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.

What’s Up With My Family?

August 14, 2014

Your Mom sees one dirty spoon on the sink counter and starts yelling. You politely ask Dad for movie money and he walks past you muttering something about “…growing on trees.” You excitedly tell your daughter, “Keep Saturday open, sweetie, we’re going…” but before you finish, she bursts into tears. Your son is nothing but rude to his little brother and when you try to reason with him he loudly accuses you of not loving him.

What's up with my family? There's an app for that!

What’s up with my family? There’s an app for that!

Later you sit at the dinner table. No one talks or even looks at each other. Yet you’re all connected by a silent question: “What’s up with my family?!”

What’s that you say? Never wondered about that? Bolderdash! For centuries parents and kids have asked themselves “What’s up with my family?” Now, finally, here in the glorious Digital Age, there comes an app with some answers!! I know it’s good, because I wrote it. But don’t just take my word for it, here’s what Carisa Kluver of Digital Storytime has to say:

Fox covers issues that range from over-protective parents to abandonment and loss deftly in this graphic novel for readers 10 and up. What’s Up with My Family? is a book app with brilliant storytelling, movie-quality sound effects and seamlessly integrated features. Electric Eggplant has set the gold standard for presenting graphic novels in the digital realm. My highest recommendation!

Bolderdash aside, when it comes right down to it, we love our family. We really do! And sometimes they drive us nuts. Without doubt, we sometimes do our part to drive them nuts too. Even though all families are different, they all have ups and downs.

This is an app for every kid (and parent) who’s ever wondered, “What’s Up With My Family?” It may help you understand the people in your family better. It may also help you use your power to improve things at home. Sometimes you can do that by talking about how you feel. Sometimes, change happens when you shift your attitude and decide to be more cooperative.

Get it now, for your family and you might start talking and laughing at dinner again.

(Press release can be viewed here.)

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Be Confident iPad app give away

April 12, 2011

Our iPad app, "Be Confident in Who You Are: A Middle School Confidential™ Graphic Novel"

UPDATE: 4/13 Thank you to all who entered the Be Confident app Give-Away! Congratulations to our 2 winners: Himabindu Tummuru and Jeanne Demers!

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For today only, in honor of my birthday and my 10,000th tweet I’m giving away 2 FREE copies of our new iPad app for 4th-8th graders: Be Confident in Who You Are: A Middle School Confidential™ Graphic Novel.

NOTE: This give-away is for iPad only. If you’ve got an iPhone (but no iPad) and long for the Be Confident app, hold that thought! In a few weeks we’ll be releasing a universal version that will work on iPad and iPhone/iPod.

SIMPLE CONTEST RULES: Recall a time when you crossed over from self-doubt to CONFIDENT. Use 140 characters or less to describe when you became AWESOME even if only for a moment. Tweet* it to @Annie_Fox Contest ends at 10 AM PDT on April 13th.

*If you don’t have a twitter account send your 140 character (or less) entry to me

Thanks and good luck!

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What other people think

April 5, 2011

That doesn't bother me... much

Tweens and teens are famously self-conscious around their peers. The risk of falling short of what’s “cool” can be so intimidating it’s a wonder they crawl out of the sack and get themselves to school. Each day 160,000 American kids don’t bother. They can’t deal with the judgement, put-downs and out-and-out cruelty from other students so they stay home.

I know at least one adult who also wrestles with self-doubts. Before I leave the house for a speaking gig,  I stress over my hair and what I’m wearing, especially when I’m presenting to middle schoolers. I try on a half dozen different tops, pants, earrings in an attempt to look cooler. I know it’s a total crap shoot and I’m sure I often fail miserably, but I make the effort because I want the kids to accept me. Kinda sweet and kinda pathetic too.

Why does it matter so much what other people think? Well, as a species we’re programed to try to get other folks to like us. We’re not the fiercest beasts in the jungle so we need to team up to survive. A team works for the mutual benefit of all members only if those members are on good terms.

And so, throughout the millennia, we’ve become skilled at decoding each other’s micro-expressions – fleeting facial indications of fear, disgust, surprise, approval, etc. When we see disapproval, it’s time to back-pedal… quick!

For example, suppose we’re chatting and I say, “Wow! Last night for dinner we had the best steamed okra.” I’m about to add, “You’ve gotta try this recipe!” But before I do, I detect a Yuck expression flit across your face. Uh-oh…  I offended you. I’m in trouble! If you vote to kick me off the team my survival’s at stake. I’ve gotta figure a fast, face-saving move. I’ve got it! “Of course, not everyone likes okra…” I say with a charming smile. You nod and smile back. Phew! That was close!

I created this quiz to help kids start thinking about all this. Share it with your child. Take it yourself. Food for thought. Tastier than okra.

DO I WORRY TOO MUCH WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK?*

  1. If my friends think something is funny, I’ll laugh even if I don’t get the joke. True/False
  2. The worst thing is to do something embarrassing in front of people. T/F
  3. If everyone’s seen a movie but me, I’ll say I saw it. T/F
  4. If my parents think something’s a “good” idea, I’m suspicious. T/F
  5. I hate making decisions cause it sucks to be wrong. T/F
  6. I’m never the first person to give my opinion. T/F
  7. I’ve dropped out of an activity I liked because none of my friends were into it. T/F
  8. It’s risky to say how you really feel. T/F
  9. If someone makes fun of what I’m wearing, I won’t wear it again. T/F
  10. If my friends think something’s cool, I’ll try it even if I’m not sure I’ll like it. T/F

7-10 Trues: You worry what others think and it brings you down.With a boost in self-confidence and support from family and friends, you’ll trust yourself more and enjoy being you.

3-6 Trues: Sometimes it’s hard for you to stand up for yourself, but when you do it feels good. You’re getting better all the time at being your own person.

0-2 Trues: You hardly ever worry what others think because you’re self-confident and have a lot of self-respect. You may not know it, but people respect you for who you are.

*Excerpted from Be Confident in Who You Are, Book 1 of my Middle School Confidential series. Just released as a graphic novel iPad app (for ages 8-14) and now available from iTunes.

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