Staying True to the Promises We Make In Childhood

One of the themes in The Truth (I”m a girl, I”m smart and I know everything) is staying true to our childhood promises. Here is what one reviewer had to say:

28a“This book is worth reading if you’ve found yourself wondering if you always wanted to be such a career woman or a stay at home mom. It provides a unique perspective most of us have long forgotten about. I found myself often wondering if I stayed true to the promises I made to myself growing up and if I have so far become the woman I wanted to be.

I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the second book and am wondering what adventures and truths will find as she grows into a teenager.”

I can tell you that there are a lot of adventures and truths and secrets already in the second book. Yes, it is almost finished. So stay posted! We will watch the girl grow up and it will be quite a ride! Dr. Barbara

This review appears on on my author”s page.

Welcome to our weekly podcast on Kids,Tweens and Teens, A Positive Psychologist Looks at All Three.  Today’s podcast introduces you to the Seven Gateways to Happiness and how they pertain to girls, particularly girls as they are in the tween years of 8-12.  Martha Trowbridge, my colleague and a national expert and author on inspiration for women, chats with me about these Gateways. 


Thanks,  Barbara

Can You Handle the ‘Truth’? | The Jewish Exponent

27aExperts confirm what the majority of people know: Truth comes in a number of forms and reveals itself in myriad ways, and that it’s often relative, depending on the needs and expectations of the seeker.

Now, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, based in Long Branch, N.J., and a nationally known positive psychologist — an officially recognized branch of psychology that centers on what’s right with people — examines what truth is as young girls see it, in her new book, titled The Truth: I’m a Girl, I’m Smart and I Know Everything, the first in what is expected to be a series.

The book, which contains a “bit of mystery” because girls love that, noted Holstein, is the fictitious account of a young girl who keeps a secret diary in which she writes about the thoughts, ideas, people and events that shape and forge the truth for her.

In the process, it establishes a forum for discussion with parents and peers.

Through the eyes and feelings of the girl, Holstein comments professionally about truth’s particular impact on females aged 8, 9 and 10 years old — and beyond. It also focuses on its meaning in connection with interaction with the adults in their lives — mothers, grandmothers, fathers, teachers and others.

In the introduction to the book, Holstein, reflecting on her own days as a young girl, wrote: “One day I decided to find a way to combine what I already knew as a girl with the knowledge I have as a classroom teacher, case-study researcher, school psychologist, and a psychologist in private practice, in Long Branch, for nearly 30 years. I had to find a fun way to do this that would really help girls and mothers recognize that what we know growing up is just as important as what we learn later.”

“One day the ‘girl’ just appeared. She knew what to say and how to say it. She did a much better job of sharing the truth than I ever could have imagined. So I just let her go for it. I used a child’s voice because children understand things in a special way. In the end, the young girl will become a young woman and will keep the best of herself.”

There are 12 to 15 serious topics embedded in the book that offer young girls and their parents the opportunity to discuss the subjects. Girls throughout the world, explained Holstein, experience similar aspects of growing up, with crushes, family and sibling friction, and being bullied at school just a few of the categories that bewilder children and cause them to feel alone.

And Then There’s the Internet
When the influence of the Internet is thrown into the mix, unavoidable and continual situations for concern arise, leaving parents unsure of how to handle these challenging aspects of a young girl’s life, said Holstein.

Here’s an excerpt from The Truth: “What is wrong with human beings? I had to read The Diary of Anne Frank in Sunday school and again I felt so horrible. She died only a few years older than I am. And she loved life so much. How can it be? … ”

At the back of the book, readers will find 25 discussion questions for youngsters.

Why did Holstein write The Truth? “I wrote it because after having worked on women’s issues for years, I came to the conclusion that women at every stage of life need to find ways to build self-esteem and self-worth.

“Every girl wants a mother who listens and is aware of her behavior, especially during the tween years. Family is fun, and tweens want to feel special in their families. The Truth gives girls 8 to 14 years old the knowledge that they are not alone, while it reminds mothers what it was like to be this age,” explained Holstein.

Among her hopes for the book — which ranks second in parenting tweens book topics on — she said, is to see it in school libraries, adding that “my other dream would be to see it turned into a musical.”

THE TRUTH (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) in the top 100

The Best You Can Be Foundation names YA book by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein as one of the best

July 7, 2008, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – After an evaluation by a panel of teachers, therapists, and children, THE TRUTH (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein has been selected as one of the top 100 books of the year. The Best You Can Be Foundation feels THE TRUTH encompasses helping girls, ages 8 – 14, feel validated and understood.11a

The Best You Can Be Award program honors products that can truly make a difference in the lives of children, parents or teachers. This award program is designed to celebrate motivational products and recommend these products to the public, our readers and our clients.

Author Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self, a focus on positive psychology. She has been a positive psychologist in private practice and licensed in the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts for over 25 years.

Founder of The Best You Can Be Foundation and syndicated parenting columnist for United Press International, Debbie Milam highly recommends The Truth. “My 10 year old daughter could not put the book down. She savored each page with excitement that someone had put her feelings into writing,” Milam said. “After reading the book she was so inspired by it that she is now writing her own book.”

THE TRUTH is filled with wisdom that is not only life changing for girls, but truths every parent could also begin integrating into their own lives. These truths can help us connect not only with our own children, but also with our beautiful inner child.

The magic of the human spirit, with its capacity for survival, growth and joy, has always intrigued Dr. Barbara. As years went by and her practice grew, she longed to explore adult development even further – specifically how to overcome adversity and bring pleasure into one’s life while living a life worth living. A life that is a good life, filled with happiness, meaning and purpose has become the focus of Dr. Holstein’s books, articles, seminars, radio shows, television shows, newsletters, etc. Her methods of improving ourselves so we have more positive emotions and thoughts are easy to understand and move us toward mental wellness and a deeper appreciation of ourselves and our potential.

Dr. Barbara speaks regularly on radio programs around the country, and appears on television in New York and New Jersey.  Her inspiring audio shows and podcasts links can be found here.  Her articles and stories appear on the web on hundreds of sites. She also gives lectures, seminars, and tele-classes on happiness.

To purchase The Truth or any of Dr. Barbara’s books or other resources visit her online at, or for more information please contact publicist Michelle Blackley at or 917/916-3030.

The Best You Can Be 501C3 Foundation is dedicated to supporting parents and teachers to inspire children to reach their highest potential. Through teacher in-service training, parenting resources, children’s motivational programming and curriculum development, our goal is to create system where every child can find peace within themselves, develop meaningful relationships, contribute to the greater good in their community, work through stress, and be motivated to reach their highest potential. For more information on this award program

The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)

The Truth, (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) has so many topics embedded into it for mothers and daughters and anyone who has walked the path of growing up as a girl that I hardly know which to pick.  Let’s look at purity of heart.

Purity of heart is in my opinion as a woman, a positive psychologist and having been a girl, is a special vision that we often have in childhood.  It is not just seeing with our eyes.  It is a sixth sense combined with tender feelings and acute awareness of our surroundings.

For example, when Laura Engals describes to us the way she ran through the prairie grass and looked up into the sky to follow hawks and looked at the starts at night while her father played the fiddle, her words evoke a purity of heart sensation in even adults.  She was able as a writer to create the whole atmosphere of her life on the prairie so that we feel something new and fresh and yet eternal as we read The Little House on The Prairie.
In The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) I have tried to capture the same sense of purity of heart.  When the ‘girl’ is upset when her cousin swears it isn’t because she is making a moral judgment.  It is because the swear words just feel bad as they hit her across the room.  And when she dances with her mother up in the bedroom to rock and roll music, the relief of connecting with her mom and the pleasure of moving, laughing and hugging together is all there is.  This is the moment and it is pure.

Purity of heart is a clean feeling and when we have purity of heart moments we can feel cleansed and delighted at the same time.  Or if they are upsetting moments, as when the ‘girl’s’ cousin swore at least she knew he was not right and there was some relief just in the expression of her emotions.

As a positive psychologist I wanted to incorporate purity of heart into The Truth as we at all ages need to remember the intense pure feelings of childhood, both for ourselves and for the next generation.  We need to remember them for ourselves so we can go there once again and experience the sweetness and passion that goes with really being alive, not just sleepwalking as sometimes we do as grown-ups.  And for the next generation’s sake we need to remember because we need to connect with our children and grandchildren and we need to reassure them and help validate for them that their emotions are not only pure but often more in tune with what is right that we are.  Aging is not necessarily becoming emotionally more astute.  Aging can sometimes just be aging.
The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) has many themes and one of them is most certainly don’t sleepwalk.  Stay alive as you age and let the kids you know refresh you as well as the kid you was were.  After all, she is still inside of you!  I promise and that’s the truth!

Wow! So many of us went on Mystery Rides as Kids!

On July 5th, 2008 I’m the guest on The Puddle People Hour on BlogTalkRadio.  The two hosts are Beth Marino and Pam Sargant.  That show will be archived and available 24/7.  We pre-recorded the show tonight and of course talked quite a bit about my first book, THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy and my newest book, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything). 23aIt was fascinating for me to go between the two books-THE ENCHANTED SELF being a rather dense book, full of case studies, positive psychology techniques, historical perspectives on women, my own journey as a woman in our society, etc.  and The Truth which is a girl’s diary written in a simple, easy manner.   However, what struck me as the most fun as we chatted was our discussion about “Mystery Rides”.  The girl in The Truth goes on mystery rides with her family on Sunday afternoons and loves them.  I was sharing her adventures when both Mary and Pam joined in saying that they also, had gone on mystery rides as children.

One family had eight kids and they would all pile into the station wagon and drive out into the countryside.  So would the other, slightly smaller family.  And Dad was the driver in both cases and he didn’t know where he was going.  But it was so much fun, discovering small towns and local fairs and at the end stopping for icecream.  The girl in The Truth also stopped for icecream at the end of the family’s mystery rides.

Now I’m wondering.  Are mystery rides universal if you are over 45?  Let me know.  I went on them also, but sometimes I think they weren’t supposed to be a mystery.  I think sometimes my father might have gotten lost!  I don’t remember icecream at the end but I do remember often ending up at Savin Rock in New Haven, late in the afternoon on Sunday after riding around.  What a treat!  That was an amusement park along the beach.   Usually I got to ride the ‘flying horses’ as we called them, my mom and Aunt Lil caught to sit on a bench and people watch and we all got to eat in the car at Jimmy’s hot dog stand, where we bought delicious grilled hotdogs (not boiled, like at home) and wonderful fenchfries that were crinkled and served in paper cones.  Ah, such sweet memories of the old days!

Mother and Daughter talk on “Kids, Tweens and Teens, A Positive Psychologist looks at all three” about The Truth, I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything

Robin and Rachel made my day on Monday.  They were my guests on my radio show, Kids Tweens and Teens on  We pre-recorded the show that will will air next Monday, June 9th at 4:30 PM EDT and then be 12aarchived 24/7.  What made the discussion so special was getting a chance to talk to both a mother and a daughter who had read The Truth, I”m a girl, I”m smart and I know everything.  Their reactions were such fun.  You will hear Robin discuss how the book made her remember her first crush which she hadn”t thought of in years, and then you will her Rachel chat about how she identified with the girl, even in secret things she does that nobody knows about. Rachel also will share her promises that she has made to herself for her future.  Both talk about how to utilize the book as a discussion tool for moms and kids.

As an author it isn”t always so easy.  You write the book at some deep level of concentration and meaning.  You agonize in ways that the public never knows-what word here?  What should stay in the final draft?  What needs to go?  Who will read it?  Will anyone read it?  And then finally it is out and still there is agony.  Who likes it?  Do kids like the book?  Do moms?  Does it have the punch that a great book does?

And then the universe sends a present by special delivery.  In this case the present was Robin and Rachel.   Their reactions confirmed what every author needs and hopes to hear.  The book works!  And best of all, it works for both kids and adults.  And that is unique.  I”m blessed.

“You just get to be a girl”

On TV this am ‘Samantha’, one of th stars in Sex and the City, was being interviewed.  She commented that the movie and the show was so wonderful because “You just get to be a girl!”  She then went on to say that we all 1awant that.  All women want the fun of beautiful clothes and best friends and everything turning out just right.

As a positive psychologist and author of The Truth, I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything, I agree with her.  This is a tremendous yearning in women to belong, to have dear friends, to let the playful, girly side of themselves stay alive, even when we grow up.  In fact when a women stops caring for herself in terms of making a nice appearance, often it is a signal that the woman is depressed.  Women are able to laugh, cry and share intensely all sorts of feelings and of course even though we grow up we yearn for happy endings and beginnings in our lives.  And where does all of this begin?

In girlhood of course.  And that where my book dovetails Sex and the City.  The Truth, I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything is a book where you see a girl putting down in writing her understanding of all the wonderful parts of herself so she can hold on to them.  She knows she is smart, can have fun, can solve problems, can fall in love, can have adventures, can be pretty, can star, can have best friends.  She knows all of this in her gut and she is aware that sometimes these capacities get lost as we grow up.

Samantha and her friends document that we can hold on to the best of ourselves.  And at worst if we loss some of our precious selves we can at least come and borrow the energy they exude and get recharged.  And if we can’t look as beautiful as they do, at least we can enjoy looking at them.

Stay posted for more of the Positive Psychologist’s insights on us ‘girls’.

Dr. Sandra Prince-Embury, Resili ency Expert, Guest on Dr. Holstein’s radio show, Kids Tweens and Tenns, A Positive Psychologist Looks at All Three, on

Today, May 12, 2008 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  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!

Review of The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) by Dr. Sandra Prince Embury

Telling the Truth

A Review of The Truth (I’m a girl I’m smart and I know everything)

Review by:  Sandra Prince-Embury, Ph.D.
Author:  The Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents
Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist

      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!