Hey Terra! Parent Forum
Vol. I, Issue 10 December Newsletter December 1 , 2005

Welcome to the
Hey 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. If you know anyone (parent, educator, counselor) who you think would appreciate reading this newsletter, please forward it to them.

* * * * * * * * * * *

December Parenting Article
The “Please Donít Buy Me Any Stuff” Gift Guide

by Annie Fox, M.Ed.

Not that she didn’t love us or wasn’t grateful for the gifts she’d received in the past. She did and she was. But she’d also had it with holiday commercialism.
I love a bargain as much as anyone. As Mom’s only daughter, I was raised on her mantra “Never pay full price.” And I never do. Bragging to my husband about how much I saved on a sale item is almost as much fun as owning something new. So I understand the intense motivation of the folks who braved the pre-dawn Black Friday chill in hopes of scoring major bargains. But when I saw news coverage of a woman trampled at the entrance to a Florida store, and then read how a fistfight broke out somewhere else over laptops, I was stunned. Bargain hunting definitely requires a certain focus and determination, but it was never meant to be a contact sport.

If you’re like most people, you enjoy giving gifts to those you love. But you probably don’t relish the idea of being part of a shopping melee. So how can you avoid the crazies who’d knock you over if you took that last iPod, and still give meaningful gifts?

If you think this is a pitch for Internet shopping, guess again. Actually, I’ve got a low-tech antidote to the holiday shopping crunch. In all honesty, I can’t take credit for this idea because our daughter thought of it first.

Continue reading the rest of the article...

* * * * * * * * * * *

Season of Hope

This year more families than ever are in need of help. Here are a few worthwhile projects that could use your family’s contribution:

America's Second Harvest Help for Hurricane Katrina Families
South Asia Earthquake Relief Activities

Pakistan Earthquake Relief

UNICEF Relief for refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan

Doing online research together, as a family, can help you find the organization whose goals you want to support. Knowing that they can be part of a solution that helps people is a powerful realization for kids and teens. As tragic as disasters are, they offer opportunities for neighbors and strangers to lend a hand so that we can all move forward with hope.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Got a Stressed Out Teen?

Too Stressed to Think?, by Annie Fox Here's a holiday gift that could help the whole family all year round... my new book, “Too Stressed to Think? A teen guide to staying sane when life makes you CRAZY” (co-written with Ruth Kirschner) is now available here, or Or order this book from Barnes & Noble or at your local bookstore! 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 book – “The Teen Survival Guide to Dating and Relating (Free Spirit 2000, 2005). Order your copy here!

* * * * * * * * * * *

Letters from Teens and Parents about Family Problems

School holidays offer the mixed blessing of families spending more time than usual together. Often that requires lots of flexibility and some extra effort to respect each other’s space. This teen needed advice about how to listen to her music at home despite her mother’s objections:

“My mom hates my music!”

Hey Terra,

I'm really into rock but my mom is kind of worried about me. Some of the artists I like to listen to scream loud!! When my mom hears that she starts yelling at me saying "Gosh, keep it down! We worship God not your devil songs!!!" I just get real upset but see I don’t believe in the devil I believe in God!!! I don't want to leave rock. Come on! I’m growing up. What should I tell her?

Help Plz


Hi Kiki,

Do you think that showing your mom the lyrics of these songs would make her feel more or less comfortable with the music you're listening to? If seeing the words would help her understand that these aren’t “devil songs” then print them out and show them to her. Either way, in respect for her, maybe you could consider listening with headsets on. After all, she has the right "not" to listen to your music in her home, doesn’t she?

Your thoughts?

In friendship,

Hey Terra,

Thanks for your good idea. Well, I showed it to her and now she doesn’t think they’re devil songs, but she just told me just keep the volume down. LOL! (laughing out loud)


Any time of year is the season to take a look at what behavior you’re modeling for your teens. Like this woman, who probably isn’t aware of a high risk behavior her daughter might be learning from her:

“I’m a single mom who’s in love with a man I met online.”

Dear Annie,

I am 51 years old and fell in love very deeply with a man the same age and who is also a single parent. (We both have teen daughters.) I met him because I emailed to compliment him on his web page. We’ve have been emailing and phoning ever since.

My question to you is: I have been asking for his phone number for the past 7 months and he always would say: “It is a man’s place to call.” I only wanted it in case I felt like calling him and as an added assurance of his honesty with me. He has recently given me his phone number to my delight BUT!!!!!....... Now since he has given it to me, he wants me to do most of the calling. He used to call me every Saturday night and talk for 2 hours and that was our Saturday night date.

Now he comes up with an excuse as to why he can’t call me. He uses the $10.00 phone cards for 3 hours and spreads out his time with me. I, on the other hand, pay about 4 cents more per minute. I told him that I should be worth the extra money, but he insists now that I do the calling and more often than him now! I noticed that he calls every other Saturday. I can’t afford to pay the phone bill let alone all these long distance charges now. Should I stick to my guns and hold him to his words: “It’s a man’s place to call.” or is it fair to take turns? PLEASE HELP! WHAT SHOULD I DO????


Dear Used,

If you think of yourself as being “used”, then you definitely need to take steps to change this situation because it’s not likely to change by itself. This isn’t about taking turns calling each other, this is about feeling like you’re both equally invested in this relationship. You obviously don’t believe it’s a two-way street.

But there’s something much more important going on here that you should be aware of. You say you “just can’t afford” paying for all the phone calls. Personally, I think there’s something else you just can’t afford continuing to do.

You say that you’re “deeply” in love with this man. But since the basis of your relationship has been restricted only to email and phone calls, I wonder if you really know him at all. I tell teens that it’s way too easy (and common) to pose online. I’ll tell you the same thing. How do you know this man is what he presents himself to be? How would you feel if your daughter was in love with a guy she only knew online? If you’d be uncomfortable with that idea, how would you be able to discourage her since she’d only be modeling your own behavior?

In friendship,

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 here.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Upcoming Events

Over the next few months, Annie will be speaking at the following places.

Date Description Location
12/3/05 Free Workshop for Parents of Adolescents and Teens: Parent University X Proactive Parenting: "The Nuts and Bolts of Raising Healthy Teens" at Miller Creek Middle School, 8:30AM-1PM— for more information call Deborah Hemphill at 415 499-5877 San Rafael, CA
1/23/06 Prospect Sierra School "Being the Change" a student assembly for 5th and 6th graders (not a public event) El Cerrito, CA
1/26/06 Prospect Sierra School "Being the Change" a student assembly for 7th and 8th graders (not a public event) El Cerrito, CA
2/17/06 Hall Middle School Career Day. Guest speaker: "What's it like to be a Cyberspace Dear Abby?" (not a public event) Larkspur, CA
3/7/06 Amadador Valley Adult & Community Education "Parenting your teen when you're both too stressed to think" Workshop, 6:30-8:30 PM — for more information call Pnina Tobin at 925 426-4280 Pleasanton, CA
3/11/06 Parent Education Conference, Menlo School — for more information, call 650 330-2001 Atherton, CA
3/18/06 Parent Education Conference, Acalanes Union HS District — for more information, call 925 935-0170 Walnut Creek, CA

If you want Annie to speak at your school, event, or conference, click here.

* * * * * * * * * * *


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.

* * * * * * * * * * *

If this newsletter was forwarded to you
and you’d like to subscribe (free!), click here.