Q&A with Dr. Dorothy: Your tough questions answered
Dorothy Ratusny is a Certified Psychotherapist specializing in Cognitive Therapy.
Two of my best friends want to lose their virginity this summer, and they think I should too. Our group chant is “friends together, friends forever,” so I don’t want to be the one to ruin things. But I know I’m not ready. How can I make them understand?
Your group chant says it all. “Friends together, friends forever” also translates into ‘friends standing by and supporting one another through diversity and differences’. While it’s amazing to share similar experiences with your friends, the decision around when to lose your virginity is a very individual and personal experience. Teens I’ve talked to who have regrets about their ‘first time’, all say the same thing…they wish they had waited until it felt ‘right’ for them rather than being pressured into the experience. While you might be ok with your friends’ decision to lose their virginity this summer, be honest with them about how you feel. A fundamental element in true friendship is the ability to respect differences and not judge others by those differences.
I hate my sister so much I wish she were dead! She is constantly putting me down and making fun of me. I’ve wished she would get AIDS (she sleeps around) or SARS or get hit by a car or something. Is this normal?
Is it ever normal to hate someone? We all have experienced moments (even hours, days, and sometimes weeks!), when we have felt intense anger towards a sibling. These feelings do pass over time (even though the idea of this might seem rather improbable right now). It’s quite common for siblings to go through particular ‘phases’ where they completely don’t get along and find each other totally annoying, and then in time they end up being the best of friends! Your age difference and the stage each of your are at in your lives has a lot to do with whether you and your sister get along (or not) right now. Typically, as we get a bit older (it’s a funny thing), we seem to have greater appreciation for our siblings. Hang in there and try not to let her get to you. She won’t always be this difficult!
I’m 16 and I want to have a kid—I can’t explain why, I just do. I’m not ignored at home or need someone to love (or to love me back), I just want one. My school has a daycare so that’s not a problem. What should I do?
If you really want a child of your own, it’s important to first do the research. Find other young parents to talk to about their experiences of having a child. Also critically important—do some ‘future’ thinking (visualizing) about what your life will look like five years from today (at age 21) with and without the responsibility of a child in it.
Take a few moments to imagine these two separate scenarios:
1) Imagine your life as it would be five years from now if you didn’t have a child. Would you be in college, university, working full-time? Who would your friends be? Would you be dating or maybe in a serious relationship? Where would you be living?
2) Now imagine five years from now you are raising a four-year-old child. What does your life look like in this scenario? Are you in school? Working? How are you supporting your child? Is the father of your child in your life? What are some of the additional responsibilities that you have caring for your own child?
As you reflect on both scenarios, which one seems to fit better with your future goals and dreams? Which one allows you to feel the best about your life and how you are living it?
Finally, given that taking care of and raising another human being is a HUGE responsibility—it’s important to be able to explain (at least to yourself) why you want to do this. When you say that you “can’t explain why you want a kid”, it sounds like you need to do some further ‘soul searching’ in order to better understand your reasons for wanting a child.
For more on Dorothy check out www.dorothyratusny.com