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:

“My mom and step-dad don't trust me!”

Hey Terra,

My mom and step-dad make me do homework for them. I have to read 3 articles in the New York Times and write about them. 2 of them have to be 100 words in English and the other one has to be 50 words in Spanish.


I'm going to be 14 in August! I still have to go to bed at 8:30 p.m. That's the same time I've been having to go to bed since 3rd grade. My mom and step-dad don't trust me at all. I think they think I do drugs, and they want to send me to boarding school. I mean, I'm on the honor roll. I'm a pretty good kid, I never get in trouble at school either. And to make things more complicated, my parents have been divorced since kindergarten. I only get 1/2 an hour of TV. and a half an hour of the computer every day and if I don't do those assignments by 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, I lose those privileges for the week. They hardly let me do anything with my friends. I know there are kids not as fortunate as me, but I'm a teenager and I'm going through a hard time trying to get ready for high school. They think I'm lazy but volleyball sign up is this week and softball starts in the spring and lasts the whole summer.

Do you think I should tell my dad and step-mom about this?!!? This may not be the worst situation you've heard, but I'm unhappy and I need these privileges. I also do my homework right after I get home from school.

The Un-Privileged Teenager

Dear The Un-Privileged Teenager,

It sounds like your mom and step-dad believe they need to have a lot of control over your life and that there is a lack of trust on their part even though you are doing such a good job at school. I'm sure it's very frustrating to be treated this way.

I'm going to assume that you have talked to them about the way this makes you feel. If not, I would suggest that you have a calm, mature conversation with your mom. (I think you should talk to your mom, alone, because your primary relationship is with her. These restrictions and rules may be coming from your step-dad and your mom is going along with them, not knowing how they are affecting you.) Without yelling or verbally attacking her or your step-dad, tell her, respectfully, how you feel about "doing homework" for them and going to bed at 8:30. Tell her how their lack of trust and the threat of being sent away to boarding school makes you feel.

If, after having this conversation, nothing changes, then you might want to talk with your dad. If you are truly this unhappy in your living situation, your mom and your dad should both know about it, and hopefully, will work together to make things better.

I hope this helps.

Write back any time.

In friendship,


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

Find Annie Fox: Find Annie on Facebook Find Annie on Twitter Find Annie on Pinterest Find Annie on YouTube Find Annie on Google+ Find Annie on LinkedIn Find Annie on Goodreads Find Annie on Quora
What's New?
''The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship: 50 Ways to Fix a Friendship Without the DRAMA'' by Annie Fox, M.Ed., illustrated by Erica De Chavez Books & Apps for Teens
''Middle School Confidential 3: What's Up With My Family?'' iOS app ''Middle School Confidential 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind'' iOS app ''Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are'' iOS app ''The Teen Survival Guide to Dating & Relating: Real-World Advice on Guys, Girls, Growing Up, and Getting Along'' by Annie Fox M.Ed.
''Middle School Confidential, Book 3: What's Up with My Family?'' by Annie Fox, Illustrated by Matt Kindt
''Middle School Confidential, Book 2: Real Friends vs. The Other Kind'' by Annie Fox M.Ed., Illustrated by Matt Kindt
''Middle School Confidential, Book 1: Be Confident in Who You Are'' by Annie Fox, Illustrated by Matt Kindt
''Too Stressed to Think? A Teen Guide to Staying Sane When Life Makes You CRAZY'' by Annie Fox, M.Ed. and Ruth Kirschner