How To Deal With Tweens And Teens And Romantic Relationships

When it comes to our teens and tweens, there comes a time that nearly every parent dreads. Dating. As our kids get older and begin to grow into themselves, the kinds of relationships they create grow and change with them. They start noticing others in a special kind of way. It’s a critical moment in their lives, and as parents, we need to make sure to be there to guide and comfort them through these times.teenromance

While our kids begin to branch out, its our job to set a good example for them. We can do this with our own relationships. An unhealthy relationship between parents can confuse a child emotionally. The child can find themselves in a relationship that is abusive and be unaware of it because that was the ‘norm‘ in their home. It is not to say that a child from divorced parents or single parents will be destined for failure. A single parent can set a good example using healthy, responsible dating, and divorced parents can set an example by not involving the children in their ‘dirty laundry‘. When they say “children date their parents“, it is absolutely true. Without a doubt, our relationships are the most important aspect that influences our teens and tweens.

With that being said, we also need to watch our teens and tweens for signs of an abusive relationship and help them through any trouble they might be in. We can do this by being understanding of our teens and tweens feelings, listening, sharing helpful advice, and taking appropriate action on ways of getting out of that situation.

As our teens and tweens begin to date, it’s natural for us to want to be involved in every aspect of their lives. This can be difficult and frustrating for us because of many reasons. We may disapprove of their love interest or actions. We may want to give advice and over involve ourselves. This might be off-putting to our teens and tweens because they may not understand why or even want our help.

We need to be open and able to talk to our children about our feelings and what is healthy and what is unhealthy. We need to set clear, concise ground rules about their relationships and what is appropriate for dating. We also need to respect our childrens privacy when it comes to their love life when they ask for it, as long as no one is getting hurt. Finally, as hard as this one may be, we need to allow our children to experience the love and heartache that comes along with a romantic relationship. As much as we feel the need to save them from making mistakes and protect them from every kind of pain that is out there, as parents, we must understand that this is crucial for them to be able to grow into successful adults.

We will talk more about this subject as it is so critical. Meanwhile, maybe share with your kids some of your own memories of your first crush, first date, etc. and help them see that you are real. You have been there! That way they will feel more courageous to open up to you. You may even have fun and a good laugh, sharing these special moments of life that all of us have gone through!

Puberty – An Emotional Ride For Us All

pubertyOften enough, puberty is an awkward time for both girls and boys. Hormones are raging, sending us on an emotional roller coaster. Hair begins to grow everywhere, and worst of all.. pimples! They start showing up all over the place! For some, it may seem like our world has come crashing down around us. For others, those lucky tweens and teens, its a beautiful and wonderful experience as we grow into our new selves.

However, puberty isn’t just a difficult time for tweens. This can be just as difficult for parents as well! While we all have gone through this strange, zit-popping, rights-of-passage, as parents we still run into speed bumps when it comes to communicating with our emotion-driven tweens. We need to take a minute and step back when our tween or teen begins to have an emotional meltdown or starts to lock themselves away, and instead of immediately rushing to them and demanding to know whats wrong, and think back to when we were younger and why we reacted the same way.

Here are some of my thoughts on this:

“We as adults have often forgotten about how hard it is to move into adolescence. The body changes alone, are overwhelming. How many of us suffered with pimples, anxieties about getting our period, and all sorts of other issues? Just about all of us, although these issues may seem very far away now. I remember some mood swings that seemed to come out of the blue when I was 11. Hormones raging through my body, I’m sure didn’t help.

We can make the situation a lot more bearable if we share some of our memories about ourselves. Maybe it is even the time to get our the photographs and share stories behind the pictures of us at 11, 12 or 13. Laughing and admitting situations that we may even wish we could forget, give our kids courage to manage and live through growing up.

And good advise can also go along way. When I had such terrible raging moods at 11 my mother got advice from the nurse in the school where she was a teacher. She came home and shared this advice with me, instead of yelling at me for jumping up and down on my bed like a maniac and holding by breath at the same time.

She explained to me that when hormones are changing our moods sometimes can’t keep up with the changes but by the time I would get my period I would actually feel a lot less moody. And she also told me that she wasn’t worried now that she understood where my mood was coming from. So information and compassion were a win-win for both of us.

In summary: Getting and giving accurate advice, and sharing about our own ups and downs as we moved through those years can take the pressure off a lot of what is happening.”

pubertyrollercosterPuberty is difficult on everyone. Especially our kids. If we’re a little more understanding with them and we remember back to when we were going through the same issues as they are now, we can better help them through this time and make them much more successful. After all, we do want them to grow up! In fact, sometimes during those difficult years we wish they would grow up overnight! Just hang in there, time will pass, moods will even out, pimples will be less, and if you show compassion you and your tween or teen may still enjoy these somewhat difficult years.

Valentine's Day For Divorced Women – Positive Psychologist Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein Offers Tips

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Advice from a Friend

Dear Friend,

I’ve read about your struggles and troubles throughout your diary, and I can tell it hasn’t been easy.Having a mother, for instance, that won’t explain to you the answers of your questions, or your confusion. It was vital to me when I was at your stage of maturing and puberty .It’s never easy, but I know I was glad when I had private talks with my mother about things I didn’t understand, and I too was worried when I’d have my first period, when I’d need a bra, and things like that. My mother did not avoid these questions and I’m glad for that. I’m only a bit older than you are and I would be more than happy to supply you with any help or advice I can, but I still think your parents, especially your mother, should do a better job.Also, about Paul… It’s nice to have a childhood crush, and to want children, I had thoughts about such too. But I need to tell you – you may want to marry your crush, but it’s not a good idea to do it when you’re a teenager, regardless of whether or not your grandmother or other relatives had done it in the past. Let’s just say it’s harmful to have children before you are fully mature, because as a teenager your body wouldn’t handle it as well, and it could hurt you. Whether you had this in mind or not – I warn you….

This young lady has more advice and it will be shared in another blog update. Meanwhile, please get your advice to the ‘girl’ as quickly as possible!

Every Child Has Questions About Growing Up

I remember as a child wondering what it would be like to be a grown-up.  I wondered how my body would change and when.  I also wondered what it would be like to be able to make decisions that to me as a child, seemed momentous, such as buying a car or a home.  These any many other questions are all normal.  But unfortunately parents often forget that their children have, what is to them, very serious questions that need answers.  Parents often treat the questions as trivial or even silly.  Some parents may even laugh out loud at a child when she asks something they think is ridiculous.  Other parents may walk away, perhaps embarrassed to handle the subject being questioned, or maybe considering it unimportant and just looking to get on with their day.
As a psychologist I am very concerned about parental practices that are dismissive of kid’s questions.  Most kids are asking sincere questions.  These questions reflect their uncertainties about things that seem important to them. The correct answers not only quiet their anxieties and fears but give them the tools they need to move ahead in development.  So here are some tips for you:
1.  Assume any question from you child is not a joke and treat it with dignity.  Answer as best you can and make sure to leave the door open that you can discuss that issue again.
2.  If you can’t answer it at that moment tell her when you can get back to her with an answer and discussion.
3.  If you are not the right person to answer the question, help her find the right person.
4.  Give her examples from your own past as to how you successfully handled issues that come up as we grow and change.
5.  Check back with her later or in the foreseeable future to see if she has more questions on a particular subject.  That way you give her a secure feeling that she can ask more if she needs to.

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein on Holistic Children Radio

Come and check out Holistic Children Radio where I talk about THE ENCHANTED SELF: Truth for Mothers and Daughters. I share a lot about positive psychology and of course about The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything). Click Here

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Listen to Dr. Barbara on the Radio Talking about Girls and Women

For those of you who like to listen to a great radio show while you
work at the computer, here is one!  I was interviewed by Deb Bailey of www.powerwomenmagazine.com .  We discuss The Enchanted Self and what that means for you as a woman or a mom of a daughter.  We also discuss my  book, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything).  Here’s a little bit about www.powerwomenmagazine.com :
“Power Women Magazine is an online publication about women by women for women and issues important to women worldwide. We network to stand in one voice for not only ourselves but for women who can not use their voice. We tackle all issues with the government, state and local communities as well as worldwide groups through our own means or via non profit organizations whom we have partnered with to make that stance. Our Issues range from equal rights for all women to issues of homelessness among women, and everything in between.
Our Goals are to empower women no matter where they are or who they are. We must network and stand together in order to to make a change.”


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Holistic Children’s Radio presents Barbara on May 15th 9 AM PT

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein on Holistic Children Radio 5/15/10

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