Helping Your Daughter Have a Positive Identity Within Her Family and Her Community.

  • The ‘girl’ in The Truth and Secrets wants to know more about her family. She is close to her mother’s sister, Aunt Belinda, and her Grandmother who she adores.
  • But on her father’s side she only knows her father’s cousin George, who she doesn’t like much at all. (Mostly because he swears a lot).
  • She wonders what her father’s family is really like. Why doesn’t he talk more about his childhood and his parents? Are there secrets?
  • She feels happy to have a loving grandma and aunt but she wants more.
  • And her dad is talking about moving! Yikes! So, if they move, she will loose her friends. This is not good.

Discussion:
How could her parents help her to feel better connected to her extended family?

How can they also reassure her about the family moving and how she will fit into a new school or circle of friends? Anyone have any ideas?

Now on to Your Daughter: How can you help your daughter feel connected in healthy ways to both sides of her family?

How can you help her to stay connected to appropriate friends also, whether you are moving or staying where you live? You may find the following video helpful:

The Girl in The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) has a Wonderful Dream About a Future Group Called Free The Children!

Dear Diary,

You’re not going to believe this! I had the most amazing dream I have ever had in my life last night! And I hope that someday what I dreamed will be the truth.

I was so tired after we got back from Thanksgiving Dinner at the Bailey’s. I could hardly walk into the house. All that turkey and the pumpkin pie and the coffee ice cream. They always have coffee because they know I love it! I ate too much. I flung myself down on my bed in a daze and before I knew it I was asleep. And this is what I dreamed:

There was a boy, about my age, maybe a year older, about 12. And he read about another boy who had been a slave in some far off country, maybe Pakistan? Can you imagine being a slave as a kid? I think he had to help make rugs everyday. Anyway, this boy in Pakistan somehow died and the boy in this country found out. The boy here decided that it wasn’t right that kids should be slaves and he decided to do something about it.

I know just how he must have felt! I want to do things also to make the world a better place. But I don’t always know how. I wish I did.

This boy knew how. He started to talk about the kid that had died and got a group of friends together and they started a club to help slave children around the world.

I can’t remember all of my dream, but I know they called it Free The Children and that eventually the boy went around the world collecting money and got tons of other kids to help raise money to free kids and do lots of other things like build schools for children in places that had no schools.

Just before I woke up I was dreaming about some kids from Minnesota going to Kenya and helping to build a school. Their faces were so radiant. They looked just the way maybe I looked when I won the baking contest in Girl Scouts. I just got to see the new school from the outside in the dream when I heard my mother’s voice, “Get in pajamas. You can’t just sleep all night with your coat on. You’ll get sick.”

And then the dream was gone. I hope someday the dream will come true. I hope I’ll still be alive to see children around the world helping to free other children and to help save the world. And if I am a grown-up by then I hope I’ll remember how it feels to stand up to bad stuff and I be one of their big supporters! Maybe by then it will be my daughter who will be going to Kenya or somewhere to help build a school.

This was the best dream I have ever had!

Holidays Can Be Terrible or They Can Be Wonderful

Reader submitted diary entry.


Dear Diary,

Thanksgiving is next week and I can hardly wait! I love this time of year and all of the family activities. Every year all my family comes to our house and brings something to eat. My Mom calls this a ‘pot luck’ but I have no idea how a pot can have luck so I’ll stick with calling it a family dinner.

It is …
always fun seeing all my aunts, uncles and cousins. Even my Grandma comes and she is so much fun! Sometimes it is stressful though. Sometimes my cousins fight, those dumb boys won’t ever learn to get along I think but it’s funny to hear them fighting like little kids and they are older than I am!

Sometimes my parents fight before everyone gets here and then they try to act like nothing happened but I can see on my Moms face that she is still sad. I’m sad too when they fight. I don’t understand it. Normally the fights are about stupid stuff like if the turkey is big enough or if we have enough plates and some how it just turns into a fight. Maybe it’s the stress of it all? Mom is under a lot of stress for 2 weeks while she plans for Thanksgiving dinner and tries to make sure that everyone doesn’t bring pumpkin pie and nothing else. That would be funny though!

I hope this year there won’t be any fighting and that we can all enjoy the family time because it is so rare that we can get together.

 

The Truth for Girls

Dear Reader, I also hope you have a wonderful day. Here are a few suggestions and tricks that might help: Doing a special treat for your mom may really help her mood. Maybe you can clean your room and surprise her or set the table before she asks or something else that will make her surprised and pleased. Also look for moments during the day where you can make a real difference. Perhaps you can take the other younger cousins into another room and lead them in some fun games. Or maybe you can graciously offer to slowly walk with grandma in the neighborhood. Anything you can do to make people feel special or to make sure everyone has fun will make a difference. The last thing for the moment, is since your mom worries about the desserts can you make or buy one that will make sure there is a good variety? Chocolate chip cookies never go out of style on any holiday!

(submit your own diary entry to barbara@thetruthforgirls.com)

 

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

I hope so much that when a girl or her mom or her grandmom or her teacher finishes reading The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) what will happen next is an open dialogue.  That’s why I put in the back of the book questions that naturally lead to deep conversation.  Some people think The Truth is an easy read.  It may be, but it is a deep read.  Just as an Emily Dickenson poem can be very deep in only four lines, so can the thoughts and feelings of this nameless girl who touches our hearts.  She is unique, but also one of us.  Any girl or woman will identify somewhere in the pages with her.  For some it is her energy.  For others her ability to solve problems.  For others it is her realization that she knows so deeply so many truths.  And once we identify then it becomes easy to want to chat and share.  I hope you will do so after you read the book.  The genuine connection that you will feel with your daughter, yourself and the girl in the book will warm your heart.  Please let me know what questions you enjoyed most in the back.  You can write to me at drbarbara@enchantedself.com.

Sunny The Cat

I thought it would be such fun to put my cat on my lap and talk to him about the truth. After all, cats, like most or all animals, have an uncanny sense of the truth. They know if you don’t like them. They also often sense what is about to happen before it does, like when a storm is coming. And they look past all the superficial stuff like our make-up and what we are wearing to the true essence of what is at hand. Feed me. Love me. Play. It is all simple and direct.

Of course children are more complicated, but in many ways children know the truth better than we do. They can pick up on our moods and intentions instantly. Kids know if we are placating or overdoing compliments.

Soooo, once Sunny was on my lap, and he of course, sat right in the sun, I just began to talk to him about the truth. The words fell out of my mouth, as he patiently let me pet him. However, when I tried to get him to look at my book, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) he clearly turned away. He wasn’t going to let me trick him into reading a book for kids! After all, he’s a cat. He’s proud of it, and that’s The Truth.

I hope you enjoy our discussion.   —-  Sunny the Cat

HOLIDAY STRESS-Yes, Girls, Tweens and Teens Feel It Too!

The Holiday Season is beautiful and we all hold on to some precious memories that go with the season.  But the Holiday Season is also stressful.  As adults, we often live an exhausted life of lists and obligations that go with the season.  For some women, particularly moms with children living at home, an exhausting month is finally finished off by little sleep and the patter of little feet very early on Christmas morning.  Even for those of us that celebrate simply or observe other traditions, such as Chanakah, the frenzy builds.  Nobody wants to forget someone they should have remembered with a card, a present or a phone call.  And most of us have certain favorite foods that go with the season.  That means extra calories, an outfit that suddenly doesn’t fit right, or the tug of war with the latest batch of Christmas cookies sitting in the kitchen.  And we know who usually wins!  (The Cookies)
 
What some of us forget is that the kids have stress also.  Particularly in harder times, like now, kids worry about how the season will go down for them and often for their families.  Kids hear, know and feel a lot more than we give them credit for.  If your family is having money problems, whether you tell them or not, they are most likely aware of the problems.  If you and your husband are in disagreement over how to do the holidays, even if you argue behind closed doors, your daughter will be aware of the tension.  Some here are a couple of suggestions to lower the stress for your kids:
 
1.  Have a honest, but not overly dramatic or discouraging talk about this year’s decisions around present giving. If everyone will be receiving, say half of what they got two years ago, be honest about it.  Discuss this openly and maybe agree on what gifts are the most important for an older child or a teen.  If say your daughter really wants an item that is twice what you can afford, see if there is a way to figure out the purchase.  Perhaps it can be for both Christmas and her birthday, plus she can take on a chore in the family for a few months that may help you out or even cut some expenses for you. 
 
2.  Also, have an honest chat about what you will do and not do for the Holidays.  If you are not buying a big tree this year, let them know early so they won’t be disappointed.  Perhaps it is the year for a family evening of making home made decorations and stringing popcorn trim?  That can be a lot of fun.  Also, kids are very creative and if they know that a food budget for a big Christmas gathering must be slimmed down, they will come up with ideas to help do that.  For example, they may be willing to bake or help you cook more from scratch, as that usually costs less than packaged foods. 
 
In summary, the important thing kids need is to feel in the loop of making decisions about the Holidays and presents and that they have something of value to offer the family either in terms of ideas or actions.
 
If you can help them feel valuable and in the loop and make clear that you want a great Holiday also, you will find yourself under less stress and for sure you daughter will feel even better about herself than she expected!
 
Happy Holidays!

HOW DID THE TRUTH (I'M A GIRL, I'M SMART AND I KNOW EVERYTHING) COME TO BE?

As a positive psychologist, a school psychologist and a former teacher, I began to think, how could I write a book that will spark just everyone? If you are a kid, a tween or a teen, you will feel understood and connected to this fictional girl.  After all, she is like you.  She thinks about many of the things you think about and she makes promises about what she will be like when she grows up, just like you do. 

If you are a woman, it will make you want to dance with yourself and with your inner 10 year old and make her energies a part of yourself again. 

 

If you are a mom, you will see your child in a much more profound light.  You will want to help her hold on to her wisdom, wit, sense of competency and self-esteem 

 

If you are a grandparent you will want your child and her child to read the book so that they will both have a chance to develop to their fullest and to stay communicating through all the tough years ahead. 

 

If you are a teacher you will want girls to read the book so they will feel strong and resilient and see that they can hold on to the best of themselves! 

 

So the character came alive.  I felt a fictional diary was the way to go.  The girl, as many fictional characters do, helped me write the book.  She shared her frustrations and her competencies, and she even managed to solve a little around how she could hold on to the best of herself as she grew up.  How she solved the mystery is so endearing, but I can’t give it away because I want you to read the book.

 

A RECIPE for a Happy Child must include some very special Ingredients

You wouldn’t back a special wedding cake without a recipe.  So way think you can bring up a child and have her flourish without a good recipe that really works?  As a psychologist, I can say the surest RECIPE that I have found is passed on the Seven Gateways to Happiness.  Here are some of the special INGREDIENTS that you will need as you help you daughter walk through the Gateways of Happiness.

The first ingredient is:

1: Lots of reinforcement for the kid’s talents, interests and potential. Without reinforcement from you, probably the most important adult in her life, she cannot validate her talents, strengths, interests and potential just on her own.  Kids are developed enough emotionally or intellectually to sort through all of their feelings and reactions to their own experiences.  They need the parent, grandparent, and/or teacher to help them in this sorting.  The girl may enjoy a ten week course in playing the flute.  But recognizing whether she loves the flute enough to now take expensive lessons maybe be something you have to help her with.  Maybe she like variety and to try a lot of new things.  That is just as valid an interest as a willingness and need to focus on one thing and master it.

I’ll be back with the SECOND INGREDIENT in RAISING A HAPPY CHILD  soon.

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 www.enchantedself.com 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.