Bullies in the News

By now we all know that bullies don’t just do their dirty work on the school playground, roughing up smaller kids for their lunch money. Bullies attack their prey 24/7 via texts, emails, calls and social media. The really creative ones find nifty ways to invade privacy with webcams and other video devices, as we saw in the tragic incident at Rutgers.  Bullying is a big news topic these days. Even People magazine has devoted ink to the problem.

Parents are asking two important questions: “What can I do to keep my child safe?” and  “What do I do if my child has been bullied?”

But there are two other important question that needs to be answered. “What should my child do if they witness or know about bullying?” and “How do I keep my child from becoming a bully?”

I’m addressing all four topics on my new website, www.respectus.com  which goes live Oct. 20th.

In the meantime, if you want to be on my mailing list, drop me a line at [email protected]

There are ways to bully-proof your child. And there are things your child should know about how to diffuse a bullying situation, report bullying and stop from becoming a bully.

Nutshell: there are ways your child can gain more self-respect, show respect to others in increase their health and happiness!

Just Found Out My Daughter is Having Sex

Most moms report feeling a mixture of feelings when they discover their daughter is having sex: fear, anger, grief, worry, shame, and guilt top the list. Not many report feeling proud, or happy for their daughter, no matter how old she is. (Think of the contrast of Dad punching Junior in the arm with a manly, “Atta Boy!” for his sexual activities. Hmmmmm.) 

Perhaps moms feel negative emotions because they know all too well the exploitation that can happen to their daughters. We listened to guys lie to us about love as they tried to just get laid. Girls risk so much when they have sex: pregnancy, a ruined reputation, infertility, cervical cancer, physical or emotional abuse, etc.  Mom’s worry. That’s normal.

Girls expressing their sexuality makes most people nervous. Mick Jagger could have all the groupies his heart desired and no one put him down, but Madonna expressed herself  onstage and she was a branded a slut. The double standard is alive and well. There’s the reason Dad punches Junior’s arm for scoring but scorns and shames his daughter for being sexually active. Are you feeling ashamed of your daughter? If you have a son, do you have the same feelings?

Aside from the cultural inequality and a flood of swirling emotions, what can Moms do when they find out their daughter is having sex? Three things:

1. Breathe. Literally. Take in a deep breath to the count of seven. Push the air all the way into your belly.  Then exhale to the count of eleven. 7-11 breathing calms your brain so you can think better and be less reactive.  Your daughter needs you now more than ever. A freaked out mom won’t do her (or you!) much good.

2. Talk/listen. Let your daughter know you are aware she is sexually active. Listen very carefully to what she needs from you now. Is she scared? Happy? Confused? In Love? This is a time when your very best listening skills are needed. This is NOT the time to shame her, shove a Bible in her face, or do anything that makes her think you are turning your back on her in any way. You don’t have to agree with her actions, but if you want a life long, loving relationship with your daughter that will help her as she grows up, you need to allow her her truth. She’s now engaged in an activity that will change her life. Sex releases neurochemicals in the brain that will cause her to feel more emotionally attached to the guy(s) she is sexually active with. That creates a host of complications. Nutshell? Your daughter needs you on her side, not on the sidelines pointing a finger at her!

3. Doctor, Pronto.What type of birth control is your daughter using? She’ll need a check up with a good doctor. If you can go wtih her, all the better. Teens often feel they are ready for sex but not ready to put their feet in the stirrups of the exam table.  In some ways your daughter is so grown up, in other’s she’s still  a little girl. Be there for her. Make sure she knows the proper use of whatever birth control method she is going to use and that she uses it as prescribed. Encourge condom use even if she is on the pill.  Make sure she gets yearly exams. If you can’t afford them, find a local Planned Parenthood office.

I know a lot of moms don’t want to deal with their daughter’s sex life. But we need to be emotionally able to handle our daughter’s choices, or we risk pushing our daughters away from us, for a long, long time. If you can talk to your daughter and you have a super close relationship, guess what? She may put off having sex until she is older. Research shows that a close relationship with mom can help teen girls wait to have their first sexual encounter.

If you work out your own negative issues with sex, you’ll also do better when you find out your daughter is sexually active.  Healing our own wounds is the VERY first job a parent needs to do to parent a child.

Two Words Change Everthing

Two words change everything. You have the power to create the life you want, or destroy it. The flower growing through the crack in the sidewalk doesn’t “know” it isn’t “supposed” to be growing there. It only “knows” it is a flower and it is supposed to grow. The flower knows the power of the two words: I Am. 

What you believe about yourself manifests in your life.  Finish this statement, I am….  How often do you fill in that blank with powerful, positive statements?  How often do you fill it in with negative, self-doubting ones. If are you like most people, you  often fill it in with negative thoughts. “I am fat.” “I am not smart enough.” “I am unworthy to be loved.”

The words we choose to use in our thoughts and our speaking create our reality. Learn how to harness the power of a postive “I Am” statement and you have learned one of the most amazing tools you’ll ever posses.

One way to change your  “I Am” statement to one that is more powerful is to get a piece of lined paper and write down on the left side I AM on every line. Go back and write what you think you are. Every line should have a different thought.  It might look something like this:

  1. I am not smart enough
  2. I am a good wife
  3. I am creative
  4. I am scared

You get the idea. Write your negative and positive “I am” statements. Then go back and hightlight the positive ones. Write them down on another piece of paper and post them in a place where you can see them every day. Hold them in your heart. Practice living out your positive “I Am” Statements. 

When you tap into the power of your positive “I Am” statements, amazing things happen in your life. You become more open and loving to the people around you. You attract more friends. You have a more positive influence on your daughter.

Next time you hear yourself putting yourself down, do your best to find a way to turn your negative beliefs about yourself into positive ones. The more positive “I Am” statements you have, the more luscious your life becomes.

“I Am” a parenting coach for mothers of teen girls. I help moms  “Honor the Girl” to better the world.  My “I Am” statement keeps me working hard and helping the lives of many. What are your “I Am” statements doing for you? For others?

All the best on finding your powerful, positive, “I Am” statements. You can grow and blossom in any situation if you live out your positive “I Am” statements.

Teen Tamer Not

I’ve been told I’m a “Teen Tamer.”  I laugh at that idea. Teen girls don’t need taming as much as they need loving and understanding. I do both from the heart, and they know it.  That’s why I have success where other’s fail. I genuinely adore teen girls. They are a promise unfolding and they need support, not shaming or blaming. They need current advice for an ever changing world. They need someone to stay on top of all the changes. I do.

I recently wrote a few lines for a retailer, explaining how to increase sales in the teen market. It’s not hard to do when you really like to have teens in your shop. A lot of retailers see teen girls as problems not profits. How sad. If retailers only understood that both you and the teen girl could benefit from a retail experience, both would win.

There are no tricks up my sleeves, no sleight of hand. Everything I do for teen girls comes from an authentic position of caring. It has too. Teens have a bullshit detector to rival any hound dog’s sniffer! You can’t fake caring about teens.  They know who is concerned about them and who is exploiting them.

The more I work with our world’s teen girls, the more I admire them. They are doing their best to navigate their way into adulthood in a time when everything adults used to know and understand about the world has been turned on its head. Yes, some girls are having problems. Yes, some girls are committing horrible crimes. Yes, some girls are giving birth at young ages. Yes, it’s a mess out there at times. But… our girls are doing their best. They want to be loved. They want to be respected. Let’s help them, shall we?

The next time you see a group of teen girls you think look slutty, or evil, or…. look again. The  word respect comes form the Latin word  respectus. It means to “look again.”  Take another look at those girls. Do you see how brave and beautiful they are underneath their attempts to get attention with their clothes, hair, tats and  piercings? Do you see the little girl in them who still is unsure, who wants so much for someone to love her? I see it all the time. I hope you can see it too.

I don’t want to tame a teen. I want the culture to change a bit. I want teen girls to have more resources to grow up with self-respect. I want parents to understand how to parent in today’s new world. I want the world to begin to “honor the girl.”

I want teen girls to learn to rock respect for themselves and for others.

A simple wish, yes? Please join me in seeing and expecting the best in our teen girls.