Dear Feelings Doctor: I have this friend who is recently divorced. He has children who he loves very much. Most of them are grown, and one is a child with Down syndrome.

His wife is making it hard for him to see the children. She has called the cops while they stay over and has made some very harsh statements — none of which are true. I advised him to back away for a while and focus on getting his “new” life back on track. Would you consider this good advice? Peace and love …

 — Feeling for a friend in Virginia

Dear Friend: To back away from the ex-wife is perhaps a good idea. To back away from his children, I am not so sure about. Children are always the ones caught in the middle when divorce happens. As difficult as it is for grownups, can you imagine what is going through the mind and heart of a child?

Being kind, thoughtful (that means biting your tongue often) and honoring the family they share should be the first priority. It will be the greatest gift that this friend can give his children.

Half of his kids will always be part of his ex-wife, and the other half will be of him. To shame and dishonor the mother/father is like shaming the children for who they are. It will never be worth it!

Tell your friend to start a yoga class or maybe a boxing class. Suggest that he focus on the direction in which he desires to go instead of what he wants to release. His life will gradually go forward on the right track. Bless you for caring about them all.

Dear Feelings Doctor: I liked your answer for the girl who decided not to have sex with her boyfriend anymore. I am thinking about having sex for the first time with mine and am nervous about it all. Is there advice you can give me? I am 14 years old.

— Stephanie

Dear Stephanie: The first piece of advice that I would like to give you is, “PLEASE WAIT!”

Before you decide to go through with this for the first time (the first time only happens once, so make it really special), talk to someone who you will really listen to and hear what he or she might share with you about this topic.

I understand the curiosity and pull as a teenager to explore all the things that are running through your body and mind right now, so take it slow. Have conversations with the people you trust and respect about it. When we are not sure, waiting is always the best answer.

This bright new day — complete with 24 hours of opportunities, choices and attitudes. A perfectly matched set of 1,440 minutes. This unique gift, this one day, cannot be exchanged, replaced or refunded. Handle with care. Make the most of it. There is only one to a customer.

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Imagine This …

“Thirty years from now, it won’t matter what shoes you wore, how your hair looked, or the jeans you bought. What will matter is what you learned and how you used it.” — from the hallway at Santa Barbara Middle School. Carpe diem …

— Psychotherapist Randi Rabin, M.A., MFTI, answers reader questions in her weekly Noozhawk column, The Feelings Doctor, and can be contacted at She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara and completed her master’s degree in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute under the guidance of renowned psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, Pacifica’s chancellor and founding president. She has worked as a counselor with a number of local nonprofit organizations and schools. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.