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!

Seven Ways To Help Our Tween and Teens Stay Healthy

Recent reports have noting that movie theaters are losing money as the result of being forced to change the seats in the cinemas from 19 inches wide to 21 inches wide gave me a momentary chuckle but then left me thinking about weight issues that kids, and especially tweens and young teens have to deal with. All of these issues, including eating disorder syndromes, are magnified for tweens and young teens, as they develop emotionally and physically, while confronting social, academic and peer pressures.
Here is a list of seven ways to help our kids from the time they are very young to feel comfortable in their own bodies by the time they are tweens and teens. Let me know what you think of the list!

1. Praise your children for their positive actions, behaviors and words. Make it clear that their response to life as a good citizen and a loving family member is much more important than their looks or body type.

2. Don’t compare or judge people’s looks or bodies. Rather point out a person’s fine character trait or a good deed that a person has done. Your children are always listening to you and what you say, even if you think they are blocking you out! Your attitude very much influences how they will perceive others and themselves.

3. Show your children by your own eating habits, that you recognize the need for eating healthy foods. If you are out of control around certain foods and habits, what message is that sending to your kids?

4. Consider planting a small garden or learning more about the foods we eat with your children. This can be a fun activity like visiting a potato chip factory, or something more serious, like learning about the differences between organic farming and non-organic farming.

5. Cook up delicious meals, at least on occasion, and let the kids help. It can be fun to find recipes together and shop for the ingredients as a family outing. Praise them for their help and don’t get caught up in the milk that spills or the egg that fell and cracked on the floor.

6. Enjoy exercising as a family. Going to the gym or doing a sport together can be wonderful. But simply putting on music and dancing around the house or in the kitchen can burn lots of calories and led to laughs, hugs and feeling connected as a family.

7. And of course, if you child is suddenly gaining or losing weight or showing any form of eating disorder, talk to his or her doctor immediately.

GIRL SCOUT TROOP 1805 CREATES Anti-bullying Message!

I was so impressed to read about Troop 1805 out of Oceanport, New Jersey, in The Link News from November 4, 2010.  The Scouts acted on their own.  They hung anti-bullying posters in their school, purchased special bracelets for students who sign on to an anti-bullying pledge and even bought enough bracelets so the campaign can continue after they move on and graduate from the Maple Place School.
So far lots of kids at school have taken the anti-bullying pledge and put their signatures to the pledge sheet.
This is wonderful.  We need our kids to not only feel the pain of what it means to be hurt by a bully, but to care enough to influence other youngsters.  We often listen more to our peers than those of another generation.  This is a great example of smart grass roots action!
Good luck, Troop 1805!  You never know, your efforts may save the emotions and/or life of another youngster.

On You Tube Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein interviews two 11 Year Old Girls About The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)

Come and listen to why I wrote The Truth and also how the girls react to the book!  A real girl’s response is worth a thousand imagined responses!


I am very excited about this real life interview with a budding poet and fiction writer. Ally is a student at the Manasquan School in Manasquan, New Jersey. I had a chance to meet Ally when I went to talk to Girl’s Club at the school about being a writer, as well as a psychologist and sharing my first book in The Truth Series, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything). Since then Ally has shared with me many of her writings and poetry. I am very impressed. She speaks from the heart with eloquence, spirit and humor. I hope she goes very far as a talented writer and poet. Enjoy our interview!

1. When did you become interested in writing poetry?
I became interested in writing when i was young but then forgot about it and put it aside for the 1-4th grades. In fifth grade i was praised by my teachers and started writing again. Then in 6th grade i put it on hold for the summer. This was the first year i truely found my calling.

2. Can you remember your first poem? Can you share it?
Yea i remember my first poem, i wrote this when i was 3 or 4 and my dad wrote it down for me. Here it is:

Dad is the wind which carries me through the day
Mom is the sun who brights up my day
Kiki (my sister) is the stars above
And me? I smile

3. How do poems come to you?
Wow this is a great question. Poems come to me like a shooting star but more often. Sometimes ill be sitting in math class, taking notes and ill just spark. My friends like to call it overdrive because ill have a two page poem finished in 2 minutes. And sometimes ill write poems in my sleep

4. When did you start to write other forms such as fiction?
I started writing other forms of writing when i was in fourth grade. I remember writing a story called “The world behind the water” it was about my friends and a story about atlantis, then this year i really got a kick out of it

5. Can you share with us one of your favorite poems that you wrote?
Dear Heartbreaker,

You are sick

You stabbed my heart

Until I couldn’t cry

Dear, Heartbreaker

You’ve have made me

Un-satiable to your effects

On my soul

Dear Heartbreaker,

You stole my heart and

Toyed with life

I was the marionette

And you held the strings

But then you randomly decided

To cut them

Dear Heartbreaker,

I love you

6. Are there adults in your life who have encouraged and helped you on your writing career? Who were they and want did they do for you?
Yea there are many adults who have encouraged me and helped me. My teachers Mrs.McWilliams and Mrs.Kim- they both taught me what i needed to know and encouraged me to go out there. My principal Mrs. Carlolson has been supportive of my writing and funded my classes. My friends Alice and Tess(even though they aren’t adults) have proved to me that i am a really good writer even when im hard on myself and have inspired me. My best friend Griffin too. He was there to read my writing and encouraged me to go out there and not care what people think. You, Dr.Holstien have encouraged me the most and have helped me truley go for it. I’d like to thank them and you for all the help and encouragement.

7. What advice would you give another young person interested in writing poetry or fiction?
If your interested in writing then go for it. If its a passion and you live and breathe it then your on the write track. If its your passion then just go for it submit your writing to publishers like ( i have a subscription to they’re magazine) where they publish everything imaginable. Show your teachers and get yourself known. Develop a portfolio and look at those old notebooks because there may be some gems in there. And most of all don’t care what people may think is weird or strange about your writing you’ll be surprised.

8. What are some of your dreams for your writing?
Some of my dreams for writing are to become an author and speak to kids around the country-maybe even world. I have always wanted to have my own colum in the New York Times. I’d also like to become has famous as Robert Frost or Edger Allen Poe.

“Feeling Special and Talented are Gifts All of Us Deserve”, according to Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Positive Psychologist and Author of The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything).

“I think everything I make is a master piece!” These words were spoken by Cecelia who is a fashion designer. What makes her particularly unique is that she is 10 years old. She has been designing since she was 6.

When I saw Cecelia on television a couple of months ago, talking about her passion, sewing her creations, and then saw other children wearing the clothing, I was amazed and impressed. It was fascinating to see her in a fabric store picking the fabrics for her clothing. She clutched a bolt of fabric, saying “I can’t live without that piece of fabric.” She now has Trunk shows in exclusive stores and is often busy sewing her clothing for other girls her age. Truthfully I loved her clothes and could even imagine liking them for myself in a big enough size. It is unusual to find people of any age so connected and centered to a passion. It is extremely unusual at 10.

Obviously Cecelia has been able to recognize and hold on to her talents and potential. And as they say, behind every great King is a great Queen. Well, behind Cecelia, must be parents who are guiding, encouraging and helping her with her talents.

What can Cecelia teach the rest of us? Certainly not that every kid must have a talent that makes them famous. Rather she reminds us all the living our dreams, doing what feels really significant to us, is a gift we should all try to get to at some point in our lives. Why? Because it makes us feel whole. We are useful to society and we thrive. These are but some of the good reasons. And how do we get there? And when?

These are big questions and not so easy to answer. But we do know that the ways we parents are critically important. Here are some guidelines:

1. Recognize and help your child to recognize her talents, strengths, coping skills, interests and of course potential.
2. Never say never to a dream of hers, (unless it is harmful). If she can’t take ice skating lessons this year because of money, leave the door open for next year. Help her figure out a way to make sure it happens by next year. Perhaps she can get a scholarship. Perhaps you can offer your services, whether making phone calls, or baking cookies or cleaning the waiting room for parents, in lieu of payment. Get on your thinking cap and try.
3. Bring interesting information and ideas into your household. Encourage good use of time. Collecting rocks or leaves or anything can lead to a science discussion or a fascination into the ways of nature. A family walk can be meaningful, healthy and leave everyone in a good mood. Always stay alert so you are opening your child’s mind and senses to the positive dimensions of being alive.

Here are some of the messages that a mother, aunt, grandmother, teacher can take and use from Secrets: You Tell Me Yours and I’ll Tell You Mine…Maybe.

1) This girl’s first crush was Paul. Crushes feel very real at any age and you shouldn’t be made to feel silly or like it is trivial that you have a crush.

2) The girl discovered early on that she didn’t like it when her parents fight. She’s decided when she grows up she won’t fight over silly things with her husband.

3) Things like a special locket from a favorite aunt can mean a lot to a kid. Grown-ups should try to recognize harder how important they really are in a kid’s life and do nice things with and for them.

4) Moving is really hard. But the grown-ups in a kid’s life can help so much by making things seem as normal as possible, like when the girl’s father took them all out to a local movie a few days after they moved and they had lots of fun.

5) Growing up is hard. Parents shouldn’t walk away when kids try to talk. It is hard enough to get up the courage to ask a question or share feelings. It feels awful when the grown-up is ‘too busy’ or looks preoccupied.

The Truth and Secrets

I am adamant about helping girls grow up strong and sure of themselves. The Truth Series and now the second book in the series: SECRETS: You tell me yours and I”ll tell you mine… maybe, is my way of addressing some of the dysfunctional messages we all absorb in one way or another growing up. Girls can not always free themselves of the dysfunction that may create damaging messages in their lives. But they can be taught to recognize how special they are and given ways to hold on to the best of themselves. That is what I am busy doing, via fiction, in The Truth (I”m a girl, I”m smart and I know everything) and now SECRETS.

The Second Book in The Truth Series, by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein has arrived!

Be the first to get your copy of the second book in The Truth Series, called Secrets I’ll tell you Mine if you Tell me Yours…maybe, by going to Amazon Today

Secrets Book Cover