stop it and make sure she doesn't continue the cycle when she becomes a parent.

Let Annie know what happens! Good luck!

Annie

Dad is Like a Volcano

Dear Annie,
 
My dad is a senior executive in a scientific company and has a typical 9 to 5 job. Mum lives with me and my sister. For the past few months, dad has become quite temperamental and shouts at everyone and anyone. Dad really never interfered in my work until last year when he suddenly started screming and yelling at me. I felt hurt because that was the first time he behaved with me the way he did. It was at the dentist's clinic, I asked the dentist to start work for my braces and dad was furious about that. While going home, he started yelling, screaming and lecturing me on the road itself and all the people were staring at me. It was so embarrassing and hurtful. I don't understand why he yelled at me. Couldn't he have talked to me in a nicer and more friendly manner instead of humiliating me? Not just that, he keeps on criticising me for every small thing and doesn't appreciate anything what I do. 
 
A few months later, while taking the pictures for college, he told me on the street itself as to why I "wasted" so much money as if he didn't know why I spent it in the first place. I was extremely upset after that and I told mum what he did. She told me that I'd have to ignore it & put up with his eccentric behaviour and temperamental attitude. He always keeps arguing with my mum and once even asked her to leave the house. That upset me a lot and I thought that if this continued my parents would definitely file for a divorce. Back to my dad, he always rebukes and criticises me for what I'm not and does not appreciate me for what I am. I'd lost some weight in the summer and I've a habit of staying up late. Yesterday, my dad saw an article regarding less sleep and obesity and deliberately said in front of me,"Loss of sleep leads to increase in weight". I felt like shouting at his face.
 
He always compares me with others. One of my friends plays badminton quite well and her dad kept bragging to my dad as to how well she's doing in her studies and how much she has achieved. He came home and said it in front of me in such a way that I could get the feeling that he really didn't like me at all. As if he wanted to convey the message,"I only wish you could achieve what she has achieved." He doesn't like me one bit. I do all that is expected of me and still he isn't happy with me. Even when I got my school results, he wasn't entirely happy with what I got, he told me,"Compared to others, your grades are way lower than others." He feels that I'm a burden on the family and would be happy to trade me for anything else in this world. Due to this erratic behaviour, my life is getting ruined. I don't feel like to talking to him. Sometimes, I get so depressed that I wish I had another dad. He feels that I don't do any work at hom whereas I do lots of work. Mum has asked him not to falsely accuse me without knowing everything but he doesn't seem to listen. He thinks that I'm scum, that I need to be with someone else. In short, he feels that his life would be much better without me. 
 
I don't know what to do. If I approach him and talk to him, he'll erupt like a volcano and start yelling at me due to which I'm quite scared of him. That wasn't the case even two years ago. Dad & I were fine then, but now it's like I'm is enemy number 1. I'm very scared of him. I don't know how I'll make him realise what he's doing is wrong. Due to this, I'm extremely depressed and cry whenever I think of all the things he's told me. Please help me.
 
Signed,
Helpless

                       

Dear Helpless,
 
When a parent is emotionally abusive towards their child or children, it usually means one or two things ... either they were treated that way when they were kids and they're continuing the cycle or your dad is very stressed out about something.  Being that this began two years ago, Annie thinks that your dad has something bothering him ... and when adults are troubled, they sadly take it out on the ones closest to them. Or ... perhaps your dad doesn't know how to deal with 'the teenage years.'
 
Just know you have done nothing wrong. While you may be afraid to talk to your dad for fear he'll erupt like a volcano and your mum accepts his behavior, here are two things Annie suggests:
 
If you have a trusted adult in your life, such as an aunt or uncle, etc., tell them what is going on.  Tell your parents you have something you want to talk about and schedule a sit-down meeting with both your parents and that trusted adult. Be calm, open and honest and begin by telling them you love them very much. Then tell them how you feel ... exactly like you told me.  By telling both parents, it doesn't look like your 'attacking' your dad.
 
Tell them that this treatment makes you feel bad, scared and unworthy. With that trusted adult by your side you will be supported and your dad will likely remain calm. Ask if you've done something wrong or is there something personal going on that you are not privy to.
If something is going on, you might ask your parents if the family could seek family counseling.
 
If you feel that you really cannot do this, Annie suggests writing a letter to your parents. Explain the same. Tell them all you really want is their love, respect and approval ... and if you do something wrong then you want to be corrected, so you don't make the mistake again. And most of all you love them and want their love in return.
 
Whether you talk with them in person or write a heartfelt letter, speak from the heart ... lovingly. If for some reason that does not work, then Annie suggests talking with your school counselor.
 
Annie hopes this is helpful. Please let me know how it turns out or if you need any more help!
 
Signed,

Annie

         
Scared of Dad

Dear Annie,

I am 13. I have a problem with my dad, he yells at me constantly.  Especially while I do math homework, one time he said my homework was all wrong and threw it in the fire, when I got upset he twisted my arm painfully.  Last Sunday at a restaurant a got in front of him in line and he punched me in the arm and it left a bruise.  I'm so scared of him, but when I tell my mom she says I'm disrespecting him and then she slaps me.  I think he hates me.  Should I tell someone other than my mom?

Signed,
Scared of Dad

                             

Dear Scared of Dad,

When your dad calls you ‘stupid’ and ‘idiot’ that is verbal and emotional abuse. When your dad throws you finished homework into the fire and twists your arm and hurts you because you messed up in math … or for any other reason …that is physical and emotional abuse. And the fact that he punched you and bruised you in a restaurant because you got in front of him in line is just plain wrong.

It is very likely that your dad’s parents or caretakers treated him the same way. That does not excuse his behavior. It’s just all he knows. Your mom sides with him and enables his behavior but she is probably afraid of him too.

Do you have siblings who are going through the same thing? If you do, Annie suggests holding a family meeting where all of the children tell your parents how much you love them but how painful it is to be treated that way. Ask if you can get family counseling. If your parents get upset or you are uncomfortable having this meeting with them, tell a trusted relative. You can also go to your school counselor and your clergyman.

It is important to tell and get help for the entire family. This will allow the family to talk about what bothers them and a good therapist (many work on a sliding scale if your family doesn’t have the money) can really get to the core of the problem.

You can also report the abuse to Childhelp USA 1-800-422-4453 National Child Abuse Hotline but you will need proof of those bruises. Next time you have a bruise from your dad punching you have someone take a photo of the bruise.

You can also call

Boys & Girls Town National Hotline 1-800-448-3000 For Troubled Kids & Their Families

Teen Help Line 1-800-400-0900 Help Line For Troubled Teens


You are in the middle of this and I know it hurts. Your dad doesn’t hate you he just needs help.


If Annie can help in any other way, please feel free to write again.


Signed

Annie

 

Should I Date An Older Man?

Dear Annie:

My dad's friend really likes me. He tells me I am pretty. Sometimes he touches me and kisses me on the lips.

I really like him and he makes me feel special. Would it be wrong to date an older man, even if he's my dad's friend?

Signed
Unsure
                          

Dear Unsure:

Annie doesn't know how old you are, but if you are under 18, your dad's friend's behavior is inappropriate and wrong. And even if you are 18 or over, someone your dad's age is way too old for you and would only be using you.

Your dad's friend needs help and you must protect yourself by telling your parents. Don't worry that your parents will be mad at you ... they won't! They will keep you
safe from this man who wants to hurt you.

You MUST tell a trusted adult or if you find it difficult to talk to your parents, you can call the child abuse hotline at 1-800-422-4453.

A normal adult man is not going to be interested in dating a kid. It may excite you, but it will hurt you in ways that you can't imagine. Please tell your parents!

If Annie can help in any other way, please feel free to write again.

Signed
Annie
                          

Don't Know What To Do

Dear Annie:

My friend, Sammy, she is going through a lot right now. One of our other friends dad has been touching Sammy and she is so afraid to tell any one because this guy is a really good father and has a really loving wife and Sammy doesn't want to brake up such a good family but she knows deep down that is the right thing to do. What should I tell my friend?

Signed
Confused
                          

Dear Confused:

You may think that Sammy’s father is a really good father, but good fathers don’t touch their children. Regardless of how loving and happy the family seems,
Sammy MUST tell!

If she can’t talk to her mother then she should tell a trusted adult, such as a
family member, teacher, guidance counselor or parent of a close friend.

It is NOT okay for Sammy’s father to be touching her. He is sick and he is hurting her. That is the first and most important thing to consider right now. It MUST Stop!

If the family breaks up, it will break up because Sammy’s mother makes that decision. It’s not up to Sammy to keep the family together or hide her dad’s secret. And it’s certainly not okay for Sammy to have to go through this. She could be
hurt a lot worse.

It won’t be easy to tell, but Sammy must be brave and tell right away!

Sammy’s mom may not believe it at first because she will likely be shocked. If
her mom does not believe Sammy after she tells … then Sammy should tell a trusted adult or call the child abuse hotline at 1-800-422-4453.

 Sammy is not alone and should feel free to call the

National Youth Crisis Hotline at 1-800-448-4663

RAINN the Rape and Abuse and Incest National Network at
1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

When this is all sorted out, Sammy will thank you for being such a good friend.
By taking the first step and Asking Annie, Sammy will get the help she needs and hopefully so will her father.

If Annie can help in any other way, please feel free to write again.

Signed
Annie


No One To Talk To

Dear Annie,

My dad always tells me I am worthless and calls me names. I am 14, never get into trouble and am a straight 'A' student. My mom says he's just teasing me but
it doesn't feel that way.

I feel bad all of the time and feel like I can't do anything right. What can I do?

Signed
Feeling Bad
                         


Dear Feeling Bad,

It's never easy feeling bad, worthless and being called names ... especially when it's your dad who is bullying you.

Your dad sounds really angry and probably doesn't have great self-esteem either. It's likely that one of his parents or someone of authority told him the same thing when he was a kid.

Annie suggests scheduling a meeting with your parents ... maybe after dinner or during a time when you know they're not real busy. Tell your parents you love
them and tell your dad that you know he loves you, but when he calls you names and talks to you the way he does, it makes you feel really bad.

Tell your mom you love her and that it doesn't feel like your dad is joking. Tell her how it upsets you. Ask your parents together how things can change?

If they come up with a solution ... great! If not, tell them you would like for all of you to speak with a counselor or psychologist. If that doesn't work, talk to your school counselor.

Remember one thing .... you are special, you are awesome ...and that will never change. And always remember that no matter what anyone says!

Signed

Annie

    
Scared of Dangerous Bully

Dear Annie,

There is a bully that I really hate and he hates me too. He is kinda friends with my sis though but he still hates me. My sister says that he is dangerous and I am very scared of him. I don't know what to do.

Signed
SCARED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                             


Dear Scared,

Being bullied is never easy. If this bully is dangerous then your sister should not befriend him.

Tell a friend what is happening. Ask him or her to help you. It will be harder for the bully to pick on you if you have a friend or group of friends with you for support.

Try to ignore the bullying or say 'No' really firmly, then turn and walk away. Don't worry if people think you are running away. Remember, it is very hard for the bully to go on bullying someone who won't stand still to listen. Don't let him see that you are scared or angry. Bullies love to get a reaction - it's 'fun.' If you can keep calm and hide your emotions, they might get bored and leave you alone.

Try to avoid being alone in the places where you know the bully is likely to pick on you. This might mean changing your route to school, avoiding parts of playground, or only using common rooms or rest rooms when other people are there. It's not fair that you have to do this, but it might put the bully off. Sometimes asking the bully to repeat what they said can put them off. Often bullies are not brave enough to repeat the remark exactly so they tone it down. If they repeat it, you will have made them do something they hadn't planned on and this gives you some control of the situation.

Keep a diary of what is happening. Write down what details of the incidents and your feelings. When you do decide to tell someone, a written record of the bullying makes it easier to prove what has been going on.

You should seriously think about telling an adult. It's the only way to get the bullying stopped. If you need help, don't be embarrassed about asking. Everyone needs help sometimes and asking for help to stop bullying doesn't mean that you are weak or a failure. Telling about bullying isn't 'telling tales'. You have the right to be safe from attacks and harassment and you should not be silent when you are being tormented
and hurt.

Most often, people don't tell about bullying because they are afraid the bully will find out and things will get worse. This is a natural fear but schools can put a stop to bullying without the bully learning who told, especially if the bully has several victims. Even if the bully does find out, it is better to have things out in the open.

Please visit http://www.loveourchildrenusa.org/bullying.php and http://www.loveourchildrenusa.org/kidsteens_bullying_higgs.php.

You may also contact

The Boys & Girls Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000

Report-It.com at 1-800-448-3000 which is an early warning system to alert your school if you are at risk

The Teen Help Line at 1-800-400-0900

Most of all don't be scared. There is help and don't be afraid to ask for it.

Signed

Annie

Was I Molested?

Dear Annie,

I am 15 years old, and recently when I was living with my dad, he sexually molested my stepsister without penetration. I'm living with my mom now and my dad is in therapy, but a couple of days ago, he called and told my mom that he used to molest my older sister when she was just a toddler and he has herpes. My sister had oral herpes when she was three. Now I'm afraid that she still has it and I'm afraid that my dad may have done something to me. Because I have had shingles and another unidentifiable rash and just found out that they were both part of the herpes family. He may have done something to me because after all he has done something to two out of the three girls in my family. My mom says that she thinks that he did, but that she has no proof and I was too small to remember. Now I'm really scared and I don't know what to do, or how to figure out if I was molested or not...please help me.

Signed
Confused
                               


Dear Confused,

First, I'm glad to hear that you're living with your mom.

Now ….let's talk about your shingles. Shingles is a virus caused by chicken pox. The virus stays dormant and then can appear later in life. Sometimes it can appear if you're stressed out and more than once. The good news is shingles is not sexually transmitted and can be controlled with medication.

Your sisters oral herpes (if that's what they are) are cold sores and fever blisters and not serious but can be contagious if someone uses her towel, or if she is kissing someone or having oral sex.

Annie suggests your mom take you all to another doctor who can tell you what the other unidentifiable rash is and if it is sexually transmitted. Hopefully this doctor can better explain this to you so that you are aware and not scared. If it turns out that the other rash is sexually transmitted, your mom should take you to a gynecologist who specializes in sexually transmitted diseases to learn how to treat it and what precautions to take when you become sexually active.

Sexual abusers who are family members don't normally abuse all of their children. They usually pick one or two, but there is always the exception. The abuse occurred in your family and affects you even if you weren't molested. Annie thinks it might be a good idea if your mom, you and your sisters get counseling from a psychologist who specializes in child abuse. Someone who is trained in this area can help you and your sisters with the fear, anger and confusion.

You can find a psychologist who specializes in child abuse through your local hospital doctor referral service or you can call:

National Institute of Mental Health 1-888-ANXIETY

Mental Health Info Source 1-800-447-4474

If it turns out you were molested, it's important to stay calm, talk to your mom and get help. You can also contact:

RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network) 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

Even though no kid should ever be sexually abused there is help and hope.

Signed
Annie

I'm So Angry. What Can I Do?

Dear Annie,

I am 13 and for a long time I've been really angry. I think it's because my dad is so mean to my mom. He's always yelling and screaming and he hits her. My mom cries a lot and my brother and I escape to our rooms.

I hate feeling this way and I don't know how to make my dad stop. What can I do?

Signed
Angry

                               

Dear Angry,

You have every right to be angry. Your mom, your brother and you are victims of domestic violence. Many people think that domestic violence only affects the mother or father who is being abused. It goes a lot deeper … it affects the kids too.

Growing up in a violent home is one of the most terrifying and traumatic experiences a child can go through.

Your mom needs to get help and so do you. Kids who grow up in violent homes can be helped through Intervention, prevention, and support programs.

The first step is for you and your brother to talk to your mom. Tell her how angry, upset and scared you are. Give her this number:

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) Spousal, Partner and Child Abuse

Sometimes it's hard for a mom to report the abuse because she's worried about how to support your brother, you and her, and worried about how your dad will react. This hotline can really help. It's just a matter of taking that first step. Also, if your mom is hesitant and needs some advice and an ear, please tell her to contact:

Mental Health Info Source 1-800-447-4474 Mental Health Resources and Information

They can help her by referring her to someone who she can speak with confidentially who can help her take that first step towards a safe place and
healing for all of you.

By getting help, you will start to heal and the anger will go away!

Annie

         

Could I Have Been Sexually Molested?

Dear Annie,

I am 17 now but when I was 5 years old, my uncle used to put his hands in my panties and rub me. He told me not to tell anyone. He said it made us both feel good. He did this until I was 12 when I started my period, and then it stopped. Does that mean I was sexually molested? I feel so weird and ugly all the time.

Signed,
In the Dark
                         

Dear In the Dark,

Anytime someone touches a child on or in their private parts it is wrong. Even though he did not penetrate you, you were sexually molested and a victim of child abuse.

Have you ever told your parents or anyone? Did you ever confront your uncle?

What happened was not your fault but, Annie recommends that you speak to your parents who can take you to see a trained therapist or you can talk to a trusted professional. Because you are still in high school you can speak to a school counselor or go to a rape center if you are afraid to talk to your parents about this.

Please feel free to contact the Youth For Youth Partnership peer mentors who are there for you at www.youthforyouth.org . There are also hotlines such as:

Mental Health Info and Resources
1-800-447-4474

Nationwide Referral Network for Kids in Crisis
1-800-KID-SAVE (542-7283) Nationwide Referral Line

National Crisis Line
1-866-334-4357

National Victim Center
1-800-FYI-CALL (2255)

National Youth Crisis Hotline
1-800-448-4663

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

If you are reading this and sexual molestation is an issue for you, or for someone you know, talking with a professional who has experience in this area, joining a survivors group, or reading about sexual molestation is a big help. Know the facts, be aware and know that you are not alone! Talking to a professional can be a huge help.

Annie

Speaking Up For The First Time. What Do I Do?

Dear Annie,

I never told anyone before, but I was physically abused from the time I was four until my mom died last year when I turned sixteen. She used to punch me in the stomach and hit me with a chair on my back so no one would see my bruises. She told me I wasn't wanted and would never amount to anything good. She told me if I told anyone I would be sent to jail for lying.

I've never told anyone until now. She's gone and I have no one to talk to. I'm afraid if I do someone else will beat me. What do I do?

Signed
Lost and Scared

                            

Dear Lost and Scared,

It is awful that you had to go through that cruel treatment …physically, verbally and emotionally. Your mother was sick and had you told anyone, you would not have been arrested. It is so brave and courageous of you to speak up now. You have taken the first step to healing.

If you can go to your father, tell him and ask him to take you to a therapist trained in child abuse. If you cannot go to your father, you must tell a trusted adult so you can get the appropriate help. School counselors are helpful, clergy, even a friend's parents or another adult family member.

Please feel free to contact the Youth For Youth Partnership peer mentors who are here for you at www.youthforyouth.org .

Here are some places to contact:

Mental Health Info Source 1-800-447-4474

National Crisis Line 1-866-334-4357

National Institute of Mental Health 1-888-ANXIETY Mental Health Resources and Information

Nationwide Referral Network for Kids in Crisis 1-800-KID-SAVE (542-7283) Nationwide Referral Line

National Victim Center 1-800-FYI-CALL (2255) Violent Crime Victims

National Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-448-4663 Youth Crisis Hotline

Teen Help Line 1-800-400-0900 Help Line For Troubled Teens

Teen Hot Line 1-800-747-8336 Hot Line For Troubled Teens

Youth Development International 1-800-HIT-HOME (448-4663) Youth Crisis Hotline

The healing process is a long one but you will get through this.

Annie

It's My Fault. What Should I Do To Make It Stop?

Dear Annie,

I just turned 18. My father has been molesting me since I was 11. The problem is he still does it. I feel like I am old enough to stop it, but it still happens. I know it's my fault. I just don't know what to do.

Signed
Guilty

                         

Dear Guilty,

The only one who is guilty is your father. None of this is your fault. The only reason you think it is your fault is because your father has brainwashed you into thinking it's your fault. That is what abusers do … all of them.

Number one …. it is definitely NOT your fault. As for being 18 and old enough to stop it ….that's not true either. Being molested is all you have known since the age of 11.

Put in simpler terms … if you are addicted to chocolate - all you know is you want that chocolate. Well, being molested is all you know. You do not know a father who is respectful, loving and nurturing. So being able to stop it is very difficult.

I am assuming you haven't told your mother. If you can I would recommend doing so. If you cannot, then please speak to a counselor at school or a trusted adult who can help you.

In addition to speaking with our youth peer mentors at www.youthforyourh.org you should contact these places:

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) Rape Abuse
and Incest

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) Spousal, Partner and Child Abuse

National Victim Center 1-800-FYI-CALL (2255) Violent Crime Victims

National Institute of Mental Health 1-888-ANXIETY Mental Health Resources and Information

Please take that first step. If you are having a hard time doing that let us know. You are awesome, you are brave and a hero!

The first step to healing is to find that hero inside you and claim victory!

Annie

It's My Fault?

Dear Andy,

I surf the web a lot and like chat rooms. I've been emailing this kid the same age as me and he saying stuff that's kind of scary. I stopped chatting and emailing him but I feel like it's my fault that he said that stuff.

I told my older brother and he told my parents and they called the police. My parents yelled at me and won't let me use chat rooms anymore. What can I do to get my parents to trust me again?

Signed,
Bad surfer

                       

Dear Bad Surfer,

First ... it's not your fault that the creep who said he is your age did what he did. Andy is pretty sure that he reallt isn't your age. Unfortunately there are some sick adults who play games with kids in chat rooms and gain their trust, hoping to lure
them into a meeting. Then you meet and bad things happen!

You did the right thing by going to your older brother! Your parents are trying to protect you and keep you from being harmed, missing and other bad stuff.

Talk to your parents and tell them you would like to use chat rooms again and promise them that the minute someone says something that doesn't feel right to you, that you will tell them and not respond to the person. By showing them you are responsible they may learn to ease up a little. Talk it out and come to some kind of compromise ... but remember -- if anyone suggests anything like meeting or anything sexual, or anytthing that doesn't sound right ... stop corresponding immediately and tell your parents!

Andy

           

Being Bullied

Dear Andy,

These guys at school always called me names. Now it has gotten worse. They started to throw garbage at me after school and now they follow me home and beat me up.

If I tell my parents or teachers then they'll call me a sissy and it will get worse. What can I do?

Signed
Bullied Boy
                                

Dear Bullied Boy,

Being bullied is a difficult situation, but remember, you are not the problem, the bully is. You have a right to feel safe and secure.

If you're different in some way, be proud of it! Stand strong. Spend time with your friends - bullies hardly ever pick on people if they're with others in a group.

If you haven't already done this ...try ignoring the bullies. Tell them to stop and walk away whenever the bullying starts. Staying in groups of friends is a good idea too.

If that doesn't work you won't be a sissy if you tell an adult you can trust ... a teacher, school principal, parent, someone from your family or a friend's parent. If you find it difficult to talk about being bullied, you might find it easier to write down what's been happening to you and give it to an adult you trust.

It has to stop and the only way that could happen is to tell someone! Please also
read Bullying: 'What Have I Ever Done To You? on our site. This article was written by someone who was bullied and it can be very useful.

Good luck!

Andy
            
  
My Mom Hates Me

Dear Andy,

My mom yells at me all the time! She calls me names, says she wishes she never had me and says she hates me.

I'm 14 years old and if I run away then I'll never be able to get good grades and go to college. What can I do?

Signed
Hated son

                    

Dear Hated Son,

Sorry your mom says all those awful things to you. And you're right ... running away won't solve anything!

First, try to talk to your mom and tell her how bad it makes you feel when she says these things to you. Tell her you love her and ask her what you can do so she doesn't hate you. Ask her if the two of you can get some family counseling together.

Do you have a father or other adult relative you can talk to about this? Do you have older siblings you can talk to? If not, how about a trusted family friend, member of the clergy, teacher, or your school counselor or psychologist?

If you have these people available that would be a good start! If not, here are some hotline numbers to contact:

Nationwide Referral Network for Kids in Crisis
1-800-KID-SAVE (542-7283) Nationwide Referral Line

National Youth Crisis Hotline
1-800-448-4663

Please feel free to contact the Youth For Youth Partnership peer mentors who are there to help you at www.youthforyouth.org.

Andy

Why Do I Feel So Alone?

Dear Andy,

Since I was very little my father has been telling me that "I am his no-good, rotten son" and "I will never make it in life."

I am trying to believe that he doesn't know what he's talking about, but it's really hard. I feel like a loser and feel so alone. Who can I talk to?

Signed
Lone Loser

Dear Lone Loser,

And I only use that name because you did not give me your real name, but get this …. You are NOT a loser! You may feel alone, but you are not a loser and you WILL make it in life … if you set your mind to do just that.

First, Andy recommends talking to a school counselor and your mom. Tell them what's going on and how you feel. Your school can provide counseling or talk to your mom and refer you elsewhere.

Good self esteem is so important and that's what you need. You are special. And, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Please feel free to contact the Youth For Youth Partnership peer mentors who are there to help you at www.youthforyouth.org.

Andy    

  

I Was Molested. Does That Mean I'm A Homosexual?

Dear Andy,

When I was a little boy I was molested by our next door neighbor? Now that I'm seventeen and of dating age, I'm wondering if that makes me a homosexual?

Signed
Confused

                                

Dear Confused,

Being molested does not make you a homosexual.

Being attracted to someone of the same sex can be frightening … enough to make you deny your feelings. Figuring out who you are can be very difficult … and it can take time. Learn the facts and speak to a trusted professional.

If you are not attracted to the same sex, then you are not homosexual.

A good place to contact is

National Organization on Male Survivor Victimization (NOMSV) 1-800-738-4181 Help for Male Sexual Abuse Victims

Andy

                 


Disclaimer:
Some questions may be sexually explicit and therefore not appropriate
for all ages to read. Please check with your parents before reading these pages.

Ask Annie and Andy are not doctors or counselors and although the information they
give to you is accurate it should not be substituted for professional advice.

Parts of your letter may be deleted for publishing as they may be too sexually
explicit for certain ages.

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By Bob Staake www.bobstaake.com

 

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