Foxhole Advice: I want to watch scary movies. And I also DON’T want to watch scary movies.

Dear Family Foxhole,

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’m twelve and do not like to watch the scary movies that my friends enjoy. Right now, if I go to a friend’s house and they want to watch something scary, I just say that I’m not allowed to watch PG-13 movies (which isn’t quite true; my parents let me watch some PG-13 movies but not others) and then we all roll our eyes and say that my parents ruin all our fun, then watch something else. But I’ll be 13 soon, so this lie isn’t going to work anymore!

How can I overcome my fear of scary movies so I’m not left out?

Scaredy-Cat

Dear Scaredy-Cat,

Before the party, suggest a list of movies for the party that provide your friends with enough choices that they don’t even realize that there’s nothing scary on the list. You could include some PG-13 movies that aren’t scary (comedies, romantic comedies, superhero movies).

Plan a party yourself! Pick a theme that is upbeat (“Surf’s Up!” or “Dinner is Served!”) and organize the food, decoration, games, and movie around that theme. You can set the expectation among your friends that parties will be fun and positive. If, later on, someone plans a party around a scary theme, just go for the first part (before the movie starts) and then tell them you have a super-important meeting in the morning (Be mysterious!) and need to get your beauty rest.  You won’t be missing out on the fun since you wouldn’t be having fun anyway.

Lamb

Lamb

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Dear Scaredy-Cat,

Creep out your friends by saying, “I can’t watch [whatever movie it is]. It brings back too many memories.” Then get a faraway look in your eye, then shake your head, like you’re trying to forget about that time a creepy girl crawled out of your TV to eat your face off.

Also, always bring a book wherever you go. Once the scary movie starts, just sneak away to read. If anyone catches you, just say that you thought that movie was boring. Be disdainful and give a big yawn. Try something like: “Once you’ve seen as many horror movies as I have, it’s hard to be surprised.” Be the stereotype of the disinterested, bored teen. Use it to your advantage, then get back to your book.

Mr. Prickles

Mr. Prickles

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Dear Scaredy-Cat

You don’t have to overcome your fear. Some adults don’t like scary movies. It’s not a sign of maturity. In fact, that you know yourself this well is a sign of maturity!

However, if you do want to join it, ask the title of the movie they’ll be watching before the party. Ask a parent to watch it for you and tell you about all the scary parts. If there is a certain kind of scary activity that you can’t stand (jump scares, gore, monsters, scary children, meanness to animals, etc.), be sure to tell them to be on the lookout for these things. Then watch it together. As a scary part approaches, stop the video and ask them to tell you what is going to happen. You might even watch it in fast forward to see what happens without the sound on.

I’m a grown-up, and I still watch any movies this way!

Honey

Honey

 

 

Foxhole Advice: I’m not who I said I was!

Dear Family Foxhole,

I moved to a new school (7th grade, which is the first year of junior high in my new school district) recently and decided to be more outgoing than I was in the past. It worked–kinda. I’ve made new friends, but they expect me to the goofy, loud, opinionated one. This puts a lot of pressure on me to always have some witty comment to say, which means I’m making some borderline rude comments in class that have gotten me in trouble. Parent-Teacher conferences are coming up, and I think my parents are going to be surprised to hear me called a “class clown” (if my teachers are feeling nice) or a distraction (if they are not). When I get home from school each day, I’m basically exhausted from being so much “fun” at school, so my mom and dad think of me as a quiet introvert. I’m not sure how to handle my parents’ reaction, and I’m not sure if I can keep this up!

The Secret Introvert

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Dear Introvert,

Well, this is a fine pickle you’ve gotten yourself into. I assume you’ve learned “To Thine Own Self Be True” by now. It sounds like you know who you want to be (less of a smart aleck), but how do you get there?

If your friends are true friends, they’ll let you change in this positive way. They might be confused (After all, you kind of sold them on a person who is different from what they’re ending up getting.), but there is definitely enough room in a friend group for one more quiet person.

And if they don’t let you change, then they aren’t the kind of people who want to hang out with.

And it could just be that there are other people in your friendship group who aren’t getting to be who they want to be, either. If they see you change, they might be inspired to do the same!

Mr. Prickles

Mr. Prickles

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Dear Introvert,

Way to go! You thought that you might like life better if you were more outgoing, so you became more outgoing. Then you realized that this wasn’t the right fit for you. I admire anyone who is willing to take on this kind of challenge and do the work to make it happen. Congratulate yourself on taking charge of your social life!

It’s easy to say “just be yourself” but hard to do. The good news is that you do have a good idea of who you are. You’re an introvert. Rejoice! That just means you find that maintaining a lot of relationships and performing in public (like being the class clown) is exhausting, whereas some people find it invigorating.

It really is just as easy as stopping it. Tomorrow, don’t make any sassy remarks. If your friends are egging you on, tell them that you’re not feeling like yourself. Fake looking a little ill when you say it. They’ll think you’re just a little tired. After a few days of this, they’ll back off.

Lamb

Lamb

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Dear Introvert,

There is one solution to both your problems: Throw yourself on your parents’ mercy. Before that Parent-Teacher meeting, try this:

Mom and Dad, I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve been doing some things at school that I’m not proud of.

Trust me, your parents are immediately thinking of worse things than what you are about to tell them. That’s why they will feel relief when they hear you say:

I’ve not been acting like myself. I was worried about not making friends, so I decided to be more extroverted. But I misunderstood what that meant. I took it too far and have been disrespectful to my teachers on a few occasions. They are probably frustrated with me because I’ve been disruptive in class. But it was only because I wanted the kids in the class to think I was funny. 

Your parents are going to hear this and think you are really self-aware and responsible. So you follow up with your request:

Now I feel a lot of pressure to keep that up. But I don’t like it. It’s not who I am, and it’s making me soooo tired. I’d like to use you all as an excuse to stop. When other kids are pressuring me into doing something stupid or rude, I’d like to say, “If I do that, my parents would send me to military school!” Is that okay?

They’ll agree–and, with that, you let your parents be the bad guys. It’s their job sometimes, and they’ll be glad to do it.

Honey

Honey

 

Foxhole Advice: Comparing Mothers

Dear Family Foxhole,

I’m a 3rd grade girl. A girl in my class keeps bragging about how much money her mom spends on her (the girl’s) make-up, hair, and nails. I mostly ignore her, but this week she said that my mom must not love me since she doesn’t pay for me to have these things. That really bothered me because my family doesn’t have a lot of money but I don’t want her saying that. What can I do to make Miss Makeup shut up about this?

Upset

Dear Upset,

Miss Makeup’s mom spends a lot of money to make her look different than she actually looks. That doesn’t sound like her mom loves her. It sounds like her mom thinks she’s ugly.

You probably shouldn’t say that to her, but remember that your own mom loves you enough not to make you wear makeup.

Mr. Prickles

Mr. Prickles

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Dear Upset,

You know that your mother’s love is not measured by how much makeup (or anything else) she buys you. Think about the ways that your mother does show you she loves you. Maybe it is by playing a game with you, reading a book with you, driving you to practice for a sport or rehearsal for a performance, washing your clothes, or going to work to earn money to make sure your needs are met. If you aren’t feeling loved by your mother, you can ask for her to express her love for you in ways that do make you feel loved but don’t cost money.

You don’t need to convince Miss Makeup that your mother loves you. Your love for your mother and her love for you are between the two of you, and this girl has nothing to do with it.

Miss Makeup probably brought your mother into this because you weren’t jealous of her makeup or her mother. Some people, unfortunately, don’t feel like they can enjoy what they have unless someone else is envious of it. When she saw that you weren’t envious of what she had, she decided to go after some thing she knows many kids feel insecure about: their parents and their financial situation.

Neither are her business. Ignore her bragging, but if she brings your mother or your family into it, just look at her straight in the eye and say, “Don’t speak about my family, and I won’t speak about yours.” If she continues, simply get up and move away from her. If you are required to sit next to her, request that your seat be moved.

Honey

Honey

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Dear Upset,

There are three issues here: Her wearing makeup. Her bragging. Her insulting you.

Her makeup isn’t yours to worry about. Forget about it.

Her bragging shows the world that she’s insecure. She should be embarrassed to tell the world that, but you can’t help her there. Forget about it.

Her insulting you is not related to the first things. She’s doing that because she’s mean. You can’t change that, either, but you can prevent her from saying mean things to you by leaving her alone.

Tell her: “I won’t be friends with someone who insults my family. You have to stop now if you want to continue being friends.” If she doesn’t stop, she’s not your friend. You can let her know that by refusing to work or play with her. If she decides that she won’t say those things any more, you can include her again. If the teacher asks what the problem is, explain that Miss Makeup criticize your family, so you aren’t able to work with her but that you would be happy to do so in the future if she is able to refrain from her nasty words. That puts all the responsibility on her, where it belongs.

Lamb

Lamb