Martha Trowbridge, inspirational writer, and I discuss some of the basic issues around these formative years

I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my audio shows about kids, tweens and teens. Let’s start of with the first podcast from Kids, Tweens and Teens, A Positive Psychologist Looks at all Three! In this show, Martha Trowbridge, inspirational writer, and I discuss some of the basic issues around these formative

June 30, 2008 – Dr. Holstein and Martha Trowbridge, inspirational writer for women, discuss Happiness as it relates to girls, tween, teens and women.

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!

Two and One Half Men may be funny but what is the show saying about schools and tweens?

13bTonight, Monday evening, I happened to catch some of Two and One Half Men on CBS.  It is a modern day comedy-a far cry from I Love Lucy that I so loved to watch on Monday nights at 9:00 PM so many years ago.  That show had an innocense that Two and One Half Men lacks.  However, it is a different era.  And that’s what made tonight’s show so poignant, in terms of being a tween.  The youngster, who is the son of one of the characters and the nephew of the other is going to Junior High or Middle School-I didn’t catch which.  So the men are taking him shopping.  They make him buy old people’s looking sneakers so no one will try to beat him up and steal his sneakers.  They make him buy beige pants because no gang members wear beige.  By the time they put him on the school bus he looks scared to death.  As they walk away, one of the men remarks, “We’ve done all we could do, now it’s up to him.”

And I suppose that is true.  We have done or not done what we can and now our tweens are out in our society, sometimes scared to death, exposed to pressures and worries that we would never have dreamed of as children.  This is not good for them.  Kids are still developing emotionally and physically.  Having the pressures on them that someone might beat them up for their sneakers or simply beat them up because the other guy is in a gang is frightening.

Even though the ‘girl’ in my new book, The Truth, I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything, lives in a simpler time, she gives parents and tweens a great chance to talk about so many ’scary’ and complicated subjects.  She is also worried about transitioning, just like the boy in the show.  She also wants friends and to fit in. Sometimes it is easier to talk about important subjects when we simplify the setting.  That’s what I did in this book.  The Truth gives us direct access to look at all the issues surrounding growing up.  And we should!  Our tweens deserve it!

A Fourteen year old boy in Pasadena agrees with the ‘girl’ in The Truth, (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) And the truth is it is not nice to swear

Gosh darn! Cussing banned in California town-taken from CNN news

18aSouth Pasadena declares first week of March as No Cussing Week

Mayor hopes proclamation will “elevate the level of discourse”

Anti-swearing drive started with teen who founded high school’s No Cussing Club

This news is so exciting.  As a positive psychologist, a school psychologist, a mom and a grandma, I’m thrilled to read about a 14 year old boy having the courage and conviction to come out loud and clear that cussing is not necessary, not nice and we can handle ourselves in more refined ways!  Congratulationgs to him.  I was tickled to see this special week happening in California.  In my new book, The Truth, (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) the girl is very upset when a cousin comes to visit who swears all the time.  She knows it isn’t nice and it doesn’t feel good to listen to the language.  How is it that so many of us Americans have forgotten when children know to be true?  I hope we can all practice no cussing days, everyday!

Bullying increases risk of depression and more

bulliedI heard on ABC Now News today that bullying can increase the risk of depression and even suicide.  These are serious findings. For more information fo to and go to the on call section. Every day, in every way possible we need to help kids, teens and tweens to not be bullied.  We also need to help the bully so he or she doesn’t have the rage or hurt inside to be a bully.  We have a big task but we can do it.

Here are some pointers: 1.  In your family life don’t make fun of each other or bully.  Remember that kids model what they see!

17a2.  If you child talked about a bully in school or the neighborhood LISTEN and stay alert.  If you see any changes in your child, even small ones like leaving the dinner table early, talk to her and see what is going on.

3.  Remember you are the grown-up and take responsibility if necessary.  If you think you had better speak to a teacher, guidance counselor or principal about your child being bullied or your child showing some traits as a bully, do it!

Tweens will always give us wild rides but as parents we can handle it!


Jan Singer wrote a wonderful blog entry today on her tween son who give her a ‘wild ride’ as most tweens do.  Here is my response:

I’ve been a psychologist in private practice for over 25 years and a school psychologist.  I don’t have a tween boy, but soon I’ll have a grandson getting near 8-12.  But may I comment on Jen’s little story about her tween son?  It is a wonderful example of how we will think we are ‘getting’ it about our tween and then suddenly there is a whole twist that we missed.  The good news is that Jen and her family handled her son in a positive way.  And that is the bottom line emotionally.  When I wrote, The Truth, (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) the girl is 10 also.

And she also is having thoughts, feelings and insights totally unique to her that the family is missing.  I made sure that she did as a character because since this is a mother-kid book I wanted there to be a lot of room for discussion and mutual understanding. For example, Jen’s post raises questions such as: How do we treat our tweens even if we don’t understand them?  What do we react to?  What do we let go? When do we permit ourselves to have a secret chuckle over what our kid did or said?  When do we shed a secret tear and then try to get in there with a different approach?  Yes, it is an endless array of moments, insights, realizations and reactions when there is a tween in the house-be it a boy or girl.  Hurray for Jen and her son-they are just doing fine and he will probably grow up loving music and who knows, be a great composer!

Mean Girls, a Positive Psychologist speaks up and so does a girl from the book, 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)2a

Things I promise to do when I grow up:

I’ll travel a lot, I won’t look away when my kids ask me tough questions

I’ll answer truthfully, I won’t swear

I won’t get into silly fights with my husband…

The ‘girl’s’ list from my new book, The Truth, (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) could go on and on.  She knows so clearly what has come into her life that didn’t feel right-parents who didn’t have the time to really hear her.  Parents that fought too often.  People in her life that somehow, whether with our without meaning to, distorted the truth, and people who did unpleasant behaviors such as swearing.  All of these external actions led to internal reactions which were painful to her.

As a positive psychologist I hypothesize that MEAN GIRLS don’t just wake up mean.  I believe that they too, have been exposed to too much that began to hurt just too deeply-and then finally one day, they began to give back.  And the result is a MEAN GIRL.  Perhaps the girl was teased unmercifully, or she came from a household that had too much conflict, or she had no one that really understood her needs.  That doesn’t get a MEAN GIRL off the hook and I agree with the information shown on Prime Time 20-/20 show this week on February 26th, 2008 that parents must work with their daughters and help them fend off the MEAN GIRLS.  And who best to give strategies, than one’s parents!  But also we need to look at the societal factors in the world around us to see what we can all do to help both the MEAN GIRL and the girl being teased.  I’ll talk about these factors in other blog entries.  But one sure factor is to keep tweens busy and engaged and excited about what they are learning and doing.  For example, a girl caring for a horse every day after school will probably not have the time to think about becoming mean-unless someone is not nice to her horse.  And then you had better watch out!  But that makes sense and sometimes we are reactive because that is exactly the right way to be!

What do you think?

Tween Girls Bullish on Fashion Fantasy Game: Online Fashion Game Gains New Entrepreneurs

With Permission from anastasiya-landa.deviantart.comWonderful article the The Earth Times.  You can find it at .  My congratulations.  Tweens need activities that allow them positive creative outlets.  What little girl hasn’t wanted to be a ballerina, or a princess?  And what tween hasn’t wanted to be something like a fashion designer?  Well, now it seems girls can get a safe way of learning not only about designing clothes but running a business.  As a positive psychologist, I know this type of learning experience is exactly what girls need between the ages of 8-14.  Your daughter may end up becoming an engineer or a physician or a graphic artist, but the confidence she can learn and the fun she can have in doing an activity that stretches her imagination will never be lost.

In my new book, The Truth, (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) the girl is so excited to meet any challenge that stretches her thinking and yet keeps her feeling girly, girl at the same time.  That is probably why she loves Nancy Drew mysteries.  She gets such a kick out of solving them, before Nancy Drew!  And that’s why lots of girls are sure to feel excited playing this new game.

Actually, this on-line fashion designing game appeals to the girl inside of me.  I wonder if older women can sign up?