Dear Annie: When I was 10, I began asking for a phone. Every kid in my class had one, and I was being left out and bullied because I was the only kid without one. Now, three years later, I finally have a phone!
But my mom has restricted my access to it; I can use my phone only when she says so. I’m not allowed to text my friends — even though it’s the only way to keep in touch now that we aren’t in any of the same classes. The same applies to social media. No Instagram or Snapchat. My mom doesn’t love technology, and she doesn’t understand that this is the only way to keep in touch. Is she right that I’m being unreasonable? Please help!
— Odd Girl Out
Dear Odd Girl Out: I have no doubt that she has your best interests at heart and is trying to protect you from some of the very real dangers that social media and even text messaging can have. Nonetheless, technology is something that not only is here to stay but is going to become even more present in our lives. Have a conversation with your mother about this, and try to understand her reasons for keeping you off social media.
Perhaps once you have that conversation, you will better understand why she is hesitant and you two can come up with a compromise, such as putting privacy settings in place, restricting certain features and ensuring that the social media sites know your age.
Dear Annie: I’ve been reading letters from people complaining and/or asking about what to do about not receiving thank-you acknowledgments. Here is the other side of that dilemma. What does one do when receiving gifts that for whatever reason are unfortunate picks for the receiver? I feel as if I’m lying when I say “thank you.” I’ve tried not sending a thank-you, but that felt icky and did not work.
— You Shouldn’t Have
Dear You Shouldn’t Have: Tell the gift-givers that you’ve appreciated all their gifts over the years but decided to ask for donations in your name to your favorite charity instead of physical presents. That’s something you can all feel good about.
Dear Annie: I have a resource for “Heartbroken Sibling,” whose sister was in a car accident and is now living with a traumatic brain injury. I would encourage “Heartbroken Sibling” to look into LoveYourBrain, an organization created by former professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce. After Pearce sustained a nearly fatal brain injury, he and his brother Adam started LoveYourBrain to create a community of survivors of traumatic brain injuries and their caregivers. The organization empowers survivors to take their healing into their own hands and has many helpful resources and workshops that could bring peace, new meaning and even healing to “Heartbroken Sibling” and his/her sister’s lives.
— Reframe Your Mindset
Dear Reframe Your Mindset: Thank you for letting me know about LoveYourBrain. It seems to be a wonderful resource. Readers can find out more at http://www.loveyourbrain.com.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.