Dr. Sandra Prince-Embury was Dr. Holstein’s guest on her radio show, Kids, Tweens and Teens, A Positive Psychologist Looks at all Three on www.internetvoicesradio.com. This show is recorded and archived and available 24/7 for downloading and as a podcast. Dr. Prince Embury discussed Dr. Holstein’s new book, The Truth, (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything).
She mentioned how important the book is for tweens and teens, giving them a model for the skills of self awareness and expression which are so critical for tweens and teens. The girl is able to verbalize her feelings in her own words and actually speaks so naturally, that the reader feels she is really talking to her. Her honesty and her capacity to adjust to disappointments, even around the failings of her parents are also important issues for youngsters developmentally.
Dr. Sandra Prince Embury is a nationally known expert in the field of Resiliency, having developed The Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents. Come and listen to the show! If you have kids-it is a must!
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“Over the years, I have worked with mentoring teen girls from At-Risk neighborhoods in collaboration with women professionals in the entertainment arena. After reading Dr. Barbara’s, book, TRUTH I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything; I came to realize that this is such a phenomenal tool to connect to girls at any age, which is written in a diary format; Awesome!! Koo-dos to Dr. Barbara of bringing FUN back into reading, while encouraging mothers, daughters and young girls in our society.”
Author/Publisher Curtis Benjamin, Saving Our Daughters.
Telling the Truth
A Review of The Truth (I’m a girl I’m smart and I know everything)
The Truth by Barbara Becker Holstein, Ed.D., positive psychologist, is the secret diary of a ten year old girl. Although exquisitely simple in form and expression the words of this unnamed girl suggest insights that are clinically and developmentally significant. Embedded in the journal are messages about childhood that are important for adults to hear, presented in the words of a child. One such message is the importance of communication for children.
The girl telling the Truth identifies and verbalizes her feelings in her own words. In this way she models skills of self awareness and expression. Children and teens often have difficulty putting feelings into words. It is the absence of these skills that result in pent up negative feelings expressed in acts of violence when they have reached the boiling point. In The Truth, the girl believes in herself and her own experience, even when the feelings are not positive. In this way she models self-acceptance.
Part of the girl’s truth is the discovery that parents and other adults have limitations. Parental disillusionment is a normal part of development where the youth realizes that parents are vulnerable and not perfect. For some this process is associated with much anger and acting out behavior, stonewalling parents who “do not have a clue.” The girl handles her awareness in a more positive way by envisioning future times when she will be able to do things differently.
Children should be able to communicate honestly about their own experience to responsible adults, especially parents, even about such taboo topics as feelings of infatuation. Conversely, adults should be more authentic in their communication with their children and sensitive to the impact of their communication or lack thereof. Exposure to conflict between parents often has a negative effect on children that parents do not fully understand. Exposure to parent secrecy or inauthenticity can also result in negative feelings such as “a big giant pit in the bottom of my stomach.” It is these un- processed feelings that form the basis of psychological symptoms.
Dr. Holstein offers the truth as an expression of positive psychology for young girls. The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) is unique in that it is spoken in the words of the girl herself to the young reader. She speaks to the reader like a best friend who is confiding her secrets. This intimate communication may be amazingly rare in a world of internet and text messaging where truth may be at risk of exposure and embarrassment. Dr. Holstein has succeeded in expressing the truth in the words of the girl, in a light hearted book that is a quick and easy read.
I’m pleased to present Dr. Prince Embury’s full review for you today. She really tells ‘the truth’ about what is important psychologically in The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) If we don’t want a new generation of ‘mean’ girls, or young girls more engrossed with following the lives of starlets than developing their own interests, talents and potential, than we need to help our kids, tweens and teens learn how to safely express their feelings, emotions and thoughts while becoming fine young people, in touch with who they are and what is special and important to them. That’s one of the reasons why I wrote this book, which will soon become a series. We need to look more at development at every stage of growing up. So in the next book the girl will be 12-13. Stay tuned! Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Positive Psychologist, www.enchantedself.com
Review by: Sandra Prince-Embury, Ph.D.
Author: The Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents
Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist
Nancy Drew and THE TRUTH, (I’m a girl,
I’m smart and I know everything!)
I think that Nancy Drew was an important icon figure to me, as a positive psychologist, because in the language of Positive Psychology, she gave me hope. She validated that I was smart. She reinforced my resiliency. After all, I figured out at least some of the mysteries before she did. She gave me such a sense of competency. If she could do it, so could I. I just hadn’t had the right opportunity yet, so for now I accompanied her.
She reinforced my strengths and interests. After all, I could figure people out. I could travel, if only my parents would let me. I could act very grown-up and be a leader. For example, I was on the Student Council. Yes, everything about her was affirming to me. Even her boyfriend gave me hope that someday I would have a boyfriend just as nice and kind and loving, In fact, Nancy Drew was probably the best therapy I had in my life from the ages of 9-11. And she didn’t even know she was a Positive Psychologist!
I guess that is why she is so important to the girl in my new fiction book, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything). My character has many of the same feelings about Nancy that I did. She is a bit more competitive with Nancy than I was. But that is ok. Everyone is different. And it is because of Nancy that she has the strength to solve an important mystery that is essential for her growing up happily. But I can’t tell. That would give a big secret away that I want you to read. After all, every author wants her book read. So of course, I can’t tell all. I’ll just give you one more clue: the mystery involves a locket.
Let me know how the girls you teach like the book and don’t forget to have them answer the questions in the back of the book. They make for wonderful discussion topics and are good also to generate creative writing and diary writing.