Their divorce isn’t my fault, but…

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I know I didn’t cause my parents’ divorce, but somehow I feel weird about it.

I’m in eighth grade and play football, run track and I’m a drummer in a band. The guys I hang with are cool. I have a girlfriend, but she has a friend that I kind of bully. I don’t know why. I know he’s not hitting on her.

My sister said I should write. She said I’m becoming a “narcissist” like dad. She said that’s why mom kicked him out.

I don’t get what that is. What’s going on?

What’s up?

Dear What’s up,

We’re sorry you’re experiencing shame over your parents divorce. You are right: you did not cause their divorce.

It might be hard for you to understand, right now, that everything that directly affects you isn’t necessarily about you. Your parents’ break-up is very traumatic. It may feel like a punishment for doing something horrible. While you feel the way you feel, until you don’t, you haven’t done anything to deserve blame for their divorce.

On the other hand, you may be bullying someone else because of your own revenge against your parents for breaking up your family. That’s not fair, of course. Vengeance never helps anyone. Bullying isn’t going to make you feel better and it will certainly harm the other person.

If you know you’re bullying someone, and you know it’s wrong, then you need to stop. Ask your parents for professional help.

Also, it doesn’t matter if the boy you are bullying is “hitting on” your girlfriend or not. You must stop taking out your pain on someone else.

You didn’t have a choice to become a victim of your parents’ divorce, but you can choose not to stay a victim. Learn how to grieve the loss of your family. Be a survivor and Define Yourself Before Others Do with our 5C’s: Civility, Confidence, Courage, Creativity, and Communication. Then you’ll become a good leader, who never wants to bully anyone.

We are concerned you have a girlfriend at your young age. You are still learning about yourself. Don’t limit your growth and confuse your focus.

A narcissist is someone who is intensely concerned with only his or her self – interests and who seems to forget that other people exist.

You are concerned about your family and you are in emotional pain.

You aren’t a narcissist, or you wouldn’t be writing us about your concerns.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Don’t ask — it’s rude!

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

People need to stop asking others every question under the sun about their personal lives.

Don’t they know it’s rude to ask very personal questions, in public, especially, about religion, politics and sex? I was taught not to do that.

It’s not just the big things. I was asked what color my hair dye was and if my color came from a box or a stylist.

This might seem small, but it feels intrusive to me.

This got so annoying that I decided to start writing down questions that I was asked.

Here’s a sample of what I wrote down for one day:

• What kind of bra do I wear?

• Where do I get my teeth whitened?

• Am I getting enough sleep? I “look tired.”

• Do I ever sleep in the nude?

• Am I a born-again Christian?

• Does my husband go to the bathroom in front of me?

My husband laughed when I showed him what I was writing. He wanted to know why I care. I care because it’s private information and I feel violated.

People are rude these days.


Not rude

Dear not rude,

Congratulations! You have manners!

Manners are a lost art in our culture of entitlement. Many feel it’s their right to know personal information about anyone because the values of respect and civility are missing in our society.

These values need to be taught, starting at a young age, if we expect to regain civility.

Civility means courtesy, consideration, caring about someone’s comfort and having manners.

Rude means being impolite, discourteous, bad-mannered, offensive, or being vulgar.

Most in our culture don’t consider the questions you mentioned to be rude.

Parents can help teach the basics:

• Say please and thank you

• Have table manners

• Don’t ask unsolicited personal questions

What are personal questions?

• Anything about money, sex, religion and politics … no one has a right to know. Curiosity isn’t a right, it’s an indulgence.

• A personal question is something that makes someone uncomfortable or embarrassed.

Our society has become accustomed to asking sensitive questions in order to judge or label.

Being gay or straight, Republican or Democrat, Muslim or Christian doesn’t mean you are good or bad.

Don’t feel obligated to answer these questions.

Don’t engage with anyone who demands personal information. Look them in the eye, and change the subject.

You deserve to be treated with civility.


Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Why are girls still being slut-shamed?

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

Why are teen boys still slut-shaming girls?

Why aren’t boys ever treated this way?

I was told recently to watch the TV show “13 Reasons Why,” so I did. People are saying it’s a realistic story about a girl who commits suicide, but I think it’s mostly about boys slut-shaming girls.

My high-school aged nephew said he doesn’t know how true it is, but he’s seen it everywhere on social media.

This is so wrong. I want to know what to do to help these girls.

Gotta help

Dear Helpful,

Thank you for wanting to change our overly sexualized culture.

Boys don’t need to be equal in being slut-shamed. The change we need for our youth is to teach them to stop with sexual bantering, stop the porn, stop focusing on sexual appearance, stop the partying, and start setting boundaries like:

Abstinence from pre-marital sex. If you think it’s harmless, think again and look at the statistics on STDs, rape, abuse, bullying, suicide, and depression, anxiety, as well as alcohol and drug addiction. It’s possible to turn the tide and restore respect for each other’s innocence, goodness and modesty by starting a campaign of abstinence.

Abstinence from gossip, even if it’s true. Slut-shaming is gossip and most often it’s not true.

Abstinence from using social media to send sexual jokes, pictures, and labels.

Abstinence from judging others. It’s hypocritical – you’re not perfect either – and only God knows a person’s story and heart.

Abstinence from lies, especially the one where our youth is mature enough to handle sex.

Adults need to teach healthy relationships and respect for intimacy. Respect means reverence, admiration, value and esteem.

Adults must lead by example. Show a commitment to change our culture of sex as a game for entertainment and amusement.

Adults need to teach our youth to stop putting down others and instead teach how to lift their classmates up!

Men need to show respect to women and be a good example for boys.

Sex should not be used to control or manipulate others. Many boys use these tactics on girls and then shame them for complying. Teens shouldn’t use sexual conquests as trophies to develop confidence or self-worth.

Guys are still being lauded for their sexual conquests and that’s wrong.

Overall, boys and girls need to be taught how to be ladies and gentlemen. Adults too!

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri