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!

Ellen DeGeneres, Selfies And Narcissism – Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein Makes The Case For The Selfie

Ellen DeGeneres, Selfies And Narcissism – Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein Makes The Case For The Selfie –

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.

How My Family and I Experienced Tet, Our Most Important Holiday, by Tieu, Linh, our Teen Journalist from Hai Phong, Vietnam

How My Family and I Experienced Tet, Our Most Important Holiday“Wake up, Mi * !! It’s high time you got up and enjoyed Tết !”

(Tet is the most important national celebration in Vietnam. The full name is Tet Nguyen Dan, which means “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day’. Our Tet has the same objective as the Western World’s New Year. It is a chance to welcome and celebrate the new year and hope for health, luck, happiness and achievements.) And now on to more of my story:

Hearing my dad’s voice, I opened my lazy eyes and tried to drag my body out of the bed. The day was so special. Instead of seeing clunky clouds in the sky and thinking about how to confront another ordinary day, I could feel the sunshine already and see the bright blue sky.

“Well, Tết is here. Light the flame inside you, Linh !”, I whispered to myself.

After having got through all the household chores and getting ready, we left home and got into the green taxi, which had been waiting for a few minutes. At first, we visited pagodas that we knew were where our ancestors are worshipped. Then, we were in the intimidating crowd at Nghe Temple, trying, along with everyone else, to express our respect for General Le Chan, who had founded Haiphong City with the original name “An Bien”.

I gazed at the map of Nghe Temple and made efforts to find out something interesting to meditate upon, although that was not the first time I visited this remarkable temple. Leaving there I was still excited as the day was just beginning to unfold. A wonderful journey was still waiting for us. “Heading your way !!”, I playfully thought.

omnoIt took us about one hour to reach Hai Duong Province. My mother had suggested that we should visit An Phu Temple, or Cao Temple, where Prince Yên Sinh – the first emperor of Trần Dynasty’s elder brother – is worshipped. It was quite hot, different from the usual rainy and wet weather of Tet in Vietnam. Hot, and tiring. The temple is located right on top of the mountain, so we had to climb – to be more exact, walk many steps – to eyewitness the ancient beauty of An Phu Temple.

We took numerous photos, and I followed my parents to explore the structure of Cao Temple.  I smelled the ancient, orthodox scent of incense sticks visitors had burnt. Not very sweet-  smelling, but it reminded me of the solemn atmosphere at a sacred place.

I memorized some historical events that had happened to Prince Yên Sinh, shaking my head as  I realized the irony of what he had been compelled to suffer.

Saying goodbye to An Phu Temple, we left Hai Duong Province for Haiphong City again. But, we stopped at Do Son District to visit Ba De Temple, which is situated near the sea. “Up to the forest, down to the sea”, this is the saying that most depicted our travels. Ba De Temple is associated with a love story between a powerful king and a beautiful and glamorous commoner, who ended up suffering.

After finishing all the holy procedures, we went down to the sea and felt extremely refreshed to take photos, draw on the sand and join in some activities which were kinds of horseplay. I constantly had a bee in my bonnet about the unlucky fate of the beautiful commoner and I could understand how painful women’s lives were and are when they had and have to live amongst male chauvinists.How My Family and I Experienced Tet, Our Most Important Holiday

I’m still lucky, and I think I ought to look up to my life better. And that’s the truth.

PS *: () Mi is the name that my intimates call me at home.

What is a special trip you have taken with friends or family? Share with us. We want to share meaningful experiences that girls have from around the world. Send your e-mail to

Linh is The Truth for Girls first international young journalist. From Vietnam, she was given a copy of The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) by her mom, translated into Vietnamese. She loved the story and found my e-mail address at the back of the book. She wrote to me and I answered. That was the beginning of a three year correspondence. As I realized how perceptive Linh is and how versatile her Englih is, I invited her to write articles for other girls around the globe who follow The Truth! We hope you enjoy her article about New Year’s in Vietnam that follows. And remember The Truth is always ready for more young girls from around the world to be journalists. If you are interested write to me, Dr. Barbara at .

‘Getting our Tweens and Teens’ Can We Do a Better Job in How We Communicate?

growingupOne thing I find over and over again is that Parents don’t seem to “get” their teens and tweens, and vice versa. There seems to be miscommunication going on. A teen or tween misbehaves and doesn’t understand why the parent is upset, while the parent doesn’t understand why their teen/tween can’t follow direction after being told several times. Often it’s not because the child in question wants to misbehave, and it’s not because the Parent is a ” bad” parent.

It’s the approach. We as Parents and caregivers need to take the negativity out of it when we talk to our children, even when disciplining. For example, try the sandwich method: First give some positive feedback: “I was so proud of you when you got that 100 on your spelling test a few weeks ago. Second give the bad news: If you can’t seem to find time to do your homework and your marks keep reflecting that, we will have to limit your time on playing video games. Now the rest of the sandwich: We really believe you can make better use of your time and get back on track to get good marks on your homework. If you need our help, just ask. We are here for you!

Here’s another of my thoughts on this:

It is so important to be a role model to your teen! It is not only what we say and how well we listen, but how we live our own lives. That means it does matter how gracious we are, how kind we are, whether we are generous of spirit and eager to not hold grudges or be petty. It does matter what we say, but often it matters just as much on how we say it. Can we cushion a criticism with some sweet honey? Can we wait until the right moment to say something personal when no one else is listening? It all matters!

Yes, all of the above does take practice. Learning to control our rage, our disappointment, our anger and instead finding ways to speak to our kids at the right moment, with supportive yet realistic reactions to their behaviors is almost an art form. But then again, helping a kid grow up successfully is like being a great artist. Every remark, every activity we do with them, every hug we give them are all the next tiny strokes in turning out a marvelous human being! Isn’t the time and effort worth it?

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

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

Positive Psychologist And Author Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein Offers 8 Tips To Overcome Holiday Blues

Positive Psychologist And Author Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein Offers 8 Tips To Overcome Holiday Blues –

Bullies, Yes They Are Out There

This short interview of me on Ebru television is filled with my suggetions as a positive psychologist and educator in how to stay alert for bullies.

Bullies are scary. We have to stay alert as parents. Watch for certain signs. If your child’s marks are falling down, she cries easily, she just seems different, talk to her. Stay alert. You have every right to be an alert parent. You can always call the guidance counselor or the teacher and see if anything is going on in school.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to be a listening mother, who is aware of your child. Lecturing is not what it is all about.

In The Truth (I’m I girl, I’m smart and I know everything) the girl shares how terrible she feels when her mother walks away from her when she is trying to talk to her. She wants to know from her own mother when she needs a bra. She really doesn’t want to ask someone else’s mother!

Don’t forget, mom, put down the cell phone when your daughter is checking in!

Also, more advice: be a good role model for your kids. They do model off of you and they want to be proud of you.

What I am saying can’t guarantee that your child won’t be bullied, but the more full your home life is, the happier the home is with you staying in charge as the ‘parent,’ the more you will be on top of any changes and be able to help your daughter.

Lucille Ball Mentored Me When I Was a Child

As adults we forget how important mentors are to kids. A mentor can be a family dog that shares endless love, a teacher who never forgets to recognize and praise successes, a tree that teaches the comforts of just relaxing in the shade or even a television personality who is always there for a child to come home to. For me, one of my favorite mentors was Lucille Ball.

Oh, what ecstasy in my childhood to finish a dreary Monday by watching Lucy come to grips with her life in hysterical ways! She gave me courage to believe as a little girl that one could overcome adversity, have a life worth living, fill that life with positive emotions and fun, and stay happy even when faced with momentary distress. No one in the world could eat as many chocolates as fast as Lucy, working on an assembly line, bake a loaf of bread so large it overtook the kitchen, or carry a smelly cheese onto an international flight, wrapped up as baby! No one could make me laugh so hard!

Lucy has held the key to my humor heart at any time of day or night! Ah, I wish I could find her any time I need her — after a bad day, after bad news, after too big a dinner — after almost any occasion that could be buffered by a good laugh, and a comforting sense of the familiar.

What was her magic? How has she managed to take me to my Enchanted Self since I was a 10-year-old child, watching her in Fairfield, Connecticut on Monday nights? How has she engendered positive states of being again and again?

First of all, for most of us over 25, Lucy has become part of our history. She was always there, on a snow day, a day of illness, a late night when one couldn’t sleep. If you were lucky and flicked enough stations, there she was. Her smile was infectious, and her ineptness made us all feel comfortable. It was as if she revealed our most embarrassing moments for us. We never had to feel the shame or humiliation of tripping down the stairs with a giant showgirl hat on our heads or try to catch up with the real superman on the ledge to our apartment! Lucy did it for us. Yet, inside of each of us was the youngster that would have given anything to be in a show or looking for superman!

Secondly, she gave us the ‘real’ family that had a lot going for it, which not all of us had. They really seemed to love each other, they had good friends, they always made up when they fought, and nothing happened that was truly devastating. Silly mistakes were just that, and grudges were not held! They got to travel and meet famous people and eat in fancy restaurants! And, they had a baby and everyone was happy and loved the baby and no one was jealous. Lastly, they got to move up in life when they finally moved to the suburbs into a big house with lots of land and funny happenings. They even raised chickens!

What a beautiful world Lucy and her gang recreated for us. It was our country, our way of life, but on top of the familiar were humor, love, and always recovery from problems or embarrassments. In her own way she created positive psychology, before it had a name, for kids, tweens and teens.

In essence, she made the familiar the best it could be! She helped us live in our imaginations for a while, yet kept us earthbound at the same time. Yes, we were in states of well being, again and again — which is what THE ENCHANTED SELF is all about.

I realize now that she was one of my most important mentors. She was as important as Laura in Little House on The Prairie, one of the best books for girls that I ever read. Laura came to like in her books. Lucy came to life on our black and while tv screen. Thanks, Lucy! I hope I see you stuffing chocolates into your mouth again soon, so I can feel good about my silly moments and have another wonderful belly laugh!

Two Ways to Begin to Save the World, Wise Words Written by Linh, age 13

It still puts me in awe to realize that because I wrote The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) I have had the privelege of writing back and forth now for over two years to Linh, from Vietnam. As she has grown and matured into being a young teenager, her insights about the world and being a girl continue to fascinate me. I hope her dedication to trying to help the world solve its many problems will move you and hopefully influence all of us for the good! Here are her first two suggestions:
The world is regarded as our mutual home. We enjoy building and decorating our house as beautifully as possible, so why don’t we take notice of our bigger home as well ?

Here are the first two solutions that I think are possible to make our world a better place) by Linh Tieu

Environment – Start with children :

The more technologically advanced we are, the more we do great harm to the environment. Emissions transportation, such as automobiles or buses; smog from industrial factories; pollutants found in rivers…I’m not sure if adults are going to put forward any solutions to this problem, but from my perspective, cutting-edge technology or facilities aren’t guilty. The major dilemma is that we don’t find saving the environment important encough and inevitable. The first step is to educate kids as soon as possible. Dr. Dorris Allen – a psychologist – has proven that people tend to have behaviors based on what they experienced during childhood, so assuming we want our children to value the environment and wish to save it, we should start with them.

Schools should require students to learn a subject called “environment”. Teachers should give kids lessons about the importance of environment in our life, and methods to keep the environment clean and how to love the environment as you love yourselves and your relatives. By doing this, I’m inclined to believe that soon environmental problems will get better and we will have less urgent problems that become almost unsolvable.

Peace – All of us desperate for peace :

I’m living in a peaceful country, no wars and no conflicts. But I can hear the news on tv about wars in other nations. I just think that wars happen because people need more lands for their nations and they want to extend the sizes of their countries. But, why do they fancy having wars like that ?! They probably aren’t aware of the consequences to people, property and nature, but they ought to take notice of the children.

The kids are too innocent to know why what is occurring everyday in their homelands is happining; in other words, they deserve to live in happiness instead of panic. For centuries, people have fought for peace. Everyone needs peace for better lives, so why not make wars vanish permanently ?

I think, in this situation, the “Actions speak louder than words” is applicable. We hope that, adults can spend just a little of their time thinking for the Earth, or the world – our great home. Imagine someday wars disappear forever, people will find their relatives everywhere without any difficulty, and unity will become one of the most important elements which link people together.