Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Bad friend vs. No friend

May 14, 2016

When I hear from smart, capable girls who continue to hang out with people who treat them badly, my brain itches. Why would a person with so much going for her put up with rudeness, contempt, and overall disrespect… from anyone? Especially from a so-called friend?! What’s up with that?

To all you parents and teachers who’ve wondered the same thing, this one’s for you:

 

Where do I fit in?

Where do I fit in?

Hey Terra,

I’ve always been nervous and anxious in social situations, so I’ve never had many friends. Each time I made one, I’d be so happy. Then, after a while, when those friends ignored me, it hurt, but I didn’t let it get to me.

This year I made a friend who let me open up and be less shy. Finally I had a best friend who thought of me as one as well. Everything was great until my best friend developed a crush on a boy. I’ll be talking to her and in the middle of whatever I’m saying she runs off looking for him.

It made me angry, but I thought I was being jealous or selfish. I did that to try to blame  myself because I didn’t want to lose my first best friend. Then she became friends with two other girls. She’d still talk to me, but after a while, she’d bail on me while walking to the lunch room because she wants to sit with her new friends. She doesn’t care if I come or not. Sometimes during lunch, out of loneliness, I sit with them even though they all ignore me. I just sit there.

Recently during recess me and my friend were having a great conversation, laughing and all, until one of her new friends interrupted us and my friend completely ignored me to talk to them for for the rest of the recess.

Please help me Terra. The way my friend treats me makes me not want to be her friend at all. I’d rather be alone then ignored…

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You’re a smart girl. You don’t need me to tell you your friend’s behavior is rude. You already know that. But do you need me to tell you that you deserve better? Do you need me to tell you that even “out of loneliness” it isn’t helpful (or healthy) for you to sit with them during lunch only to be “ignored?”

You think because you have, in the past, been “nervous and anxious” in social situations that you do not deserve to be appreciated and treasured by your friends? That’s ridiculous! Of course, you deserve it!! As you say, “I’d rather be alone than ignored…” I agree with that statement. 100%!

Being on your own at lunch (with a great book) would be a much better choice than hanging out with people who make you feel “less than.” Books are always good friends. So is a journal. (Something in the way you express yourself tells me you might be a writer.)

If reading or writing in a journal doesn’t sound like something you want to do at lunch, here’s another option: Look around the lunch room. Who is sitting alone? Who is being ignored? What would it take for you to walk away from rudeness and walk toward a potential new friendship?

Be smart. Be brave. Go for it! You deserve good friends and you can have them.

In friendship,
Terra

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Mom, can you just be quiet and listen?!

May 3, 2016

You're not listening to me!!!

You’re not listening to me!!!

Somehow my mom and I just didn’t get along when I was in high school. (Hey, it happens.) I was an overweight, overachiever who believed nothing I did was good enough. It didn’t help that my dad, aka my #1 fan, died suddenly when I was fifteen. I was my mom’s youngest child, only daughter. After she lost my dad she couldn’t give an insecure teen the support and encouragement I craved. Conversely, she expected, no hoped, I’d provide her with support and comfort. That didn’t happen.

I remember her yelling: “You’re not listening to me!”

I was listening, I just didn’t like what I heard. I didn’t agree with her and I wasn’t going to do what she said. Even if she had a good idea, I’d reject it, on principle. What principle? That it was her idea.

Our relationship turned into a quagmire of hurt feelings, misunderstandings and miscommunications.  We both longed for a cease-fire, but didn’t how to call one.

When I moved across the country, distance made the heart grow fonder. And when I became a mom, my mom and I learned to appreciate each other a lot more.

Now you understand why an email from a teen with parent problems gets to me. And why I do understand.

Like this one:

Teen: I have this disorder where I feel like I’m suffocating in my own self but can’t die. My mom says she understands but I think she understands what she wants to believe and now she says she wants to send me away to foster care because she doesn’t want to deal with me anymore… what do I do??

Annie: Aside from your mom, who else have you talked to about your feelings of “suffocating in yourself?”

Teen: I have a counselor but whenever I try to talk to him it never comes out right.

Annie: How about writing out what you’d like to say… like in a letter? Take your time. Choose your words carefully. When your letter says what you want it to say, go to the counselor and hand him the letter. Sound like a plan?

Teen: yeah. Thank you, but what do I do about my mom??

Annie: Hopefully, after you talk to the counselor, he will have a conversation with your mom and help her understanding your feelings better. You need her help but she can’t give you what you need until she understands what’s going on. It’s going to take both of you working together to make this better.

Teen: Hey, so I talked to my mom myself and explained everything and it helped sorta. We still have a lot of work to do.

Annie: I’m proud of you for talking to your mom. That took courage and you did it! I’m glad it helped. Keep talking and listening to each other.

I hope you and your mom have a Happy Mothers Day.

In friendship,

Annie

 

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“My mom is neglecting her role as a parent!”

April 6, 2016

Attention must be paid

Attention must be paid… when they’re little and when they’re teens.

From today’s IN BOX, a letter from a teen who blames her mom for her falling grades and friendship issues. Fair or unfair? Read on…

Hey Annie,

My mom is incredibly busy at work and she just remarried. I’m 17 years old, but I still need her support and attention. If I try to ask her to listen to me for a minute or if I ask her for anything at all, she gets angry and annoyed, and I get a lecture and punishment. 

My grades are going down, I’m losing my friends, people have started rumors about me, and I feel incredibly depressed. All these are consequences of my mom neglecting her role as a parent. 

How can I get her attention without her getting agitated? – Neglected Teen

Dear Neglected Teen,

I’m sorry you are feeling so neglected at home. You know what you need and it sounds like you are not getting it from your mom. That happens. Sometimes kids (of all ages) wish they could get more attention, more understanding, more acceptance from their parents. On the flip side, some kids want less of certain behaviors from their parents (less criticism, less anger, less annoyance, fewer lectures.)

You say your mom gets “angry and annoyed” when you try to talk to her about this. Maybe she lashes out because she feels like you’re attacking her for not being a good mom. I’m not saying it is okay for her to treat you this way. It’s definitely not. I am simply offering a possible explanation to help you understand what might be going on with her, so you do not take it personally.

I am sure you are an awesome girl. And I understand that it hurts you when your mom acts too “busy” to give you what you need. I understand that it can cause you to doubt yourself. But here’s something to think about: You are 17 years old. At some point in everyone’s life we stop waiting for our parents to do things for us. At some point we must take care of ourselves and create close relationships with other people who can give us the support and understanding we need.

Maybe now is the beginning of that time for you. Instead of continuing to let your mother’s “neglect” upset you and bring you down, how about looking elsewhere for the support and positive attention you need? You deserve it. You might start by talking with your school counselor about what’s going on inside. You will find support there.

In friendship,
Annie

Filed under: Parenting — Tags: , , , — Annie @ 6:48 pm
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“I’m jealous over my boyfriend’s ex!”

March 31, 2016

Hey Terra,

Stop kissing her right now!

Stop kissing her right now or I’m gonna do something you won’t like!

I’m with this guy for like 6 months, he’s my first boyfriend and my big love ( even if he’s not my first I fell in love with)… I have a real problem, I’m jealous of his past. He lived so much with his ex and I want this relation to work out the best, but  I don’t know if he thinks the same.  How can I get over this jealousy? It’s driving me crazy! – Jealousy Sucks

Dear Jealousy Sucks –

It sure does! But you don’t have to let jealousy control you or your relationships.

You can’t change your boyfriend’s relationship history: who he has been with,  how they felt about each other, and what they did. That’s over. Done.  Same with your past crushes. (Yes, I’m talking about the first person you fell in love with.)

The only place we can live is right now. If we’re not here, we’re no where at all. (Think about that the next time you space out imagining your guy with his ex.)

Look, either this relationship is what you and this guy both want now or it isn’t. If it turns out the relationship doesn’t last, for whatever reason, then so be it. Take what you learned into your next relationship and do better. But if you can not “get over” your jealousy, then you will be equally jealous of the next guy’s ex or exes.

So what’s in the way of your just saying to yourself, “He is with me now because he loves me. That’s all that matters.”?

How do you kick jealousy to the curb? Sometimes it takes help. If you’ve got a school counselor, you might want to pop in and talk to him or her about how to deal with jealousy. You might also check out some library books about the subject (there are plenty!). Or have a look at this article I wrote. One thing is for sure, doing nothing, is probably not going to help. If you let your jealousy ruin this relationship and you don’t figure out a healthy way to deal with these feelings, the same mistrust and jealousy will likely mess up your next relationship. You don’t want that! So work on this. You can do it.

Good luck!  I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Annie (aka Terra)

Filed under: Parenting,Teens — Tags: , , — Annie @ 3:47 pm
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