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.

New school year, new school… new friends (please!!)

August 29, 2014

When you’re all cozy in a friendship you can totally relax. Even going to school is more fun because your friend is there. But when you move to a school where you know no one, and your bff friend from your old school stops acting like a friend, then nothing feels right.

I recently got this email from a girl who is in that sad place:

Girls' Friendship Q&A Book, iIllustration by Erica DeChavez

Where do I fit it?!  (from The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship, by Annie Fox, illustrated by Erica De Chavez, © 2014 by Annie Fox and Erica De Chavez. Now available)

Hey Terra,

Last year I moved to a new place. Later I heard that my best friend was best friends with some new girl. That girl is apparently really popular and cool (and also kinda mean) and in one year’s time my bff has become friends with all the poplar kids at school. I know it’s wrong of me, but  I feel really sad and envious. I have seen posts of both of them saying how much fun they have together and how they love each other. (Come on! I knew her much longer than this new girl!) And the sucky part is that at my new school, my new friends keep ditching me. I feel so depressed. 🙁
–Sad and Jealous

Dear Sad and Jealous,

When you moved, what did you expect your best friend to do? Spend all day in her room feeling sad and lonely? Of course she missed you. She also wanted and needed new friends. I’m guessing that you are feeling “sad and envious” because you haven’t yet connected with real friends at your new school. HINT: Real friends do not “keep ditching” you.

A new school year just started. My best advice: stop checking your old friend’s FB page. It’s bringing you down! Don’t do it any more. Instead create a new goal for yourself… “I’m going to find a new best friend.”
Here’s how:

  • Grab a piece of paper and make a list (I love lists!)
  • Think long and deep about what’s really important to you in a friendship.
  • Write down all the traits you are looking for in a best friend. For example, you might write: Loyal, a sense of humor, intelligent, shares my interests… etc etc etc.
  • Use that list and go “shopping” for a new best friend. (Be on the lookout for the kind of people at school who’ve got what you want in a friend.)
  • When you find one, smile, say, “Hi,” and see what happens.

Go for it! Good luck! And please let me know how it goes.

Three weeks later…

Hey Terra,

I’M DOING GREAT 😀 I made a few more new friends who wont ditch me? and I think I have gotten over my old best friend. Though I think it would still take some time before I make a best friend.

Thank you so much, Terra!

I love happy beginnings. ;O)

If you could use some new friends this year (you can never have too many of the real kind) make a list and go shopping. It could work for you, too.


How to be happy for 40 years

August 25, 2014

Annie and David, August 25, 1974

Annie and David, August 25, 1974

August 25, 1974  – David and I got married on Long Island, under a tree. We wrote our own vows, put real flowers on top of the cake, and instructed the official to lose the “obey” and just go with “honor.” Sounds like a hippie wedding, but it was real. At least, I think so. Being the 70’s, reality was up for grabs.

Anyway, it’s 40 years today and if someone asked me “Why did you marry David, a guy that you’d only recently met on vacation?” I would say, because David saw wonderful things in me that I didn’t know were there. I saw what he saw in the video tape he made of our first days together and it blew me away. I figured “If he sees that in me, then I’ve gotta stay with this man so I can become those things.” So I did. And I did.

If someone asked David, “Why’d you marry Annie?” He’d say… Wait a minute. I don’t actually know what he’d say. Let me go ask. (Short commute to David’s office next door….. )

Here’s what he said: “I married you because you are those wonderful things…. and because it was so natural being with you. When people saw us in those first few days they were amazed we’d just met. They thought we’d been together for years. We had been together for years… in other lifetimes. You are my soulmate.”

How can you not love a guy who is so awesome that he still says stuff like that after forty years?

So you want to know the secret of being happy for the long-haul? Here you go:

• Be nice. You’re not going to feel like it all the time, but when things are just fine, think of ways to show that you really are your partner’s best friend.

• Do fun stuff. You don’t need to be inseparable, but you’ve gotta find a least one thing (outside of sex) that you both enjoy doing together and do it, often.

• Laugh. Together. A lot. Life is funny. Even when it’s frustrating and crazy. So you’ve gotta laugh. As my dad used to say, “What else ya’ gonna do?” Good point.

• Share the chores. At best, housework is boring, but it really sucks when it’s marinated in resentment. Share the recycling, vacuuming, laundry, shopping, etc. Your home will stay cleaner and you’ll have more time for the fun stuff.

• Eat.  Food is life. If you really get into it, you can extract endless joy from cooking and baking. And then there’s growing what you eat. But even if none of that is your thing, make the time to sit down for meals together. Savor the food. Savor the company. Enjoy.

• Show appreciation. Everyone likes having their efforts noticed. Whether it’s filling up the car, appearing at your desk with a snack, or massaging your feet…. “Thank you!” says “I love you and appreciate this kindness.”

• Talk it out. Stress, anger, resentment, worry gets in the way of feeling close. Some is directed at your partner, some isn’t. Whenever you feel your Monkey Mind careening into dark corners, put on the brakes, toss that chimp aside and talk to your partner. The goal isn’t to dump your load, the goal is to share it and lighten it.

• Listen to each other. Our emotions and life experiences make us all so fragile. In your partnership, make it safe to talk by being the kind of partner who knows how to listen with an open heart, an open mind, and open arms. This is truly the secret of a healthy marriage.

• Unplug. If it feels like you and/or your partner spend too much time looking at a screen, you probably do. Talk about that and how you can get back in balance so the relationship gets more of the attention it deserves.

• Have adventures. We love to hike and we don’t always know where we are or if we’re headed in the right direction.  Adventures require a willingness to wander and that’s sure to bring you to unheard of places. Some will be scary. Some, just freakin’ weird. But the juice of a great partnership is trusting that the two of you can figure anything out together.

Okay, it’s 9:28. Time for this anniversary party to get started. Enjoy your day. David and I wish you and your sweetie lots of love and laughter.

Here's looking at you

Here’s looking at you


Filed under: Parenting — Tags: , , , — Annie @ 10:01 am

Cure discovered for ‘mean girl’ disease!

August 19, 2014

After more than a year’s collaboration, our work on The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship is wrapping up. Illustrated by the ridiculously talented Erica DeChavez, my book for 8-12 year old girls, is coming next month from Electric Eggplant.

I’m super excited when I think about all the girls this book is going to help. Let’s face it, a new school year always brings friendship issues (aka social garbage.) The Girls’ Friendship Q&A Book is a cure for mean-girl behavior. (You’ve had enough of that, right?)  With 50 questions from real girls (and answers that really solve the problem), plus tons of quizzes and awesome advice from older teens about how to be a Super-Friend, this book will teach you a whole lot about empathy and social courage. Something we can all use more of.

Sneak Peek from The Girls’ Friendship Q&A Book> Here’s one of the book’s fifty questions and answers:

"She needs a friend, but I don't think I'm brave enough."

“She needs a friend, but I don’t think I’m brave enough.” (from The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship, by Annie Fox, illustrated by Erica De Chavez, © 2014 by Annie Fox and Erica De Chavez. Now available)

A new girl from another country gets teased because she doesn’t speak English.  I want to be nice to her, but I’m afraid people will tease me. Should I be her friend? 

You already know the answer to your question, but you need some support. That’s why I’m here. Yes, you should be her friend! She has come from far away to a place that is very strange to her and she needs a friend. Imagine how you’d feel moving to some place that’s very different from what you’re used to. What would it be like not to understand what people are saying and to have no one understand you? She’s got a lot to deal with. Now imagine how she feels being teased. Having a friend like you could really help.

You say you’re worried the teasers might turn on you. They might. Or they might become friendlier to the new girl when you show them the way. You have the chance to do something important, and you are brave enough to do it.

Be kind. Show this girl that people in your country can be very welcoming. You’ll gain a new friend and learn amazing things about her and her culture.

Go for it and good luck!


For updates on the publication of The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship, follow me on twitter and visit

UPDATE October 4, 2014: The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship: 50 Ways to Fix a Friendship Without the DRAMA is now available in print and on Kindle (the ebook can be read on any device, your mobile phone, tablet, or computer with the free Kindle reader app). Visit for an excerptreviews, and to order your copy.


What’s Up With My Family?

August 14, 2014

Your Mom sees one dirty spoon on the sink counter and starts yelling. You politely ask Dad for movie money and he walks past you muttering something about “…growing on trees.” You excitedly tell your daughter, “Keep Saturday open, sweetie, we’re going…” but before you finish, she bursts into tears. Your son is nothing but rude to his little brother and when you try to reason with him he loudly accuses you of not loving him.

What's up with my family? There's an app for that!

What’s up with my family? There’s an app for that!

Later you sit at the dinner table. No one talks or even looks at each other. Yet you’re all connected by a silent question: “What’s up with my family?!”

What’s that you say? Never wondered about that? Bolderdash! For centuries parents and kids have asked themselves “What’s up with my family?” Now, finally, here in the glorious Digital Age, there comes an app with some answers!! I know it’s good, because I wrote it. But don’t just take my word for it, here’s what Carisa Kluver of Digital Storytime has to say:

Fox covers issues that range from over-protective parents to abandonment and loss deftly in this graphic novel for readers 10 and up. What’s Up with My Family? is a book app with brilliant storytelling, movie-quality sound effects and seamlessly integrated features. Electric Eggplant has set the gold standard for presenting graphic novels in the digital realm. My highest recommendation!

Bolderdash aside, when it comes right down to it, we love our family. We really do! And sometimes they drive us nuts. Without doubt, we sometimes do our part to drive them nuts too. Even though all families are different, they all have ups and downs.

This is an app for every kid (and parent) who’s ever wondered, “What’s Up With My Family?” It may help you understand the people in your family better. It may also help you use your power to improve things at home. Sometimes you can do that by talking about how you feel. Sometimes, change happens when you shift your attitude and decide to be more cooperative.

Get it now, for your family and you might start talking and laughing at dinner again.

(Press release can be viewed here.)

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