by Mrs. Kehudis Karbal
Q: I’m moving, and I’m not happy about it! I will be six hours away from all my friends! How can I comfort myself and my friends?
A: People may not realize it, but moving from one city to another is one of the most stressful events of life. So your fear and unhappiness are real! It’s human nature to feel comfortable with the “known” and be apprehensive about the “unknown.” The only thing you can say that may be of comfort is, “to know that I don’t know is the highest kind of knowledge.” Allow yourself time to feel sad about leaving your present home and friends. Don’t pressure yourself to be all cheery and excited. It will take time to adjust and acclimate yourself to your new surroundings. Try to see this move as a challenge – and try to replace negative feelings with feelings of curiosity – wondering what awaits you and how you will meet your new reality, what life will look like in a year from now.
Also, plan on keeping in touch with your present friends. You can still get together for a weekend, a camp experience, and of course, with photos and phone calls. Once you get settled and begin making new friends (allow for that possibility!) you might even invite the old friends to your new home so they get a chance to see you in your new surroundings.
There’s a saying, “the only thing that doesn’t change is CHANGE!” Something is always changing – a move, graduation, life event, etc. Life is never boring, and I guess we wouldn’t want it any other way.
Q: Whenever I go shopping my mother picks out the ugliest clothing, and she never lets me get anything I want. I hate my wardrobe, and I’m embarrassed to be seen in public. How can I convince my mother to let me buy clothing I like?
A: This is a very common and painful problem. I’ve heard even married women talk about the same issue as their mothers still comment or criticize the way they dress (or the way their grandchildren dress!)
As a child grow up, reaches maturity and begins to investigate her own style, ideas and tastes, it’s often challenging for her parents to walk that fine line of helping the child develop independence, while still maintaining healthy, helpful authority.
The best solution would obviously be for you to speak to your mom — respectfully, of course. (No whining, crying, tantrums!) Try to present yourself without the negative emotion, and as reasonably as possible. If that doesn’t work, then you would have to elicit help from someone close- a relative, teacher, close friend or counselor- who could help mediate the situation. Good luck!
Q: There’s a certain teacher that no one likes, though she is my favorite teacher. Everyone always makes fun of her, and I want to help. The only problem is, she is completely oblivious. If I say anything, it might shock her and hurt her feelings. What should I do?
A: I’m sorry for the rude behavior of your classmates. It’s very common for kids to “gang up” against a teacher and dominate or sway the opinions of other students as well. They can easily turn their negativity to anyone who doesn’t think like them. You sound like a very sensitive girl. That’s wonderful. But, remember, sensitive people tend to take on the problems of others, and often end up getting hurt themselves as a result. So if your teacher is “completely oblivious” as you say, then I assume she’s actually not being hurt by the students. And you’re right — any attempt to talk to her about it may just make matters worse. You can still keep your connection with her without having to defend her. When others are saying negative things, you can keep things more “parve” with remarks such as, “everyone has their own opinion,” or “she doesn’t bother me.” This way, you can maintain your own integrity and not have to join with them, or feel you have to “help” in a situation where you may not be able to be effective.
Q: How do you find a best friend?
A: Making and keeping friendships is one of the treasured gifts of life. However, like anything of true value, it’s a process that takes time, effort and patience. Having a “best” friend really starts with having a friend – and eventually it has the possibility of turning into a much closer, “best” friend relationship. It’s also important to remember that not always do people have a “best” friend. When there’s not a real, true deep “click” with another person, you still can remain friendly and positive, looking for outlets and activities to keep you active and involved. For some, a “best” friend could even be a hobby or a book. Don’t wait around looking for a best friend — focus, on bringing out your own best qualities, and you will attract like-minded people.
Mrs. Yehudis Karbal, M.A. LCPC is an educator and psychotherapist, her main goal being to help people learn the tools of good emotional health so they can understand themselves and how to deal with the challenges of their lives. Mrs. Karbal lives in Chicago.
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