Teen Talk

Teen Talk: Readers react to column’s advice

HELLO, READERS: Happy spring!

Here some recent responses to Teen Talk column. I appreciate all who take the time to respond and tell me their feelings or opinions on the column.

Spring is always a time of transformation and represents change as teenagers move up in classes, graduate from high school and prepare for what is on the journey ahead. It can be time to say hello to the good weather and goodbye to old friends if you are graduating. It is a time to reflect back and appreciate what is ahead. It is the awakening and the growing, even if winter represented dark days.

Play in the dirt. Plant flowers. Walk barefoot. Be appreciative for what you have. Enjoy the sunshine.

DEAR MS. RICHARDSON: Your response to Not Sure Of Anything stinks.

In reality, the parents should be congratulated for staying together for the good of the children, but you didn’t say that. It was probably because that would not agree with standard advice you give to children of divorced parents when you said, “Being a family just means that you are people who love each other and are connected no matter what.” You didn’t say anything helpful other than, “your family is not fake,” but I’m not sure what help that is, since it was off-topic.

You should have emphasized that both parents loved Not Sure and her sister and said that her parents may change over time (even if it may seem improbable now). Learning that your parents plan to divorce after the kids leave is upsetting, but not nearly as upsetting as an imminent divorce is.


HI KELLY: I like your column. I have three teenagers and your insights are helpful.

I just wanted to comment on a recent column. The Mom said, “I made a huge mistake when I was 15.” You and Torn seem to think her mistake was having the baby, and that the baby (Torn) was a mistake. The mistake was not that she didn’t have an abortion, the mistake was that she had sex at age 16. If she didn’t have sex, she would not have gotten pregnant.

I hope Torn realizes that fact and waits to have sex.

Also, Torn should be proud of her Mom for making the hard but right decision of keeping her baby.


HELLO KELLY: I was looking for an article and came across your Teen Talk reply to a young woman who had suffered three losses in her family.

First, I couldn’t have put it better. I didn’t read exactly how old she was, but I just wanted to add us as a resource for this age group.

We have been providing our Young Adult Bereavement Art Group at UC Davis Hospice (located in Sacramento), free of charge, to anyone in the community between the ages of 17 and 24 who has experienced the death of someone close. We developed the group in 2008 and have been offering it as an eight-week series twice a year since. I work closely with Peggy Gulshen at Sutter as we often have members of the same families, those younger than 17 joining the Children’s Bereavement Art Group, and those 17 and older joining our group.

I just wanted to take the opportunity to share this resource with you for your readers.

Don Lewis

KELLY: Your advice to the girl whose boyfriend lied about his weekend partying (“I had two beers”) bordered on bad. Why? Because it only addressed half the issue. Of course, honesty is important to a long-lasting relationship. Your advice to apologize for snooping through his phone and talking to him about his lie was good advice.

Your explanation about why honesty is important was good. But your failure to address the other key component needed for a relationship – acceptance – was bad. You leave in place the idea that it’s OK for her to expect him to change his behavior to please her, and it’s OK for him to lie to her that he will change his behavior to please her.

When a person manipulates another, either consciously or unconsciously, to agree to change his or her behavior, that is a form of lying. When the manipulated person agrees to change his or her behavior, that is another form of lying. She needs to be honest with herself.

Her boyfriend likes to get “baked” with his friends. That is part of who he is. Does she like him enough that she can accept this part of him? If not, then end the relationship now.


DEAR KELLY: Just wanted to say your answer to the girl with the partying boyfriend was spot on – well thought out and covered all the bases. Thank you!


Write to Kelly Richardson at Teen Talk, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15880, Sacramento, CA 95852, or email krichardson@ sacbee.com.