Questions About Family Problems

A father and his two daughters.

Everyone has problems from time to time with family members. Relationships can become strained between siblings and children and parents often disagree. These problems are common in all families, no matter where in the world you may live. Let the Teen Team help.

Current Questions

''I teach myself and sibs. I have spoken to my parents about the little ones doing other classes at the rec center but there has to be an adult with them at all times. Besides, my 'vehicle' is a two seater motor scooter. I bought it myself but can't drive it until I take my test. We did attend church, but they were a bunch of pansies. They agreed with anything and everything the pastor said, never questioning anything anyone said... I'm just not like that.

I tried a journal/diary a few times but my mom and dad found them... or my sister would get it and read it. ( I share a room with both sisters.) I do go online and read, but my mom gets mad at me if I read online for more that 2 hours and says that I am " neglecting the family and my duties to the family"....... fun.........I already have several scholarships lined up... had them when I was 10..... I will be doing online college courses this next year.... and the closest collage to me is half an hour away and the only way to it is by major streets, of which my scooter doesn't go fast enough for. Help? ~~Silver Tears

Advice from the Teens Editor

Hi Silver Tears,Sounds like you're caught in a catch 22. You desire the freedom that other teens have, but you have family responsibilities which restrict your freedom. You didn't state when your mom comes home from there a way she can give you a break for a few hours so you can be with other kids your own age, or at the very least, go to the public library? Try and discuss this with her and let her know how you feel about babysitting all day. Even adults need a break when they have watched their children all day long. She may be responsive if you approach this problem with her calmly and maturely.

I applaud your efforts and drive to attend college. I would encourage you to find a way to go away to college or attend a community college nearby. A big part of the college experience is getting to be with other young people your own age to exchange ideas and learn together. There are plenty of loans and scholarships which would allow you the freedom to go to college without living at home. College is very difficult even for those who can juggle many things at once. It would be even more difficult if you try to take classes and continue to watch and educate three young children at home. In regards to your transportation problem with college, is there public transportation available in your town? If not, talk with an admissions counselor at your local community college; odds are there are other students in your area that you could carpool with.

If you feel that your personal situation has reached a crisis level, there is always help available. There are teen hotlines, managers at your community center, or your county's social services department. A good resource that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week is the Girls and Boys Town hotline. Call 1-800-448-3000 to ask questions about your situation or if you just need a live person who will listen and help you with your problems.

Hang in there! ~~Charlotte Gerber, Teens Editor

Where should I start? I am home schooled, I am turning 16 in a couple of months, I HAD one friend (she started being ugly to me and made fun of the way I dress and look). My heart has been recently *harshly* broken,(we were friends, then when I was about to ask him out, he sent me a text with a number for the "rejection hotline" which I admit was funny, but still mean). I am the oldest of four and am responsible for them during the day while my mom is at work and my dad sleeps(he works nights).

I don't do drugs or alcohol, instead I read to escape my life. I live in a moderately-sized town, but everyone has their group and it's hard to see people. I'm about to get my license, but I can't see a way to be able to go to the local rec center if I have to take care of my sibs when my mom is working. My next younger sister is almost 12, then my brother who is 10 then my youngest sis who is almost 6, and they're all a hand full.

I need a life or I will become just my parent's daughter and my sib's sister. I will lose myself in everyone else's. My mom won't let me do any chat rooms. I love to write, but I can't find time for it. I need any advice. I know that this is basically a rant but I need any and all help. ~~Silver Tears

Advice from Melissa

Hi,You are carrying a lot of weight on your shoulders for 16 years old. It seems like you've almost skipped adolescence, and trotted right into adulthood responsibilities, without any of the privileges of being able to make independent decisions. My first thought, is there any opportunity to speak to both of your parents at the same time--not to complain or sound disrespectful, but to calmly discuss ways in which you can have a little more balance in your life? For example, would your parents be open to your siblings attending some activities in the rec center for a few hours a week, so you could be able to be with friends your own age? 6, 10 and 12 are appropriate ages for social interaction.

You also mentioned you were home schooled, so if your mom works during the day, and your dad sleeps--I'm wondering, who is doing the schooling and what kind of relationship do you have with your teacher? Is it someone with whom you can confide possibly? Or could this person help you in addressing your needs with parents? Do you attend church or synagogue? Are there friends who also attend that you would be able to hang out with, even for a brief time a few hours a week?

You mentioned your love of writing. This is very important. Writing is a creative, emotional, spiritual and intellectual source of therapy. There's an old saying about "Putting the oxygen mask on you, before you can help others." Whatever you do, even if means setting an alarm and getting up 30 minutes earlier, find time to keep a journal and write. Like breathing, this is essential to your wellness. Find a way.

If you are almost 16 years old, and you've done well with your grades/home schooling, then college is not out of reach for you. Would your parents be comfortable with your using the Internet to research opportunities, financial aid, scholarships? I'm sure they would support your wanting to further your studies. This might be the key to a healthy dialogue with them.

If all else fails, and you find yourself in a dark place, there are toll free hotlines for teens. Keep trying to be positive, and realize there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if that tunnel is two years away...and whatever you do, keep writing.


Advice from Katie


Since you love to read and write, I'm guessing you're a pretty smart girl. Hopefully, going to college will provide you with the freedom you need. You should consider applying for as many scholarships as you can, especially ones for home schooled students. If it's impossible for you to leave home to go to college, then you could at least take classes at a local community college that would allow you to meet kids your age and to get a "life". In the meantime, read everything you can get your hands on and write your brains out. Good luck!


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Questions About Family Problems