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.

Even at the Olympics what goes up must come down

February 13, 2014

Love may be cruel, but gravity is heartless. Unlike Cupid, the big G isn’t out to make a fool of you, but it will get you no matter how long you’ve practiced, what you’ve sacrificed, how many prizes you’ve racked up, how much you want this one, or who is watching. It just doesn’t care.

Ask Shaun White.



Or Yuki Tsubota. (Speedy recovery, Yuki!)


Or Marreo Guarise.



Or Arianna Fontana and Elise Christie.

Didn't see that coming

Didn’t see that coming

We are wired to wince. It pains us to see one of our fellow humans take a tumble. But when it’s our own child… man, that can be brutal. But even the most diligent snowplow parent, hell-bent all obstacles from their child’s path, cannot prevent gravity from doing its thing.

Teachable Moment: Your kids will fall. They’ll get hurt. Give them a hug. Kiss the boo-boo. Tell them you love them, you’re proud of them. And make sure they wear a helmet.


Olympic figure skaters got no trust issues

February 12, 2014

Confession time. My name is Annie and I’m a figure skating illiterate. No matter how many Winter Games I devour, I’ll never get the difference between a triple toe loop, sow cow, lutz or twizzle. Who cares? I’m hooked on all of the single skating events. Short. Long. Free. But when it comes to pairs… Wow! You get twice the beauty and fifty times the danger. Knife sharp blades this close to a serene face. Head with precious brain this close to rock hard ice.  And don’t slip past the improbability of survival when a guy balancing on 3/16 inch of steel, lifts a woman (albeit it a small one) overhead with one hand! Then seconds later, he catapults her into the stratosphere, where she spins one, two, three and a half times and (hopefully) lands with grace on a few toes, all the while smiling at him and gliding backwards.

Kirsten Moore-Towers.Dylan Moscovitch (AP)

Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch (AP)

How nuts is that and when can I see more?

Because relationships are my business, that’s the filter through which I see all human interactions. So when I’m watching the moves on the ice, I’m asking myself: How do the skaters develop the trust they need?

Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov (2010 European Chamionships)

Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov (2010 European Chamionships)

For the women, they need to be strong, solid, flexible and totally trusting of their partner’s ability to support them. When someone is holding your body upside down over their shoulders, that’s a whole new level of support, right?

For the men, they need to be a strong, solid, flexible and totally trustworthy partner, no distractions allowed. When you are balancing someone’s body over your head, with one hand, your cell phone better not be in your pocket.

Teachable moment: How do we teach our kids that trust is a two-way street? How do we show them are trustworthy people to others and trustworthy parents to them? How do we teach our kids to be trusting and trustworthy people in their relationship with us and with their peers?

I’ll trust you to think about that for a while, then you might want to have a conversation with your children.


Olympic dreaming, family-style

February 11, 2014

Alex and Frederic Bilodeau: We are in this together

Alex and Frederic Bilodeau: We are in this together (AFP)

Canadian freestyle moguls skier Alex Bilodeau placed 11th in the 2006 Turino Games. His brother Frederic roared encouragement from the finish line. When the race was over and the results were in Frederic hugged Alex and said, “I love you and I’m proud of you.” In the 2010 Vancouver Games Alex won gold and Frederic delivered the same post-race message. Was Frederic thrilled at Alex’s achievement? Absolutely! Did he feel more love and pride because of the gold? No.

Last night, in Sochi, Alex killed the moguls and snagged gold again, the only person who’s ever done it twice. Frederic, catapulted over the moon, touching down long enough to hug Alex and tell him, “I love you and I’m proud of you.”

Alex and Frederic are quite a team. And the fact that Alex is a world class athletic and Frederick is an artist with cerebral palsy means nothing and everything.

Alex dedicated his gold medal to Frederic. “He lives his dreams through my eyes and for me it’s priceless to see that, to see his eyes just so big and so proud. He’s worked hard. He’s encouraged me. He’s always been with me through those four years, working hard. He’s a big part of that.”

During every event, NBC periodically cuts to the athletes’ family in the crowd, their faces burn with intense love and unconditional support. What these athletes get from their family has brought them to the Olympics. Which isn’t to say that a child cannot reach full potential without a parent’s encouragement and help. He can do it. She can do it. It’s just so much harder.

Teachable moment: Do what you can to support your children’s dreams. Make sure they are, in fact, the child’s own dreams and not a goal you’ve defined for them and pushed them toward. And whether they win a prize on “race day” or take a tumble, it really helps to hear, “I love you and I’m proud of you.”


Failed Olympic ski run attempt or a “total failure?”

February 10, 2014

Bode Miller was the hands down fav to win the downhill ski race at the Winter Games. He finished 8th, a slippery .52 seconds behind Matthias Mayer’s gold medal time of 2:06:23. Clear as ice crystals, Bode failed. But does that make him a failure? Nah! The guy has racked up five Olympic medals in past 15 years, along with 33 World Cup Races. Without doubt, he’s the best America ski racer of the past two decades. And yet, a half a second is damning, isn’t it? But does it have to be? Isn’t it all in your attitude and how you choose to be spun by the media? For us mortals who don’t compete on Mount Olympus, and for the young mortals in our care, life and the progress we make is about what we learn from our mistakes as well as our wins. Or not.

Ty Walker: We're here to have fun too, right?

Ty Walker: We’re here to have fun too, right?

On the other side of the mountain, 16 year old Ty Walker came off her flubbed last chance qualifying run on slope style, looked right into the camera, shrugged impishly and laughed. You gotta love that attitude!

I don’t mean to sugar-coat a loss anywhere, especially not in the Olympics where massive amounts of personal and national pride are on the line. (And let’s not forget cash!) But when people get all whiney-nutso when they don’t get gold, something’s outta whack. Like Hannah Kearney, for example. She won gold in the 2010 Winter Games and 27 out of 37 World Cup races since then, but she was so bummed with her bronze medal in the moguls on Saturday she acted like the officials hung a 3-day old dead fish around her neck.

Teachable moment: We don’t live in Lake Wobegon where all the children are “above average.” You win some and you lose some. Buck up. Be a good sport. Try again.


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