Welcome to the
Terra Parent Forum Newsletter
About this Newsletter
The Hey Terra! Parent Forum Newsletter helps you build healthier relationships
with your teenage sons and daughters. This free newsletter features parenting tips, recommended parenting
books, letters from parents about their teens, letters from teens about their parents, and a schedule of
events where parents and teens can hear Annie Fox live.
October Parenting Article
Clean Anger vs. the Other Kind
by Annie Fox, M.Ed.
your anger cleanly offers great potential for strengthening relationships because it provides a constructive
way to highlight problem areas.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina I became a news junkie. Through the non-stop coverage of floodwaters, people
stranded on rooftops and freeway onramps, mayhem in shelters, communities reduced to rubble, and the government’s
feeble response to this catastrophe, what got me most were the heart-breaking stories of families separated during
the evacuation. I wept at the anguish of the moms and dads who didn’t know where their kids were. What
can that possibly feel like?
Without a doubt, parental love is the most powerful human emotion. All parents know that. And yet, too many of us,
with our children safe at hand and no malicious intent, are guilty of killing them softly. Case in point, a reality
TV show called Supernanny, which my
husband and I watched the other night.
For those who’ve never tuned in, think: out-of-control kids running their desperate, clueless parents ragged.
Sure, it’s sensational and voyeuristic, but this show also offers the irresistible “smug factor” (as
in: At least our kids were never that bad!) The truth is, Supernanny, (aka Jo Frost) is a highly effective
parent educator and an inspiration to watch...
Continue reading the rest of the
“Too Stressed to Think?” Now Published!
new book for teens, “Too Stressed to Think?
A teen guide to staying sane when life makes you CRAZY” (co-written
with Ruth Kirschner) is now shipping and should be in stores by within the next week or so! Order
an autographed copy of it directly from me and pay by credit card at our own online “store”.
You can also purchase autographed copies of my other books – “The
Teen Survival Guide to Dating and Relating” (Free
Spirit 2000, 2005) and “Can You Relate?” (Free
Spirit 2000). Order
your copy here!
October’s Recommended Read
Perfect Madness – Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety
by Judith Warner
All of the financially secure, highly educated, and incredibly capable mothers Judith Warner interviewed for this
book admitted that they were going way beyond anything their own mothers had done. They were on call 24/7, doing
everything they possibly could to support their children’s intellectual/psychological/social/emotional well-being.
It was their “mission”. And while these women chose to devote their lives to their kids (and had the financial
means to do it) they weren’t happy. They felt at odds with the expectations they had for themselves as mothers
and the nature of raising kids.
As one woman put it, “The reality is: at the end of the day, you could put your heart in it and for nothing
wrong that you did, your kids could wind up a mess, and there’s your life’s work.”
They knew they couldn’t possibly guarantee that their total immersion in their child’s development would
stave off all problems (now and forever), and yet they felt powerless to disengage from the quest to be “uber-Mom”.
Warner comes to the realization that there’s something very damaging in the current culture of mothering. “...all
mothers in America, in differing ways and to different degrees, were caught up in The Mess. And that’s because
the climate in which we now mother is, in many ways, just plain crazy.”
What Warner has brilliantly done, is to provide a historical context for the need to focus so intently on our children’s
lives that we discontinue all other non-child-related pursuits including creative and professional endeavors that
once brought us great joy and a sense of self-worth. It’s an important read for any mother who is trying to make
sense of her life and of family life in our times.
Check out my Recommended
Letters from Teens and Parents about Family Problems
Speaking of respectfully dealing with conflicts, here’s a recent email I received from a teen who needed help
communicating more effectively (and less hostilely) with her parents:
“My parents won’t let me do anything!”
I’m ticked off because my parents don't let me do anything. I still love them but they have to understand
that I have grow up some day and they can't hold me back forever. First I thought that piercing my nose would
be cool but I wouldn't wear the earring to school but they said “NO!!” Then I started to like rock
music they said that I can't listen to that, Then I started to wear eyeliner and my mom was like “Take
it off! Don’t wear eyeliner!” Ohmigod, she even wears it, but she tattooed it on. And the bad thing
is that my dad always and I mean ALWAYS has her back.
What can I do?
Dear Ticked Off,
I hear that you love your parents and you're not intentionally trying to upset them. I also hear that you're
trying to be yourself. But how can you express your individuality, if you mom and dad say "No, you can't
It's a great question and teens have been asking it for centuries. Part of growing up is being open to what's
going on with your peers. That can help you figure out who you are as a separate person from your parents.
Each generation needs to establish its own uniqueness. That's all very normal and natural.
It doesn't sound like you're doing anything harmful to yourself or others. So why are your parents having
a problem with it?
It’s impossible for me to say for sure, but some parents freak out when they see obvious signs (the
eye-makeup and the nose piercing and the music) of their kids are growing into young adults. They don’t
want to “hold you back” but for lots of parents it's a little sad to know that childhood is ending
and the close relationship you’ve had is changing. When you reach adulthood, you and your parents will
still be close, but it will be a different because you won't be relying on them in the same ways you did when
you were younger.
The eye-makeup and the nose piercing and the music may represent change to your parents, and that can be a
little scary for them. Talk to them about this calmly, respectfully. Tell them that you love them and appreciate
the good values that they've taught you. Let them know that wearing eye make-up and the rest is a "style".
It’s something that you like, but it doesn't mean that you’ll stop being a person who makes good
choices. Ask them what "styles" they liked when they were teens. Ask them if their parents (your
grandparents) had any problems with the music they listened to or the clothes they wore.
Talk to them respectfully and thoughtfully. Share your point of view. Listen to what they say about how things
were for them as teens. Find out how they feel now that they’re parents of a teen. How has their viewpoint
shifted? With this conversation you may find that some of the anger and resentment just disappears and you
have a new understanding of each other.
Got a parent-teen problem you need help with? Click
here to Ask Annie
Read other parents’ questions here.
Read teens’ letters about parents here.
If you’re a teen and you need some help, click
Over the next two months, Annie will be speaking at the following places.
||Crystal Springs Upland School: "Relationships
101" — a series of health classes for 11th graders (not a public event)
||Arrowsmith Academy: "Keeping
your balance when life makes you crazy" — student assembly (not a public event)
||The Branson School: "Transitioning to High
School Social Life Without the Stress" — a series of seminars for freshman (not a public event)
||Scottsdale Public Library: "Being
Your Own Person" Workshop for teens. For information call 480 312-2474
||Free Public Event!
Towne Center Books: Annie
will talk about her new book Too Stressed to Think? A teen guide to staying sane when life
makes you CRAZY and the challenges
of keeping your life in balance. Teens and Parents welcome. For information call: 925 846-8826
School: "Don't Stress About Stress" — a series of seminars for 4th-8th graders (not a public event)
||San Anselmo, CA
||Hillview Middle School: "The 7th grade
Survival Guide" — part of the 7th grade speaker series (not a public event)
||Menlo Park, CA
||Hillview Middle School: Parent Education
Night Presentation "Middle School Parenting: How to maintain your sense of humor and your balance." For information call 650 326-4341
||Menlo Park, CA
||San Domenico School: Parent Education Night Presentation "Why 21st Century Kids Need 21st Century Parenting" (not a public event)
||San Anselmo, CA
If you want Annie to speak at your school, event, or conference, click
Past Newsletters – read our archive of
past Parent Forum Newsletters.
Recommended Books – Annie
highly recommends these parenting books.
Hey Terra (www.AnnieFox.com)
– includes letters from teens and parents, Parent Forum articles past and present, information about Annie’s
books, and workshops/seminars.
The InSite (www.TheInSite.org)
– created especially for teens who have ever thought about making a difference. The InSite provides
teens with the information, the inspiration, and many possible game plans so they can take charge of their choices
and their lives.
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