DEAR ABBY: I'm a 14-year-old girl in my first year of high school. I'm not sure what to do about boys or how to make friends. All I ever learned at home was what not to do.
I'm not allowed to date until I'm 16, but I really like this boy in my math class. What should I do? I'm so confused. My parents have protected me against things for so long, and I've had to learn from my friends' and my mistakes. I wonder sometimes if I have to be obedient to my parents or if I should make my own choices. Help! -- DATELESS AND CLUELESS IN NEVADA
DEAR DATELESS: At 14 it's normal to have a crush on a classmate. It's also normal for your parents to want to protect you. You say you have had to learn from your friends' and your own mistakes. That's normal, too. It's how we all learn about life.
Until you're old enough to date, become active in events at school. It's a healthy way to make friends and learn social skills. And continue being obedient to your parents. That's how teens build enough trust so that their parents gain the confidence to give them more freedom.