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Is it wrong to go out with a boy you just like, when you still have a crush on someone who rejected you?

Sonia asks: Hi just so you know, I have gotten over that boy I asked you about months ago! And also I am not the kind of girl who goes after any guy they see. Anyway back to the subject, basically I have had a crush on a sweet guy for about 4 and a half months and we are pretty close, but someone found out I liked him and told him (I had a HUGE breakdown!) And anyway I have the feeling that he isn’t gonna ever like me since my friends and him were talking and he said he only liked me as a friend and I’m happy with that but for some reason I just always get jealous when he seems more interested in my friend than me. But the strange part is I met my friend’s brother a few weeks back and yesterday I slept over at her house and hanged out with him, he was really cute sweet and reminded me of my old crush, and HE genuinely seemed interested in me and I have the feeling I’m falling for him and I don’t know what to do, try and become closer with my crush or become close with someone who I really like and even seem to have a better chance of liking than my crush will ever have of liking me?

Hi Sonia –



As I read this, it takes me back to my days in the pound, when I had been there longer than was supposed to be allowed (an employee there had been so nice as to hide my information from her boss, to keep me alive longer!).  Every few minutes, people would walk in and look at me, and all the other dogs there.  Some of them looked nice, and some smelled just terrific.  Eventually, one of them asked to take me out of the cage, and played with me a little.  I jumped on him, licked him, chewed on his finger… we had a great time.  And after a bit, he decided to take me home.  Which is where I’ve lived ever since.


Now I want you to try to imagine me, instead of licking him and playing with him, being standoffish.  Saying “I’m not so sure I want this one to take me.  I liked that other one, the one who was here yesterday morning and bought the Labrador.  She was better.”  What would have happened?


I know the answer!  Handsome would have said “Oh, she’s not what I thought she’d be like,” put me back in the cage, and taken another dog home – one who liked him better.  And I would have been taken, within a couple of days, down the hallway, through the door, to the room from which no puppies ever return.


Now your fate isn’t quite as frightening as mine, but to my mind, you’re in the same situation.  A boy you like tons isn’t interested in you, and actually is interested in some other girl.  A boy you like, but maybe not quite as much, is interested in you.  So you’re not sure what to do.


My advice is 100% GO OUT WITH HIM!  See how he treats you.  And if he’s nice, and fun, and treats you well, you’re going to like him more and more!  I promise!


Now if he doesn’t treat you so well, or if he’s a crashing bore, then yes, you may start thinking about Boy #1 again.  But as long as he’s good, I believe you’ll start to feel he’s actually great – very soon!


Best of Luck!  Let me know what happens!


How to give enough time to your oldest child.

Jordan asks: I’ve recently had my 3rd baby girl and it’s gotten a lot harder to spread my love and attention evenly. I feel I’m failing especially with my oldest. Since then, her dad has not picked her up once. She’s not taking it as hard as I thought, she loves her step dad and her sisters so much. But her sisters are both under 2 and they take every ounce of time and energy I have. I find it so hard to keep the house clean, have 3 meals prepared, and bathe everyone every night by the time everything is done, it’s bed time and I realize I haven’t worked on my oldest daughter school work or read her a story or even played with her. I think about this all the time. The only time I get to spend with her is on the weekends when her sisters go to bed and she stays up late with me. It’s not enough, I’m not doing enough for her and it breaks my heart every day. Not that long ago it was just the two of us for 4 years.

Hi Jordan –


I do apologize for it taking me eight days to get back to you, but I’m sure glad things have improved in my system and it’s not eight months! I’ve had to write nearly 200 people in the last couple of weeks, which adds new meaning to the old term “dog-tired.”


And ironically, that apology is the same one you’re giving to your daughter. I don’t care about you any less than anyone else in my pack, but I had to treat those other letters as more urgent, because they had come first.


The difference is that I only need to apologize to you once about it, while you will likely be apologizing to your daughter a lot.


Oh and there’s another difference: you’re an adult, and I have every reason to believe you’ll fully understand the position I’m in. Whereas your daughter might get a lot more resentful.


And there’s no villain in this story. You’re a loving and caring mom, and she’s just being a kid. (Or one could argue that her dad is the bad guy, as he’s not spending the time with her he should. But she’ll reach a point in her life where she’ll let him know how she feels about that, and make him pay in guilt, I’m sure!)


Of course, there’s no perfect solution to this situation. You can’t be there for her 100% of the time, and she can’t replace what she’d get from you completely either.


There are two things she likely wants deep-down. And they’re opposites. One is to be completely special, have you treat her in a way that’s like no one else. The other is to get equal treatment, exactly the same amount of attention as her sisters. Both of these are, again, impossible to achieve. But what we can do is to try to feed both of these needs in certain ways.


First, I really suggest arranging a regular date with her. Just as I’d suggest you and her stepfather plan a couple’s night out every week or two, it would be great for you and she to have a regular day together. Maybe you two go to a movie, maybe just a restaurant. But it’s a set of regularly scheduled hours when the other girls stay home with their dad or a sitter. Today, this will be good because it will make her feel special and get your attention. But in a few years, this will matter enormously more, as it will give you time for “girl talk,” when you’ll be able to talk about her life in a special way that many parents never get, when she will likely be able to talk openly with you about things like mean girls, cute boys, and what substances kids at school are using. Exactly what parents most want to know about!


Secondly, there’s a quality in you humans that seems to go back throughout history, where first-borns take on leadership roles in their families. Lots of the great family therapists (Alfred Adler, Murray Bowen, for example) have written lots about this. The fact that she’s being so mature and responsible is wonderful – and pretty normal. You can build on this. Giving her ways to be a big sister to those two little brats can do wonders for her self-esteem. When she’s old enough, sure, have her babysit for them (when you and their dad have those fun romantic nights out!), but there are lots of other jobs that can even be better. Like what if she’s their tutor in their schoolwork? What if she’s the one who’s in charge of everyone getting their chores done? Each of these jobs makes her feel special, and closer to you and her adored stepfather – which is what she, I’m sure, wants most.


Of course, this won’t be enough. There will be times when she really resents the girls, and your not being there enough. But this is human nature.


(And not just human – I can become enormously jealous when I see Handsome, my human, playing with or petting another dog, and I treat him really coldly when he hasn’t been paying enough attention to me.   And I don’t feel one bit guilty about it either!)


What will matter in the long run is that doing these things show her that you really care about her. She might not fully see it now, and she almost certainly won’t appreciate it when she’s fifteen, but later, she’ll remember, and it will help define the relationship you two have for the rest of your lives.


A relationship that might be as good, and trusting, and open, and loving as my relationship with Handsome. And there is nothing better than that!
Thanks for being a great, caring mom!



ps: Oh, and while her dad is being so absent, what would also be great is if Mr. Stepfather could also, occasionally, have some alone time with her, or if she could get some time with the two of you. All of these will really help her feel special. Maybe not as special as she really is, but close!



How to treat depression without medication

bubbles7 asks: I’m 14 years old, and I think I have depression. I’ve felt depressed since I was about 8. My parents have no idea of the way I have been feeling. They think that nothing is wrong with me. Recently, (about two months ago), I went to the doctor’s for a check-up, and they made me take a depression test. When the results came back, they said I scored really high and that I should talk to a professional about it. They had scheduled for the person to call my parents so we could make the appointment, but we missed the call. Because my parents don’t think anything is wrong with me, they never called back. Now I feel as if I’m getting worse, but I’m too scared to bring the topic of calling back the people to make the appointment up. I think it’s been two months, so I’m not even sure if my parents still have the number for the person that called. Also, I’m scared to admit to my parents that I’m depressed, because I’m scared that they won’t believe me, or that they’ll be mad at me. What should I do?

Hi bubbles7 –



Your parents do take you to a doctor, so they care about your health. But for some reason, they’re avoiding dealing with the idea of you being depressed. I’m just guessing, but there’s a good chance they don’t want a psychiatrist to give you antidepressant medication. Lots of parents worry about this, as they don’t want their kids overmedicated.


One solution to this would be to ask them if you can see a therapist. Not someone who prescribes medicine, but just someone who knows about depression and can help it through talking and making suggestions. Therapists are much less expensive than psychiatrists, and won’t get you on any drugs.


Now it’s possible that a therapist could agree with that doctor, and recommend to your parents that you look into some medication. But even if they say no, a good therapist can help reduce depression a lot.


If your school has a therapist or counselor, that’s great. But if not, they’re usually not too hard to find. If you guys don’t know where to look, just drop me a note and let me know what city or town you live in (I promise I won’t make it public), and I’ll see if I can help you find someone there.


Hoping for Happiness,



How to tell if you have ADHD

Dan Man asks: I think I have ADHD. All the symptoms point to ADHD as I’ve had problems focusing, impulsivity, inability to sit still, and hypersensitivity, but I’m only 13 and my mother laughs at the prospect of me having ADHD. School is becoming really difficult for me and I always say things at the wrong times. Do I have ADHD? Psychologists are out of the question. How do I fix this, or get my mom to believe me if I do?

Hi Dan Man –



Well, I relate.  Lots of people say I have ADHD too.  But we dogs can’t get medication for it, or even psychotherapy.  So instead I just live my life, excited lots of the time, not very focused, and enjoying my life immensely.


Which is a LOT easier for me to do than you, since I’m not in school, and never have to do homework!!!


So here’s the deal with ADHD.  Some people really have it, and lots who get labeled with it don’t have it.  If you truly have it, it’s an actual biological/medical condition, where part of your brain that’s good at focusing and control isn’t working well enough, and needs to be jolted a bit.  So there’s one test you can do, without going to a doctor, to see if this is truly true of you.  And that’s to, before you go to school, have a Continue reading

How to contact a friend long after you should have

Sarah asks: Since I started college I’ve drifted away from my number one supporter – my high school counselor. She supported me throughout high school when I had issues at home with my mom, and she was one of my main supporters when I ran for two pageants. I feel so ungrateful for not keeping her up-to-date with what is going on in college or even calling her to talk about my problems. I remember her telling me don’t take forever to call and talk to her because she’ll get mad – and I did the complete opposite by not calling her at all. I feel so bad. I really want to talk to her but I feel as though she wouldn’t want to talk to me. I need her support right now and I need her to guide me with what I am dealing with in college. How can I gain back that bond with her?

Hi Sarah –

What a great question this is.  I have an answer for you, but first I want to tell you a joke that was very popular a few years ago.  The question was how to tell if your marriage is better than your relationship with your dog.  The answer was to lock your wife and your dog in the trunk of your car for a few hours, and when you open it, see which one’s happy to see you.

Of course, the dog will be overjoyed.  Why?  Because he’s not thinking about how awful you were to lock him in there, he’s just so happy to get out and see his best friend.  While your wife, who has a bigger brain, is only thinking about what a jerk you were to lock her in there.

Now I’m not suggesting that your counselor has the same size brain I do, but there is a certain similarity here.

It’s all about Continue reading

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