Mother-Daughter Book Club in Manasquan, New Jersey

I’ve been talking so much about my new book. But they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought all of you would enjoy seeing me in action with my book. Here I am with the girls from the Mother-Daughter Book Club in Manasquan, New Jersey. One of the girls, April, had read my book The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) this summer and recommended the book.

As you can see by our smiling faces, it was a wonderful night. I was so happy that all the mothers and daughters had read the book and were ready to discuss school, social, family and communication issues brought up in the book. See the paper heart necklaces I am wearing? Each of them has on it a question that April had prepared so we would have plenty to talk about.

Here is a sample of several of the questions: “What are five things you promise to do when you grow up? How would you react if your mom told you you’re too young for a bra but you wanted one? Do you think teachers have an affect on kids emotions? explain…”

The more I work with The Truth I realize how different from other books it is as an educational and motivational tool. The kids fall in love with the girl who keeps such a truthful diary. They read it as fiction. But it opens up so many doors for education, communication and helping girls develop their true potential.

That night the mothers, girls and I could have talked for hours and hours. We did talk for over 1 1/2 hours, but we had to stop for luscious cupcakes and brownies that the kids had made!

Seven Gateways to Happiness For Girls-How Do We Help Our Girls Walk Through the Gateways to Happiness?

39aThere are Seven Gateways to Happiness that we all need to walk through, in fact, we must walk through them again and again to attain true happiness.  Why?  Because although each is different, they all hang together.  We can”t be complete without success in all seven.  I”ve talked at great length about how as women, we best walk through these Gateways.  In fact, you can download for free, off of the front page of a paper that will take you through the Seven Gateways to Happiness.  But what if you are a girl?  Is it exactly the same?  No it is not.  Kids are different from grown-ups and so is the journey to happiness.  Are parents essential in helping their kids walk through the Seven Gateways to Happiness?  You bet!  You are critical.  So let”s take a look.

The first Gateway to Happiness is Recognizing the Best in Ourselves.  Having good self-esteem is another way to put it.  How can we help our kids recognize the best in themselves?  Certainly not by criticizing them, nor putting them down, nor by talking about embarrassing things in front of other people.  Certianly not by showing disappointment in their achievements, or evaluating them in comparison to other siblings or friends.  To help kids, and in particular, girls, get through the first Gateway to Happiness we need to encourage their talents, their strengths, their coping skills and their potential.  Sounds easy?  Sometimes it is.  But sometimes it is hard.  What I would like to see as a strength in my child, may be what she is weak at.

So we need to learn how to discuss and communicate effectively with our daughters.  For instance, I would like my daughther to be social and comfortable with people.  She may be instead somewhat of a loner, who”s strength is a feel for nature and all that is in it.  She collects rocks, she feeds birds, she studies spider”s webs.  Bottom line is she is different from my expectations.  Most kids are.  But the responsibility of a parent is to love and develop your child to the best of her abilities anyway.  So to the best of my abilities I need to let her know that I treasure and value her strengths and yes, that I am also very proud of her when she combines those strengths in ways that develop her weaker side-in this case, her social side.  I”m proud because I love her, I respect her differences and yet as a parent I know it will be better for her if she develops many facets of her personality.

When you read, The Truth (I”m a girl, I”m smart and I know everything) you may begin to recognize how I have woven the Seven Gateways to Happiness into the story.   Of course, as even the “girl” in the book needs to walk through all seven to achieve happiness.  Next time we will look at the Second Gateway to Happiness: Falling in Love With Ourselves.

Tips to Help You Communicate With Your Teen

15aToday I had the pleasure of discovering a wonderful blog, with a great article, entitled 9 Tips to Help You Communicate With Your Teen. I left a message emphasizing how great the list is, and also mentioned how important it is 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 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!  If you think back to being a teen, can you remember when someone was gentle in what she had to say, instead of rough? Or when someone was extra kind? I can and those people are still with me today. I’ll say ‘thank you’ right now to Mr. Masters who made me feel good playing the violin, even though I really wasn’t very good at it, and Mr. and Mrs. Sylvester who always knew how to boost up my spirits when some boy I thought I was in love with, had dropped them down so low, I could hardly muster the strength to answer the phone.


Enjoy four of the tips and then go to to read the rest of the tips!

  1. Give her your undivided attention. We’re parents. We’re busy. But we need to make time for our kids. Sometimes it feels like they’ve gotten so independent they don’t need us anymore. But they do. Put the Blackberry away. Shut down your laptop and just concentrate on your teen.
  2. Fight fair. Don’t bring up the past. Don’t say, “You always do this. Remember in the 2nd grade when I couldn’t get you to…” That’s not going to help anything. Stick to the issue at hand. Present your case. And then really listen to your teen’s rebuttal. Try to be understanding, but still be firm.
  3. Share your day. We all know what the answer to “how as school today?” So instead of asking that question, tell your teen about your day. When you open up, it may get him to open up. Tell him about a funny conversation you had with a co-worker. Or about somebody that really ticked you off that day and see if he has any advice. Get him talking.
  4. Don’t force him. Ask “Do you want to talk?” and if the answer is “no” then respect that. Sometimes teens (and sometimes parents) just want to be left alone. But let him now you are there if and when he is ready to talk.

First Positive Psychology Fiction Book, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) is a Hit!

Tonight I was at a book signing in Howell, New Jersey at the Barnes & Noble there. As I was meeting and greeting some many different people, and busily signing books, I found myself explaining how The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) is so different from other books for girls, tweens, teens and moms. For one thing, it is based on Positive Psychology principles that encourage living up to one’s potential, celebrating our strengths and holding on to our most authentic selves as we grow.

On the other hand, rather than being a typical self-help book, it is a true fictiional read. It is a girl’s diary and one quickly becomes involved with the girl and her life. There is a mystery to be solved and lots of action. It is a fun read.

Also the book can be used after one reads it for endless discussions as the topics brought up in the book are vital to growing up, and even to being a woman.

Soon on this blog, I’ll be taking you through pages and sharing ideas for discussion with you.

One of my dreams for The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)

It is my dream to have girls and moms across the country reading The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) and then having discussions about the different topice brought up. As a positive psychologist, I believe it is a win-win for both moms and daughters to talk about growing up, staying true to oneself, gossip, families having issues, jealousies, crushes on boys, developing, anxieties about moving, etc. These subjects never go out of date and we can always learn more about ourselves, our kids, and the subjects themselves by having the courage to process them. What a pleasure to be able to experience the happiness that comes from helping the next generation hold on to their power, potential and wisdom!

She Didn’t Have a Name!

Today on the TODAY SHOW a young woman was interviewed in China. She works in finances and is doing very well, living in Beljing. However, her grandmother grew up in a farming area, was forced to have her feet bound at age 10 and was never given a name, except the name of her town. The differences in generations is amazing. The gal interviewed is a college graduate. Her grandmother never went to school.

In my new book, The Truth (I”m a girl, I”m smart and I know everything) the girl also does not have a name. Why? For very different reasons. She doesn”t so that every girl, tween, teen and woman who reads the book can identify with her. She is not nothing. She is everything. She is all of of us. She incorporates in her the universal dreams, energy and wisdom of us girls and women. So not having a name can mean very different things. The girl in the book would be horrified to hear that at her age of 10, this grandma had to have her feet bound. She would be furious.

Be thankful for freedom. It is a gift to be treasured!

The Enchanted Self, Wisdom Secrets and Nancy Drew.

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein discusses The Enchanted Self, more on Wisdom Secrets and Nancy Drew. Here guest is Martha Trowbridge, Inspirational Writer for Women.

This week I”m eager to share with you a radio show on Wisdom Secrets For Women and Girls that we know as adult women that we really learned originally in girlhood. Martha Trowbridge, inspirational writer for women, is my co-host. We discuss how to use our wisdom as women and how to reinforce that wisdom in our girls. We use Nancy Drew as a powerful wisdom role model. This is a great show that is sure light a fire in you and your daughters and remind all of us that WE HAVE THE POWER AND THE WISDOM

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Author helps teens, moms connect

Hour Staff Writer

As a young girl, does your life seem complicated? As a parent, does your daughter and her adolescent issues seem confusing and incomprehencible?

Well wonder no more, because Norwalk native, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein has written a new book to help struggling pre-teens and their non-understanding parents. “The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart, and I know everything),” is a fiction diary written by Holstein through the eyes of an 8- to 10-year-old girl.

“I became aware that children and moms need a way to build self esteem. I wanted something that could catch the heart and spirit of girls and maybe their moms too,” explained Holstein.

Holstein had done extensive research before writing this book, which was released in February, and believes people might actually be surprised by the amount of depth in the story. The book touches on self esteem, crushes, school bullies, inside struggles and the development and growth of young teens.

“We need to find ways that people are affected by what they read. A fictional diary can be very moving. In order to make change in our lives we have to be moved, not just convinced,” explained Holstein.

Holstein said she hopes that just as many parents read the book as do young girls. She said she believes it is important for parents to remember how crucial the pre-teen years can be. At the end of the book, a list of questions is given. Holstein hopes that parents and their children can tackle these questions together.

“I hope it will boost a girl or teen. For the mothers, I hope it will help her see how her daughter of child is feeling inside,” she said.

Holstein is a licensed positive phycologist in New Jersey and Massachusetts. She has held her private practices for more than 25 years. Holstein also worked as a school psychologist, a teacher and a case study researcher.

She has written five other books: “The Truth, I’m Ten, I’m Smart and I Know Everything,” “Delight!” “The Enchanted Self,” “Recipes For Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is You!,” and “Feel Good Stories.”

She is the daughter of Dr. Harry A. Becker, a past superintendent of the schools in Norwalk. While he was in office, Becker made various positive changes to the Norwalk School System. According to Holstein, he also founded Norwalk Community College.

Those who have read and enjoyed Holsteins book, may not have to wait long for the next one to appear. This book is just the first in a series.

“I’m almost done with the next book. Now she’ll be 10-12. The next will be 12-14,” she said.

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein will have a book signing at 3 p.m. today at Borders in Stamford, at 3 p.m. today at Borders, 1041 High Ridge Road, Stamford. For more information, call 968-9700.

Kids, Tweens and Teens with Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein interviewed Venessa Van Patten, author of Your Grounded!

In this week”s podcast I interview Venessa Van Patten, who is the author of Your Grounded!  She is a remarkable young woman who has actually done research on the thoughts, actions and feelings of teen-agers.  Listen to the inside scoop!  We discuss her research, her growing up her book and of course The Truth (I”m a girl, I”m smart and I know everything).  This is a great show.

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