Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

Age difference:
“My mom doesn't like my boyfriend so I'm thinking of running away.”

Hey Terra,

I'm 15 and going out with a 21 year old and my mom doesn't approve. She found out already, and now I'm not able to step a foot outside. She said she's going to go talk to him and tell him to stay away from me but I really like him a lot (you couldn't even imagine!). And he feels the same way about me. What do I do? How am I going to be able to see him? Do you think it would be a good idea to run away with him? PLEASE HELP :(


Dear Desperate,

No, I don't think it would be a "good idea to run away with him"! That would create so much more trouble in your life, you have no idea. Forget about running away, please!

You and your mom need to talk. It sounds like you don't know where she's coming from. Can you, right now, while you're sitting calmly at your computer, think WHY your mom, who loves you more than anything in the world and has been your life-support for 15 years, would be trying to keep you away from this guy? The reason I'm asking is because it's really important for you to understand why your mom feels the way she does.

In your mind all you know is that you "really like" this guy a lot and that he likes you too. Do you know why your mom is so against your seeing him? Do you think the age difference is a problem for her?

Here's what I know... A 21 year old man who is coming on to a 15 year old girl has problems relating to women his own age. Why else would he want to be going out with a child?? Maybe he needs to be able to control the relationship. He can't do that with a 21 year old woman. A 21 year old woman would expect to be treated like an equal. You don't expect that. You expect to be told what to do. A man who tells you what to do is not a man you want to be in a relationship with. That kind of relationship is unbalanced and unhealthy. And once you get in it, it will damage you.

That's why the law says that it's not okay for adults to be sexually involved with children. Why do you think there is such a law? I'll tell you. Because a 21 year old man (or any adult for that matter) has the power to take control of a relationship with a child (and in the eyes of the law, that's what you are). And because the part of your 15 year old brain that helps you think things through and make good decisions is not yet the brain of an adult. Adults think about the long-term consequences of their decisions. Children think "I want to be with him, so I'll run away." That's NOT good clear thinking! The law is there to protect you. You probably don't feel like you need "protection" from this guy, but the truth is, you do. That's why, even if you want to be with him, he could be arrested for being with you. If you run away with him, he can be arrested and charged with kidnapping and statutory rape!

I hope I have given you some things to think about because you really do need to stop and think before you do something that will hurt you and your mom.

Please try to talk with your mom and see if you can understand how she feels.

In friendship,


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.

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