Q Why does hardly anyone ask for sexual consent?
Remember that we never see this stuff on movies/TV/advertising and no-one really talks to us about it. It’s hard to know if we haven’t been taught and it’s also hard when popular culture tries to tell us that it’s not important. Lots of people DO ask and hopefully we’ll see it more in the movies soon.
Q Is it strange being in a relationship with a boy?
Sometimes! Dating anyone can be a bit strange especially if you start holding hands or even kissing! If you are uncomfortable or not ready for something when dating, it’s important to let the person know and ask them to respect your decision.
Q Is it okay to kiss someone?
If you have their consent! If it’s a first kiss and you are still getting to know the other person maybe take things slowly. There is no rule book on kissing but paying attention to how the other person responds (e.g. do they pull away and say, “Yuk!") Remind yourself that there are many, many people your age that haven’t kissed or gone out with someone before and for most people in your age group this relationship stuff is all new. It’s one of the ‘jobs’ of adolescence to learn how to relate to people in ways that are different from when you were little kids. And new things are always a bit scary. If you go out with someone or kiss someone that you are already really comfortable with, you’ll feel less self-conscious and may even be able to talk to them about how you’re feeling.
Q Why are boys and girls treated differently?
Sometimes girls and boys can be stereotyped and treated differently by past expectations and gender norms. Some people have ideas about how girls and boys should act but this isn’t a “RIGHT” way to be a girl or boy, or a certain way to treat boys and girls. Everyone, no matter what gender, deserves to be treated with respect.
Q Why should we trust people?
It’s important to find friends and adults that we can trust so that we have someone to talk to when things aren’t going well for us. Someone who we know will always have our back and also celebrate with us when things go well.
Q Why do girls get treated like objects in media?
Sometimes people can be disrespectful and like you because of your body, or things, or money instead of who you are as a person. This is not okay, you deserve to be treated with respect, and to be treated as an equal.
Sometimes, when people are disrespectful to a group based on their gender, their race, their religion, their education, whether they have money…. It can be because they think their wants, desires or beliefs are more important than others. When we think we are more important than others, it can turn into behaviour that preferences ourselves over others, belittles others, or even behaviour that is disrespectful and harmful to others. So it doesn’t matter if someone is male, female, religious, has a PHD or left school in year 12, is black white or even grey….. if they are human, they are to be respected. And we have to constantly check in with ourselves about the how and why we treat others the way we do. And when we muck up (as we all do) think about how you can make things better.
Not everyone thinks this way, but some people still believe in those stereotypes.
Q What should you do if a friend avoids talking to you and talks behind your back, and lies to others about you?
Sometimes friends can act in not very nice ways. If they are lying about you and talking about you behind your back, it doesn’t sound like they’re being a good friend. You can let them know that this is hurting you and you want them to stop.
Being left out and spoken about behind your back can cause you to feel lots of different negative emotions. You might feel sad at first and then become angry and jealous. These emotions are normal, but they will pass. Instead of denying your emotions, give yourself some time to feel them.
Sharing your feelings with someone who cares about you can be helpful. Try talking to a parent, carer, a good friend, or someone else who you feel that you can trust. Explain what happened and be honest about how it made you feel. The person who you share with may be able to give you some advice about how to deal with your situation.
If the behaviour was intentional by your friend, then it is best to avoid showing your emotions to them. Bullies often use exclusion to get a rise out of people, so even if you are upset about being talked about and left out, try not to show it. You may be giving a bully what they want by showing that you are upset. Instead, try to act like you are not bothered by it.
If they continue to exclude you, consider finding a new group of friends – once who don’t leave you out, who enjoy your company and respect you.
Q What is it like to be a teenager?
There’s no easy answer for this because everyone person is different. Being a teenager can be one of the best times in your life because you have lots of opportunities but it can also be confusing and scary. There’s no rule book on how to act – but being respectful is a great start.
Q Is it scary being in a relationship?
It can be! It is often something new and different. It’s important to talk to the other person in the relationship to let you know how you’re feeling. A certain amount of awkwardness at the beginning of a relationship (dating or friendship) is perfectly normal and to be expected – you’re getting to know each other and trust each other and those are not things that should ever be leapt in to!
Q What should you do if a parent/guardian or sibling don’t let you say what you feel and if you do, they get mad?
Sometimes when trying to say how you feel to your parent/guardians or siblings, you might feel that they are not listening to you. This can be a frustrating and upsetting experience not being heard. If this is happening it may be useful to use our “I feel…” statements to show exactly how you feel and what they can do to help you. If this doesn’t work and they still don’t listen, it may be a good idea to write it down and give it to them. If this still doesn’t work, you can reach out to other adults and let them know how you’re feeling. This is why it’s so important to have 5 adults that you can trust, and don’t forget Kids Helpline!
Q What does responsibility in a relationship mean?
A responsibility is something that you have in relationships. You have a responsibility to respect everyone’s rights, and they have the same responsibility to respect yours. It’s accountability – something that you should do. You might have responsibilities at home like cleaning your room, doing the dishes, feeding the dog etc. In the same way you need to do these things, you need to carry out your responsibilities in a relationship.
Q Why do boys play more video games than girls?
We need to be careful here because this is almost a stereotype! Perhaps the boys you know play more video games than girls, but in some schools/ towns maybe girls play more video games than boys? We really don’t know.
Q Is it okay if you don’t want to be in a relationship?
This is totally normal! Some people become interested in having a special friend at an early age, others are not interested until they are well into being an adult.
One of the greatest things about being a human being is friendship. Having others around to share things with and have fun together makes life more interesting. Don't feel pressured into looking for a special friend just because it seems to be the 'in thing' to do. You could end up losing someone as a good friend and that would be sad, as good friends are hard to find.
Q What is the right age to have a boyfriend or girlfriend?
There is no magical age that tells you when you can and cannot start dating. Although, regardless of age, it is important that if you do decide that you want to start dating someone, that you ask for their consent and communicate this with them. . Sometimes parents or caregivers will tell you what age you’re allowed to have a girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s important for you and the other person to be ready and willing to be in a relationship, no matter the age.
Some people become interested in having a special friend at an early age, others are not interested until they are well into being an adult.
From a legal and ethical point of view – not just how it may look in public. As far as the legal age of sexual consent goes, in Queensland people under the age of 16 can’t have intercourse. In terms of dating, it would very much depend on the ages of the couple, the age difference and whether or not there was an imbalance of power in the relationship. I would also be concerned about any young person who was in a relationship where it was supposed to be secret and therefore hidden from public. If one person on the relationship is trying to keep the relationship a secret, maybe it’s an unsafe or unhealthy relationship.
Q Why are girls and boys judged by the way they dress?
Sometimes people are judged by how they dress because of silly stereotypes. A stereotype is an overly simple belief about a particular group of people and is often negative. By stereotyping we assume that a person is, thinks, or acts like all members of a certain group. For example, a stereotype is that all girls like dressing up and wearing makeup and that all boys like sport. They make us ignore differences between individuals and think things about people that might not be true. They also make us believe that people should act in certain ways which can make us treat others badly because they don’t ‘fit’ a particular stereotype. So, we need to be really careful when we make assumptions about other people just because they are a girl, a boy, short, tall, skinny, overweight, living with a disability, have different cultural backgrounds to ourselves or any other factor.
Q What do you do if you really like someone but it makes you anxious?
Lots of thoughts and feelings arise when you are around the person you like – and a big one is the fear of rejection. Most people are scared of being rejected because they think that it means that there is something wrong with them. But chances are, if you’re trying to act like anyone other than whom you really are, you’re probably acting like a bit of a dork. Just remember that this relationship stuff is new to everyone your age and the person you like is probably just as nervous about getting it right as you are.
If someone is causing you anxiety and stress because of their behavior towards you it would be best to talk to a trusted adult.
Q I'm starting high school soon. Is it going to be hard?
High school can be great, fun, awesome, awful, scary and boring – all in one day sometimes! Everyone at high school is going through a lot of changes, maybe some difficult times at home, struggling with juggling homework, dealing with a changing body and changing relationships... That’s a lot!
Everyone in grade 7 will be nervous – you are certainly not starting high school alone and there will be loads of people there to help if you need. Promise. High school can be tricky for some so remember to put yourselves into someone else’s shoes – have a think about how they might be feeling and if there is something that you could do that might make them feel a bit better.
Q I told my friend I had a crush on them and they told everyone. Why would they do that?
If a friend shares something with other people that you shared in confidence with them, I’d suggest having a talk to them about what being a good friend means to you/them. Being trustworthy is an important part of being a friend. Often in schools people talk a LOT about who likes who and who asked out who. Remember that you can’t believe everything you hear and thing about the impact of the gossip on the person it is about.
Q Why do girls have to be classified as "girly girls" or "tom boys"?
This is because of stereotypes! A stereotype is an overly simple belief about a particular group of people and is often negative. By stereotyping we assume that a person is, thinks, or acts like all members of a certain group. For example, a stereotype is that all girls like dressing up and wearing makeup and that all boys like sport. They make us ignore differences between individuals and think things about people that might not be true. They also make us believe that people should act in certain ways which can make us treat others badly because they don’t ‘fit’ a particular stereotype. So, we need to be really careful when we make assumptions about other people just because they are a girl, a boy, short, tall, skinny, overweight, living with a disability, have different cultural backgrounds to ourselves or any other factor.
Q What if you ask someone to kiss but they say no? What do you do?
Then you don’t kiss them and let them know that you respect their decision. Remember that consent needs to be gained freely, willingly and enthusiastically. It is SO important that we respect people’s decisions about their bodies and relationships. In this case, you could talk to them about it and ask if they want to talk more about it. They might not and that’s okay. You might like to check in with them again down the track (in a few weeks not in a few hours).