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I AM in Control.org Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality

Questions, Answers and Resources for Teens

Use this resource for questions regarding your health, your relationships, your body and your sexuality.

While this site is informative, it is not a substitute for talking to your doctor, parents or other trusted adult.

May 1

Follow us on Twitter!

Posted By iamincontrol | May 1, 2014

Want to find out when IAMincontrol has a new post?  Follow us on Twitter @IAMincontrolIA for tweets about our posts and events for teens.  Retweet to share your favorite posts with your friends!
Sep 2

More than One Word

Posted By iamincontrol | September 2, 2014

teenager playing guitar
The results are in!

Last month’s poll question was:

Do you feel like people just group you into that one thing you’re good at? (i.e. jock, band nerd, artist, goth, etc.)

You guys overwhelmingly said:

    • Definitely. People don’t realize there’s more to me.

Here’s how Hayley learned how to embrace feeling more than one word.

We all have that one thing we feel defines us. You could be an athlete, a musician, a mathlete, or a dancer. We often use this one word to describe us and measure our worth. However, we are much more than this one word.

In high school I was the cheerleader. That is until my junior year when I got cut from the squad. I was super upset knowing that all of my friends would be cheering without me. Although I missed cheering on my boys to a victory in football or basketball, not making the squad didn’t turn out as bad as I thought. I was able to get involved in other activities, and it was during this time that I met some of my best friends. I had fun in the stands at sporting events, and I was able to find new passions.

Although losing that one thing you identify with may be hard, it doesn’t always have to be bad. So yes, be the athlete, musician, or dancer, but know that there is more to high school and much more to life.  One door may close, but countless others will be opened. Branch out, make new friends, and remember you are more than just that one word.

Aug 28

Don’t Be a Bystander

Posted By iamincontrol | August 28, 2014

teenage girl
By Kathryn

Within my group of friends, there was this one friend who seemed to have it all together. She excelled in the classroom as well as in sports. She was involved in various clubs and organizations. She was very outgoing and responsible; our classmates and teachers liked her as well. At one time I would have considered her one of my best friends.

During the fall of my senior year of high school, my friend began to date a guy the grade below us. He seemed like a nice guy, a farm boy who caused some trouble, but nothing terrible. My friend seemed happy about her new relationship, and she quickly began to fall in love.

Read More

Aug 26

Getting though My Parents’ Divorce

Posted By iamincontrol | August 26, 2014

By Anonymous

My parents got divorced when I was in the seventh grade, and my world was forever changed. I woke up one Saturday, and it seemed like a regular morning. When my mom woke up, I could tell something was wrong. She asked me to come talk to her in her room; she sounded so sad. She told me that “Dad was gone.” I was really confused at that point. I wasn’t sure what she meant; was he dead? She then told me that he had left the night before, after I had gone to bed. Some of the news that my parents were getting a divorce started to sink in at that point, and I started to cry. My mom and I laid in her room for most of the morning, with her adamantly telling me that the divorce was not my fault. It wasn’t, but somehow it felt like it was. She also told me how much both her and my dad loved me. I remember how shocked I was because my whole life would change from that point on. My dad wouldn’t be living with us anymore. I went to school the next day and told my friends at the lunch table.

Now when I look back on that time of my life, I remember how strong my mom was for me throughout the divorce. I think that would be my biggest piece of advice to get through a big life change: find a person who can be your “rock.” Find someone who can support you and who you trust.

 

Aug 21

Living with a Chronically Injured Parent

Posted By iamincontrol | August 21, 2014

By Anonymous

I grew up in a pretty typical family: mom, dad, a brother, and a sister. We always had a dog and had a couple cats along the way. My mom worked at a high school, and my dad was a construction worker. Seems like a typical American middle class family, right? Well we were, but then at the end of my sophomore year of high school my dad got hurt at work. His machine had jerked and had hurt his back. He was in a lot of pain, and the doctors told him he needed surgery. Everything was fine, he’d have the surgery and the doctors said he’d need a couple days of recovery and then he should be able to walk out of the hospital. Well that’s not quite what happened. After about a week in the hospital, they wheeled him out in a wheelchair and he came home. He was still in a lot of pain, maybe even more than before the surgery.

This began a time in my life where my dad, tough, strong, and involved, became very distant. I had a lot of questions and no one to turn to. I’m the oldest, and I took on the role of doing as much as I could for myself. It was disappointing that he couldn’t come to my activities, but there wasn’t much I could do. People would ask how he was doing often and I would tell them, “Oh, he seems to be getting a little better,” or “He’s had a quite a few bad days recently.” In reality, he wasn’t getting better, and each day seemed just the same as the last. I’d go to school, sports, work, and then come home and nothing was different. He was still sitting there, maybe playing Xbox or sleeping. Distant. No one in my family talked about it much, and we definitely didn’t talk about how we were feeling. Depression. It seemed like a cycle in a bad story, and it was never going to get better. The way that I dealt with this was to try to do everything right and hold it all together, even though I was a wreck inside. Five years later, my dad is still in pain a lot of the time and still can’t be very active or go to many events, but he’s better than he was. He’s more present in our lives, but parents from the recliner.

My advice to anyone dealing with a parent who is chronically sick or injured or a parent who is just not all present: talk to someone, preferably someone older, like a school counselor, a teacher, a family member, or a family friend. Be honest about how you are feeling and how your situation is affecting you, because it does affect you or it will. I am still dealing with the effects of that time in my life five years later. It’s tough and it hurts, but I have to come to terms with the effects it’s had on me. I’m learning to accept that there are things that I might miss out on doing with him and that there has been time lost in this process. Time I can’t get back. I have friends and mentors now that I can talk to about that time in my life and sort out my grief for how things were “supposed to be.”

Aug 19

Food is Fuel

Posted By iamincontrol | August 19, 2014

healthy food
By Clancy

My freshman year of high school I was involved in many sports, but it wasn’t until track season that I thought I needed to lose weight. The other girls on my relay team were not the same size as I was. I thought that because I was bigger than them, it was slowing me down. I began restricting what I would eat and when I would eat it. I wouldn’t eat lunch on race days because in my mind, there was a correlation between my weight and my race times.

I was frustrated when my times weren’t improving and thought the only explanation was because I needed to lose more weight. I had already lost around 15 pounds in 2 months, and my coaches began to notice my lack of energy. My race performance actually began to worsen.

Read More

Aug 14

Self-Esteem & Cheerleading

Posted By iamincontrol | August 14, 2014

cheerleader
By Anonymous

My sophomore year of high school I made the varsity cheer squad. I was the youngest on the team. This meant my close cheer friends were not there with me anymore, and I was with the older girls. I didn’t know much about them, and I was not included like I was on the other squad. As if this wasn’t hard enough, I was given a nickname calling me fat. I only weighed 100 pounds, so it was meant to be a joke, but this label caused me to have body image issues.

I did not have problems with weight because I was always active and ate a well-balanced diet, thanks to my parents. But being called such a name really upset me. I began to think my size was not socially normal and that I needed to gain weight fast. I did not want to be picked on anymore. I didn’t like the attention, so after practice I would go home and eat large quantities of food. It made me so uncomfortable, and then I would freak out because I was emotionally and physically overwhelmed.

I knew what good nutrition was, and I had a healthy relationship with food until those girls, who should have been role models, made me feel bad. Letting others shape me through their actions is something I am ashamed of. This caused me to have a poor view of my body image, leading to reduced confidence in myself and not wanting to be different within my social groups. This one name did not just affect me when I was with those girls; it affected my everyday life and my everyday decisions.

My self-esteem and health were affected, and this is something I never wanted anyone to destroy. Because I laughed and didn’t stand up for myself, this joke seemed acceptable to them. The harm of words is not temporary; it leaves an everlasting message with the individual. Through being a positive role model and a good friend to all, I aspire to be different and encouraging. Check out this website for fun, helpful information regarding a positive body image!

Aug 12

Having the “Chicken Pox” from Ages 7-15: A Journey to Loving Myself

Posted By iamincontrol | August 12, 2014

teenage girl
By Anonymous

Growing up, I had a lot of health problems. My biggest issue was a skin problem. I was itchy all the time, covered in sores from head to toe. People were always asking me, “Do you have the chicken pox?” Some people just stared, and others just blatantly asked what was wrong with me. Since I always got these questions and weird looks, I began to hide my body by wearing sweatshirts and jeans all year round, even if it was 100 degrees outside. I could not handle the looks and questions I received from people. It would cause me to break down crying.

No doctor could figure out what was wrong with me. One dermatologist said it was eczema, another said it was atopic dermatitis; others said it was allergies, and some believed I just scratched myself because of anxiety issues.

Since no doctor knew what was wrong, I just told people I had the chicken pox. It seemed easier to tell them I had the chicken pox than say, “No one knows what’s wrong with me.” Otherwise I would scare people away. I told everyone that from the ages of 7 to 15.

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Aug 7

Avoiding Alcohol

Posted By iamincontrol | August 7, 2014

avoiding alcohol
By Anonymous

I don’t remember exactly when it started, but I think it was in 8th grade – the day that alcohol joined my friend group. I remember feeling shocked when I first found out that some of my friends had started to drink. At first it wasn’t very many of them, and we were able to maintain our friendships despite our differences. Then we got to high school, and everything went downhill quickly.

My friends started slipping under the control of alcohol. By the time we were sophomores, the majority of my friends, both guys and girls, were drinking almost every weekend. I didn’t approve of their choices, but I tried to maintain the friendships. However, it was really difficult to do that when I couldn’t hang out with them on the weekends, unless I wanted to drink. Slowly, they began to dislike me because I wouldn’t succumb to their peer pressure. I was different, and we all knew it.

By the end of my sophomore year, I was isolated from the group. I spent the remainder of my high school weekends with a much smaller group of friends going to dinner, movies, shopping, or having bonfires or sleepovers. They were all activities that were free from drinking, and we still had tons of fun!

Read More

Aug 5

Defying Gender Stereotypes: Muscles are Beautiful

Posted By iamincontrol | August 5, 2014

Girl lifting weights
The results are in!

Last month we asked you guys:

How often to do you see peers participate in activities that are not typical of their gender?

You said:

  • I see it all the time – there aren’t any activities that are “typically” for girls or boys anymore. (0%)
  • Sometimes (50%)
  • Hardly ever (25%)
  • Never (25%)

Here at IAMincontrol we think you should feel free to participate in any activity you enjoy, even if it may not seem “normal” for your gender.  We love Jessica’s take on this below!

By Jessica

I began weight lifting in high school. I did not participate in basketball like most girls, so to keep myself in shape I began using the weight room after school. Often I was the only girl in the weight room, surrounded by sweaty guys throwing weights around.  In order to better fit in with the guys, I began to lift heavier and more often. I saw that they accepted me more and were impressed by what I could do. However, a few girls in my grade commented on my arms or legs and said I was getting “too muscular.” I was proud of my achievements, but I didn’t want to look masculine because that is not what ladies look like. I continued to lift weights, but I focused less on large weights and more on repetition, which resulted in leaner muscles and the “toned” look that girls want.

While I still continue to lift and occasionally will lift heavier, this experience stayed with me and has stuck with me in current weight lifting practices. I’m glad that I started to lift because it led me to pursue an Exercise Science degree and teaching fitness classes. I wish I would have stood up to the girls who made fun of me then because I love my body, and I work hard for my muscles. Every body is different, and whether they have big or small muscles, they are beautiful.

Here’s a website to help when dealing with bullies and a Facebook page for girls embracing their muscles – check them out!

Jul 31

Dealing with Depression

Posted By iamincontrol | July 31, 2014

By Samantha

What does the word disability mean to you? For me, it means having to use a wheelchair for mobility due to the fact that I have Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a medical condition that has various effects on people ranging from slight to severe physical and/or mental conditions. Luckily, it only affects my physical capacities, and I received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University.

Despite my accomplishments, I have suffered from depression and anxiety for the past 10 years.  When I was 16 years old, I had a major back surgery, which caused a significant amount of pain. The surgery, along with the general lack of mobility, deepened my depression and anxiety about the future. Since then I have been learning strategies to cope with these symptoms of mental illness. Coping strategies that have worked for me are:

  • Focusing on how I can help others
  • Being grateful for my friends and family
  • Looking forward to the opportunities in the future
  • My spirituality
  • Reaching out to others with similar struggles and joining support groups

If you are struggling with depression, here are a couple resources to check out:

Your Life Iowa
TeensHealth: Depression