Daphne answers your questions in this issue of Dear Daphne!
How the heck do I get through 2nd semester
Please help, SOS
Let me start by saying, you are not alone, everyone experiences some degree of “senioritis.” The key is to embrace it but not let it ruin your grades or social life. Let me put it this way, say you don’t feel like doing that one math assignment worth 5 points, okay that’s fine let it slide. However, when that lack of motivation drags on for months your grades may start to suffer tremendously.
To stop this from happening I recommend setting up a reward system. Maybe you really love getting your nails done, so if you maintain an 80% or above in all your classes, you could treat yourself to a manicure. This could also work if you decided that if you cannot maintain a desired grade you take away something you enjoy. Perhaps if you cannot make a certain grade do to your effort you have to delete social media for a weekend.
This being said, I would also recognize that taking a break can be beneficial. It may be necessary for you to relax and realize a grade does not define you. Personally, I would say my best experiences come from experiences outside of the classroom. I will learn more from a day spent with a friend hiking than I will from sitting in a classroom silently and it is important to know this about yourself.
Take time for yourself my lovely.
I’ve been having trouble with people who thrive off of making other people feel bad about themselves. How do I deal with this kind of negativity?
Bummed out Brenda”
Let me start by saying that in life, there will always be people who, as you so accurately put it “Thrive off of making other people feel bad,” and i am sorry that one of these people have found their way into your life. When dealing with these people, it is important to remember that this negativity almost always arises out of a personal insecurity, vulnerability, or unhappiness. From the wording of your comment, I get the feeling you understand this, but I just want to reiterate that you are not the problem. Acknowledging this fact is key. However, this realization does not negate the effects of the hurtful comments. So what should you do? I can see a few different options.
First, you could confront this person, and tell them how they are making you feel. I know this sounds scary. It is scary. But good communication is key in conflict resolution. Perhaps this person is not aware of the effect their comments have one you. If you do decide to talk to them about it, make sure to have your talking points written down, or at hand so you say what need to say, and don’t leave anything out. Also make sure you remain respectful. I know that this person is not always respectful to you and your feelings, but I promise you that speaking from a place of kindness and respect will take you far. You are taking the high road.
Now do not have all of the information, and it is unclear whether this is a person you want to build bridges with. Possibly your desire is to tolerate them until you can peacefully part ways. Perhaps you want to cut them out of your life right now. Both of these options might be a more practical path depending on the presence of this person in your life. It is okay to stop interacting with this person if all they bring to your life’s negativity, and doubt. You are allowed to choose who you interact with, and you deserve to be surrounded by people who love you and celebrate your gifts. If this is a person who is a big part of your life, I encourage you to talk to them, and tell them how you feel. If their role in your life does not extend beyond the negativity they bring, or if they are not receptive to and open and honest conversation, then I encourage you to cut this person from your life. You deserve love my dear. Surround yourself with people who build you up.
While my parents and I agree on most social issues, we have been having a conflict of interests lately. I am getting more involved in protesting , and my parents do not approve. I know they are afraid for my safety, and that they are coming from a good place, but, at 17 years old, I am angry that they are keeping me from fighting for causes I am passionate about, especially as I am almost an adult. My parents and I have, for the most part, gotten along in the past, so I don’t know how to handle this conflict. I want to talk to them about it, but I don’t want to cause more conflict in our relationship. How should I approach this conversation, without hurting our relationship?
I am sorry that this conflict has found its way into your life, but I cannot say that I am surprised. Teenagehood is and awkward middle stage of parenting. Children can make their own decisions, and are developing their own value and belief systems, separate from their parents. Yet, children are usually still financially, and often emotionally dependent on their parents. This leads to a metaphorical tug of war- child pushing for freedoms, and parents pulling back, not ready to let go. This stage can be uncomfy. It can be frustrating. And it is most definitely difficult to navigate. Yet, in all of its uncomfy, frustrating, and difficult glory, I promise you your parents love you every step of the way. They are acting out of love and concern for you. No matter how this disagreement plays out, your parents will love you, darling, and it will be okay. So how to deal with this conversation?
Begin by telling them you understand their concerns. Validate their apprehensions so they know they are being heard. You know the cause behind the protest is not the problem, so address the real concern- safety.. Let them know why this is important to you- how it aligns with your values. I think they understand your motivation. Then address their fears directly. Let them know that you are a responsible almost-adult, and that safety is your priority as well. Do your research, and tell them how you plan to respond on possible dangerous scenarios. For your parents sake try to compromise, and come to an agreement that allows you to follow what you believe is right and protest, while also putting your parents worry at ease.
Here are some tips for safe protesting that you can discuss with your parents. First, plan an escape route in case things get violent, and have a pre- agreed upon meetup place incase you get separated from your group. Cell phones cannot always be relied upon in large groups of people. Second, make sure you have ID on you at all times. Write important phone numbers on your arms- perhaps that of a law office in case of arrest. Research other safety precautions with your parents to show that you understand their concern, and are willing to work with them. Your parents love you sweetie pie, and they want you to be safe. Be safe, and never stop fighting for what you believe in.
My dad and I are polar opposites. He is a strong conservative Trump supporter, whereas I am a liberal democrat who despises Donald Trump. I have found myself shutting down more recently and avoiding the subject of politics completely with my family.
I’d rather sit in my room listening to music than watch the news with him and it is putting a great strain on our relationship. Do you have any advice?
In the Dumps Drew”
To my dearest Drew,
Well you seem to have found yourself in quite the predicament. Part of what you are feeling, I believe, is longing to fit in at home. Family is stereotypically the people with whom you can be completely yourself. In high school it is so often that we all feel left out and so we want a place to feel accepted.
While I know you cannot confront your father in an effort to change him, maybe you could tell him how you feel, an then both of you make an effort to avoid political topics.
It is also important to keep in mind that both you and your father’s opinions are valid. You have the right to think as you wish and, despite the stereotypes, parents are human just as prone to mistakes as you and I.
I encourage you to speak to your dad about this, it may be best in the long run.
Best of luck,