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: Talking with your kids so they’ll listen and open up

September 19, 2010

David McQueen

David McQueen, The Dave Mack Project

You don’t need me to tell you the road gets plenty rough during the teen years, for them and for us. 21st century parents frequently miss opportunities to take the lead and maintain meaningful connections with their tweens and teens. Of course, it’s not all our fault. Teens don’t encourage dialogue, at least not with us! But we can only change ourselves and we need to do a better job when it comes to really listening and trying to understand what’s going on with the young people we love most in the world. Because the lessons of intimacy we teach at home help our kids grow into adults with the confidence to discover who they ought to be.

When we miss those opportunities to connect, it’s not because we don’t care, it’s just that all of us (the kids too) are too busy to check in with each other. Sometimes reminders are needed.

My guest today is David McQueen and he’s here to provide some reminders. David is an educator, international speaker, and blogger extraordinaire. He empowers adults and youth alike on subjects such as leadership, careers and communication skills. Dave is also the founder of The Dave Mack Project, a teen empowerment movement that combines speaking, live events, social media and youth coaching for teens and those who work with teens.

For the last 22 years, Dave McQueen has reached over a million teenagers through  live speaking and workshops, on TV and online, with messages of empowerment about inhabiting the present and creating a brilliant future.

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:

Ronit Baras, author of Be Special, Be Yourself for Teenagers

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

Katherine Ellison, author of the memoir, Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention

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Friendship’s a two-way street

September 16, 2010

Most parents feel proud to see their kid being a good friend. But kids aren’t born knowing about respect, cooperation and empathy. They learn from us. And we teach our kids a whole lot about friendship by the way we help them and let them help us. Because of a parent’s consistent love and support little kids often say “My mom/dad is my best friend!”

That's what friends are for.

But as they grow, their friendships get more complex and our lessons need to be more pointed. We’ve got to help them connect the dots and understand that friendship is a two-way street.

If your  son or daughter is being bullied or in any way getting the short end of the friendship stick, you can help. Since (s)he’s desperately trying to figure out what friendship is about, it’s a perfect time for a calm, respectful sit-down discussion. You might say something like this:

Sweetheart, in a real friendship (the only kind worth having) both people need to treat each other with respect. If a friend is sometimes nice and sometimes not, then respect yourself enough to stand up and speak the truth.

It isn’t always easy to tell the truth, even to a best friend. But if you stay silent things are probably going to get worse. Also, if you keep your mouth shut when you’re hurting, you let your friend believe that you’re OK with what’s going on. You and I both know you aren’t OK with being laughed at or teased or ignored, so why let anyone think that you are?!

In case you’re wondering if speaking up guarantees that you and your friend won’t ever have any more problems, the answer is no.  In fact, if you tell your friend that you’ve had it with being disrespected, (s)he may get angry. (S)he may accuse you of trying to wreck the friendship. (S)he may turn others against you. (S)he may do all of that and more!

Because I’m always honest with you, I’m letting you know there are risks in telling the truth. But real friends can take the truth because they should know you’d never intentionally hurt them. And the truth often strengthens a real friendship, so there’s that.

Sweetie, I love you… which is why I want you to understand, now while you’re in middle school and for the rest of your life, that you’ve got to be your own best friend. That means letting people know where you stand and never giving anyone permission to be mean to you or others.

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