March 1, 2013 - submitted by Jayden, Australia

I'm an ordinary 15 year old boy turning 16 this year. Everything in life seems to be going wrong and I don't know what to do about it - I feel like there is so much pressure on me in just everyday living. I have never had a girlfriend, or even kissed a girl, when almost everyone my age has. It mustn't seem like much, but its hard being the odd one out. I don't know who to call my friends anymore. Ever since starting high school, most of the people I used to call my 'best friends' have completely changed for the worst. They have turned into the people they swore they never would and I don't know who to be friends with. My family have changed too. My parents seem to be constantly fighting now. Over just about anything. It seems like they cannot go a day without fighting about something. Morning and night, it never stops. I feel like they want to split, but don't want to put me and my siblings through that. I also recently found out that my sister, the happiest care free sister on the planet (or so I though) self harms. This came as a huge shock to me. So much that it brought me to tears. I don't know if I should tell somebody or not. She is the sort of person who doesn't like talking about emotions. So I'm scared that if I tell somebody, it could make the situation a lot worse than it already is. I really don't want to make things any worse.
I need advice on how to cope with all these changes, please help.

The Oracle replies:

It's often the case that when something goes wrong, other things appear to - or they really are - and as humans we can focus on the negative so it looks like everything is going wrong when in fact, it isn't.
But… Life is hard. Growing up is hard. It's even harder when you appear to be more mature than everyone around you I bet!

I can see that not having a girlfriend feels like a big deal but it really isn't. The more pressure you feel about it, the worse it will become and self-sabotage never helps! It doesn't matter what everyone else is doing (or probably not doing!)
Get to know girls you like - you like the look of someone or you have things in common and get along with, maybe you laugh with.

With your friends, stand by what you do, what you say, how you act, how you spend your time. It sounds like you've got your head screwed on right. Just for the record, friends can be disappointing throughout life. I still have friends do things that I don't appreciate but I suppose you just learn to accept people for who they are.

Your Mum & Dad are a couple and so their relationship on one level is separate from you but... they are your parents too so problems shouldn't really be discussed/argued about in front of you but that's easier said than done. I think parents forget to think of the impact on their children. If you think you could, it may be an idea asking them to please try not to do it on front of you - or write them a short note saying that you struggle with it or you could ask for a family meeting. Otherwise I'm afraid there's not very much you can do and it's something you may have to somehow block out - with music etc.

As your sister is off to Uni soon maybe you could talk to her before she goes. Perhaps you could get some leaflets about the subject and put them somewhere only she will find? She may not think at 15 you're old enough to be dishing out concerns but she's your sister and you care about her. Tell her that you worry and care and ask if she's ok.
I don't think you necessarily need to tell your parents but it's not my place to say. I know that self-harm is abut expressing inner pain and there is no intention to die for example but your sister could probably use your support more than anything - try to approach this gently or you could push her away. Also try not to judge her

You sound like a really caring son, brother and friend so you're gonna be fine. I think the key to your happiness is to concentrate on the things that you can do things about.
Whilst you may not be able to change your parents, sister, friend - you can do something studies etc. Try and spend your free time doing fun things you like rather than worrying about life's challenges. They will sort themselves out in time - probably to be replaced by new ones but hey, that's nothing to worry about now.
Over to you.

You’re going through a really difficult situation. First of all, you should talk to your sister before telling somebody else about it. What she needs is someone to lean on, so maybe you should ask her why does she do that. If she doesn’t want to talk about it, then you can tell somebody who you trust. Maybe they should be able to help you.
That leads me to your problem with your friends. I went through your exact same situation. It is true that people change a lot in a very short time, and maybe your friends are no longer who you thought they were. If you don’t want to be with them, then just leave them. Life is changing, and eventually you’ll meet new people and make new friends.
About your parents. I don’t know how long they have been arguing, but my advice is that you should give them some time. Maybe they are just going through a little crisis. But, even if they aren’t in love with each other any longer, they will love you and your siblings forever.
By the way, being “the odd one” is not that bad. I’m almost 17, and I’ve never had a boyfriend, or kissed anyone. Of course I’d like to have one, as almost every other girl does. However, the most important thing in life is to be happy, so accept yourself and follow your dreams. The girlfriend thing will arrive at the appropriate time.
Good luck! Gloria.

I was in a turbulent house, had few actual friends, and was unsatisfied with my romantic life in high school. But I'm going to tell you that if you let it, things will get better!
When you're with just one of your parents, talk to them about it! Let them know that what they put themselves through bothers you. You're a part of this family too; help them understand that they need to calm down and talk through these issues. Then you just have to hope they come around. Otherwise, divorce isn't the end of the world. I'm currently living in one. It's weird and conflicting at times but you eventually learn to cope once you understand that they may find some peace in separation. They're only human after all.
Your friends are going to change just as you are and how you look at everyone. Right now you are dwelling in the disparities between how things were and how they are now. You can't always change your friends but the cool thing is you can always find more! Open your eyes to more people; no one ever said you couldn't be friends with more than one group!
And don't worry about the girls and what you haven't done with them. That may not come for a while. But when you find one that deserves you, just go for it! It takes a strong man to get through what you're going through. You'll find a way.
Sincerely, EF.

Well, people change a lot before and during high school, considering that you might too! However I have been through having my best friends change too. Many times! And new ones come along different than the others. You are only 15 and things will, or even has to change in time. I hope you find a friend soon but if you want to find a true friend, don't ever change who you are, the true friend accepts you for the one you are.
Kissing a girl isn't the biggest deal, really. I would like you to think so. You don't have to tell anyone! Once you find your true friend he or she will understand and support you , you will feel better. Maybe you'll find a girlfriend before you even get a friend, who knows?
I know parent issues makes you feel bad and are hard to ignore. Maybe you should just think as it was their problem , because you have done nothing wrong! There is actually nothing you can do, let them solve their problems, as adults if they can.
If there is not much between ages of you and your sister, it would be easier to understand her problems. Watch her for a few days and then try to talk. Don't create any pressure on her, but show her how nice life could actually be if you only want it.
I really hope everything gets better very soon. Be happy, don't worry if possible, you have only lived very little of your long life, very little!
With best hopes for the future. Elif.

Life has many stages and there is a time for everything, at the age you are going through may seem like a kiss or a girlfriend is the most important, but in really it is not, just be patient, if you have no girlfriend now does not mean that be so forever, you just need to wait for the right person and moment. All people change, some for good and some not so, the people we know come and go, they can not be with us forever, you should not feel bad about your friends, they also go through a difficult time and their changes are normal, and you should keep the best moments in your mind and your heart and you will also have more friends who support you too. It is common for people fight and maybe your parents are just going through a bad time, and if not is it, think that their decision is right perhaps to improve the situation, but still they will not stop loving you, they are your parents and together or apart always will be your parents. About your sister, keep in mind that you feel bad and I know you want to help her but you still feel bad, but if you want help only listen and tell her to hurting herself is not the answer. Noodle.

I'm sorry to hear that all these things are going in your life right now. The first thing I'll say is talk to someone about it. You've already come to the oracle, which is a start and now you need to take the next step in telling someone you know. If you feel like you're able to then take that action, because when it all piles on too much then it can manifest itself in many forms, such as becoming ill or depressed. Its important to take care of your self.
Watch out for your sister as well because she may be in a very vulnerable position. Just let her know that you are there for her and direct her to people that she can talk to such as a counsellor. She might eventually open up to you. Find a way to tell your parents about this because if they are completely unaware then nothing can be done about it and it could get worse.
It can be impossible to talk to your parents about how their behaviour is affecting you. The time may never be right or you might not say the right things. Try writing a letter to them expressing your feelings. Take the time to communicate to them exactly what is on your mind. Whatever might be going on between them and though they might not show it sometimes remember that your parents do love you and want the best for you. Remember that they are also human and despite being adults are just as liable to making mistakes as we are.
Being 16 and never having a girl/boyfriend or been kissed is something that many people, including myself, have gone through so you're not alone in that. It may seem like you're missing out on the best feeling ever, but when the time comes and you're ready most importantly then it will be well worth the wait.
Its a stressful position to be in when you don't know who to be friends with as well as everything else you've got everything else going on in your life. Maybe you need a change of scene, join a new club at school and get to know some new people. A change of company might lead to new friendships being formed. Don't be afraid of approaching new people because you'll find that they are generally very accepting of you.
I hope this will all work out for you Jayden and remember everything's not lost.
Best wishes, Naomi.

First off, happy birthday! I hope you have a great time that day, whenever it is! Secondly, I'm also turning 16 next week. I know what you're going through. I also have never had a boyfriend and kissed a guy. I also have friends who lie to me constantly who I have known since they were 3 or 4. I don't know what I can do when my parents fight (quite often too). Frankly, I'm completely lost. But there are some things I can find myself in. And those things, whatever they might be, are probably your saviour from your mind. For they are sports (track and field), photography and baking. Whenever I'm lost I hold onto these thing and they put me right on track. Maybe those things might be the ones your missing. I'd go find them if I were you. and whatever you do don't let go of them. I hope everything turns out for the best. Once again, Happy Birthday!
Silke, Barcelona.

We sound very similar. I'm 17 now and have never been in a relationship or kissed anyone, and although that seems like everything right now, it honestly doesn’t matter at all. Friend wise though, high school is the best time to branch out and meet new people, I did, and it was the best decision I've ever made because I love my friends, even though I've only been close with them for a year. Secondly, my parents got divorced as I was going into high school, and it was flat out sucked. It hurts and I cried a lot, but it’s also helped me figure out who I am as a person. But if your parents do or don't separate, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. If they do, just try (as I did) to escape sometimes, go be a teenager, it's really not your problem to deal with right now. When I was 15 or 16 I also found out that my sister self harms. It still brings me to tears to know that my sister's life might have ended and I would have never even known she was struggling. But I saw her one night when she was cutting, and I still didn't know, and I didn't say anything. And this takes time to get over, but even if your sister doesn't seem like the talking type, talk with her, never mind if it's about self harm, just brighten up her life each day, and take away her reason to do it. Just relax in life. You have time. Please, if you only do one thing, just try to stay happy, it really is a lot better than sitting there each day stressed, angry, and upset like I did. Anna Rose.

That’s a very hard time for you now. The worst years of mine in a similar situation were in an age of 14-17. It felt like never ending, like being locked out and locked in at the same time, being benumbed and if you say something for their conciliation it’s like your words sink into a mire or are thrown back as bullets against you. If you are feeling like this there’s only one way: Take care for yourself and your future, learn, improve your talents.
You are lucky to have siblings, others have to stand it alone. Stick together, you are all in the same boat and together you might have a chance to send a signal to your parents, a single one of you would never have.
Don’t let yourself get involved into their conflicts. They might tear you on one of their sides, corrupt the youngest ones. Your parents are adults and should behave like ones. If they can’t live together anymore probably a splitting would be the best for all who are concerned.
Finally don’t worry about having a girlfriend. You are right saying you’re ordinary, it is perfectly okay not to have a girlfriend in your age, you will know when it is your time. Then only this: you will be longing for harmony - don’t pay a price for it with accepting too many compromises. You don’t need to be afraid to have such troubles as your parents, ‘cause you won’t. Love Ellie.

Jayden, imagine yourself in the future right now telling the world your story about how hard your life was when you were just 16 yrs old boy... but all these problems couldn't break me down. I stayed focus on my own life my own goals, what I wanted to be!
That was the key or the turning point. George.

Having to deal with only one of the things you are dealing with is massive, but having to deal with all of those things at once?! Well done for coping for as long as you have & for as well as you have, & well done for reaching out for help!! Jayden, i’m sensitive to the fact that you don’t want to appear even more different than your friends/peers, & that you are worried telling someone might put your sister in even greater risk, but, I think you need to talk with someone. I was at a high-school event recently that focused on how painful it is to feel ‘the odd one out’ during teenage years (& with so much of life now being inter-net & social media centred pressure is greater than in previous generations) & at the school i visited the teachers were acutely aware of the pressures on students & really wanted to help them negotiate the journey through high-school as painlessly as possible. I hope it is similar at your school - is there a school counsellor or teacher that you trust? Or a doctor? (Sometimes it helps to talk with someone not closely connected to you or your family - you can use them as a sounding board. And perhaps the knowledge that you & your sister are so upset might be a wake-up call to your parents to focus on you guys?) Wishing you all the best, & wishing i could help more. Cali.

I just want to start off by saying I'm sorry you're going through all this. I don't think you should feel bad about not kissing anyone yet, just ask yourself if you would rather kiss someone because you genuinely like them, or only because you want to fit in and it seems like the cool thing to do. I'm sure you realize that people change and sometimes the kind of person they were becomes irrelevant because they're unrecognizable. You will meet new people and make new friends and keep some old ones but it's just something that happens. It might be a good idea for you to talk to your parents about how their fighting isn't only affecting them but their kids too. Also remember that if they do feel the need to split, it might be for the best. As you said, it is hard for your sister to open up, I think you should try opening up to her first, then maybe she'll feel a bit more comfortable with you and you can ask her about self harming. Encourage her to talk to your parents or any adult that she trusts. You must bring it up, but I don't recommend telling anyone before bringing it up to her because it might make her feel worse. Wish I could do more. Love, Darem.

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