Tag Archives: Teens

Not My Daughter’s Best Friend

I was sitting recently with a client and her mother. My client, a 10-year-old girl, was explaining to me that her mother was her friend, in fact, her very best friend. She stated this as if it was a positive thing, but all I could think was this was the root of most of their difficulties.

Consider this – the foundation of the majority of friendships is equality. Both people have equal say in what they do and how they do it. This does not translate well in the parent-child relationship. How can you be your child’s friend and their parent at the same time? Simple answer, you can’t. Friends are often supportive of one another no matter what – a parent cannot do this. A parent needs to praise positive behaviors while offering consequences (punishment, discipline, whatever) for negative behaviors. A parent helps a child to problem solve difficult situations even if the potential solutions are uncomfortable or, at times, painful.

Here are some warning signs you are becoming too much a friend and not enough of a parent to your child:

1. No Routines or Limits

For many parents, life can get too hectic to follow through on their parenting plans, especially if it will take some work to get the kids on board. After a while, their family’s lack of routine can result in lazy, spoiled teens or tweens without schedules and responsibilities.

2. Avoiding conflict

Many parents find it easier to give in to their tween or teen’s demands than get into yet another argument, so they become more lenient than they’d like. This may be particularly true for parents who didn’t like the strict way that they were raised, so they relax the rules.

3. Making school (or other activity) an excuse

Savvy teens who want to shirk their responsibilities at home often use schoolwork (or sport’s practice or music lessons) as an excuse, because parents are usually pushovers for anything supposedly related to academics.

4. Being overly concerned with your child “liking” you

Some overly permissive parents are more concerned with their teenagers liking them than being effective authority figures.

5. Rewarding kids with technology

Tweens are getting smartphones at younger and younger ages, often because they wear down their parents by begging for the devices. But giving in isn’t good for your child, even if you justify that she can call you if she unexpectedly needs a ride home. (I am guilty of this one!)

Parenting is a tricky balance sometimes. You want to feel connected to your child and for them to trust you to be able to come to you with questions and concerns. You want them to respect you as an authority figure to be treated with respect at the same time. This is the tightrope. It can be a struggle to figure out how to be open enough so they will want to talk with you, but still maintaining their respect for your position as parent. You can be a friend to your child, but first and foremost, you need to be their parent. Your child needs the comfort of knowing you are there if things ever go sideways and they can count on you to pull them back if they are out of line. Clear expectations and boundaries are comforting even when they chafe against their burgeoning independence. If anyone has this sorted out, please let me know – it definitely would make things easier at our house!

Unusual Reactions to being Asked to Contribute to my Book

Many of you know I have a book coming out (Life Lessons for the Teenage Girl: Quotes, Advice and Inspiration for Women by Women) in November and that I contacted a number of famous and/or successful women to contribute to the book. Often I am asked about the silliest, rudest, or even most surprising response I have received to my requests. I am not talking about the advice actually dispensed (and some of that WAS too inappropriate to include in the book), but rather the response to even being asked to participate. Let me offer the caveat that these women, by virtue of their fame and success, are extremely busy. Not all that were asked agreed to participate, but some, in their responses, were quite amusing. I won’t name the women (feel free to guess, but I will never tell), but the stories should be entertaining without that information.

  1. I contacted the agent of an older actress to ask for her participation in the book. He was an older gentleman himself and asked a number of questions about the project. Once the intended reader of the book was clarified (largely teenage/young adult women) he became very agitated. “They won’t even know who she is!” I tried to explain that I found this hard to believe (she is VERY well known) and also explained that a brief bio would be included with the contribution so, if the reader did not know this woman, they could be introduced to her amazing body of work. He was unable to move on from this point. “She is too old! They won’t know her! It would be embarrassing!” I didn’t know what to say to that, but to this day I want to go up to every teenage girl, say this woman’s name and see if they know who she is. (I haven’t done it yet.) Guesses?
  1. I was speaking with the public relations person for a well known young adult (think mid-20s) actress. I explained about the project and she seemed very interested. She then asked how much her client would be paid to contribute. I explained there was no budget to compensate the contributors, but that 50% of the profits would be donated to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and all contributors would receive huge praise and shout outs in the book and all related press. The agent then asked if her client could be reimbursed her “portion” of the CHLA donation once the book was out because “no one works for free.” I tried, again, to explain that none of the women were being paid, but she was insistent. The call ended with her stating, “Call me back when you come up with some money.” We never spoke again. Interestingly, this young woman was subsequently fired from her TV show. Any guesses?
  1. This one applies to MANY agents, PR people and managers to whom I spoke. A common early question is “Who do you already have committed to the book?” I won’t even encourage you to try to guess who these players were – there are too many to even list. Why do they ask this question? Because:
    1. No one wants to be first. They all want to make sure other people think it is a worthwhile project before committing.
    2. No one wants to be the most famous person participating in the book. Everyone wanted their client to be associated with someone more famous, more successful more “whatever” so they can increase their star power by being in the book.

I don’t want you to get the impression that everyone we spoke with was difficult. Many explained their client was simply too busy (I get it), were asked to participate in too many projects (makes sense), had their own book coming out soon (Oooh, crap) or just wasn’t “available (it happens). But more importantly, many, many women participated in the book. They did so without a penny of compensation, without fear for how they might be perceived negatively by the reader and without concern about what is in it for them. To these lovely ladies, I offer my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude. You made a difference in this author’s work and, hopefully, made things better for even just one reader.

Final Cover

Risque Pictures are Risky!

In light of recent revelations about celebrities having their phones or clouds hacked, I have been thinking a lot about the danger of naked photos – whether “selfies” or couple shots. I totally get why people are excited about the idea of sending and receiving these pictures – it can be a fun way to spice up a couple’s sex life. The problem is we don’t often think about the dangers in these choices. Oftentimes, these behaviors are more common among younger, more impulsive people who may be less likely to think through possible consequences.

My friends from college and I recently posted some pictures from the college on Facebook for Throw Back Thursday. The pictures were silly and somewhat embarrassing, but we each made sure not to post anything that was inappropriate. There were lots of comments about how we each had such pictures of each other, but agreed posting them would be “mutual destruction” as everyone had “ammunition”. I even joked I could guarantee none of us could ever run for president because of the potential scandal. The bright side was that these are not on the internet. They are photos only accessible to us. We can control who gets to see them and even in college when we were “slightly” more stupid, they could only be shared personally, but not globally. We were lucky. I think we might have been impulsive enough to share them on the internet back then, but then it wasn’t an option for us.

When I was younger, if people wanted to take “intimate pictures” they had two choices:

  1. Use a regular camera and send the film off to be developed at a photo lab somewhere. My roommate in college worked at one of those photo labs and I can promise people did this. How do I know? My roommate would make copies of the most interesting photos and bring them home so we could make fun of them. (We were young and not-so-mature at the time).
    1. Pros: Cameras were easy to use and they were not uploaded to the internet.
    2. Cons: Someone (like my roommate) has to develop the pictures. There are photos of you “out there” to be discovered – might even be the copies you and your partner have.
  2. Buy a Polaroid camera which would instantly spit out the developed pictures. Do you remember Polaroid cameras? There is a picture below for your reference.
    1. Pros: No need to send it out for developing. Instant photo viewing.
    2. Cons: The pictures are still potentially floating around in the universe. Not something you want your mom to discover when she is going through your drawers!

Things are very different now! Technology has advanced which gives you so many more options, but each has their own risks and rewards:

  1. Digital Cameras: You can take pictures, view them instantly on the camera’s viewing screen, upload to your computer and edit and print desired copies.
    1. Pros: Instant gratification. Editing options. Can email or upload copies.
    2. Cons: Might email to the wrong person! Can be sent throughout the internet. Can be shared with limitless numbers of people. Lose the camera and the photos can be recovered. Once posted, they never really go away. The person with whom you share the photos could share them with the world.
  2. Cell Phone Cameras: Everyone’s cell phone has a camera these days and they are always handy and around.
    1. Pros: Readily available. Editing options. Amazing numbers of filters and lighting options. Can email, text, upload and transmit in unlimited numbers of ways.
    2. Cons: Once a photo is shared, you cannot control where it goes from there. If the phone is lost, stolen or sent out for repairs, you have no control over what happens to the pictures.

So, what is the point of all of this? I want you to take a moment to think before you act. Don’t take any pictures you wouldn’t be OK with your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your future bosses and future children to see. TMZ is unlikely to be posting about it online, but it can quickly spread around your school, your community and your world. I have had this happen to a number of patients and it rarely ends well.