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.

We’ve all got special needs

July 21, 2014

The implication, when we speak of kids or adults with special needs, is that “they” are unlike “us.” But isn’t it true that we’ve all got special needs? Maybe the only difference is that some needs are more obvious than others. And some, obviously, require more day-to-day support. Other than that… everyone deserves to be noticed, respected, listened to, and understood. But what happens to a child with less obvious needs when Mom or Dad also have a kid with more obvious needs?

Rachel and Beth Simon

Beth and Rachel Simon

A while back I had the privilege of interviewing award-winning author Rachel Simon for my Family Confidential podcast. Rachel’s books include New York Times bestsellers The Story of Beautiful Girl and Riding the Bus With My Sister (which was adapted into a Hallmark Hall of Fame film starring Andie MacDowell and Rosie O’Donnell, and directed by Angelica Huston.)

Riding the Bus With My Sister, the film

Riding the Bus With My Sister, the film

Rachel’s younger sister, Beth, has an intellectual disability. Because of Rachel’s personal family history, her years of research into disability/sibling issues, and her connection to the Sibling Community, she speaks with a rare eloquence and sensitivity about the treatment of people with disabilities and how parents can do a better job of attending to the special needs of all their children.

Listen to my recent Family Confidential podcast interview with Rachel right here.

 

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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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An appointment with the Teen Doc

June 23, 2014

I’ve always beenimages-1 drawn to people who help people… especially if those they help are kids. Dr. O (aka @TheTeenDoc) is the medical doctor at the head of Teen Clinic in South San Francisco. For that alone she has my deep admiration and respect. In addition to prescribing treatment for the body she also administers to the heart and soul of her young patients. For this she has won a place in my heart’s Heroes Gallery.

I connected with Dr. O on Twitter. Two minutes into our conversation I knew  I wanted her as a guest on my Family Confidential podcast.

Two weeks ago we talked for 20 minutes about her work. We shared personal experiences and insights about kids and mentors. We also laughed a lot. I’m grateful to have recorded this conversation and proud to share it here. Listen to Dr. O talk about how she  uses empathy to connect with the kids in her clinic. You’ll be glad you did because her words and ways will inspire to do the same with the kids in your life.

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