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.

Divorce heartbreak for tweens and teens

July 14, 2014

I just wish they'd stop screaming at each other!

I just wish they’d stop screaming at each other!

What can I say about parents divorcing that you don’t already know from personal experience or what you’ve observed? Probably nothing. For the couple involved, divorce is one of life’s major upheavals (second only to Death of a Spouse). The whole family feels the impact of divorce and its aftershocks, but adults and kids process it differently.

Young children are very egocentric. As long as their moment-to-moment needs continue to be met, they’re less aware of what’s going on in the family. They’re also not skilled at “covering up.” If they feel tension between Mom and Dad, they will let behave in ways that let everyone know “I’m not happy!” Parents will respond, as best as they can, by comforting the children and/or distracting them. It usually works pretty well.

Teens, on the other hand, are often more distressed by divorce than their younger siblings, and more likely to mask their emotions. Without letting on what’s going on, Mom and Dad might assume their teens are “OK”  when they are far from it. Why do teens hide their feelings? Because they don’t:

a) know how to express the intensity of their emotions (ager, sadness, confusion, guilt, fear, etc.)

b) want to add to their parents’ problems

c) want to get yelled at

d) want to choose sides

e) want to show that they’re not “mature enough” to handle what’s going on

f) all of the above

On this week’s Family Confidential video podcast, I talk with Wendy Young, child and adolescent therapist and founder of Kidlutions. We discuss pragmatic parenting tips for helping kids of all ages navigate the emotional challenges of divorce. - Listen here

 

 

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Why didn’t someone tell me parenting is so….

July 7, 2014

If only they'd told me, I'd still have done it but...

If only they’d told me, I’d still have done it but…

My son and daughter-in-law just had their first child. Nestled within the magic New Baby bubble they gaze, blissful, at this perfect little person who has pretty much taken over their lives and their sleep cycles. But who cares? This is awesome!

Parents are meant to fall in love with their babies. It’s the highest form of sweet surrender. Mom and Dad are totally thrilled to be parents. They’re also overwhelmed by the sheer volume of time, energy and work it takes to care for a newborn. If only they’d known… but of course, we can’t know what being a new parent is about until we’re there. And even then, it’s a tilter-whirl without the safety harness so who’s got time to reflect or even brush your teeth?

But what if you had a wise, cheerful, best friend with several kids? Someone who will happily help you through the uncertain times with the right mix of empathy, humor and sage counsel? Sign me up, right?

My guest this week on Family Confidential is that kind of friend. Natalie Cutler-Welsh is co-founder of the If Only They’d Told Me blog, podcast and co-author of the book If Only They’d Told Me: Babies, Sex and a Cup of Tea. She and her co-author, Jacqueline Lockington, call themselves “the best friends you never knew you had.” So, don’t say no one understands what you’re going through. These women get it.

No matter where you are in your parenting journey, (even if you aren’t yet a parent but are working on it) you’ll enjoy and appreciate my conversation with Natalie. Listen right here.

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Alone again… naturally

July 3, 2014

Took a hike with The Pupster Tuesday, late afternoon. Went again this morning, first thing. I spend too many hours on social media so I try to get unplugged, alone time every day.

Lucky for me, there are lots of nearby places to wander into and lose your mind. Also lucky I appreciate these hills. Speaking of which, green’s a cool color, but this golden thing we’ve got going on right now, is awesome.

Mount Tam morning

This thistle can’t whistle or tweet. But it’s cool

Way up there

Way up there

Do you see a dog?

Heading back before the coyotes come out

Home again. Sweaty. Restored. Grateful.

Filed under: Parenting — Tags: , , , , — Annie @ 12:57 pm
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