Positive Psychologist Barbara Becker Holstein Releases Free Ebook Sampler Of ‘Seven Gateways To Happiness: Freeing Your Enchanted Self’

Positive Psychologist Barbara Becker Holstein Releases Free Ebook Sampler Of ‘Seven Gateways To Happiness: Freeing Your Enchanted Self’ – http://ow.ly/PhOrJ

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.

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.


29aAnd now a brief look at The Third Gateway to Happiness for Girls

The Third Gateway to Happiness for Girls is getting your needs met. For this 10 year old, in the best of all circumstances, she gets help with she needs, in school by a teacher who understands her, by her parents who help her learn how to negotiate hundreds of tasks and who reinforce her capacities, and by other people in her world who love or care for her and help her learn all sorts of things that she needs to learn at this age.

In other words she is thriving as she lives in an atmosphere that clearly helps her grow. For example, let’s say she wants to take piano lessons. Don’t forget, she loves art and music. Her parents find a way help her take lessons. That may mean  getting a  second-hand piano and enrolling her in group lessons if money is tight. It may mean a beautiful new piano and the best teacher in town. But whatever the circumstances, at least her needs are met minimally, if not to the max. This is important with kids, as kids don’t always have an endless window for a particular activity, interest or talent. If parents and schools fail to reinforce the child when she is ‘hot’ for dance or science or even  becoming a girl scout, the moment may pass and never come around again.

Looking at the consequences of not providing The Three Gatways to Happiness to Our Girls

What if the child doesn’t get enough of what she needs? What if she isn’t helped to feel good about herself? What if she isn’t bolstered in the ways that encourage her building a positive sense of her own life? What if she isn’t taught how to meet her needs? What if no one helps her meet her needs at the age appropriate times?

She might, for example,  be told things like, “You’re stupid,” or “You don’t have any talent,”  or “You didn’t inherit any of the good traits that Aunt Belinda has.”

And in terms of the narrative of her life, she might be given messages such as, “You’ll never make it.”  She might be told, “Don’t even try out for cheerleading.  You’re too clumsy.”  Or, “Don’t ever ask for those dance lessons again.  We can’t pay for them.”  And, of course, things could be even worse than that in terms of negative language.

Crippling can happen in the Third Gateway to Happiness also. “Play the piano? That’s for Sissies. Everyone in this family does sports.”

What does all this mean? Basically the message is simple. To thrive we need to be loved, cared for and listened as we grow up. Time is relevant as kids are always leaving one developmental stage and entering another. Each stage has a window of opportunity. Some windows come back, even if we miss them. Some don’t. So there are some basic rules of thumb when it comes to raising kids, that can be generalized from looking at ten year old girls:

  1. Teach them what they need to know without criticizing, belittling or namecalling.
  2. Listen to what they need to tell us about themselves, their interests, theirpassions, their wishes, their hopes. Hurt feelings are relevant, just as a teacher who may ignore a child’s efforts to be called on in class.
  3. Make sure their interests, talents, and potential are recognized in positiveways at home and beyond.
  4. Remember they are evolving. Piano lessons at 10 isn’t a clear indication of a future at Carnegie Hall. Still, treat all their positive interests with respect and hopefulness.



In The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m Smart and I Know Everything) the girl is 10. She is 10 for many psychological reasons. One is the importance of28a understanding the critical development of girls around that age. One of the ways that I teach this critical stage of development for girls is through the lens of THE SEVEN GATEWAYS TO HAPPINESS. Let’s jump right in and examine the first three Gateways to Happiness in terms of the 10 year old girl.

The First Gateway to Happiness is around self-esteem and appreciating one’s own talents, strengths and potential.

This Gateway is similar for a woman of fifty, a man of 23 or for a girl of 10. She like all of us, needs a sense of well-being and to also feel good about who she is. She needs to feel that she has knows right from wrong, and that her life is purposeful. For adults this might mean a very deep understanding of one’s place in the world. For her it could be as simple as going to her fourth or fifth grade class, knowing what is expected of her, and knowing that she is capable of the work. It may also mean feeling good about herself in relationship to her friends. It may mean knowing she has a family that supports her, and a teacher that likes her. Also recognizing her interests and talents. For example, she may love art and music, and feel talented playing the flute, but not like basketball or hockey. She’s clear as to who she is.

She will also have some dreams. She may feel she has potential to become a writer or a skier or an Olympic champion in something, or that she wants to discover a way to stop global warming. Inside of her are dreams, hopes, aspirations.

Let’s see how the above ties into The Second Gateway to Happiness for Girls.

In this gateway, one is aware of the narrative of her life. We begin to see how our attributes all come together in who we are and how we behave. So, for example, for a girl of 10, she may have been told many time that she is very similar to Aunt Belinda. She knows that Aunt Belinda is a wonderful woman interests in art and music, just like she has. She also knows that Aunt Belinda always remembers her with beautiful presents and is absolutely so much fun to be with.

And so, for that little girl, she now has a story-line around her life. It is not set in stone but it works wonders for her at age 10. She is loved by a woman she adores and that woman is said to be like her. So she feels great about Aunt Belinda and she also feels great about herself.

As she grows, she may change the story line a bit. She might even drop Aunt Belinda and decide she’s more like Uncle Sylvester for X reasons when she’s 11 or 12. But the point is, she’s being given a strong messages that she is a special person with lots of talents and potential and that can always serve as the underpinnings of her own story line about who she is.

Tomorrow we will talk about The Third Gateway to Happiness for Girls.

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.

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 www.goodreads.com 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