Home: Authors: Annie Fox, M.Ed.
Helping parents raise healthy tweens/teens

Status: Member since December 23, 2009
Location: United States of America
Articles: 7 Active Articles, resulting in 201 views
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TRCB - Member Profile - Annie Fox, M.Ed.

When Annie Fox's first book People Are Like Lollipops (1971, Holiday House) was published, she wasn't old enough to legally sign the contract! By the time she turned 21, though, she decided that helping kids was going to be her life's work. After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies then completing her Master’s in Education from the State University of New York at Cortland, Annie set off on a teaching career. After a few years in the classroom, computers changed her life as she began to explore ways in which technology could be used to empower kids.

In 1977, Annie and her husband David opened Marin Computer Center, the world's first public access microcomputer facility. Her work there led her to write her best selling book, Armchair BASIC: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Microcomputers and Programming in BASIC (1983, Osborn/McGraw-Hill). After a detour into the world of screen writing, Annie returned to computers as an award-winning writer/designer of children's CD ROMs. (Putt-PuttMadelineGet Ready for School, Charlie Brown; and Mr. Potato Head Saves Veggie Valley are just a few of the titles on which she has worked.)

In 1996 Annie dreamed up the idea for The InSite, a place "for teens and young adults to turn their world around." For 3 years she served as creator, designer, writer, and executive producer of that award-winning site. One of The InSite’s most popular features was Hey Terra, a Cyberspace Dear Abby. Her book The Teen Survival Guide to Dating & Relating: Real World Advice About Guys, Girls, Growing Up And Getting Along (Previously titled Can You Relate?, 2000, Free Spirit Publishing) is based on hundreds of emails to Terra and Annie’s responses to them.

''Middle School Confidential, Book 3: What's Up with My Family?'' by Annie Fox, Illustrated by Matt KindtToo Stressed to Think? A Teen Guide to Staying Sane When Life Makes You CRAZY, co-authored with Ruth Kirschner, was published in October 2005 by Free Spirit Publishing. Annie’s new series Middle School Confidential™ includes Book 1: Be Confident in Who You Are (2008), Book 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind (2009) and Book 3: What’s Up With My Family? (January 2010).

Through her public events for kids, tweens, teens, parents, and educators, Annie continues working toward her goal of empowering young people through increased self-awareness, emotional intelligence skills and stress-reduction strategies.

When not answering teen email, Annie enjoys yoga, meditation, baking, gardening, photography, hiking, traveling, and, most of all, being with David and the rest of the family.

Parents of tweens and teens often complain how their kids tune them out. Teens say the same thing about how their parents "never listen." Could it be that when we multi-task and only pretend to listen to our kids we're actually teaching them that auto-pilot listening is the way we communicate it in this family?
When we think about our sweetest holiday memories from childhood, we usually recall having fun with people we really cared about who loved us back. Yet when we bombard our kids with "stuff" rather than focus on the essence of family connections, we miss a chance to teach them what the holidays are really all about.
When tweens or teens push our buttons and we automatically react in anger, we tend to make a family situation worse. But when we can stop and ask ourselves "What does my child need right now?" we have a better chance of responding with clarity, compassion and understanding. That kind of thoughtful response will likely improve a parent-teen relationship.
Teens are often clueless when it comes to building and maintaining healthy relationships (the only kind worth having). It's not their fault since no one is born with relationship smarts. As parents, it our responsibility to educate our tweens and teens about what is and is not appropriate behavior in the Boyfriend/Girlfriend Zone.
When you become a parent (especially a mom-type parent) you access to the Land of Worrying without even knowing you've slipped through the door. And once you're in, there is really no exit. And yet, how helpful is all the worrying we do? Actually... not very.
As parents it's our biological imperative to solve all of our kids problems so that their lives hum along without a bump in the road. Or is that really what good parenting is all about?
Shielding children from some of life's harsher realities, ie. illness and death, robs them of important opportunities to learn how to be fully human. Unexpressed emotions don't just go away, they continue to impact our lives and our relationships.
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