For the past 9 years until this past November, my husband and I were foster parents.
We've had the opportunity to have many children of different ages and backgrounds pass through our home. Each one more heart breaking than the next. Some great outcomes, some unknown.
It was in fostering & volunteering with teens that I got to take a really good look at the life of sixteen year old girl from another angle besides the one I lived. I can see so clearly now the things I wished that someone had told me.
At sixteen, everything seems so desperate and serious. Love, life, everything. They need it all to happen RIGHT NOW.
The one thing in common is that all they wanted was to feel loved, whatever that means.
True, some sixteen year old girls are very well adjusted or more well adjusted than others. Many of the girls we've helped lived lives that were far worse than anything I could relate to at that age. I wanted to save them all - but I couldn't. I could only say the things that had been said to me, or that I wish had been said to me.
If I could be the person speaking to myself, I'd speak the same words as I've spoken to these girls and let them know that it really is, and really will be OK. They are loved. They are deserving of love and they WILL have the right, special someone to love them forever - ONE DAY.
Screeeeeeech..... slam on the breaks, girl. You've got plenty of time for all of that. Really.
Not everyone is ready, at the tender age of sixteen, to jump on into a sexual relationship, and it is OK to say so.
If a boy really likes you, he will respect that. Really. Yeah, he may be pissed - but he'll get over it.
On that angle, it's important to know the things my daddy (and my step dad) drilled into my head constantly - "Boys will tell you whatever you want to hear to get into your pants." Honestly, hearing that over and over again really messed me up, but they were right. Remember those words.
That doesn't mean that you're not lovable or deserving of love. EVERYONE is worthy of love. Not everyone is ready to love you the way you want to be loved. That's learned through maturity.
If you find yourself in a bad situation - FIND AN ADULT YOU CAN TRUST! Not every sixteen year old is close with or comfortable talking to their parent. There is always an adult you can talk to - not all of us "adult" people suck. We've all lived through what you're going through right now and as long as you're not a danger to yourself or others, we can pretty much keep our mouth shut if necessary. Do not try to handle things on your own.
Back to the boy thing.... Know this.... if a boy forces himself on you or takes advantage of you without your consent - he does NOT care about you. If a boy truly likes / loves you, he will protect you. He will respect you. Even in this day and age of punk ass little teen age boys - this will always be a fact. No one gets to hurt you. No one gets to disrespect you. No one gets to take what you're not prepared to give. Know that - live it.
You many not be a full fledged adult yet, but you are human and deserving of basic human kindness and respect. That you need to believe.
You are allowed, as your own person, to set boundaries on what you will and will not accept. Not everyone will like that. Too bad. Not everyone matters. People who genuinely care for you will respect your boundaries. You deserve respect!
I know that it is absolutely, positively heart wrenching when the boy that you really like does not like you. Even worse, pretends to like you and then treats you badly. I promise you, there IS someone out there who will be absolutely, positively in love with every single breath you take.
That person is out there and that person is worth waiting for.
You deserve respect. You deserve love. You deserve compassion. You deserve kindness.
All of this is temporary. YES, all of it! In 20 years, this will all be a mere blip in your memory bank. The good stuff will stand out and make you smile. The bad stuff will still hurt your heart, but you will NOT remember it all. It will all pass.
In the mean time,
Be happy! Be smart! Be sixteen!
This time only rolls around once - live well without regrets.
You deserve that!
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