DR. WALLACE: Please, help me! I'm 14 and have a strong fear that someone is going to kill me. Even though my dog sleeps in my bedroom, I'm afraid of being attacked. I can never have a leg or an arm hanging out of my bedcovers because I'm afraid someone will grab it. Once when I was babysitting and the children were asleep, a storm hit, and I was frightened and couldn't move even though rain was coming through an open window. I live in a small town and realize that I'm safer than living in a huge city, but still, I'm frightened.
I have hinted to my parents that I'm afraid of being killed, but they just laugh it off. Please don't print my name or location. — Deeply Frightened on an Anonymous Street, in an Anonymous Town
DEEPLY FRIGHTENED: When your parents see your letter in the newspaper, they will stop "laughing it off" and get you the professional help you must have. This is an emotional problem you must discuss with your parents because it is very difficult to overcome without help.
Please make sure you and your family contact both medical professionals and counselors who can help you. They are there to help people like you, and they will be very happy to present resources and strategies you will find reassuring. Your situation is one that requires personal assistance and guidance.
If for any reason your parents still don't take your situation seriously, please go by your school (if summer classes are still in session) to ask a teacher for help. Alternatively, you can ask any other trusted adult (aunt, uncle, grandparent, a friend's parent, etc.) to both help you get counseling and to speak to your parents about this. Please start by thinking positive thoughts that you will find the help you need; this may help a bit until you get set up with the guidance you need. Good luck, young lady, and keep us posted here on your progress.
MEET FIRST TO PLAN THE DATE
DR. WALLACE: I'm a 16-year-old girl who needs advice. A guy and I attend the same school. He likes me, and I like him. Every night, he calls me, and we talk for about a half-hour.
The problem is that I really don't know him very well, as he never talked to me at school much in person and has never asked me out on a date. One of his friends at school was actually the one who asked me for my phone number so that this boy could call me. I am guessing that the reason for this strange relationship is his shyness in person. How can I get him to open up? Now that it's summertime, I don't even see him at school, but he still calls me! — Puzzled, via email
PUZZLED: It's time to be a little assertive. The next time this boy calls, tell him you want to eat lunch or enjoy an ice cream cone with him at your local mall so that the two of you can discuss setting up an upcoming evening date with each other this summer. Don't be surprised if he agrees. He wasn't too shy to have his friend get your telephone number for him. He also was not too shy to actually call you several times! Therefore, he must be interested in you or he wouldn't call you every night to talk for a half-hour. Go ahead and suggest that lunch as well as a future evening date to be held on a different night. This will let him know that you are interested in spending time with him in person. This may also help him relax at the mall by letting him know that no matter how it goes that day or how shy he may act, you are still going on an evening date with him, too. Hopefully this "double dip" will melt his shyness a bit!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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