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.

Cure for obessive teen love?

July 16, 2014

Who gets to break my heart without my permission?

Who gets to break my heart without my permission?

Breaking up is hard to do. And painful. Hopefully, though, there were good times before the relationship tanked, so at least you’ve got some happy memories. On the other hand, if you’re obsessed with someone who was never nice to you, well, that’s just pain on pain. No one needs that.

Recently got an email from a girl in that dark place. Read on…

My heart aches for him and I really want to move, but I find myself checking his instagram, facebook, and all other social media  just to see him.  I cant let go, even though I want to so bad. I’m torn between wanting him to want me and wanting to forget about him completely. It’s been almost a year. I just hate this obsession. What do I do? –So Stuck

Dear So Stuck,

The truth may hurt, but I’ve got to say it anyway. This guy doesn’t care about you, That’s the way it is. You may wish things were different, but all the wishing in the Known Universe and beyond will not change fact.

Here’s something else that’s true: You deserve someone who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with him. This guy is not The One. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you will find The One (Maybe during this coming school year! There’s an exciting thought!)

In the meantime, you’ve got to stop checking up on this guy. It’s a total waste of the summer and, more important, it’s bringing you down. You have gotten into an unhealthy habit here, but you can get back in control. Here’s how:

1. Make an agreement with yourself to stop stalking him.

2. Whenever you get the thought, “I’ll just check his instagram, FB, etc.” notice that thought. 

3. Imagine the device you’re holding is burning hot. Get your hands off the darn thing right now this minute! 

4. Close your eyes and BREATHE mindfully. Inhale slowly and evenly through your nose. Then relax your jaw and exhale, slowly and evenly through your mouth. Repeat 5 times….. S-L-O-W-L-Y.

5. Did you do it? If not, what are you waiting for? Do it now.

6. After breathing, the urge to “check on him” should be less intense. If not, breathe some more. If it is less, congrats! You got yourself back in control. Well done. You know how to do this. And you’ll probably get lots of practice. Whenever you feel the urge to check up on him, think “Fire!!! Will not get burned again. Hands up! Breathe…”

7. Go do something you enjoy. Something away from the phone or computer with people you like who like you back.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,
Terra

 

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Three things parents should stop doing in 2014

January 5, 2014

Self-improvment New Year’s resolutions usually fade after Week 2 because they require us to do things we’re not used to. Most people aren’t wired that way. So I’m thinking it might be easier to stop doing something unhealthy rather than to start a whole new regime. So here’s my list of three common things parents should stop doing this year.

That's it! I've had it!!!!

That’s it! I’ve had it!

1. Yelling. Parenting is messy and stressful. With everything that’s expected of you it’s easy to get frustrated or overwhelmed. If yelling has become your go-to place, you need to stop. When you lash out at your kids, your spouse, or your dog, you are polluting your home and hurting your family. If you don’t have at least one stress-management tool in your toolkit (alcohol and tobacco do not count), you aren’t fully equipped for your parenting job so you’ll be less effective. I recommend breathing. It will help you learn the relaxation response. Breathing requires no gym membership or special shoes. It’s free and always available. Yes, it’s habit-forming, but in a very good way. Stop yelling and start breathing and your kids will give you less to yell about. Guaranteed.

2. Tuning out. Parents, teachers, coaches… adults in general are always telling kids what to do, how to act, and what to believe. When kids take the bold step of opening up to us (because they need to be heard), we often aren’t listening… not one hundred percent. And if we are listening, as soon as we hear something that indicates a “problem” we may well jump to invalidate it (“You don’t really feel that way.”) And yet, we want our kids to stand up for themselves amongst their peers – whether they’re being overpowered in the kindergarten playground or in a teen relationship. But how are they going to learn to be speak up if we don’t give them practice by respectfully listening to what they have to say? Stop tuning out and start listening with a more open heart and mind and your kids will feel more confident in themselves.

 3. Rushing around. Every family needs down time, and hopefully you all got some during the holidays. But most of us need and deserve daily down time… together… as a family. If your kids are still young enough for story time, what a great chance to cuddle and reconnect each evening. If your children are past being read to you can still make it a nightly ritual to check in with them for a quiet talk about how the day went for each of you. (This is a great way to teach kids that conversations are a two-way street. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you’re always the one asking “How’s it going?”) And let’s not forget meal time. Maybe you’ve heard this before but the research findings are so amazing they’re worth repeating: Kids whose families sit down and eat dinner together at least three times a week get all kinds of benefits. Have dinner together and your kids are more likely to do better in school, less likely to use alcohol or illegal drugs, and less likely to be overweight. They’re even less likely to have friends who do drugs! Don’t you love it?

Happy New Year from my family to yours.

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Day 10: Kindness and Respect Challenge (R-E-S-P-E-C-T) Part 2

October 10, 2013

In case you missed yesterday’s episode, you might want to take a minute to read the email from the teen whose friendship with her bff made her feel like a prisoner “in jail.” She wanted out, but didn’t know how to find the exit. I advised her to talk to her friend and take a vacation from the friendship.

Here’s what happened next:

Hey Terra,
Thank you very much! I’ve already told her today but things got all crazy. I said that I don’t want to be her best friend anymore, just want to be an ordinary friend to her. But I think she got it all wrong. Guess what she did?? She bad-mouthed me to my other friends!! She created bad stories about me! None of it was true! I hate her and exams are next week but my head just can’t focus!! Help!

Now What?!

Dear Now What,

I’m not surprised she turned against you.  She hasn’t been acting like a real friend for a while. This is just more of the same… with the volume cranked up. If your other friends believe the lies she made up and turn against you too, they’re not acting like real friends either. You deserve so much better.

I understand this is hard. We all want to be liked. We want people to say only good things and think only good thoughts about us. But no one has the remote controller for anyone else’s mouth or brain. People say what they want to say and think what they want to think. People also believe exactly what they choose to believe. You’ve got no control over any of it. Zero. But…you can choose not to let this upset you so much. Your ex-bff and the other girls have no power over you unless you give away your power to them.

You need to relax so you can study for your exams… and do your best. Every time you catch yourself thinking about the social garbage these girls are creating and spreading around, STOP… and take some slow deep breaths. Here’s how:
Inhale slowly and evenly through your nose (Try it right now)….
Then relax your jaw, open your mouth and slowly and evenly exhale.
(Go ahead.)
Repeat the cycle.
Inhale (and think “I am breathing IN….”)
Exhale (and think “I am breathing OUT…”
Close your eyes and continue breathing, slowly and mindfully.
IN
OUT
DEEP
SLOW
CALM
EASE
SMILE (Go ahead. Even a half smile will do)
RELEASE
PRESENT MOMENT
WONDERFUL MOMENT

From now on, whenever you catch yourself getting sucked back into this silly drama or the next one, stop and breathe.  Re-center. Be kind to yourself. Be respectful of your power for good. Be here.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your exams.

In friendship,
Terra

A few days later I heard back from her one more time:

Thanks a bunch! (= it really helps.

Ahhhh!

Namaste

See Day 11.

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