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by Abigail Van Buren

Teen Struggles to Adapt to Dad's Strict Parenting

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 13-year-old girl in the eighth grade. I moved in with my father and his girlfriend five months ago. (My mom is estranged.)

They are very strict and controlling. I'm not allowed to go anywhere, have friends over or be in my room with my phone for any amount of time, and I have to do all the chores in the summertime. They also go through my phone even though they have no reason to.

They post embarrassing pictures of me under my Facebook account, take my phone away constantly (so I can't talk to my friends who live far away), force me to play softball (that's a big one), which I hate, etc. My privacy is nonexistent, especially considering how I used to live before. I feel like I have no independence.

I know I can be disrespectful at times, but I don't get into trouble and I don't understand why they act like they do. I'm really stressed out. In the past I have gotten so upset I cut myself on the wrist, and I have drunk liquid pain medicine. (I know it was stupid.) But sometimes I seriously think about killing myself. So, what should I do, Abby? -- IT'S UNFAIR IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR UNFAIR: What you should do -- and right away -- is talk to a counselor at school and tell that person everything you have told me. I don't know your father and his girlfriend, what conditions you were living under previously, or why you are being treated the way you are. But if you are so depressed that you are harming yourself or contemplating suicide, you need more help than I can give you here. I repeat, please don't wait.

Read more in: Teens | Family & Parenting | Mental Health