The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Girl is Published by Sky Pony Press, July 1, 2014

Growing up is tough. Adults don’t always understand you (even though they were once kids), and childrenbookcoverflowers today face increasing pressure to be, look, or act a certain way. Written in the voice of a girl on the cusp of becoming a teenager, The Truth provides young girls with an opportunity to see how a girl, who is in many ways like themselves, handles her toughest problems and most personal thoughts. Each new page brings forth a discussion to help girls handle everyday problems: How do you survive a bully? How do you handle a crush on a boy? What can you do about relentless teasing by your peers? What really matters as you grow older?

gutssyeetweeenneeThe girl in the diary figures out how to survive and even more than survive as she matures, on her way to becoming a teen. She has to leave a lot behind, but she has some amazing ways to hold on to the best of herself. I don’t want to give all of the story away. Grab a copy of the book
and join into the GUTSY GIRL, TWEEN and TEEN generation.
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Release of ‘The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween’, by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Scheduled For July 1, 2014

Release of ‘The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween’, by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Scheduled For July 1, 2014 – http://ow.ly/yycxc

If Only It Were Easier to Be The Parent of a Teen!

Every parents dream is for their child to grow up successful in life, with perhaps a loving spouse, a great job, and a happy family. The dreams of parents and their child may differ quite a bit in how these signs of success are supposed to transform from dreams to reality.kidsselfie

Even as kids, each child begins to find herself, who she likes, who she hates and what she dreams of becoming when she grows up. From the playground on kids form small cliques with other children who share similar interests, and eventually they form emotional and romantic bonds with others.

This can be hard and scary for both teens and parents alike. As parents, we want to protect our children from the pain and heartache that can come with romantic relationships. We want to know that the other person will love and
protect our children the way we have done. We also might not approve of the choice in partners our child chose if their standards don’t meet or differ from ours.

For the teen herself, knowing that she is in conflict with her parents, it can be hard to confide any longer with her parents about the real stuff of her life. She may want to, but fears disapproval or embarrassment.

This is perfectly normal and it doesn’t make you a bad parent, but here are a few things you can do:

  • Keep In Communications!

Talk to your teen about their day, interests, and friends. Sometimes all you need to do is ask.

  • Have an open mind!

This is very important. Keeping an open mind to your child’s sexuality and opinions, even if they differ from yours will build a stronger relationship.

  • Trust them!

Trust your teen. After all, you raised them. If you trust and believe in your teenager, then they will trust and believe in you.

  • Listen to them!

Sometimes your teen doesn’t want advice. All they really want is someone to listen and understand them, and maybe a shoulder to cry on. This can be really helpful and your teen will want to come and confide in you more often.happyyee

  • Love them always!

This is the most important. Your teen needs to know you love them unconditionally. More than just hearing that you love them, your teen needs to feel it and see that you love them despite their mistakes, opinions, or sexuality.

If you use these tips, I assure you that your teen will grow up strong and successful and have you in part to thank, whether she ever actually says the words, you will know she feels gratitude for your kindness as she found her own place in the adult world.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

First of all, a big thank you to Joanne Yelenik for inviting me to participate in the tour. Joanne is the author of “Eucalyptus Leaves: A Never to be Imagined Friendship in Israel.” The novel unfolds the events and developing relationship between a young man and an older, sophisticated woman over a two year period as they settle into their new-old, much loved homeland, Israel. You can find Joanne at her blog: http://eucalyptus-leaves.com/

The way this blog tour works is that we each answer the same four questions about our writing process. So here goes:TheTruth

  • 1) What am I working on?

Right now I am ‘recovering’ from many projects over the last several years. In the past three years I wrote my first adult romance, mystery novel: Next Year in Jerusalem! now renamed Around Every Corner Romance & Mystery… I also revised my book The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) and sent it off to be published July 1, 2014 by Sky Pony Press. The new title is The Truth, Diary of A Gutsy Tween. Also in the past year, I have written two different versions of a play titled The Locket, which is based on The Truth. The play has been performed as a work in progress twice in Asbury Park.

Can you see that I may need some time to just chill out? And I am trying to take it each and every beautiful day that we have at the Jersey Shore. Oh, but I can’t rest too much. Secrets: You Tell Me Yours and I’ll Tell You Mine… maybe, the second book in The Truth series, in which the girl is a year older, but not necessary a year wiser, is due at Sky Pony Press very shortly. I’ve already started revising it. Tomorrow, let’s see….what is the weather forecast? I guess that will determine what gets done on Secrets.

  • 2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is such an interesting question. Of course there are other diary books out for girls and tweens and even boys. But the difference between mine and say a series like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, is that The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween, has been written by a positive psychologist (that’s me!) and every page is designed to encourage positive thinking, resiliency, positive self-regard, hopefulness, optimism, a recognition and valuing of one’s talents, strengths and potential, and much more. Every page can be used as a separate guidance lesson if one wished to. At the same time, the book is a page turner in its own right and kids enjoy the quick, easy read as they would any other really good fiction.

  • 3) Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because I am passionate about building kids up and helping their parents, teachers, grandparents, etc. better understand what kids feel and think. This is my life work and to find a way to weave it into drama has been an added gift!

  • 4) How does my writing process work?

openbookteaEach book has a different process. The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween, began as a book designed for adult women. The very first draft was based on a girl, actually the girl inside the woman talking to her, sharing with the woman how to live a more fulfilling life. The girl’s wisdom was adorable and amazing and based on one of my other important psychological concepts, The Seven Gateways to Happiness. However, the book itself never found the light of day. Eventually, I decided that the girl could just talk for herself and it would make a better read. Basically, I banished the woman. I’ve let her come back to life in other ways. For example, the characters in Around Every Corner have some of her attributes. Once the woman left the book, I decided a diary format was the easiest way to get the girl to speak to strangers. The diary format has been a hit. There have been several versions and now I’m so excited to be presenting the longest and deepest version to the world, July 1! This has been an amazing journey for the girl and for me! I hope you read The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween and write to me at drbarbara@enchantedself.com

And now I am going to pass the baton to our next blog tour author who you will find at: http://monaberman22.wordpress.com/ Here is a little about Mona: MONA BERMAN was born, bred and lived in Johannesburg until 2010 when she made Aliya to Israel. She has four degrees, four daughters, many grandchildren and now great-grandchildren in Israel. Her writing life began in earnest with the publication of a work of non-fiction Silence in the Fiction of Elie Wiesel (2001), two works of fiction, E-mail from a Jewish Mother (2002) and E-mail from a Jewish Grandmother (2008), a memoirRemembering Irma – Irma Stern: A Memoir with Letters (2003) and Serendipity in my Seventies (2012).book

We all hope you are enjoying moving from one blog to another and learning more about how each of us create our written works!

Don’t Fool Yourself! Kid’s Have Elephant Ears and Hear Through Walls!

The girl in my book, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) could teach her parents so much, if only they would listen! She is not alone. Most, if not all children, are acutely aware of what is wrong in a family, regardless of parent’s efforts to hide their problems. Even if the parents are not overheard through the walls, kids figure out that their is a problem going on. How? Many ways. Just like us, they sense when something is not right. They see facial expressions; they hear tones of voices; they recognize silence as a weapon or possibly a hurt reaction; they hear a door slam; a plate put down too harshly at the dinner table; a parent coming home too late without a good reason. Our behaviors are usually pretty easy to read. Even if a child can’t put into words what or why something is wrong at home, she will still feel that there is something wrong. And the pain for a child can be immense. For example, read what the girl has to say in her diary:

“Last night my parents had a big fight. I could sort of hear them through the walls of my room. My eyes were shut tight but my ears were wide open, like elephant ears, trying to hear every word. I couldn’t, but they made me nervous and I couldn’t sleep. Today in school I was tired. They are the grownups; they shouldn’t have stupid fights that keep me awake. And anyway, nothing gets solved. No one feels better after being yelled at or put down. No one is going to co-operate any better just because you yell at them and tell them all the things they do wrong. Even I know that! I should’ve been able to fall asleep and have sweet dreams! I could teach my mom and dad so much, if only they would listen. Why would a grown-up put down someone he’s supposed to love? I don’t get it. They waste so much time fighting, and before you know it, everyone’s mood is sad or angry and the day is ruined. This is one thing I’m really promising myself to never do! My dad says, “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.” Well, even though he forgets his own words, I’m going to remember them.”

We need to understand that children want happy endings and everything to be alright. These are normal psychological expectations growing up. They depend on us to create the good times and to keep the household peaceful and a safe place to be. It is a big task when a couple is getting along. It is even a bigger task when there is friction between the parents.

Here are a three suggestions for you, if you and your spouse are struggling as a couple and perhaps it is your child that has elephant ears!

1. Seek professional help. Couple counseling can not only bring happiness back into your lives, but the counselor can help guide you on what to tell your child about your difficulties, how to soothe her, etc.

2. Make an effort to not go down the emotional developmental ladder, when the two of you are upset with each other. That means that your efforts to talk out problems, even if the kids overhear, rather than shouting, going silent, storming out, is the more grown-up decision. It will help show them that you are trying and also give them examples of tools of communication that they will need as grown-ups.

3. Above all try to maintain time with your child that is pleasant and loving. That goes for each parent. If you can not navigate good times together, then at least separately have fun, loving times with your child. She deserves the good times and so do you!

*Watch Julia reading for the girl in the play version of The Truth, The Locket

Selfies – The Good, The Bad And The Dangerous – Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein Urges Caution

Selfies – The Good, The Bad And The Dangerous – Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein Urges Caution – http://ow.ly/vOaZG

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 – http://ow.ly/usN5H

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.