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.
My apologies for being late with June’s Parent Forum newsletter. Despite good intentions, I wasn’t
able to send it out before leaving the country in May to travel throughout Poland with my daughter. (More about
traveling with teens and young adults next month.) Whenever I’ve got too much on my plate, I find it
best to admit: “I can’t do all of this.” Saying it out loud is a great de-stressor. I’m
back on track now and the next edition of Parent Forum newsletter will arrive mid-July.
June Parenting Article
Summer Daze – How much goofing off is too much?
by Annie Fox, M.Ed.
because you don’t want your teen lolling around all day doesn’t mean that your enthusiasm for a
goal-oriented summer will be shared.”
On a recent walk in my neighborhood I saw Little Leaguers running bases, middle schoolers riding bikes to no place
in particular, and teens driving around with their friends. It was a pleasure to catch these young people enjoying
themselves and their freedom. After 9-10 months of reading books someone else chose for them, researching and writing
papers on topics that were less than fascinating, studying factoids and taking tests, they finally have time for
themselves with nothing that they have
to do. We can all relate to that.
Our kids deserve a break from being full-time students. Especially kids who are over-scheduled with sports, after-school
activities, out-of-school obligations, and part-time jobs. After being required to do so much, many teens need to
get back in balance. A normal response to overwork is vegging out. But after a few weeks of seeing your 13, 14 or
15-year-old looking more and more like a sloth, we parents often feel compelled to push kids to do something “constructive.”
Is this a reasonable expectation? Absolutely. We know that summer is a great time for pursuing special interests,
getting involved in community service, learning new skills and expanding your horizons (creatively, socially, culturally, and intellectually).
But just because you don’t want your teen lolling around all day doesn’t mean that your enthusiasm for
a goal-oriented summer will be shared...
Continue reading the rest of the
“Can You Relate?” is Renamed and Re-released
award winning-book “Can you Relate?” has just been updated and re-released as “The
Teen Survival Guide to Dating and Relating: Real world advice on guys, girls, growing up and getting along.” Based
on hundreds of emails Annie has received, it gives readers the scoop on
what matters most to them: their feelings, looks, and decisions; boyfriends
and girlfriends; sex and sexuality; how to make a relationship work (and
what to do when it doesn’t); finding and keeping real friends; handling problems with parents and siblings;
dealing with other authority figures (teachers, employers, coaches); and more. Order
your copy here!
Check out my Recommended
Letters from Teens and Parents about Family Problems
What happens when your attitudes about “good parenting” conflict with those of other parents you know?
If your child and the child of the other parents are friends, this could create some conflicts...
“Should 7th graders be allowed to date in groups?”
My son and a friend of his are both in 7th grade. They want to ask 2 girls in their class to go to the movies.
We, the parents, would drive them to and from the theater, so there wouldn't be any opportunity to wander.
When I was their age we used to go to the movies or bowling in unchaperoned groups, so I didn't see a problem
until the other boy's parents said they felt the boys were too young to "date". I just thought
it would be a nice way for the kids to go out together outside of school and try out this new experience.
Now, I'm not sure what to think. Any advice?
Dear Why Not?
Parental attitudes vary tremendously. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with 7th grade boys and girls
going to a matinee of an age appropriate film. I agree that it sounds like a nice way to give them some
independence while still keeping the logistics within your control.
But it doesn't really matter what I think since my son isn't the one going with yours. If the other boys'
parents are uncomfortable with the idea, it's not your place to convince them. Their attitudes and values
need to be respected and that means you shouldn't undermine them in front of your son (since he's likely
to tell his friend what you've said.)
Even if this double date doesn't work out as planned, your son will know that you supported the idea.
That's very valuable.
I hope this helps.
Lots of parents I talk with are hurt and upset by what seems like a sudden loss of closeness with their teens. But
what happens when the teen feels like it’s the parent who no longer wants to be close? For example...
“My stepdad is tearing me and my mom apart.”
Me and my mom used to be so close until my stepdad came in. My stepdad is always trying to get me in trouble
and it seems like he is turning my mom against me. I can’t talk to her anymore. It is just too much.
We talked a couple months ago and she said we would work it out together but did we? NO!
I Miss My Mom
Dear I Miss My Mom,
I’m so sorry to hear that you and your mom are having problems connecting the way you used to. You
say you talked to her about how you feel "a couple of months ago" and that she said you two would "work
it out." Since you don't feel like things have changed, I'd suggest you talk with her again (calmly
and respectfully). Tell her that you miss the closeness. Do NOT make this about your stepdad. That will
only put your mom in the middle and that's not helpful or necessary. Focus the conversation on you and
your mom and the love you feel for her. Tell her you miss her and you want to set up a special time each
day (or as often as possible) for the two of you to be together... Just the two of you.
I'm sure she loves you and that hasn't changed. She wants to be close to you as much as you want to be
close to her. Sometimes people just need some structure (like a date on the calendar and a time to meet)
to get them back in the habit of making time for each other.
Please talk to her about this and see what the two of you can come up with together.
Thanks so much for this advice. I tried it and me and my mom went on vacation together (we’re there
now) and we’ve been shopping and eating Japanese food. Thanks so much, Terra!
Got My Mom Back
Dear Got My Mom Back,
See what you can change in your life when have the intention of getting a relationship back on track? I’m
so proud of you and happy for you and your mom.
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
In the Fall, Annie will be speaking at the following places.
||The Branson School "Transitioning to High
School Social Life Without the Stress" A series of seminars for freshman (not a public event)
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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