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.

“I’m jealous over my boyfriend’s ex!”

March 31, 2016

Hey Terra,

Stop kissing her right now!

Stop kissing her right now or I’m gonna do something you won’t like!

I’m with this guy for like 6 months, he’s my first boyfriend and my big love ( even if he’s not my first I fell in love with)… I have a real problem, I’m jealous of his past. He lived so much with his ex and I want this relation to work out the best, but  I don’t know if he thinks the same.  How can I get over this jealousy? It’s driving me crazy! – Jealousy Sucks

Dear Jealousy Sucks –

It sure does! But you don’t have to let jealousy control you or your relationships.

You can’t change your boyfriend’s relationship history: who he has been with,  how they felt about each other, and what they did. That’s over. Done.  Same with your past crushes. (Yes, I’m talking about the first person you fell in love with.)

The only place we can live is right now. If we’re not here, we’re no where at all. (Think about that the next time you space out imagining your guy with his ex.)

Look, either this relationship is what you and this guy both want now or it isn’t. If it turns out the relationship doesn’t last, for whatever reason, then so be it. Take what you learned into your next relationship and do better. But if you can not “get over” your jealousy, then you will be equally jealous of the next guy’s ex or exes.

So what’s in the way of your just saying to yourself, “He is with me now because he loves me. That’s all that matters.”?

How do you kick jealousy to the curb? Sometimes it takes help. If you’ve got a school counselor, you might want to pop in and talk to him or her about how to deal with jealousy. You might also check out some library books about the subject (there are plenty!). Or have a look at this article I wrote. One thing is for sure, doing nothing, is probably not going to help. If you let your jealousy ruin this relationship and you don’t figure out a healthy way to deal with these feelings, the same mistrust and jealousy will likely mess up your next relationship. You don’t want that! So work on this. You can do it.

Good luck!  I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Annie (aka Terra)

Filed under: Parenting,Teens — Tags: , , — Annie @ 3:47 pm

Despite what you’re seeing, Americans are not filled with hate

March 11, 2016

Open letter to all people of good will living outside the United States:

hate (2)If you have been shocked and dismayed by what’s happening at Donald Trump campaign rallies, so have millions of Americans. Mr. Trump’s racist, anti-Muslim, sexist, anti-immigrant rhetoric and the violence he insights has appalled us. We are deeply troubled by and frightened at the possibility of a Trump presidency. But instead of soul-searching and doing the societal work to reduce racism and xenophobia in America, we’ve simply scratched our heads and asked: What the hell is going on with these Trump supporters that they are so filled with hate? I’ve asked myself that question repeatedly as Trump rally assaults continue. But I won’t be asking it any more. It’s a meaningless question.

To be “filled with hate” implies that nothing but hate exists within a person. We all have the seeds of hate within us. We also have a lot more. We are at the affect of an ever-changing mix of emotions that can, in an instant, turn a rational, cooperative person into a raging monster. We know this is true. We’ve seen it happen in ourselves. We’ve all, at times, been so filled with anger and resentment and so blinded by fear and ignorance we have wished another harm. We might have even felt so pushed over the edge that we acted on those feelings with ugly words and clenched fists.

There is no  excuse or justification for violence. Our only hope is understanding how emotions affect us so we can learn to manage them without resorting to violence. That is our greatest human challenge.

Here in America, many of us have taken up this challenge within ourselves. We are also working to educate our children in the ways of non-violence. Undoubtedly, you are doing the same work.  Wish us well in this endeavor. We wish you the same. Our shared humanity depends on it.

Filed under: Parenting — Tags: , , , — Annie @ 11:29 am

You’ve got to be taught to hate

March 3, 2016

The list of Racist Things that Have Happened at Trump Rallies grows like weeds in manure. With fear and loathing I watch what Trump encourages his followers to do.  As a Jew, I wonder when these bullies will put on their brown shirts. I wonder what it will take to wake-up the media and the community of the open-minded. Are we there yet? Or will it take more violence at one of these rallies? A murder perhaps? Think that will do it?

Where do white supremacists with their anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, antieveryone but my kind rhetoric learn their lessons of hate?

You've got to be taught to hate and fear.

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.

“You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” is a cage-rattling song from the musical South Pacific. Written in 1949, the song openly examines racial intolerance and its power to divide us. The producers tried to ax it from the show. Fortunately, they didn’t win that argument.

Anyway, here are the lyrics. Find it on YouTube. Powerful stuff:

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Just curious, how are you talking to your kids about what’s going on? And while we’re thinking about prejudice, what take-away lessons did you got from your parents when it came to how to treat people who are different from you? In what ways are you transmitting the same or different messages to your kids? As always, your comments are welcome.

Filed under: Parenting — Tags: , , — Annie @ 3:49 pm

What racism teaches

February 29, 2016

When I watched a 52 second video of a couple of 5-year-old girls beating up a three-year-old my heart ached. Then my head exploded. The assault is a hate crime. Yeah, kindergartners are plenty old enough to hate. (I’d share the link, but the video has been taken off FB. I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, it’s hard to watch. On the other hand, if we can’t fix what we don’t see.)

Children being cruel. Deeply disturbing. Goes without saying. But please don’t rush to judgment. The little African American girls, and their older brother who is laughing and egging them on, are not “bad” children. They are simply responding to the lessons of parents’ who, by the way, aren’t “bad” either. Mom and Dad are doing what all parents do… trying to keep their children safe. Many black parents are doing their damnedest to protect their kids from whites who would hold them back, put them down, push them aside and do them harm. Why should we be surprised if they teach their children that white people are the “enemy?” That’s what you’re seeing here… young children fighting against the enemy as it has been defined for them.

The way it is for too many kids.

The way it is for too many kids.

If we are honest we can’t pretend to wonder how this came to be. After generations of systemic racism do white people expect people of color to view us as their friends? To the degree whites lump together all African Americans and continue to deny them opportunities to live in peace and prosperity, it’s reasonable to assume people of color lump together all whites.

Of course everyone should deplore the treatment of the little white girl in the video. But instead of getting caught up in righteous indignation, how about committing ourselves to changing an economic, educational, political and judicial  system that is rigged against people of color? With equal opportunity there will be less hate all around.

Filed under: Parenting — Tags: — Annie @ 7:35 pm
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