Christmas Idea For Kids That Builds Self Esteem For Teens And Tweens: Dr Barbara Becker Holstein’s ‘Diary Of A Gutsy Tween’ Now Available – http://ow.ly/F4dL9
Teens Record Every Moment Of Their Lives – Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Author Of ‘The Truth, Diary Of A Gutsy Teen’, Offers Guidance – http://ow.ly/CneUB
ABC Series Premier, ‘Selfie’: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Positive Psychologist, Offers Insight – http://ow.ly/BYrcz
Possible Selfie During Joan Rivers Medical Procedure – Psychologist Barbara Becker Holstein Offers Insight – http://ow.ly/BFVnY
Epic Selfie Spree: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Author Of ‘The Truth’, Offers Advice To Parents – http://ow.ly/Bh9LD
Selfie Contest Now Open To Teens And Tweens To Celebrate Release Of ‘The Truth, Diary Of A Gutsy Tween’- http://ow.ly/zrC7m
Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein To Release “The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween” – http://ow.ly/xSiwz
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
(Tet is the most important national celebration in Vietnam. The full name is Tet Nguyen Dan, which means “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day’. Our Tet has the same objective as the Western World’s New Year. It is a chance to welcome and celebrate the new year and hope for health, luck, happiness and achievements.) And now on to more of my story:
Hearing my dad’s voice, I opened my lazy eyes and tried to drag my body out of the bed. The day was so special. Instead of seeing clunky clouds in the sky and thinking about how to confront another ordinary day, I could feel the sunshine already and see the bright blue sky.
“Well, Tết is here. Light the flame inside you, Linh !”, I whispered to myself.
After having got through all the household chores and getting ready, we left home and got into the green taxi, which had been waiting for a few minutes. At first, we visited pagodas that we knew were where our ancestors are worshipped. Then, we were in the intimidating crowd at Nghe Temple, trying, along with everyone else, to express our respect for General Le Chan, who had founded Haiphong City with the original name “An Bien”.
I gazed at the map of Nghe Temple and made efforts to find out something interesting to meditate upon, although that was not the first time I visited this remarkable temple. Leaving there I was still excited as the day was just beginning to unfold. A wonderful journey was still waiting for us. “Heading your way !!”, I playfully thought.
It took us about one hour to reach Hai Duong Province. My mother had suggested that we should visit An Phu Temple, or Cao Temple, where Prince Yên Sinh – the first emperor of Trần Dynasty’s elder brother – is worshipped. It was quite hot, different from the usual rainy and wet weather of Tet in Vietnam. Hot, and tiring. The temple is located right on top of the mountain, so we had to climb – to be more exact, walk many steps – to eyewitness the ancient beauty of An Phu Temple.
We took numerous photos, and I followed my parents to explore the structure of Cao Temple. I smelled the ancient, orthodox scent of incense sticks visitors had burnt. Not very sweet- smelling, but it reminded me of the solemn atmosphere at a sacred place.
I memorized some historical events that had happened to Prince Yên Sinh, shaking my head as I realized the irony of what he had been compelled to suffer.
Saying goodbye to An Phu Temple, we left Hai Duong Province for Haiphong City again. But, we stopped at Do Son District to visit Ba De Temple, which is situated near the sea. “Up to the forest, down to the sea”, this is the saying that most depicted our travels. Ba De Temple is associated with a love story between a powerful king and a beautiful and glamorous commoner, who ended up suffering.
After finishing all the holy procedures, we went down to the sea and felt extremely refreshed to take photos, draw on the sand and join in some activities which were kinds of horseplay. I constantly had a bee in my bonnet about the unlucky fate of the beautiful commoner and I could understand how painful women’s lives were and are when they had and have to live amongst male chauvinists.
I’m still lucky, and I think I ought to look up to my life better. And that’s the truth.
PS *: () Mi is the name that my intimates call me at home.
What is a special trip you have taken with friends or family? Share with us. We want to share meaningful experiences that girls have from around the world. Send your e-mail to email@example.com
Linh is The Truth for Girls first international young journalist. From Vietnam, she was given a copy of The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) by her mom, translated into Vietnamese. She loved the story and found my e-mail address at the back of the book. She wrote to me and I answered. That was the beginning of a three year correspondence. As I realized how perceptive Linh is and how versatile her Englih is, I invited her to write articles for other girls around the globe who follow The Truth! We hope you enjoy her article about New Year’s in Vietnam that follows. And remember The Truth is always ready for more young girls from around the world to be journalists. If you are interested write to me, Dr. Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org .
As a psychologist and an educator I’ve spent many years helping children be better understood and to better understand themselves. One thing I emphasize is that children learn over many years not only how to express themselves but what they are allowed to express.
Recently, I learned all of this anew by finding in my attic my old diaries from the 4th, 5th and sixth grades. Page by page I detailed my life from what I ate for breakfast, to the weather, to playing with a friend, studying for a test, going to visit my relatives, moving to a new town, etc. But what I didn’t include in these diaries were my feelings, secrets worries or questions about life.
I wouldn’t have dared to put into print any of the above. Not because I was afraid someone would read my diary, I really wasn’t afraid and anyway it had a lock on it. I just couldn’t even imagine saying certain things out loud. Merely verbalizing my fear of dying, or my run-in with a neighbor who was inappropriate to me, was beyond the scope of permission I would give myself to speak aloud in any form. Writing the diary was good as it gave me practice in writing, but sharing my feelings would take more than writing practice.
Now as I read the pages of going iceskating and receiving a dollar from my cousin Eleanor, I realize so clearly what was missing. And it is okay that some things are not expressed aloud by kids. But what is not okay, is not giving kids help in expressing themselves.
How do we do this as parents? By talking to them and listening to them. We need to share enough of our memories of growing up, including the feelings and anxieties as to open the door for permission for them to share back. We need to listen for the obvious cues of the crying behind a closed door, but also to the silent cues, when a kid is just not sharing enough.
I’m glad my diaries are with me. The child in me is still able to remind me, and so I remind you. Never forget that children need our permission and help to learn what is okay to talk about and share.
The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) can be a great place to start. As the girl in the diary does share her feelings and fears as well as her hopes and dreams. I wrote the book that way so you can use it as a spring board to talk to your daughter or granddaughter. The girl gets us started on a wonderful road to sharing.