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Dear Dish-It: Advice on Dealing With Family and Friends

Mar 15, 2017

Today's topic for "Let's Talk about it Tuesday" is relationships with friends and family. Many kids and teens write into Dear Dish-It about their interpersonal struggles with the people in their life, specifically, their friends and family. It can be difficult when you don't get along with people that you would like to the most. We are born into our families, we don't get to hand-pick them, and as a result, there may be challenges or certain personalities that don’t hit it off. Regardless, it is always better to try and work out these issues. Families are forever and deserve the efforts involved to make it right. 

Friendships are constantly forming, changing and developing, but sometimes things get in the way. Kids often express that people sharing their private feelings, or betraying their trust can cause problems. Remember, true friendships are based of loyalty, love and trust. These are valued qualities in a friend. Your friends will bring you up, instead of bringing you down. Try to be the friend that you hope to find, and put out that positive, compassionate energy. In time, the good that you give will come back to you. Being patient and finding ways to make yourself happy are key.

Let’s take a look at this week’s questions​

Friends Advice for kids

Question by Crazy, 

My bff and i are like on and off but i still dont have any other friends, but half of my time with her i am in tears. so is she really worth it? but its gotta be better than [being alone], right?


This is a very tough situation to be in, but while fighting with our friends is common, more importantly, friends are meant to bring love, joy and support into your life. Have you ever tried to tell your friend how you feel? By letting her know that you dislike arguing with her, and telling her that you would much rather talk it through instead of breaking it on and off all of the time. You may be able to prevent this from happening again. Let your friend know what she means to you. It's clear that there is some chemistry between you two, but you shouldn't remain friends with someone just because you're afraid of being alone. It might seem like all the groups at school are set in stone, but you never know who you could meet. Have you thought about joining a school activity or sport where you could meet someone new? Or you could try sitting beside someone different at lunch or on the bus, and introduce yourself. It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to keep your current BFF. It might be wise to make a pros/cons list regarding whether or not you should keep her as a friend. Under “pros” list the reasons why she is a good friend to you. Under “cons” lists the reasons why she is not a good friend to you. See if your friend brings value into your life or not. It may seem like a really frustrating, lonely time, but everything changes as you continue to grow and mature. You never know who you are going to meet. The most important thing is that you remain true to yourself, and put your happiness first. Find ways to be good to yourself, and hang in there, the rest will come in time!

Question by The Bad Guy,

So I'm a bit of a mean and aggressive person but only around my family and people that annoy me and I’m super happy cheerful and childish around my friends and I want to be the cheerful childish person always but idk how any advice?


Sometimes we take our frustrations out on the people that we care about the most. Why? Because we know that we can and that these people will forgive us and love us unconditionally no matter what we do, but is it worth it to take advantage of this?  Can you imagine how your friends would react if you treated them the same way that you treat your family? What is it that stops you from behaving this way with your friends? Is it because you care what your friends think, and take your frustrations out on your family? It sounds like it is totally possible for you to be a pleasant person, but being around your family triggers this other side to come out. It is important that you deal with this “other side” and find out the root of what is making you feel aggressive. It sounds like you are not being your true self when this occurs and you feel guilty about your actions after because you don’t mean them. It's not to say that something is wrong with you, at all, but if these intense emotions continue, it couldn't hurt to consult your GP and let them know about the situation and the contrast of your behavior with your friends and family. We have encountered youth with this problem, and it turned out there were some undealt with issues causing the friction. Regardless, you have to figure out what is making you frustrated. We suggest that you try talking to your family about what you are noticing, and let them know that your behavior is not intentional. Even if you find yourself confused by it. Perhaps your family can help you by calling you out when you act this way, and work proactively to help change your behavior. Is there anything they do specifically that triggers these feelings in you? It is important that your family knows how they can help because it likely hurts them to see you feeling this way.  

Question by Lonelyandconfused,

My life is pretty normal with my one sister. until I got step siblings. they are always against me. [siding] with each other, messing with me, putting me down, calling me a mom, laughing at me, and my mom and step dad does nothing about. I can deal with it sometimes. but, tonight I cracked. they were messing around as I was trying to watch Austin and Ally. they were being so rude and so loud I could not watch it. I had to get on them when my parents were trying to relax. they made me feel like the bad guy when I was stopping them. even my own sister called me a "mom". afterwards my step dad offered us some cake, when I left the room to the hall they just talked bad about me like I wasn't there. I cried two times infant of them but they never noticed. I really don't understand them and they don't understand me. they never listen and they talk sas to me. I even confronted to them of how I feel and they just made me cry again, and I can't tell my mom or my step dad because they'll make me look ridiculous and they'll just be mad at me. I don't know what to do and I don't think that I can keep this up for the rest of my life. any [Advice?]


It can be perfectly normal for step-siblings not to get along, but this isn't something that has to last forever. It can take time for people to love and accept you as a part of their life, but if they are good people, in time, they will. Try not to engage on their level, don't treat them poorly, show them the best of yourself and what you could offer as a likable sibling. Continue to be kind and loving, in spite of what they do, and see if anything changes. Don't assume your step-dad and mother will be upset with you, try talking to them. Tell them how you feel (because they care about your feelings) and that you just want to get along with everyone, and that your feelings are getting hurt. If they hear that your intentions are in a good place and that you have constructive motives, they will try to help you. It's better to communicate your concerns then keep them to yourself. Otherwise you will only explode when it’s not appropriate. The problem will only get worse if you chose to do nothing productive about it. 

Instead of "cracking" you can talk about your feelings effectively, use examples, and communicate what you would like to see change. Remember, you have to be the change you want to see in your life, so you have to lead by example. You have to treat your siblings with respect and deal with what is really bothering you. It seems like your behavior is misunderstood by your family. It appears as though your intention is to get along with them, but you can't do that by trying to get them in trouble. I'm sure that wasn't your intention, it sounds like they were annoying you, but there is always an appropriate, effective way of communicating our needs. Try to get your family to hear what you’re not saying, and tell them what the issue really is. They love you and they do care about your feelings. No one wants you to feel hurt, which is why you need to let them know that this is the emotion you are truly feeling. 

Family Advice for kids

Question by Lonelyandconfused, 

Dear Dish-it, I'm 11 and I know I need help, but I just can't tell my parents. I hate my parents. I just can't bear them, especially my mom. I just don't see things the way they do.my mom is always shouting at me. I know all they want Is for the best for me but I can't help it. I have problems. I feel bad really easily. Then my mom shouts at me for crying.  I can never tell my mom anything because I don't like talking to her. I hate it when she gets into my business. I just wish my family would get out of my life. When I was young I had gotten hurt on my bed really badly. And I also have a breathing problem. My mom says I behave like this because of lack of oxygen and also because its just a phase. I hate her! I want to die. I need help! Please reply.


 At Kidzworld, we don't take any reference to wanting to die lightly, so if you are truly feeling this way please contact your local suicide hotline, talk to a school counselor, see your doctor as soon as possible or call 911 if you are in immediate danger. Stress in life can be overwhelming and hurtful, but nothing is worth ending your life over, and things really can get better, so don't lose hope.  It sounds like you need someone to talk to. Someone you can trust, and who is there to support you. Have you ever considered talking to a school counselor or trusted teacher? People do care, and you are not alone, they just need to know what's going on and how they can help. I know you think your parents are impossible, but they could benefit from hearing how you feel. If you are scared to approach them, try writing them a letter about what's going on with you. Even if you don't send it, at least you will know what's bothering you and how you can help the situation. It may not feel like it, but your parents love you and want the best for you. They don't know how they are negatively impacting you unless you tell them. Communication in this situation is key, as nobody knows what you are going through unless you tell them. Chances are your parents won’t want you to suffer and will do what they can to help the situation.


It is really difficult giving advice on these issues, as every relationship is unique, and it is always easier said than done. Sometimes even when you do say it, nothing changes. All we can do is try to improve our interactions with others by trying to improve ourselves. Accept people for who they are and what they are capable of giving you. Different people will provide you with different things, but you can't get everything you need from one person. You also have to learn to give yourself the things that you need. It may sound sad, but you have to learn how to be alone, happily. You have to learn how to be your own best friend. Write down a list of all things you love to do when you have free time. When you're alone, start to do some of those things. Find ways to keep yourself busy and your mind occupied. Think about things that make you feel good, and focus on those things in times of stress. Finding a confidence within yourself will help you work past all the people who interfere with your peace—because when you believe in yourself you don’t tolerate people mistreating you. Counseling, or seeing a school counselor is always an option if you want to look into consulting a professional, unbiased person to help. Sometimes it helps to have an outsider look-in as they can be subjective, see things that we don’t see, and prescribe tools and coping mechanisms, which will make matters easier to bear.

Fighting with friends from time-to-time is normal, but fighting should not be a regular thing. You should trust, love and get along with your friends. For the most part, they should make you feel good about yourself. Remember that you are young, and will make friends throughout your life, just because you haven't met your soul mate best friend, it doesn't mean that you won't. Anything can happen in life and you don't know what's in store so look on the bright side. Try to be positive, keep your head up, and work on ways that you can create happiness in your own life. 

Have Your Say

Have a question for Dear Dish-It? Write to us at deardish@kidzworld.com and have your question featured on "Talk about it Tuesday."