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.

No confidence and no boyfriend. Is there a connection?

May 25, 2017

Must be spring because my teen email is all about crushes. Most from middle schoolers. I won’t bore you my history, but…  occasionally I dream about my 7th grade crush. So believe me, I get romantic insanity. Either you’re out-of-mind euphoric or in a hopeless funk. Sometimes feeling both within five minutes.

No one but you can un-do this negative self-talk, sister

No one but you can un-do this negative self-talk, sister

This 7th grader is crushing hard. Slight problem: the guy is dating her best friend.

Hey Terra,
My best friend’s new boyfriend happens to be my childhood crush. He and I were very close throughout elementary school. We even liked each other in the third grade. So her being with him doesn’t feel right to me. I should have been his first kiss and his first girlfriend. Last year, in 6th grade, I liked him a lot but I got over him. Then this year I found out him and my bff liked each other the whole time! Most of my friends have boyfriends. I should have one too! I am very insecure and I need a boyfriend to feel confident about myself. What do I do to feel confident? Please Help.
-Insecure Girl

Dear Insecure Girl,

You say you got over this guy and maybe you did. But emotional attachments are tricky and sometimes you believe you’re “over it” then, suddenly, your ex is in your face and in your heart again. Seeing your crush with your bff isn’t easy. It’s also not easy to see a bunch of your other friends coupled up when you’re not.

You can’t control other people’s feelings (obviously). But you can stop making things harder for yourself. For example, you’ve been thinking you need a boyfriend to be less insecure. That a boyfriend would solve all your self-confidence issues. That’s just not true.

I understand you want a boy to like you the way your crush likes your bestie. That’s fine. Everyone wants to be loved and admired. But when you try to convince yourself what happened in 3rd grade ought to put you first in line to be his girlfriend, that’s wrong-thinking. You don’t get to decide who becomes this guy’s first kiss or girlfriend. That’s his decision. You’re a smart girl. You don’t need me to tell you that.

You asked my advice. Here it is: Stop feeling sorry for yourself. It will only bring you down. So will all the “I need a boyfriend” thoughts. That’s a form of self-bullying. Not helpful. Instead, focus on what you love to do and do more of it. Art, writing, sports, dance or music, theatre or science, photography, technology, entrepreneurship, cooking, or a zillion other things the world has to offer.

Focus on being the unique and awesome girl you already are. You have everything you need. Nothing is missing from this equation. No boyfriend required. Use your interests to guide you, create short-term and long goals and achieve them. That’s what makes a person confident in herself.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,
Terra

---------

Sweetie, it’s time for The Talk

February 28, 2014

I wanna hold you hand and...

I wanna hold your hand and…

Friday is Family Confidential day. Before you race over and check out my latest podcast (Having “The Talk” with Tweens with Marlene Mahurin, co-founder of the online parent-tween sex education course, Time for the Talk) let me  tell you why I wanted to interview a sex educator.

I’ve been answering teen email questions for almost 17 years. A lot of them are about sex. Like these:

  • All of my friends have their periods except me. What’s wrong with me??
  • Does having sex make your breasts bigger?
  • Can you get pregnant swallowing cum?
  • This girl and I didn’t expect to have sex, but it just sort of happened. Is it possible she might be pregnant?
  • My best friend who has been like a brother to me just told me that he is gay. I was shocked and just got up and left. I don’t know what to say to him.
  • My bf and me are 14 and we’ve already been dating for two years. I’m ready to have sex with him but all my friends are saying no and I’m not ready. I feel like I’m ready. What should I do?
  • My friend is eleven, started her period and might have had unprotected sex with her boyfriend. She says she’s pregnant and I am worried if she keeps the baby she may not know how to be healthy when you’re pregnant.
  • My mom walked in on me playing down there. She’s been real mean to me since then. She calls me a slut and a whore. I tell her that I’m not having sex or anythings, but she doesn’t believe me.

They say, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” That might be true, occasionally, but when it comes to teens, what they don’t know about sex, puberty, sexual orientation, can and often does hurt them.

Your kids are getting a sex education all the time, from the media, the internet and their clueless friends. It’s probably not be the education you want for them. Do yourself and your kids a favor, listen to the podcast, Having the Talk with Tweens. so you can feel more comfortable talking to your kids about sex.

---------

The cure for “mean kid” behavior

November 27, 2012

I originally wrote this article for TakePart.com where I write a weekly education post. Check out the rest of my articles there.

Get the message? Got it? Good!

Whenever I communicate from a school stage or from my computer, I tell students that our choices should reflect the kind of people we really are. Most of us are good people who care about others. We have a strong sense of fairness. We like to be helpful. We try to understand the other person’s point of view.

Very few of us are truly “mean.” And yet, we often exhibit downright mean behavior (online and off). Whenever I get the chance, I challenge students to think about why that’s the case. I also challenge them to stand up for what’s right, acknowledging that it’s not always easy, especially when no one is standing with you.

Most kids older than the age of five, really do know the difference between right and wrong. But they don’t always do the right thing. Our 21st-century culture of cruelty coupled with a sense of entitlement has taught kids (and many adults) that looking out for anyone but themselves is a sign of weakness.

More: What Every Parent Should Know: How to Help Your Kids Deal With Peer Conflicts at School

Going out of one’s way to be nice to a popular kid, however, will likely earn a student some popularity points of his/her own. But being kind to an “underdog,” especially when popular kids are watching, well, that can be a high-risk move. So can turning down a demand from another student to copy from one’s test paper or refusing to cheat in other ways. And so, kids may feel stuck between their natural inclinations to do the right thing vs. doing whatever it takes to be liked or to get ahead.

We’ve taken a tunnel vision approach to school for long enough, with most of our resources going toward test taking. What’s the point of education without a focus on improving one’s character? Parents and teachers need to make a concerted effort to help students develop the social courage it takes to stand up and be moral leaders. How? Well, here’s an excerpt from my book Teaching Kids to Be Good People, that shows a simple way for us to begin lessons in social courage.

Share this quote with students: “The time is always right to do what is right.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ask, “What do you think about this? Is it true? Too simplistic?”

Talk about a time when you or someone else was being treated unfairly and you stepped up and did the right thing. What happened?

Talk about a time when you didn’t help promote respect, peace, and fairness. What held you back?

Create a challenge to increase acts of social courage. You’ll need paper strips (11 x 2 inches), tape, and a pen.

  • Think about a time you stepped up and did the right thing when someone needed a friend or a message of peace. Write a sentence about what you did on a strip of paper and sign your name.
  • Connect your strip with someone else’s and create “links” using tape.
  • Got more than one act of social courage? Make another link!

Each day keep adding to the chain by actively looking for opportunities to be “brave” in situations where someone needs to do the right thing. As a group, talk about any positive changes you notice in yourself, your family, your school.

 

 

---------
Find Annie Fox: Find Annie on Facebook Find Annie on Twitter Find Annie on Pinterest Find Annie on YouTube Find Annie on Google+ Find Annie on LinkedIn Find Annie on Goodreads Find Annie on Quora