DEAR READERS: I appreciate you taking the time to write me and express your feelings about recent columns. I like hearing from people when a particular column hits them in a certain way, and I enjoy the different perspectives people have regarding teenage issues.
If you are a teenager reading this, I hope you are enjoying your break from school and continuing to do positive and productive things with your days. Make sure you turn off the TV or video game long enough to read a good book, spend time with your grandparents, elevate your heart rate for at least 30 minutes or volunteer to do something nice for someone else.
As always, thanks for reading Teen Talk and please continue to send me your feedback.
DEAR KELLY: I often agree with your columns, but this time I really take issue with your response to JL regarding the TV his grandpa "gave" him. Sometimes it seems like you expect kids to act like adults when the adults in their lives are acting like children.
The "love" this grandpa showed his grandson was a gift with huge strings attached that he didn't disclose. In my opinion, the grandpa needs to man up here (not the grandson) and learn something he should have figured out a long time ago. When you give a gift it's no longer yours to control. That's how you teach unconditional love.
This kid turned to you because he isn't getting the support from his family that he needs. Then again, that's no surprise given the two generations of bad parenting he's up against. Let's hope it doesn't become three.
DEAR KELLY: While I appreciated your answer to the writer who received a television from his grandfather, I would have liked to see another aspect addressed: Not all people give gifts just for the joy of giving. Something in the letter stood out to me. The writer said: "My grandparents came over for a family party, and my grandpa came in my room and asked where his TV was."
The grandfather purposefully came looking for the TV. My parents have done this on numerous occasions. They also purposefully ask about the item. It became apparent that my parents use hand-me-down gift giving as a tool to control.
The grandfather called it "his" TV. That's a red flag to me.
I have a sensitivity to this and I understand that older family members may view "gifts" differently. However, the situation became so bad in my family that we no longer accept hand-me-downs of any sort from my parents. Our two grown children and many other relatives also have refused such gifts. This is not a lesson a parent likes a child to learn.
My youngest child reads the paper each day, and I feel I will have to address the answer with her. I do not want her to think poorly of herself for not letting her own grandparents bully her. A most unfortunate situation.
DEAR KELLY: I read your article about the overweight girl ("Lennon") and want to point out that family dynamics play in here. Lifestyles and life choices have to happen if she is to lose weight. Her family needs to be on board with her.
As a young person who struggled with weight her whole life, I wasn't able to lose weight until I left for college and took control of my life. I changed my diet, my lifestyle and what I kept in my kitchen.
My family still is overweight and still complaining about being so unhealthy, but doing nothing to change it. Please tell Lennon to stick with it and make the changes she needs to because it's her life and she shouldn't have to live it being so unhealthy and so unhappy. If I can do it, anyone can!
DEAR KELLY: I really appreciate your column. As the mother of four kids under 12, I've learned so much from you. I review all of your columns to see what is appropriate for my almost 12-year-old daughter. Today's topic on social networking was timely and perfect for her to read.
DEAR KELLY: I was particularly impressed with the incredibly astute answer you gave to the teen pageant hopeful. As a state pageant director for over 30 years, I constantly have to fight the stereotypes of shows like "Toddlers and Tiaras" and the occasional responses from an unknowing public to young women who desire to better themselves through pageantry.
We have produced the Miss Teenage California Scholarship Pageant for 34 years. There is no swimsuit competition. Our contestants are judged on achievements and activities, personality, poise and their appearance in formal wear. Each year our company and other sponsors offer thousands of dollars in college scholarships at our annual state pageant.