Teens: Looking Cool in Middle School

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Middle School is a time when the opinions of friends become very important, and pre-teens often wonder about how to fit in. – Sandra

“My bed time is way earlier than all of my friends’. They get to stay up late and watch all of the cool shows. When I see them, they’re talking about what I missed and I have no idea what to say. Should I just pretend that I know what they’re talking about?”

Adolescence is a time when you are discovering who you are and how you want to be perceived in the world. One of the challenges that everyone faces during this time is that each family has their own set of rules. The key is to respond to your parent’s requests with respect and creativity. The privilege of staying up later is something that can be earned. One option is to politely explain the situation to your parents and ask how you might earn the privilege of staying up a little later.

GET CREATIVE
Some shows that are on at night have adult language and behavior that some parents would prefer that their children not watch. It could be helpful to hear your parents opinions about the shows you are referring to. If they are open to your watching these shows, but are just concerned about you getting enough sleep on a school night, then perhaps they would consider taping them for you, and allowing you to watch them at an earlier time the following day, or on the weekend.

NEGOTIATE FOR WHAT YOU WANT
The bottom line is that there is a good chance that you will find yourself in many situations where you are not allowed to do everything that all of your friends are doing. As long as you live in your parent’s house, they will be setting some rules. The better your relationship with your parents, the better chance you have of negotiating for what it is that you want. And in those times when you don’t get your way, it’s important to know that you are not the only one who struggles with parents who set limits.

LISTEN CAREFULLY, AND ENJOY THE CONVERSATION
As for the conversations with your friends, you don’t have to pretend you know what they’re talking about. You also don’t have to reveal what time you go to bed. When you don’t know what they are talking about, try listening carefully and enjoying the conversation. Sometimes it’s nice to just be with people you like.

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Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teens: Hate Being The Younger Sister?

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Being a younger sister can be a very difficult position! It may feel so unfair when an older sister gets to do things that you are not yet allowed to do. One of the jobs of the parent is to decide if their child is ready for a certain activity or responsibility. – Sandra

“My older sister gets to do so much more than me, which I don’t think its fair!  How can I feel happier with what I have?”

DON’T BLAME YOUR SISTER
Because she is older, your sister will be able to teach you a lot of things that will make your life easier. At the very least, you can learn by watching her. Ideally, she will be a friend of yours for the rest of your life. So getting angry at her is not the best idea.

STRESS REDUCERS
The following are a list of some stress reducers when you find yourself feeling jealous and upset:

1. Politely ask your parents when they think you will be able to participate in the activity you are feeling jealous of. (This may reassure you that your time is coming soon, but just be careful not to nag them.)

2. Start a gratitude journal where you write down at least 5 wonderful things that happened in your day, each night before you go to sleep. (you could even share this with your parents if you wanted to!)

3. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are loved very much by your family, and that when your sister was your age, she had the same limitations that you do now.

4. Try to avoid comparing yourself to anyone, and live every moment of your life enjoying what you have.

If I were to fill a glass of water halfway, someone might tell me it is half empty. Someone else might say it is half full. The half full person is focusing on the positive. I suggest that you do too. Life definitely tends to be much more fun that way!!

COOL PERKS
Also, remember that younger sisters get cool perks that older sisters don’t have anymore! Maybe your mom does your laundry but thinks your older sister is old enough to do her own! Perk…for now! And remember that soon enough you’ll be old enough to get the privileges that your older sibling gets, so look forward to that.

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SandraDupont.com

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Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teens: Having “Best Friend” Trouble?

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Does your best friend have a friend that you don’t get along with? Often, when someone is best friends with more than one person, their other friends may get competitive for their attention. – Sandra

“My best friend Anna, I like A LOT. But another friend Hannah, who is Anna’s best friend, I don’t really trust, because she has lied to me or just plain ignored me. I am thinking about avoiding Anna because of Hannah, but I don’t want to hurt Anna. What can I do?!?”

HONORING YOUR FEELINGS
It sounds like it hasn’t been pleasant for you to spend time with Anna when Hannah is also around. Given that she has ignored you and has even lied to you, I can appreciate that you don’t feel like you can trust her.

CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS
In situations like these, you always have options. You can, as you suggested, not be Anna’s best friend anymore. But as you said, you don’t want to hurt her, and she isn’t the one you are having problems with. So, perhaps there are other options you may want to consider.

HANGING OUT IN LARGER GROUPS
Sometimes, it is less intense when you add more people into the group. Whereas with only 3, if Hannah is talking to Anna, you may be left with no one to talk to. With even one other person present, the equation becomes more balanced.

REQUESTING PERSONAL TIME
A second option is to invite Anna to spend time alone with you. At school, this may not be as easy to do, but after school and on weekends, she may be willing to set aside time to be with you.

REMOVING THE ELEMENT OF COMPETITION
Although perhaps not your first choice, another option is to find a way to get closer to Hannah. If you are both competing for Anna’s attention, you may not have even given your friendship a chance to grow. If you could figure out a way to make Hannah a friend of yours, this could solve your problem.

MAKING NEW FRIENDS
If you are enjoying Anna now, and are not ready to give up your friendship, then you need to find a creative way to work with the choices she is making about other friends in her life. Perhaps you might want to add a new friend to your life…

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Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teens: Got A School Dress Code?

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

You can still express your unique style while wearing a school uniform. Of course you want to look cute. It makes sense that you would be looking at the popular girls for ideas on how to do that. – Sandra

“Our school uniforms are pretty ugly and I really want to wear cute outfits like the popular girls but still follow the dress code. How do I do that?”

THE PURPOSE OF SCHOOL UNIFORMS
Since adolescence is a time when boys and girls start checking each other out, some girls try to stand out in different ways. School uniforms are designed to make everyone look similar.

HOW OTHERS PERCEIVE YOU
What kind of attention do you imagine the outfits you mentioned that the popular girls wear are attracting? Is that the kind of attention you want, or are you looking for ways to express who you are?

RESPECT FOR YOUR SCHOOL
The fact that you want to follow the dress code shows respect for your school. I think your parents and teachers will appreciate that, and in return, treat you with respect.

CREATIVE OPTIONS
As for looking cute, there are other creative ways to approach that goal. Although I don’t know your exact uniform, I do know that there may be options in regards to how you wear your hair, as well as accessorizing with bracelets, necklaces, leggings and tights, and shoes.

WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON
It is important to find a style that feels right for you. You don’t necessarily have to look like everyone else. However, clothing is just one of the ways that you can express the unique person that you are. A wise person once told me, “one of the best thing to wear to school and really stand out is a smile.”

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For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teen Girls: Dealing With Teen Boys

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Do you find yourself feeling shy around guys? Read up on tips here. – Sandra

“I’ve always been friends with boys, but as lately, every time I see one of the guys I’ve been close to since kindergarten, I get really shy. What’s wrong with me?”

HORMONES ARE CHANGING
I would guess that you are attracted to the guys you are feeling shy around. This is not unusual. As hormones change, biologically we become interested in people who could be potential future life partners. This can leave you feeling self-conscious around people who, up until now, were simply your friends.

RE-DEFINING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Also, as you grow up, you don’t always talk about the same things you used to talk about as a child. Therefore, you may find yourself struggling to be with old friends in a new way. These can leave you feeling awkward, talking about random stuff.

MALE AND FEMALE ROLES
Our society tends to define people in terms of male and female roles, with different sets of expectations for each. This can be confusing, as those roles were not so obvious when you as children. Boys and girls who played together as children may start moving into different areas of interest as they prepare for their roles as young men and women. People you thought you knew well can suddenly feel like strangers as they move in different directions from you.

FINDING YOUR WAY
Your job, during this time, is to discover who you are, and who you like spending time. My suggestion is to choose companions with whom you feel comfortable being yourself when you are around them.

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SandraDupont.com

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Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Is Everyone Else Dating – Except You?

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

It can be hard when your friends begin dating – and you feel left behind. – Sandra

“My friends are all changing, going out with guys, while I’m left alone with no boys. What should I do? “

CHANGE CAN MEAN LOSS
Change is not easy for anyone. This can be a sad time, as the closeness you once felt is not there in the same way anymore, and you experience a loss of something you value. I think what you are mainly referring to is the fact that your relationships with your friends are changing.

CHANGE CAN OPEN NEW DOORS
Growing up is filled with changes. New schools, body changes, meeting new people, saying goodbye to people you liked, and starting to date…. Change, although challenging, can also mean exciting new beginnings.

A NEW PHASE OF LIFE
The time when girls and guys start dating does not happen exactly the same way for everyone. There are some girls that jump right in, and others that prefer to take things slower. But eventually, everyone seems to move into enjoying this new phase of life.

SHOW THAT YOU CARE
Something that could be helpful during this time of transition is to be a very good listener to your friends. I would guess that they have a lot to talk about regarding their adventures in dating. There could be a lot to learn from their experiences. It is a way to stay connected and show that you care.

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SandraDupont.com

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Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teens: Your BFF Choosing New Friends?

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

It can be hurtful when friends change, leaving their old friends behind. Sometimes friends make choices that can create distance between the two of you. -Sandra

“At school my best friend ignores me because she is friends with the “popular kids.” I tried to tell her one time how I am feeling but she said “this is why I like my popular friends better then you!” This is really starting to bother me.”

SOMETIMES, FRIENDS MAKE NEW CHOICES
On one hand, your friend obviously likes spending time with you. On the other hand, she also dreams of being popular. Each person must ultimately learn whether they prefer to have just a few close friends, or many acquaintances.

Acquaintances are friends of convenience, who are around in the good times, but are not always around when you need them. Although you can’t help your friend to make up her mind, it sounds like you have a clear idea of what kind of friendship you want.

SIT DOWN TOGETHER AND TALK
It is understandable that you are bothered by her ignoring you. Her crying the last time you mentioned how you feel seems to indicate she is struggling with some feelings of her own. Ideally, it would be good if you could both sit down together and talk about your enjoyment of being friends. In a perfect world, the two of you would then come to some understanding of where you want to go from here.

TRY TO COME UP WITH AN AGREEMENT
It would be nice if you could come up with an agreement that she would stop ignoring you, and that she could still make new friends. Juggling two sets of friends, however, requires a lot of maturity on everyone’s part. Unfortunately, this level of maturity may not yet be present with all the people involved.

Another option is for you to decide to patiently wait until after school to spend time with her. In this way, you could still be friends while she explored whether the experience of being popular is really what she thinks it is. If this is your choice, it would be important to not ruin your time together by complaining.

SOMETIMES, YOU NEED TO LET GO
The last option is let her move on, knowing that sometimes people just grow in different directions. Although this is a very sad decision, you need to ultimately take care of yourself. If her ignoring you is too painful, then this could be a good choice.

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SandraDupont.com

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Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teens: Are Other Girls Acting Jealous?

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

It’s not uncommon for teenage girls to pick on others who stand out from the crowd. What you are describing is called envy. Read on to discover how to put a stop to jealousy and envy.– Sandra

“I’m a cheerleader and I can do cool tricks and flips. My friends think I’m showing off but I’m really not like that at all. I’ve tried to tell them but they are ignoring me. What do I do now??”

RECOGNIZING ENVY
Sometimes, when you have something that someone else wants, they try to take it away from you by putting it down. This is one of the main reasons that gossip magazines are so popular. Everyone wants to hear the dirt on the stars who appear to be living the “dream life”.

YOU HAVE CHOICES

  • You can just keep doing what you are doing, knowing that you will just have to put up with other girls acting upset.
  • You can stop doing all your cool tricks and anything else that makes you stand out.
  • You can share what you have by helping those who are interested learn to do some cool tricks of their own.

BUILDING BRIDGES

I recommend sharing as a way to build a bridge between you and those who wish they had what you have. Of course, there may still be some who won’t accept your gift, but a number of people will realize what a really nice person and real friend you are.

To have good friends you first need to be a good friend. Good friends share what they have. Good friends stick up for each other. Good friends are kind to each other. Good friends encourage each other to be the best they can be.

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Can Being Popular Cause Problems?

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Some people prefer to have just a few very close friends, while others like to experience a variety. – Sandra

“I sit with different people at lunch on a day to day basis. My friends think that I am not sitting with them because I do not like them. What should I do?”

It sounds like you get along with, and are well liked by many people.

DIFFERENT DEFINITIONS OF FRIENDSHIP
It can be challenging when friends have different definitions of what they think friendship means. To some people, being a friend means that you spend all your time with them. Others may be understanding of the fact that you may have more than one friend, or group of friends.

I think it could be helpful to talk to the people who are complaining, and find about their definition of friendship.

SOME FRIENDS ACT POSSESSIVE
If your friends are merely feeling a little insecure, re-assuring them that they are still very important to you may help them to let go of the fear that you no longer like them. If they are the possessive type, and don’t want to share you with anyone else, you will have to let them know that your definition of friendship may be different than theirs.

After talking with them, if there are some who are still being critical of your choices, you may need to decide if they are worth your giving up all of your other friends to be with them. This is entirely up to you.

YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE
The bottom line is, that as much as you might want to, you can’t please everyone all of the time. You can, however, do your best to be honest and clear about who you are, and what you want.

In this way, the people who are comfortable with your definition of friendship will be happy to spend time with you.

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teens: Why Do People Gossip?

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

It is always fun to get together with friends, but crossing the line to gossiping can be dangerous. Read on to learn more – Sandra

“My best friend loves to gossip about other people, and I am afraid that she is gossiping about me. What should I do?”

GOSSIPING CAN MEAN A FEW THINGS:

  • Your friend could be feeling envious or jealous of someone, and is trying to feel better about herself by saying negative things about someone.
  • Your friend may be trying to feel more popular, and is using gossip to gather other people around her.
  • Your friend may be angry with someone, but instead of handling her hurt feelings directly with that person, she is venting her upset feelings publicly.
  • She may see some behavior in that other person that she thinks is wrong and is trying to make that person change by letting everyone know what they have done.

Since she is your best friend, your opinion is probably very important to her. Have you considered sharing with her your feelings and concerns about gossiping in general and creating a discussion?

If it seems like she is open to the discussion, you could even go so far as to express your fear that she may talk about you to others. You can then invite her to tell you directly about anything she thinks is getting in the way of your friendship and promise to do the same for her.

She is doing what she is doing for a reason. However, she may not understand why she is doing it and your conversation could be a safe place where she can explore her feelings. Together, you could discover better options for handling these situations besides gossiping.

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.