Straight Talk Advice

Weekly Column Archives

April, 2015

Stepmother seeks help for deep-freeze hostility

Dear Straight Talk: My stepchildren (16 and 17) are incredibly cold to me even though I had nothing to do with their parent’s divorce. I met their father a year later and eight months after that, we now live together. They hardly…

Why many teens avoid dates for prom and school dances

Dear Straight Talk: The time for tuxedos and puffy dresses is here. The trouble is my parents won't let me attend prom without a date. Last year, to accommodate them, I asked one of my guy friends to go. However, I felt guilty taking…

Getting off pornography lifts brain fog, real-girl terror

Dear Straight Talk: Until recently, I experienced social anxiety, concentration problems and was terrified by real girls. I got into porn in fifth grade and became addicted like so many guys. Last year, I decided to stop. I relapsed a lot,…

March, 2015

Is there a unique sign or feeling for true love?

Dear Straight Talk: I'm 18, a high school graduate and my boyfriend is 20. I want to commit to the man I love. My mother thinks it's a bad idea. She says don't rush, if it's real love it won't go away, it will grow.…

Girls’ sports a hotbed for gay shaming

Dear Straight Talk: My twin sister and I play basketball. Two teammates are openly gay and rumor has it the whole team is gay and we have sex with each other. We have no problem with our gay teammates in the locker room and have never sensed…

Mom’s insecurity puts kids in the middle after Dad leaves her

Dear Straight Talk: Our mom can’t get over our dad leaving her for someone else and expects us to hate our dad’s live-in girlfriend. She constantly badmouths them, grills us about our visitations and expects us to join in. We…

“Fifty Shades of Grey” — best movie to miss and diss

Dear Straight Talk: My women friends, many who are mothers, rave about "Fifty Shades of Grey". I found the film appalling. Sexual wounds affect people for life and this generation is already very wounded around love and sex. The movie tells…

Locked bedroom and hushed tones have Mom worried about drugs

Dear Straight Talk: There is something going on that my daughters don’t want me to know about. They've started locking their room and I hear them talking in hushed tones I can't understand. When I asked why they're locking…

February, 2015

Illicit drug trade, not education, thrives on high school campuses

Dear Straight Talk: I'm a sophomore writing to complain about the open use of drugs at my school. Kids are vaping "dabs" [ultra-concentrated hash oil] with their e-cigarettes in broad daylight on a daily basis. Those boys sleeping in…

Schools need “immunization” from bully-induced trauma and rage

Dear Straight Talk: I'm sick of the cruel stereotyping these days. It's especially bad for openly gay teens. My girlfriend and I are assumed to have sex constantly, when, in fact, we don’t even have sex. I don't…

Saying goodbye to kids following a parent-dating breakup

Dear Straight Talk: I’m 43 and was dating a man for six months who has an 11-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl. Our relationship moved quickly and I often stayed at his house during visitation weekends, thus spending quite a bit…

Rebound relationships provide distraction, but often hurt others

Dear Straight Talk: I liked this guy for about two months. The very day I had the courage to tell him, my best friend announced they'd been secretly dating and were making their relationship public. I'm happy for them, yet sad I…

January, 2015

Sisters with new stepdad want security of a locked bedroom door

Dear Straight Talk: My sister and I want a lock for our bedroom door. We have a new stepfather and we feel uncomfortable not being able lock our door when we’re undressed. He’s good to us, rarely comes inside our room and always…

Unhealthy weight-loss behaviors epidemic among youth

Dear Straight Talk: My 14-year-old daughter is being treated for anorexia and bulimia. Her clothes covered it well. I am writing about the media frenzy around being thin, which goes into overdrive in January. With epidemic numbers of young…

Good Cop-Bad Cop? The problem is deeper and deserves attention

Dear Straight Talk: My friend, 17, is very cold with me now that he's involved in the protests against police brutality. My dad and uncle are both police officers. While I feel terrible for the accidents that have happened, I can't…

Part 2: Millennials share up-close and personal challenges for 2015

Dear Readers: We continue with Millennial-generation challenges for 2015. While considering these challenges, the last entry by Icis reminds us to not stereotype individuals. Note: These challenges did not occur in a vacuum. All

December, 2014

Looking forward: Millennial Generation shares challenges for 2015

Dear Readers: The last round of Millennial Generation members (ages 11-33, born 1982-2004) are entering adolescence, while the rest are in various…

Rain on your Rave: Most Molly a mixture of meth and other synthetics

Dear Straight Talk: My roommate got totally wasted at a dorm party on what she was told was Molly. Somebody brought her back to our room and literally dumped her on me. She fell on the floor, I had to practically carry her down the hall,…

Hopes and dreams of youth plant seeds for a better future

Dear Readers: From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks. The dreams of the young are the seeds of the future. It’s my honor to present these youthful voices, each one striving to make the world a better place. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays…

Christmas shopping frenzy “on steroids” far adrift from “O Silent Night”

Dear Straight Talk: The winter holidays seem to be a stressed-out “what am I getting” and ”what am I buying” nightmare and I wonder if these once-sacred holidays hold any meaning at all for young people. (Maybe the…

The Pesky Holiday Problem of Drunken Parents

Dear Straight Talk: My sister and I dread, rather than enjoy, family gatherings. Political and religious arguments ruin them, especially when the adults have too much to drink, as they usually do. My parents are as bad as the others. If…

November, 2014

Yikes! Christmas with my boyfriend and his teenagers

Dear Straight Talk: I’m going to my boyfriend’s house for the special day of Christmas. His boy, 15, and girl, 13, will be there. We’ve been together nine months now and I’ve only met the daughter once for five minutes,…

Shopping that doesn’t support slave labor puts “Christ” back in Christmas

Dear Straight Talk: I enjoy hitting the mark with holiday gifts. I have three teenage grandchildren and two in their 20s. Please advise as to top gifts. Also, do kids read books anymore? If so, what are some favorites? —Grandma…

Family gatherings an opportunity for inter-gen bonding and support

Dear Straight Talk: I'm hosting several sets of parents, grandparents, teenagers and college students for Thanksgiving. The young people tend to divide off, many staring into their devices, while some elders stare into the TV. What…

Panelist shares about healing from child sexual abuse

Dear Readers: Child sexual abuse affects 1-in-3 girls and 1-in-7 boys nationally. In 97 percent of the cases, the abuser is a family member or friend.…

October, 2014

Thank You For Not Smoking!

Dear Straight Talk: Trying to quit smoking? Forget it! The trick is not starting. Leroy and Dee were heavy smokers who knew this. They told their sons at a young age that they put $600 apiece [equal to $3850 today] in an account to receive…

Popular party drug, Molly, sold as “pure” MDMA, often contains none

Dear Straight Talk: My daughter, 17, and her friends are getting ready for the big Halloween party, swapping clothes and creating costumes. My problem isn't the costumes being too racy as I've read about in Straight Talk (though…

Depressed male took risks, ended up in jail

Dear Straight Talk: I got engaged at 22 and we have three beautiful children. I fell down the wrong path and my fiancé said she would always be there for me. But when I received two years in prison, she left me. Since lockup, I'm…

Rush Limbaugh woefully irresponsible for saying ‘no sometimes means yes’

Dear Straight Talk: Here's one for your panel. What do they think about Rush Limbaugh's advice to guys that when a girl says no, it might actually mean yes? Really enjoy your column. —John, 70, Rohnert Park, Calif.

September, 2014

Is loud, inappropriate ‘girl talk’ the new feminism—or result of nonstop objectification?

Dear Straight Talk: Regarding the thigh-gap column, most guys don’t give a hoot about thigh gaps, but most do care about being subjected to girl talk about thigh gaps, shaving, waxing, breast size, menstruation, etc. My sisters talk…

Cutter desperately wants sibling to tell on her

Dear Straight Talk: I read in Straight Talk about siblings afraid to tell on each other regarding serious issues — and you always say TELL! Well, I wish my 13-year-old sister would tell. I'm depressed and cutting but too ashamed…

Brother dislikes chauffeuring big Sis who doesn’t drive

Dear Straight Talk: I am 17 and got my license at 16. The problem is that my older sister, 19, never got her license so my parents have assigned me as her driver. I have a job, school, and other things to do. She's never even had a…

Young woman faces grim reality of childhood sexual abuse

Dear Straight Talk: A close friend is coming to terms with the fact that her alcoholic stepfather molested her when she was growing up. She never goes home because of him and is afraid that telling her mom will break up the family. She's…

Just say no to #ThighGap

Dear Straight Talk: I’m happy to observe that today’s teens seem to see the ideal female form as more curvy and less pre-pubescent than in my youth. (Thank you, Beyoncé.) Then I learned of the latest baffling body-image…

August, 2014

‘Good Kid, Bad Kid’—Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

Dear Straight Talk: In regard to your recent column on heroin addiction, it's my sister who is the drug addict. My parents spent most of our college fund for her rehabs and I now will need big student loans. They say they had no choice…

Boy’s girlfriend is pregnant, pushing him away

Dear Straight Talk: My girlfriend since last Christmas just told me she is pregnant. She is 17 and I'm 18. She's been on the pill since she was 16 but maybe forgot to take them some days?? All she does is cry, call me constantly,…

Excessive college jitters require courage breakthrough

Dear Straight Talk: I'm heading to an east-coast college this fall. My siblings all loved their college years and whenever I voice my nervousness they tell me it's normal and will get better once I'm there. Every time I talk…

Self-confidence and resourcefulness more important than “size”

Dear Straight Talk: I'm 20 and I hope you take this question seriously as a men's-rights issue because nobody talks about it except through hurtful jokes. With no concern that men might have body-image issues, girls seem to think…

July, 2014

Teaching style, not intelligence makes females less drawn to science and math

Dear Straight Talk: I'm a woman in high tech and a regular Straight Talk reader. The disproportionately small number of women in STEM [science, technology, engineering, math] is all over the news. Yet I've never seen anyone asking…

Keep mouth shut about friend’s loser boyfriend — unless!

Dear Straight Talk: I'm 18 and my best friend for 10 years is dating someone with a lot of mental health and drug abuse problems. Even after he said terrible things to her, she still took him back. I'm always there for her when…

Dad feels rejected, wants place in daughter’s life

Dear Straight Talk: My 16-year-old daughter complains that I'm not "in her life" enough. I do work hard in a demanding career to support our family, but I buy her things, take a family vacation every year, and when I make attempts to…

Heroin use at epidemic levels

Dear Straight Talk: My friend is smoking heroin. I tell her to stop before she gets addicted, but she denies the problem. Her parents hate me and will accuse me of being the cause, so I'm not going to tell them. I don't know how…

Father Gets the ‘Straight Talk’ on School Shootings

Dear Straight Talk: To combat school shootings, our school district is considering arming teachers who undergo extensive training. All this is making my daughter (age 17) even more nervous about school shootings — while my son, 15,…

June, 2014

Being youngest can make it tough to feel smart

Dear Straight Talk: I'm the youngest of five siblings with 20 years between my oldest sibling and myself. Because I am considerably younger, I sometimes feel like I don't fit. I am fairly introverted while they are outspoken, so…

How to tell if a girl is interested or just flirting

Dear Straight Talk: Recently, some girls wrote in asking how to tell whether guys liked them or just wanted to hook up. Well, my guy friends and I can't tell whether a girl likes you or is just flirting. We're 16 and the girls are…

The importance of Father

Dear Readers: How much do fathers matter? Same as I said for mothers on Mother's Day: Worlds. Yet, a lot of people aren't "getting the memo". The U.S. leads the world in fatherless families. In 1960, only 12 percent of…

Girl caught in the crossfire between stepsister and BFF

Dear Straight Talk: I'm really stressing. I've had my BFF [best friend forever] since elementary school. My stepsister has also become a good friend. She's my age (16), goes to my school, and shares my room every other weekend.…

May, 2014

Eighth-grade brother “huffing” inhalants

Dear Straight Talk: I'm 10 and my big brother is in eighth grade. He used to be so much fun and I looked up to him. Now I've spied him stealing money from our mother's purse and sniffing from chemicals in our garage. I don't…

Dad wants to motivate college-dropout son

Dear Straight Talk: My son dropped out of college last year, his sophomore year. He partied hearty and flunked out. After six challenging months at home, he has a restaurant job and lives with roommates where mostly just drinking, video…

Father recognizes daughter’s friend at strip club

Dear Straight Talk: I often fly for work and my group recently had dinner at a strip club near the destination airport. Needless to say, I was surprised to see a girl my daughter went to high school with working there as a dancer. I don't…

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