Hey Terra! Parent Forum
Vol. I, Issue 3 April Newsletter April 1, 2005

Welcome to the
Hey Terra Parent Forum Newsletter

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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, 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.

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Annie Recommends a Great Parenting Book

Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! : Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind by Michael J. Bradley, PhD.Parenting is an art. It's also a life skill that requires practice, lots of fine tuning, a sense of humor and as much helpful input as possible. That's why from time to time I'll be recommending great books to help you with your parenting journey. If you've got any books that you highly recommend for parents of teens, I'd appreciate hearing from you because I'm still learning too!

This month I'm featuring Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! : Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind by Michael J. Bradley, PhD. No one needs to tell the parent of a teen that sometimes (okay, often) their child's behavior is irrational, erratic, and beyond our comprehension. Sounds psychotic doesn't it? That's because it is. But the good news is that this craziness is actually due to a brain dysfunction – a normal chaos that's part of this last phase of your child's brain development. In other words, teen craziness is only a temporary condition. Using personal anecdotes taken from his clinical practice and his own family lfe, Bradley gives us incredible insight into the challenges and solutions of parenting teens so that you can survive the chaos and help your teen through it.

Check out my Recommended Books here...

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April Parenting Article – Show Me Some Respect!

by Annie Fox, M.Ed.

Be willing to listen. This shows your teen that you respect his point of view enough to hear to what he has to say. Listen, even if you are discussing a request that is totally out of the question. (I’m 14, why can’t I go on a co-ed sleepover?)
Parents usually go nuts when their kids show attitude. Despite all the parenting books, classes, and Dr. Phil Shows, all of us, at times have lost it when defied, mocked, insulted or loudly ignored by our children. Stress levels soar and in a blinding, thoughtless fury a parent’s knee-jerk response is to lash out.

"You WILL respect me, damnit! How dare you talk to your mother/father that way you ungrateful little brat!"

That will teach him. That will teach her.

Yep, sure will, but what you’re teaching has nothing to do with respect and everything to do with fear, loathing and the wrong way to parent. You’ve lectured them on the need to be respectful, responsible and mature, but in a split second you’ve shown yourself to be none of the above. Not exactly what you had in mind, was it?...

Continue reading the rest of the article...

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radioNew – Teen Talk Radio

We just added 16 archived webcasts feature Annie Fox (AKA Hey Terra) and her teen co-host Jazlan Grigsby. Each 10-20 minute broadcast is about relationships and other issues in your teen's life. We read a few of the emails Annie's received and talk about the problem and offer some advice.

Visit Teen Talk Radio here...

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Letters from Teens and Parents about Family Problems

Most of us remember when our own parents loudly objected to the music we listened to as teens. That didn't stop us from listening to, singing and playing whatever music we wanted. Well, now you may find yourself on the other side of the same argument. What's a 21st century parent to do?

“I hate my son's music!”

Dear Annie,

My 15-year-old son listens to music that has objectionable material and lyrics. I do not feel I am being over sensitive to the music -- this stuff is really bad, with a lot of derogatory remarks, cruelty, and expletives that are just plain wrong. Up until last year I was able to censor the music that came into our home. But now that my son is almost 16 he has the ability to bring in music that I do not pre approve, or download what he wants.

I have told him that I strongly object to the music and feel it is not part of our family values. However he said, "I do not listen to the words, just the music." I still think that is wrong and a bad influence on him, his 11-year-old sister, and our family. What do I do?

Singing a Different Song

Dear Singing a Different Song,

I can appreciate your objecting to your son's embracing lyrics that you find "really bad." Even if it's absolutely true that he doesn't "listen to the words" it's clear that you can hear them and find them offensive.

In case you're wondering why your son would want to listen to that stuff, part of it is his exploration of identity. In the same way that teens experiment with different hairstyles, clothing styles, piercings, slang, vegetarianism, etc., pop music is a way he's figuring out "Who am I?" This identity exploration happens in every generation. It's normal. It's simply a part of the natural development of an identity that's separate from one's parents...

For the rest of the answer, click here...

And here's a letter from a teen who may be dealing with depression. Her other problem is how to get her mom to take her cry for help seriously.

“I feel really bad and my mom won't listen to me.”

Hey Terra,

I think something is wrong with me. No matter what I do I feel really bad. I barely smile. I feel alone and left out at school and home.

Please, I need help but my mom won't listen to me.

Alone and Tormented

Dear Alone and Tormented,

Have you just recently started feeling "alone" and "left out at school"? Or have you felt this way for a long while?

And if this is rather recent (in the past 6 months or so) do you have some idea when it started?

In friendship,


Hey Terra,

I'm not positive, it's been awhile, but not like forever. Lately I have been feeling really bad, because a lot has happened to me. First my mom gets a new boyfriend, next we spent the summer together, then our house burned down, and finally my mom decides she wants to lives in another state and we might never go back to where we live now. I don't know, I feel like crap and sometimes I just want a new life.

Also, I have another question. My mom recently started dating again, she hasn't had a boyfriend since my dad died. Is it wrong that I despise her boyfriend as much as I do? I've tried so hard to like him but I just can't. And whenever me and him get in a fight she always seems to take his side instead of mine.

That's a lot of stuff, but I guess there's a lot of stuff wrong in my life.

Thanks for listening!

Alone and Tormented

Dear Alone and Tormented,

It certainly sounds like you've had some very difficult things to deal with recently. Any one of those events could contribute to your feelings of being alone and left out. (My dad died when I was 15 and I know how badly that can shake your world up.) But when you combine the impact of the loss of your dad, your house burning down, a move to a new state, your mom's new boyfriend... This is a LOT of stuff for you to be dealing with!

Here's my suggestion and I offer it because I care about you. Please go and talk with your school counselor. This emotional storm that you're living with is too much for you to try to cope with on your own.

Will you talk with your counselor?

Write back. I'm here for you.

In friendship,


Parents rarely mean to play favorites, but sometimes, in the eyes of their kids, that's exactly what they're doing.

“My sister has a learning disability and she gets all my parents' attention.”

Hey Terra,

My sister has learning disabilities, so she gets extra attention from my mom and dad.

I get really good grades and have no trouble with school. My mom and dad think that I don't need any help right know and focus there attention on her (my sister). I feel like dropping a grade just to get their attention.


Hello! What about me!

Dear Hello! What about me!,

Thank you so much for writing to me. Your situation is an important one, because your feelings are very important. So important that your parents really need to know what's going on. They love your sister and because of her learning disabilities, they are working extra hard to make sure that she gets the support she needs to succeed in school (and in life). Your parents absolutely love you too. And I'm sure they are very proud of the really good grades you get and the fact that you have "no trouble with school." But even though parents love their children, they don't always realize how their choices make their children feel.

You asked for my advice. OK. Here's what you should NOT do. DO NOT let your grades drop "just to get their attention." That is not the kind of attention you want and besides, it would be a waste of your gifts to do less than your best. (You also won't feel proud of yourself for doing it.) You should also NOT think of your sister as your enemy or someone you're in competition with. Your sister didn't choose to have a learning disability. (You know that, but this is a reminder.) She loves you and she admires you.

So, those are the DON'Ts. Here are the DOs.

DO talk privately with your mom and dad. DO share this email with them if you like. DO tell them how you're feeling and together, as a family, figure out how you can share in their attention.


Good luck.

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.

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Upcoming Events

In the next two months Annie will be speaking at the following places.

Date Description Location
4/14/05 Parents Place in Marin A Special Author Event and Book Signing For Teens and Their Parents: "Staying Sane, Loving and Rational With Your Teen." 7:00-8:00 PM. For information 415 491-7959 San Rafael, CA
4/15/05 Kehillah Jewish High School Health Day Discussion - "Keeping the balance within yourself" (not a public event) San Jose, CA
5/3/04 & 5/10/04 Parents Place in Marin 2-part hands-on Parenting Workshop "Why 21st Century Teens Need 21st Century Parenting" 7:00-9:00 PM each night. For registration information 415 491-7959 San Rafael, CA

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

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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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