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

Tag: parents

Nov 20

Dealing with Divorce

Posted By iamincontrol | November 20, 2014

sad teenage boy
By Kelsey

I was a sophomore in high school when my whole life got flipped upside down: divorce. This wasn’t the first time I have had to deal with divorce. My mom and dad got divorced when I was a baby, so by the time I was a teenager, I was used to the whole having to go to two Christmases, two Thanksgivings, and everything else that needed to be split up amongst my mother and father. My mom got remarried when I was in kindergarten, so I dealt with the transition of having a step-father and didn’t seem to mind it.

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Oct 30

Who to Talk to?

Posted By iamincontrol | October 30, 2014

teen with question mark
By Kayleen

Growing up is tough.  There are so many experiences and changes you face throughout middle and high school.  Some big changes that arise have to do with your sexual health.  (If you aren’t quite sure what we mean by “sexual health,” the Act Together For Youth page on What is Sexual Health? may be able to help.)

When you have a question about sexual health, where do you go?  The first thing you may do is pick up your phone or use your computer to look up the answer on the Internet.  The Internet does have a few reliable and helpful websites, but it is not always the same as talking to someone about your question.

Who is the person in your life that you can ask questions about sexual health?  Friends/peers may be the first people that you go to, but they may not be very knowledgeable on the subject. They may be wondering the same thing as you.  One of the best people you can talk to, besides a family physician or nurse, would be a parent or trusted adult in your life.  Some teens are already close to a parent or trusted adult and have established a relationship where open conversation is easy. That is a great relationship to have.  Other teens do not that have relationship with a parent or trusted adult at all, but it’s never too late to establish one.

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Oct 2

Working through the Aftermath of Divorce

Posted By iamincontrol | October 2, 2014

teenage girl
By Anonymous

Divorce: the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body. Growing up with divorced parents wasn’t entirely bad. I’m grateful that it happened when I was younger so I don’t remember the fighting and pain my older sister went through.  Looking back on how my family essentially ended, I almost wish I could go through the pain my sister went through. That way I wouldn’t have to deal with it eight years later. After my parents split, my mom started dating and that is where it all started.

Depression: severe despondency and dejection typically felt over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. After my mom and her boyfriend got married is when the depression really began to take over. I found myself having these horrible thoughts that I could only share with my soon to be counselor. I stopped hanging out with friends; I was lying in my bed a lot doing nothing but having these thoughts run through my head. This darkness I called it. The darkness was always there. It was there to remind me that my family wasn’t a family anymore, and I couldn’t do anything to change it.

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Sep 23

Fighting Change

Posted By iamincontrol | September 23, 2014

fighting change
By Emily

For the first 11 years of my life, it was only my mom and me. She was a single parent from the very start, and in my eyes that was the best thing ever. We did everything together: we did homework, played outside, participated in sports, rode our bikes, and numerous other things. However, all these things came to a complete halt when she met Richard.

I was pulled from everything I knew because of Richard. We moved an hour away within weeks of her meeting him. My living situation quickly went from it just being two of us to being four of us with a fifth to arrive months later. When I say everything changed, I mean EVERYTHING! What we ate, how we lived, and where we went all changed. The time we spent together was cut way back; we did not go out and do all the things that we were used to doing. Also, I was not able to see the family members that I used to spend my days with when we lived by ourselves. This resulted in me losing touch with them because I was young. I had no way of getting to see them unless my mom was willing to take me, and she very rarely made the time. Richard made it so that I was completely cut off from the world that I was comfortable in and put me in a world that I hated!

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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.”

Jun 24

Coping with Infidelity

Posted By iamincontrol | June 24, 2014

Sad teen with parents fighting
By Kelsi

As a sophomore in high school and the oldest of three siblings, I always felt like I had a lot on my plate. Growing up, I had nothing to complain about, but then things got weird. My dad was always working on his racecar, and when he was done, he would sleep on the couch. I will never forget the moment my mom told me what was really going on. I was in the shower when she came in and told me that she had been cheating on my dad. The first thing that crossed my mind was the timing. I was in the shower. Maybe she was just scared and felt like she needed to tell me ASAP, but after this, things definitely went downhill. Being from a small town, everyone knew. Going to school and staying focused was hard, but the hardest thing of all was making sure my siblings were okay.

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Feb 25

Forgiving My Family

Posted By iamincontrol | February 25, 2014

Forgiving my family
By Hannah

Family is such a gift, and I didn’t realize it until I felt like I had lost it for good.

I grew up in Arizona. Until I was fifteen, my family was very happy. Right after I turned fifteen, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, my father quit his job of sixteen years, and their marriage began to crumble. Both of my parents were very busy trying to handle their own struggles, so I, at sixteen, became the primary parent of my little brother and sister. My mother began disappearing for weeks at a time, and my father did the same. He had struggled with alcoholism for my entire life, but this was when it became extreme.

He came to me on a Thursday night, and told me that we would be moving to his hometown in North Iowa on Monday morning, and that I was not allowed to say anything to my mother (if I saw her) or my siblings. We left our home, full of our things and our memories and our love, on that Monday morning and never returned. We left my mom with all of those things along with emptiness and fear, and I didn’t have any contact with her for almost three years after that day.

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Jan 28

A World of Hurt

Posted By iamincontrol | January 28, 2014

A world of hurt
By Anonymous

One of the most difficult things that I faced in high school wasn’t bullying or anything like that. I faced the struggle of power and freedom with my parents.

I started dating a guy when I turned 15, and that’s when it all began. Everything started off okay. I was always home by curfew, and he followed my parents’ rules. Then he started demanding more time with me. It got to the point after a few years where it seemed I was always picking him over my family because he always made everything sound better.

It wasn’t until after about 5 years when I truly began to open my eyes and see what my family and my closest friends had been preaching to me about for so long. I realized finally that my relationship was very toxic. I did whatever he wanted to do and on his time. I was afraid of how he would act if I didn’t. He was mentally and emotionally abusive towards me. He changed who I was as a person. I quit talking to my parents.  If they asked me any sort of question that somewhat related to him, I would automatically snap. I did that because I didn’t want to talk about it. In the back of my mind, I knew I needed to get out, but I never knew how to.

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Jan 2

Hotline Round Up

Posted By iamincontrol | January 2, 2014

You never know when you’re going to need to talk to someone.  Today we’ve put together a list of some numbers you might find helpful when you’re going through something.

Teen Line 1-800-443-8336
You can call the Teen Line 24/7 to ask any questions you have about your health or a problem in your life.  They will answer your questions or connect you with someone who can.  You can also chat online with a counselor 8AM-8PM Monday through Friday.

Your Life Iowa1-855-581-8111
This 24-hour, confidential hotline is available to anyone who wants to find information about how to identify and deal with bullying or the topic of suicide. You can also text 85511 3-11PM everyday or chat online.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
This 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Calls are routed to the nearest crisis center in a national network of more than 150 crisis centers.*

The Trevor Lifeline (for GBLTQ Youth)1-866-488-7386 (1-866-4-U-TREVOR)
Providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.*

National Sexual Assault Hotline1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673)
Sponsored by the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN). Online Hotline is also available (click the link).*

National Runaway Hotline1-800-786-2929 (RUNAWAY)
24-hour crisis line. It’s anonymous, confidential and free.*

Love is Respect: National Dating Abuse Helpline1-866-331-9474 (TTY 1-866-331-8453)
24-hour help for teens and young adults. Peer advocates are trained to offer support, information and advocacy to those involved in dating abuse relationships as well as concerned parents, teachers, clergy, and others.*

CDC-INFO 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or TTY 1-888-232-6348
Formerly known as the CDC National STD and AIDS Hotline, counselors at this hotline sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now respond to questions about personal health issues, not just HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Available 24 hours a day, in English and Spanish.*

National STD (STI) Hotline1-800-227-8922
The hotline is available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm EST. The American Social Health Association website offers information about sexual health, healthy relationships, STIs, and more. Check out – a site developed for teens and their parents.*

Always reach out to someone when you have a problem or just feel like you need to talk.  You are in control of your life.

*Hotline description from