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: Single Mom Seeking Advice and a (Love) Life!

August 27, 2010

"The Complete Single Mother: Reassuring Answers to Your Most Challenging Concerns" by Dr. Leah Klungness, Ph.D.

Today, on this special two-part edition of Family Confidentialmy guests are Dr. Leah Klungness and Rachel Sarah co-founders of the popular website SingleMommyhood.com.

Dr. Leah Klungness, aka “the Sanity Fairy”,  is a psychologist and recognized authority on single parenting and relationship issues. She is the coauthor of the award winning book The Complete Single Mother: Reassuring Answers to Your Most Challenging Concerns which is the only comprehensive and best selling self-help book ever written for single parents.

"Single Mom Seeking: Playdates, Blind dates, and Other Dispatches from the Dating World" by Rachel Sarah

Rachel Sarah, is an award-winning journalist and the author of the dating memoir Single Mom Seeking: Playdates, Blind Dates, and Other Dispatches from the Dating World. Rachel has written for Family Circle magazine, American Baby, Salon.com, Huffington Post, and LifetimeTV. She’s also a contractor for Match.com.

Whether you chose single motherhood or had it thrust upon you, these two powerhouse women have much wisdom and insight to share. Yep, Dr. Leah and Rachel Sarah are here to help. So while you have a rare moment to yourself, grab a cup of coffee, relax and have a listen to our conversation right here:

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

Or, you can download an MP3 version here.

Upcoming guests include:

David McQueen, international speaker empowering adults and youth alike on subjects such as leadership, careers and communication skills.

Sean Buvala, author of DaddyTeller: How to be a Hero to Your Kids and Teach Them What’s Really Important By Telling Them One Simple Story at a Time

Dr. Karyn Purvis, co-author (with Dr. David Cross, Wendy Lyons Sunshine) of The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family

Judith Warner author of Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety and We’ve Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication

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Podcast: An End to School Bullying

August 16, 2010

"Gender, Bullying, and Harassment: Strategies to End Sexism and Homophobia in Schools" by Dr. Elizabeth J. Meyer, Ph.D.

My guest today on Family Confidential is Dr. Elizabeth J. Meyer, author of Gender, Bullying, and Harassment: Strategies to End Sexism and Homophobia in Schools.

Dr. Meyer, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at Concordia University in Montreal. A former high school teacher and coach, Dr. Meyer knows first hand what it’s like for students who’ve been targeted by other students. From her first days as a teacher fresh out of college, she empowered individual kids to deal with the fear, frustration, and isolation, until it dawned on her that real change can only come when a school’s culture changes.

While there have been countless studies of bullying and harassment in schools, none have examined the key gender issues related to these anti-social behaviors. In her book, Dr. Meyer does just that and offers readers tangible and flexible suggestions to help them positively transform the culture of their school and reduce the incidences of gendered harassment.

If you’ve got kids in school, you won’t want to miss my interview with Elizabeth Meyer. Listen right here:

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

Or, you can download an MP3 version here.

Upcoming guests include:

Dr. Leah Klungness and Rachel Sarah co-founders of SingleMommyhood.com. Dr. Leah is the co-author of The Complete Single Mother. Rachel is the author of Single Mom Seeking: Playdates, Blind dates, and Other Dispatches from the Dating World.

David McQueen, international speaker empowering adults and youth alike on subjects such as leadership, careers and communication skills.

Dr. Karyn Purvis, co-author (with Dr. David Cross, Wendy Lyons Sunshine) of The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family

Judith Warner author of Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety and We’ve Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication

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Guest blogger: Taming teen stress

August 15, 2010

By Lori Lite

Me? Stressed?! Does it show?

Lori Lite is the founder of Stress Free Kids. Her books, CDs and curriculums help children, teens, and adults manage anxiety, stress, and anger while promoting self-esteem and peaceful sleep. A 2009 contestant on ABC’s Shark Tank, Lori successfully negotiated a deal which enabled her to quickly expand her brand. Now Lori’s award-winning line of CDs introduces teens to relaxation techniques and music. Indigo Teen Dreams and Indigo Dreams: Teen Relaxation Music have been embraced by parents, psychologists, educators, therapists and doctors around the world. A mother of three, she has some valuable tips for parents to help their teens overcome their stress.

Most parents recognize and remember that the teenage years are a volatile time marked by the struggle for independence, the forging of identity, the painful process of emotional maturation, and the learning of societal norms.  Yet parents often underestimate the toll that the stress from these years can take on a teen.

Teenage stress has never been more prevalent. Teenagers are living ever-more complex lives in a society that increasingly treats them as younger adults.  It is as important as it’s ever been, then, for parents to recognize the causes of teen stress and to take measures to relieve or combat it.

Teens are worried about grades, sports achievements, peers, relationships. Many teens are dealing with divorcing or single parents. The recession has also increased stress for teens. Many are working to help make ends meet. Others are in fear of their parents losing their jobs and the roof over their head.

Tips for Helping Teens Manage Stress

1. Remember that stress is contagious, but so is calm. Demonstrate relaxation and positive statements in your parenting routine.

2. Talk to your teen. Figure out when their guard is most likely to be down and use that time to communicate.

3.  Stay up and have a late night snack with your teen. Teens may be more talkative at night and in the kitchen .

4. Tell stories about challenges you have had as a teen and how you handled it. Make sure to share the mistakes you made. Teens are more likely to share their challenges after a story than a direct question.

5.  Give your teens more freedom, but keep clear boundaries. A teen without rules is a teen with much stress.

6.  Schedule downtime with your teen. Go for a walk. A bike ride. Shoot baskets together. Take them out of their usual environment. You’ll be surprised how your teen will let his/her walls down doing something outdoors.

7. Pay attention to what you say to your teen. Take a break from criticizing and correcting. Make a choice to give a compliment every day.

8. Expose your teen to relaxation techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, visualization, progressive muscular relaxation, and positive statements. Empower you teen to feel good!

Parents sometimes make the mistake of interpreting legitimate stress as the typical emotional volatility associated with being a teenager.  Labeling stress as ‘just being a teen’ both unfairly discounts the difficulty of the teenage years and can obscure the telltale signs of damaging teen stress. Parents might notice their teen is stressed if they see that their teen is easily agitated, overactive, confused, afraid, angry, sad, anxious or withdrawn. A preoccupation with a traumatic event, withdrawal from family and friends, sleep disturbances and physical complaints can all be indicators of stress. Lite encourages parents to trust their instinct.

Teens can also help manage their own stress levels, by making a homework plan, scheduling downtime, exercising regularly, eating healthy, not over scheduling, and getting plenty of sleep.  Parents should encourage this behavior whenever possible.

Teen stress is a very real, potentially damaging condition. Parents should take whatever steps possible to help their teenagers relieve their stress during this challenging period of life.  And they should start today.

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