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.

Podcast For Parents: Who’s leading this family?

April 27, 2009


This week's featured book

For a family to run smoothly, it has to be a team. Otherwise we become a PSA for Chaos Theory. To establish and support common goals and to achieve them, every team needs a clear leader. Does your family have one? Is the person calling the shots one parent, both parents, or one of the kids? In this week’s Family Confidential podcast, I chat with Jamie Woolf, author of Mom-in-Chief: How Wisdom from the Workplace Can Save Your Family from Chaos. In her book and her workshops and conference appearances for Working Mother Magazine, Jamie lays out her “best practices” for enjoying more success at home and at work. She does this by providing valuable insights along with in-the-trenches-strategies for taking the skills working moms learn at the office and using them to become the parent leader your kids need.

Have a listen here:

If you have iTunes, you can subscribe to this podcast in the iTunes Store.

Or, you can download an MP3 version here.

Upcoming guest authors include:

I’ll also be hosting future discussions about: Last Child in the Woods and The Blessing of a Skinned Knee

Subscribe to Family Confidential and tune in each time!

*What’s a podcast? “A podcast is a series of digital media files, usually either digital audio or video, that is made available for download via web syndication.” — Wikipedia… So, in this case, there’s an audio file for you to listen to (in addition to reading the above).


Podcast For Parents: Family Confidential Podcast

April 19, 2009

Family ConfidentialI’m very excited to announce the launch of Family Confidential: Secrets of Successful Parenting, my new regular podcast series. Hosted by me and produced by Electric Eggplant, Family Confidential brings you practical parenting advice through recorded in-depth conversations with authors, educators and therapists. If you’re a parent of a tween or teen, this series is for you. It’s also for you if you work with middle or high school students. In fact, you can become a part of the series by sending in your parenting questions. I’ll address them on the show. These dynamic and personal discussions help strengthen family connections by providing tips, insights and practical tools for guiding your kids through middle school and beyond.

This week’s show, “The Gift of Confidence.” As parents, we all want our kids to succeed, and we want them to grow up up to be self-confident. But sometimes what we say we want is at odds with some of our parenting choices. Especially when it comes to doing what’s really necessary to help our children grow toward independence and self-reliance. In this podcast I talk with Joe Bruzzese M.A., author of “A Parents’ Guide to the Middle School Years.” Joe’s book and his ongoing work as a parent coach offer practical advice for building confidence in your child.

Listen here (QuickTime required):

If you have iTunes, you can subscribe to this podcast in the iTunes Store.

Or, you can download an MP3 version here.

Upcoming guest authors include:

Subscribe to Family Confidential and tune in each time!

*What’s a podcast? “A podcast is a series of digital media files, usually either digital audio or video, that is made available for download via web syndication.” — Wikipedia… So, in this case, there’s an audio file for you to listen to (in addition to reading the above).

Filed under: Announcements,Bookshelf,Parenting,Parenting Books,Podcast,Tips — Tags: , — Annie @ 11:37 pm

For Teens: Why did I get her for a sister?!

Give it back, you little #@#$%!

Give it back, you little #@#$%!

I’ve grew up with two older brothers. I’ve still got ’em (which is a good thing) though obviously we don’t live together any more. And while the three of us are good friends now, I’d be totally lying if I said that when we were kids we always treated each other with kindness and respect. Not even close! There was a lot of arguing and fighting amongst us. Sometimes it got really loud and physical. Being the youngest and the only girl (and a very emotional one at that) I often felt angry and frustrated because Brother #2, The Master Tease, could instantly make me cry at any time. I hated that he was so good at pushing my buttons!

Thankfully we outgrew whatever nuttiness caused us to treat each other that way. So if you’re having problems with an annoying, bossy, mean or insulting brother or sister there’s hope that in the future things between you will be better.

But what can you do now if you and your sibling don’t get along with? That’s pretty much the email question I got today from this teen:

Hey Terra,

My older sister is very mean to me and I wonder why. She has ignored me so many times or mumbled something about me under her breathe. Once she threatened to push me down the steps. And when I sit beside her, she slides farther away from me. I don’t know why she treats me like this. I don’t even do ANYTHING mean or wrong to her! I would admit it if I did because that’s just how mature I am. I mean, she can treat me like this for the rest of our lives because I don’t care. I’m not close to her anymore. What is her problem with me? Why does she treat me this way?

Fed Up with Her

Dear Fed Up,

Your sister is the only one who can answer your question “Why do you treat me this way?” Have you thought of asking her? I want to warn you about a couple of things before you have this conversation…

Choose the where and when of this conversation wisely…
If your sister is with a friend or in the middle of something that’s taking all her attention or if she’s in a bad mood, that would NOT be a great time to have this kind of talk with her. My advice here would be to find a time when the two of you have some privacy and things between you are relatively calm. So, be smart when you pick the time and place.

Choose your tone of voice and your attitude wisely. If you come into a conversation in attack mode: “Why do you ALWAYS act so mean to me?!” “How come you’re NEVER nice to me?!” that’s going to put her on the defensive. And you two will probably not have a good conversation. Instead, stay calm, be respectful, and be honest about your feelings. You might say something like this, “You know, I was just thinking about the good times we used to have together… when we were younger. We always got along and I really loved having you as my big sister. And then, it’s like something changed but I’m not sure what. Have you felt that too? “

Then CLOSE your mouth and LISTEN to what she has to say. Don’t interrupt her. Don’t correct anything she says. Just be there and listen.

You see, this isn’t just about “Why does she treat me this way?” That would only concern her behavior. The real question you want the answer to is: “How did the two of us let our close relationship get to this point?” Both of you contributed to the slippage. The good news is that when you get that every relationship is a 2-way street then you can see that both people have a contribution to make in keeping it healthy.

You took the first step by writing to me. That was really honest and brave. Now the next step is for you to talk with your sister in the calm, private and respectful way I’ve suggested. Good luck!

In friendship,

It’s not realistic to think that brothers and sisters are going to get along all the time. That’s just not going to happen! But more peace and less fighting is a reasonable goal. What have you tried so far to make the peace with your sibling(s)? If you haven’t tried anything what’s stopping you from trying? If you’ve made an effort, what has worked? What hasn’t worked? Post your comments here.

Filed under: Teens,Tips — Tags: , , — Annie @ 5:52 pm

Thank you, Susan Boyle

April 15, 2009

It happened Saturday night. Though I didn’t get wind of it until today when Eileen’s email pointed me to YouTube. Usually she sends videos of grateful whales being cut loose from fishing nets. Last month it was a hugging wall. Eileen’s got a big heart so she’s into that stuff. She also knows I’m a sucker. Invite me into the We Are All One Zone and I’m so there, heart crowding my tonsils, eyes brimming over, smiling like a fool at the screen.

Sure I’m on a deadline, but when Eileen sent her most recent bait, I bit. Don’t ever want to get too busy to feel good for a minute. That’s what I expected. What I didn’t expect was a transcendent experience on the level of Cosmic Unity and Universal Compassion. I kid you not. It was… but wait. Let me shut up for a minute so you can take it in for yourself:

Susan Boyle singing on Britain's Got Talent

Susan Boyle singing on Britain's Got Talent

OK, now you’ve seen it. So what the hell happened in that auditorium? Why did those 4,000 people plus the rest of us change our minds so dramatically? We were all convinced that Susan Boyle was worthy of ridicule. How did her voice instantly turn a cynical crowd into a single beating heart that couldn’t contain itself with joy, love, encouragement and yes, gratitude?

I’m thinking that you’ve probably got a theory. Love to hear it. In the meantime, here’s mine: We look at that plain woman’s frizzy gray hair, bushy eyebrows, double chin and our assumptions kick in. We roll our eyes and feel giddy at the expectation that we’d  see Simon Cowell eviscerate her. But with the first note of her song all snarky resistance vanishes. Instead we actually see Susan Boyle standing there. And we see ourselves. She singing about our longing. Our dreams and disappointments. We open to her radiant true nature and to our own. There is no other option. She is us. We get it. Thanks, Susan.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch that video again.

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