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 Dear Friends,



This month's articles are ones which I feel are especially important during the holiday season.  Too often we all get caught up in the craziness of travel and family obligations and we lose track of our kids and their struggles; honestly, doesn't it seem like we were getting ready for Halloween yesterday?


In choosing this months articles I was forced to slow down and read, and that simple exercise helped me in looking at my expectations of not only my children, but also of myself. I found it very therapeutic, and I encourage you top to the same thing. Carve some time today, turn off the electronics and just read.


Through this newsletter, our blog and all other social media outlets, we continue to try to spread the word.  We encourage you to do the same by sharing anything we post with families and colleagues you feel would like to become part of the Loeta family.






As always, thank you for taking the time to read and share our newsletter






Fathers and Daughters: Rock Meets Fire


From familyeducation.com



In all parent-child relationships, the level of engagement and trust, at least as reported by children and teenagers, diminishes by about the same amount across the board when children become teenagers, except, that is, for fathers and daughters. This relationship experiences a greater drop in closeness than all the others.


Stop and consider the players involved and this only makes sense. Fathers are most at home with the dynamics of independence, autonomy, and justice, which means these are the filters through which they interpret most behavior. Thus, when their teenage daughters push them away—as they need to do to assert their autonomy—they take this literally and personally, which leads them to back off. (Consider this in juxtaposition to mothers, who, when pushed away by their daughters, refuse to go and instead only push back harder—thus the intensity and volatility of that relationship, but also the connection.) Fathers, through their orientation towards accomplishment and independence, believe they are giving their daughters the space that they are demanding. Their daughters, however, feel that their fathers abandon them when they need them most.


The differences between the genders hit me in the face the other night. Jessica, my fifteen-year-old daughter, was upset and on the verge of tears about something. Whatever it was, she was so stressed that when I asked her if she was okay she said no. Then she proceeded to tell me why, or at least a thumbnail version.


"I found out that Chelsea and Monique are going to a party tomorrow night that they told me they weren't going to. They're ditching me!" I couldn't follow much of what came next, but I got the gist of the situation.


"Well, it sounds like they're not really your friends."


"Dad! We've been best friends since, like, the third grade. How can you say that?"


Rather than defend what had just gotten me in trouble with Jess, I tried a new tack. "Any chance it's just a misunderstanding? Are you sure they are leaving you out?"


"Of course I'm sure. They lied to me."


"Maybe you can call them and tell them what you've heard—maybe they have an explanation. I'm sure there's some sort of explanation."


"Dad, you're impossible. Don't you get it? They're ditching me."


Next thing I knew she was closing the door to her room, which she had just entered, leaving me in the hall by myself and scratching my head. That's when my wife came by.


"Everything okay with Jess?"


"Not really. She thinks her friends ditched her and I think I only made things worse."


"Hmm, mind if I have a try?"


"Be my guest, but don't get your hopes up."


Thirty minutes later, Jess and my wife came downstairs with their arms around each other's shoulders. Jess's eyes were red from tears, but she had a gentle smile on her face.


"Everything okay, you two?"


My wife replied, "Sure, we're just going to make a couple of fruit smoothies; want one?"


"C'mon, Dad, we make them better than you can get at the store. Right, Mom?"


Later that night, when I was alone with my wife, I asked her what had happened. What had she said to get Jess to open up and to snap out of her angry depression? She just smiled and said, "Not much really, I just said that she must feel awful given what her friends had done. At that she just broke into tears and hugged me the way she did when she was a little kid. Honest, I didn't say much. After that, all I did was reassure her that she would be fine, no matter what Chelsea and Monique did."


With her connection to her friends in jeopardy, what Jessica needed was to reconnect with her parents. Her mom offered that reconnection by acknowledging the suffering and opening the doors for an emotional connection. Her dad had unintentionally closed the door on that reconnection by focusing on problem solving and fairness without ever touching upon the underlying emotions.


On top of all this, there is one more issue that fathers seldom confront directly: their daughters' emerging sexuality. As their daughters grow into young women, something that no father can miss, most dads aren't sure what to do, so most take the safe way out and step back, giving their daughters even more room. That is, the hugging, hand-holding, and general touching that typifies many father-daughter relationships before puberty are now punctuated by a distinct lack of physical contact. Worse, in retrospect at least, many fathers realize that one of the primary ways they connected with their daughters before puberty was through physical play and spontaneous physical gestures of affection. But suddenly, all the connection that occurred through physical contact disappears, which is something that is alternatively confusing and liberating to their daughters. They see their fathers withdraw from them without understanding why. And for someone driven by relationships (females), this development is tough to reconcile.

It was so strange after I hit puberty. I was totally uncomfortable with my body and the fact that I was all of a sudden having a period every month and that my boobs were growing out of control; all this made me neurotic about myself. And my dad didn't help. It's like he just removed himself from me. He kept himself at a distance, as if I had cooties or something. I hated it and hated him for how he was treating me.

But on the other hand:


Ever since I reached puberty, I can't stand it when my dad wants to hug me or put his arm around me. It's just too weird. And whenever I bristle if he reaches out to me like I'm some little kid, he gets that hurt puppy dog look on his face, which only makes everything worse!


The big hurdle for fathers to get over is to learn how to make an emotional connection not heavily dependent on physical contact. Or as John Gray says: "To bond with his daughter, a father needs to put in time asking informed questions and to practice listening without always offering advice."


Teen Depression - Boys

Adolescent males face a unique set of pressures.


By Ellen McGrath


They're young, they're often highly visible—and they're in deep trouble. America's adolescent boys may look strong as they swagger down the street, but in reality they are the population at highest risk today for all kinds of serious problems.


Rates of anxiety disorders and depression are soaring among them. For the first time, depression among males is nearly as prevalent as among females in this group.


Adolescent males find themselves facing a set of unique pressures. Shifting gender opportunities have left many boys in the dust. The girls may now be equal players on the soccer team, but the boys no longer know the rules of play.


Then too, the boys, as well as their sisters, belong to the first generation of divorce. Instead of a stable and supportive family base to keep them from feeling overwhelmed at times of stress, many are the products of absentee parents and conflict.


Bottom of Form


And today's boys are facing unprecedented stresses from many directions. While there is less certainty about the outcome of the college race, there is no let up in expectations for male success. There is more career confusion, and paths seem less clear.


Given the disquietude, substance abuse is an easy lure, as is the pressure for early sexual activity. Contrary to popular mythology, boys are just as anxious and confused about sex as the girls are.


But perhaps the biggest problem with today's young males is that they often have mild to moderate alexithymia—they are unable to identify their own (and others') feelings and thus unable to communicate about them. They never learned how from absent or overworked fathers.


However, the ability to communicate feelings is an increasingly important survival skill. It is certainly required for stable interpersonal relationships throughout life—at school, at work, and in the families most expect eventually to create.


For adolescent boys as for anyone, resolving the pressures in one's life involves figuring out how you feel. Alexithymia is like having a padlock on your tongue.


There is an immediate need to take action. If not, our sons face life-threatening consequences—drug and/or alcohol addiction, self-destructive behavior and accidents, suicide, and violence towards others.

Such problems are already rampant.


  • Educate yourself about the psychology of boys. Read Real Boys by William Pollack, Ph.D. And if you need more, get Real Boys' Voices, in which boys confide how they are struggling with their masculinity, their sexuality, their future, their harassment from other boys, their feelings, their relationships with their parents and girlfriends, and more.


Talk with adolescent boys. Let them know that you're really interested in understanding their experience in the world. Make no attempt to judge the information or control the discussion.


  • Discard the prevailing cultural myth that would have you take a step back from their lives. More than ever, adolescence is a time when kids need your support. Their lives depend on it.
  • Recognize that there is an all-important difference in the way genders display distress. Boys tend to express negative feelings in violence toward themselves or others, in self-destructive behavior and recklessness, and in substance abuse.
  • Take on the task of teaching emotional intelligence. You can't leave its development to chance. But even before you begin, tell the truth—that feelings are good, a source of strength, not a sign of weakness.


Help the young males in your life to develop an emotional vocabulary. To do this, they need to understand their own feelings and those of others, and put names to what they too often feel as undifferentiated distress.


Then impart emotional management skills. Boys in particular need to learn how to manage stress and the negative emotions—anger, fear, frustration, sadness, loneliness, doubt—because they are at risk for acting them out.


  • Teach empathy. Help boys learn to put themselves in the other person's place.
  • Help boys learn to handle competitive feelings. Males especially need strengthening of the ego so they can be more independent of others' judgment when others are being negative towards them.
  • Teach boys to connect and communicate instead of detaching when they face problems. Interaction always leads to better solutions. Boys need to be openly told that the closer they are to others, the safer and stronger they will feel. Support them in developing a "family of choice," composed of friends and parents of friends. And encourage them to improve relationships in their own family.
  • Instruct males to ask for feedback. They need to ask others how they are coming across. The world is too complicated for anyone to figure these things out alone.
  • Stay connected to young boys even though society pulls you in the other direction. My 13-year-old son occasionally asks me to walk him to school. I wouldn't think of saying no. But he consciously knows he's going to get flack from his peers. So a block from school he invariably says to me, "OK, Mom, now it's time for us to detach." We disengage our hands—but we still discuss what it all means.






If you feel this email would be helpful to a friend or colleague, please pass it along to them, and send us their email address so we can add them to our list.  As always, if you, or someone you know is in need of our services we encourage you to call us any time at 207.380.2846 or send us an email at info@loetaeducation.com.


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