DEAR READERS: As a new school year begins for our teenagers and a new season awaits as we all draw closer to fall, I wanted to share some recent letters I received regarding Teen Talk columns.
I appreciate receiving feedback from readers, even if they don’t agree with my advice. I hope you all enjoy this season of change. Thank you for continuing to read Teen Talk and thank you to all those who take the time to write me and share their opinions on the column.
DEAR KELLY: Although I’m far from being a teen (I’m 68 years old), your answer to a friend that was in The Sacramento Bee could very easily apply to me. I’ve cut the answer out from the paper and have put it with my Al Anon reading material. How often I have taken responsibility for other people’s actions and have felt guilt over it. Thank you for how you worded your answer.
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DEAR KELLY: Re: Jenny, whose boyfriend likes to fight, I think you missed the point. Maybe he has something like a mood disorder and his fighting is stemmed entirely around his moods being up and down. Did you think about that? He freaks out and apologizes and he’s never cheated on her, so maybe it’s all mood-related.
You advised her to break up when you really should advised her to have him go talk to his doctor about his moods and maybe get some medication. Breaking up is not always the right answer.
DEAR KELLY: Just read your column on June 16 about her sister’s messiness. I have seen this happen to many young college graduates. I agree that she is depressed but you missed one suggestion that I have found works wonders: Pay for a housekeeper to come in once a week or every two weeks. Coming home from work to a clean house is great therapy. If she grew up in a clean house, she will be embarrassed by dirty dishes, more likely to do basic daily cleaning before the housekeeper comes.
Learning to clean house is not automatic, especially for a person whose praise has come from academic or sports accomplishments in high school and college. The academic to work world can seem a brutal change.
DEAR KELLY: I just read your article about the Evening of Dreams. We prefer to use people-first language. My daughter is an adult female who happens to have special needs, not a special-needs adult. Please use people-first language. Students with special needs would be more appropriate. My daughter’s disability does not define her.
DEAR KELLY: My grandson, diagnosed with autism at age 3, looks forward to Evening of Dreams every year. He has attended four or five times. To show his delight in attending, I want to share what happened. Matt elected to have jaw surgery to correct an overbite and crooked teeth. He had surgery Oct. 31, 2014, at age 23. As he was being prepped, he asked his mom to please be sure and sign him up for Evening of Dreams because Nov. 1 was the first day he could sign up, and he wanted to be sure he got on the list. As he was being wheeled away to surgery, he pleaded again to his mom to not forget about signing him up for the dance.
As the evening of the dance gets closer, he counts the days, and makes sure his suit and shoes are clean and ready. As you mentioned in your article, the evening is all about joy. Matt is often lonely, and it is so wonderful to see him so happy. He was there this year, and will likely keep going as long as he is allowed.
The young people who help truly give the gift of joy. They might not know how much it means to young people like my grandson, but I hope they do. There are so many good and kind people in the world, but they don’t make the news as much as the ones who make problems for others. I hope this event will go on for many years.
Thank you for writing about the amazing young people in our community.
DEAR KELLY: Don’t ever stop reporting on the Evening of Dreams in your column. I loved reading about it last year and then again this year. I had just learned about it last spring when the daughter of a friend of mine attended. She has cerebral palsy and is often erratic in social situations. She had a great time and was made to feel both special and ordinary (in the best way) at the same time. Not long after hearing about it, I saw your column and forwarded it to her mom.
As a 50-year-old single man, I don’t have much reason to follow your column regularly, but for some crazy reason this one jumped out at me. Just like it had last year. I look forward to hearing about your experience next year.
DEAR KELLY: I am a big fan of your column, and as a grandma of a teenager, wondered if you have a compilation of your Teen Talk columns? You have the makings of a really great handbook for kids trying to navigate their teen years. Anything available, in the works, or can I get access to back issues?
DEAR KATE: I get asked this question frequently and the answer is not yet, but thank you for asking. It is my hope to put this together in the future and I will be sure to share with Bee readers when I finally finish it.