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.

There’s always nap time (you hope)

December 1, 2014

I’m here at my son and daughter-in-law’s place caring for my grand baby. Yes, I am Granny Annie on Tuesdays and every other Monday.

I'm just not tired, Granny Annie

I’m just not tired, Granny Annie

Shhhhh. The boy just went down for a nap. I’m typing super fast since I may only have 10 minutes here at the keyboard. Or 2 hours. You never know with little ones. They’ve got no awareness of a “schedule,” not yours or the one you think you’ve set up for them. And they sure don’t have any respect for what you “have to do” other than feed them, keep them warm and dry, and be infinitely entertaining. “How about this story…again?” “Show me how you knock down this tower of blocks!” “Let’s take a ride in the stroller and look at the leaves.” “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes…. toot toot!”

We’ve got a great kid here and I’m not exaggerating when I say these full days of hanging out with him are a gift. I’m having a ton of fun… as long as I drop all expectations that I can get any “real” work done while babysitting. That’s the trick… I simply surrender and allow myself to experience time unfolding, moment by moment, just as a six month old does. This is life in the ultra-slow lane. It’s a form of mediation and I can totally get into it.

I only have trouble when I fight the reality of Baby World, like if I try to write a blog post, compose show notes for my podcast, answer important email, or work on my novel. Once while I was here, I attempted something completely insane: I co-hosted a twitter chat! Seriously. What was I thinking, right? It’s tough enough to type with a squirmy baby on your lap, but to actually read real-time parenting questions addressed to me and then hurry up and formulate cogent 140 character responses? Inconceivable! Desperate, I called my David at home. The guy’s a prince. He logged into the chat room as me and read me questions as they zipped by. Then, as I soothed and fed the baby and did my best to dictate nuggets of parenting advice, David tweeted for me.

David and I raised two kids. Admittedly, it’s been awhile. But if I’ve learned anything, this time around here it is: When you’re with the kid… be with the kid. It’ll make you a saner, happier parent. And if you’re lucky, every now and then, the baby will take a two hour nap.

uhhhh…  but not today. He’s up again.

 

Filed under: Parenting — Tags: , , — Annie @ 9:24 pm
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“I’m too scared to talk to my BFF!”

November 24, 2014

Conventional Wisdom: Girls are more talkative than boys, especially when it comes to expressing their feelings.

Annie: That depends on the risk the girl believes she’s taking by being honest.

This question comes from Tweenhood.ca, a thoughtful, complete resource for parents of tweens. Co-fouder Wendy Morrelli, was kind enough to host a stop on my Girls’ Q&A Book on Friendship blog tour last month.

Q: I’ve heard my friend say and do things that are not nice. But I’m afraid to say something as I don’t want to lose her friendship.

I want to talk to her but I'm scared!

“I want to talk to her but I’m scared!” Illustration by Erica De Chavez from The Girls’ Q&A Book on Friendship by Annie Fox © 2014

Annie: Here’s what I hear you saying, “I don’t like the way she’s acting. I want it to stop. But I don’t want her to be mad at me. So I don’t know what to do!” I’ve heard this same fear expressed by many girls, so you’re certainly not alone!

When we are uncomfortable in a friendship because a friend is doing or saying something rude or disrespectful (to us or other people) we need to speak up. If you don’t tell her how her behavior makes you feel, she won’t know because she isn’t a mind-reader! But it’s hard to tell a friend that you don’t like what she’s doing. Maybe you’re afraid she will get angry and not want to be your friend any more. Maybe you also believe being a “good” friend means you should never say anything negative about your friend’s behavior. Where does that leave you? I’m guessing it probably leaves you feeling stuck. But you aren’t stuck. You always have options. You can stay silent, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Do you know why? Because when things aren’t going well in a friendship, silence does not make things better. Silence usually makes things stay the same or actually make things worse! If you are looking for ways to make things better between you and your friend, I suggest you take some slow deep breaths and say calmly and respectfully say this to her:  “When you do ________ it makes me uncomfortable. It makes me lose respect for you. Please stop doing that.” Then close your mouth and listen to what she has to say. It could be a really interesting conversation! Read the rest of our Q&A at Tweenhood.

Bonus Question for Parents: How could you do a better job empowering your daughter to speak up in a friendship?

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The girls in my class can’t stand each other!

November 9, 2014

The Girls’ Q&A Book on Friendship blog tour is in Australia. Specifically at KeystoneCreations and the Sing to Learn blog of educator Nuala O’Hanlon. Because of the girl-friendship dynamics she sees at school everyday, Nuala has some pointed, in-the-trenches questions for me. Like this one…

Nuala: As a teacher, I see how mean and hurtful girls can be to each other at this age. How would you go about dealing with girls who are in the same class, can’t stand each other, and are mean to each other at every opportunity?

Let's talk about this together

Let’s talk about this together

Annie: You haven’t said how old the girls are, but if they are at least 2nd grade, the first step would be to have a community circle with all the girls in the class… those who you see as “part of the problem” as well as those who are not contributing to the nastiness. The goal of this meeting is not to vent about past hurts. As facilitator, you must make sure that doesn’t happen. The goal is to engage girls in the process of finding solutions moving forward.

You might open the circle meeting by saying, “I’ve been noticing certain behaviors in our class that make me very sad. I see girls not letting other girls play or sit with them at lunch. I see girls pushing other girls away with their words and with certain expressions on their faces. I see girls talking in unfriendly ways about girls behind their backs. This is a problem for everyone in the class. Because I know you girls are very smart, I thought I’d ask for your ideas of how we can make our classroom a friendlier place.”

Be patient. Be calm. Exude confidence in the girls’ ability to be creative-problem solvers. Make sure you provide every girl a chance to share ideas for making things more peaceful. Take notes on a white board as the girls brainstorm. End the meeting with action steps to begin the next day.

If this doesn’t improve the situation, I’d suggest you get parents involved along with the school counselor.

Read the rest of my Q&A with Nuala.

Teachers, what are some of your classroom challenges with girl friendship issues?

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She promised she wouldn’t tell my crush, but she told him anyway!

November 6, 2014

Girls' Q&A Book Blog Tour Bus. Fueled by good will and good friendship strategies. Zero carbon emissions.

Thanks to PhotoShop, anyone can have a customized tour bus!

When my tripped-out Girls’ Q&A Book on Friendship blog tour bus pulled up at UnhookedMedia.com, Megan Hunter (@UnhookedBooks) served up some of the most drama-inducing girl friendship questions ever. Like this one…

Question: After telling a girl that I liked a boy in my class, she promised not to tell anyone and then… she told him!  Now I feel awkward around him and his friends and mostly want to be invisible. I’m mad at the girl and don’t want to be her friend anymore. How do I handle this?

Annie: One of the most important parts of a friendship is trust. If you and your friend totally trust each other, you can relax because you can count on each other to be supportive and respectful. You trusted the girl to keep her promise. For whatever reason, she spilled the beans. It is understandable you are angry. You don’t trust her and you don’t want to count on her as a friend any more. But wouldn’t you like to know why she broke that promise? I would!

Did you hear....???

Did you hear….???

I suggest you have a private face-to-face conversation with this girl. Make sure you are in a quiet place where you can talk without interruption. You don’t need an audience, that only creates more drama and you’ve already had enough, right? When the two of you are alone, you might say something like this: “I’m very upset you broke your promise not to tell ______ that I like him. Why did you do that?” Then be quiet, stay calm, and let her answer the question. This is how we communicate in a friendship. We let people know how we feel and we give them a turn to explain their side of the story. We listen to each other and try to find a way through the problem.

As for feeling “awkward” around the boys… obviously what your friend told your crush can’t be taken back. Now he knows you like him maybe this will turn out to be a good thing. It’s possible! Here’s something you can try to make you feel less awkward and more powerful: The next time you see this boy take some slow deep breaths and say to yourself, “He knows I like him. Liking someone isn’t a bad thing. I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m going to hold my head up, be confident, and smile.” Then do it.

For the rest of my Q & A with Megan Hunter (@UnhookedBooks) read on…

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