DEAR ABBY: I am a 14-year-old girl with a big problem. Today, when my father and I went to the supermarket, I saw a book that looked interesting. It was called "How to Win at Love." I picked it up not because I was having a problem with my love life -- I don't even HAVE a love life -- but I am curious about "love," so I read a few pages and decided to buy it. My dad saw the title and got mad at me. Then one of my sisters started treating me like I was a freak. Now, I'm scared my dad and sister will tell my mom, and then Mom will be mad, too.
My mom has told me I shouldn't have a boyfriend until I'm finished with school. How am I supposed to tell her I was only curious? I know they both think I'm too young to have a boyfriend, but that's not it. The book isn't about guys and marriage. It's about changing yourself and being in charge of your own life.
It's not my fault I'm curious about love. It's because my parents won't talk about it with me. Every time I ask something about it, they say, "Why do you want to know? Do you have a boyfriend?" I hate that. What hurts most is knowing if I can't talk to my parents about love, what CAN I talk to them about?
Right now, I don't want to talk to my parents about anything! Lots of things happen in my life that I wish I could talk to my parents about, but I guess I can't. The only people I feel safe talking with are my friends.
Abby, what should I do about my parents? Please help me. -- NO COMMUNICATIONS IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR NO COMMUNICATIONS: Of all the problems about which people write, yours may be one of the saddest. Your parents think by not talking about certain subjects, they can "protect" you. They fail to realize that what they are doing is isolating you. If you are afraid to talk to your parents for fear of being criticized or ridiculed, how can you learn their values and share in their knowledge? How unfortunate.
While it may seem "safe" to talk to your friends, the problem is they usually don't have any more life experience than you.
It is important that you find an adult in whom you can confide and from whom you can get straight answers when you need them. Perhaps a trusted teacher, a school counselor or the mother of one of your friends could fill that role. No child should have to go through his or her teen-age years without an adult to guide the way when the going gets rough.