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.

“My daughter has trouble keeping friends!”

September 26, 2013

Got an email from Concerned Mom whose smart, funny daughter has no trouble making friends, but lots of trouble keeping them. The pattern is this: Daughter gets close to other girls and feels accepted by them. Then, within weeks new found friends exclude and then ignore the girl. Naturally, she feels upset and alone, which, of course breaks Mom’s heart. She turned to me for advice and here’s what I told her:

Everyone got invited but me*
(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)


I understand that it breaks your heart to see your daughter so unhappy. Of course you want her to make real friends who treat her with affection, kindness and respect. But it feels like something is missing in your email.


Each time your daughter is disappointed by a new friend you’ve listened to her side of the story, sympathized and offered comfort and support. All good! But there are at least two sides to every relationship story. That’s why I am curious about what’s going on from the other girls’ perspectives. Maybe you’re also wondering why each of these new friends turn against your daughter after such a short time? It’s a mystery worth exploring.

What might your daughter be doing (knowingly or unknowingly) to contribute to this reaction she often gets? How about if you ask her: “Why do you think ____ stopped wanting to be your friend?”

This question may bring up a lot of emotion, so please ask it in a neutral tone of voice. You’re not accusing your daughter of anything! You’re simply inviting her to put aside her sadness and think about what may be going on here. Right now, she’s hurt and confused and probably feeling powerless. She can regain some of her power by understanding how she functions in friendships because she plays a significant role in every one of them, whether she’s aware of it yet or not. To encourage her to think about that role you need to ask thoughtful, open-ended questions that have no “right” or “wrong” answers. Questions like “Why do you think this girl stopped being your friend?”

Listen to your daughter with an open heart and mind. Try not to interrupt. Initially, she may not say much. She might just shrug and say, “I don’t know.” In which case you might nod understandingly and say, “It’s hard to know why other people do what they do. But we usually have a reason. Your friends have been rude to you. If you could just guess why, what would you guess?”

Your daughter may have fallen into the habit of thinking of herself as a powerless victim to whom other people do unkind things. That’s not a good mental place for her to be. We want our girls to understand emotions (their own and other people’s). We also want them to feel confident in their ability to make and keep real friends. That includes learning to rebound from set-backs and to negotiate the ups and downs of relationships.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,

*Illustration by Erica De Chavez, from my upcoming The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship

UPDATE October 3, 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.


Girls’ friendship issues are… HUGE

April 27, 2013

UPDATE (See end of blog for exciting news about my new book.)

Last month I started working on a new girls’ friendship book with awesome illustrator Erica De Chavez.

If you have a daughter, you don’t need me to tell you that girl friendships can be super complicated and fraught with challenges for girls and their moms! When things get sticky, kindness and respect often go missing in action and feelings get hurt all around.

Since 1997, girls from all over the planet have been turning to me for help in navigating their friendship messes. I guess that makes me an expert on social garbage. The girls who email me are tweens and teens. But I thought, if I write a book to help younger girls, maybe they will have easier friendships when they get to middle school. We can always hope, right? But hope is no strategy for making things better. What our girls need are effective tools for managing conflicts. Combine those tools with the self-respect and social courage to use them… now we’re talking about effective strategies for positive change.

Here’s a sneak peek at the book:

She’s a friend snatcher! (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)

Q: Every time me and my friend have a private conversation, this new girl pulls her away. What do I do??

A: I don’t blame you for not wanting your private conversations interrupted. That’s so annoying! It sounds like the new girl has lots of power, but she doesn’t have all the power. If your friend didn’t want to get pulled away she could tell the girl to stop. She hasn’t done that yet. And you haven’t yet told your friend how you’ve been feeling.

Real friends tell each other the truth. Talk to her. You might say something like this: “I don’t like it when ____ pulls you away from me. How come you let her do that?” Then close your mouth and listen to what your friend has to say.

The next time the new girl tries to yank her away, your friend will either stand up for herself or she’ll let herself be yanked. That’s her choice. One more thing you might think about: Why is the new girl snatching your friend? It’s not always easy being the “new girl” who doesn’t have friends yet. I think that would feel LONELY! She probably just wants a friend and doesn’t know a more polite way to make one. Maybe you and your friend could team up with her and be friends together. That could work!

Anyway, the snatching stuff needs to stop. So talk to your friend. If things don’t change, what are you going do? You can either stand there watching the two of them go off together or you can reach out to other girls and make some new friends. You see, you have choices too!


 Sneak peek #2 and sneak peek #3 of the Girls’ Friendship Q&A Book.

UPDATE: July 22, 2014  After a year in production, The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship will be published by Electric Eggplant in September. Just in time for the new school year and the inevitable friendship drama heading toward your 8–12 year old daughter. Every girl needs friendship support from time to time. My book provides that plus:real world advice for navigating through the “social garbage,” friendship quizzes, and advice from older girls about how to be a Super Friend. If you’d like to preorder The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship for a girl in your life, or you’d just like a personal heads-up when the book is available, email me (

UPDATE: October 3, 2014 It’s here! 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 excerpt, reviews, and to order your copy.


This book is free so take it

October 1, 2009

Download 'The Teen Survival Guide' for Free

It's all about healthy relationships (the only kind worth having)

We launched TheInSite in June 1997. From Day One Hey Terra received relationship questions from tweens and teens around the world. Twelve years later the email keeps coming. Pretty amazing this Internets!

After a couple of years of responding to this stuff every day, I decided to write a relationship book for teens. Can You Relate? was published in 2000. It’s my take on how to create and maintain healthy relationships with everyone in your life, including yourself.  It got great reviews. Five years later it was re-released as The Teen Survival Guide to Dating and Relating. It went out of print in 2008.

David and I played around with the idea of reprinting it ourselves for sale. But then, last month, thanks to Chris Anderson‘s influence, I decided to give my book away as a FREE download. No strings attached. You don’t even have to provide your email address, though I am partial to dark chocolate so if you wanted to send me a Panther Bar I wouldn’t be insulted.

Giving things away for free is not usually the way companies like to do business. That’s why I’m giving a big shout out to Free Spirit Publishing for being so supportive of this wacky idea. Shows what cool people they are. Check out their website. They publish great books for kids, teens, parents and teachers.

Anyway, here’s the entire volume of Teen Survival Guide to Dating and Relating. Everything your tweens and teens need to know about about guys, girls, growing up, and getting along. Give it to them with my compliments. Hopefully they’ll read it and think about how the situations and the advice apply to them. They might even remember the stuff that resonates and use it someday when they need it.

One more thing, if you’ve got friends with teens or tweens, pass on the free download link to them. That’s what friends are for.


“Middle School Confidential” – Book 1 is Here

August 1, 2008

Middle School Confidential - Book 1: Be Confident in Who You Are

Middle School Confidential, Book 1: Be Confident in Who You Are

Writing books is a quasi-surreal endeavor to begin with. Writing a five-book series is more than strange. Middle School Confidential started with an inspiration, followed by some concepts, chased by a bunch of ideas. Then I spent several intense months figuring out how to get what’s going on in my mind to connect with the life experience of my readers (5th-8th graders). (All that before I even began Book 1!)

Finally I finished the first draft of the first book and sent it to my editor. He sent it back with some notes in places that needed revisions. I completed the additional work and sent it off again, which earned me a big editorial thumbs up.

Then after a couple of weeks of mental vacation, I started Book 2. So the process repeated itself.

Now it’s the first of August. I spent most of today working on Book 3. (Zip zip) On a mid-afternoon fresh air break I tripped over a box left on my front step by the guy in the brown truck. Opening it, I found a blast from my creative past… AKA Book 1 had arrived! There it was… in my hands, an actual real world book with my name on the cover and my photo in the back (in case I needed proof). Like I said, surreal, and smile-inducing. If you want a copy. Just let me know. Only $9.95. A bargain at half the price. ;O)

Filed under: Annie's Books,Announcements,Bookshelf,Teen Books — Tags: — Annie @ 10:24 pm
« Newer Posts
Find Annie Fox: Find Annie on Facebook Find Annie on Twitter Find Annie on Pinterest Find Annie on YouTube Find Annie on Google+ Find Annie on LinkedIn Find Annie on Goodreads Find Annie on Quora