Thursday, September 25, 2014

Good Advice on Living and Learning with a Middle School Kid: 15 things your middle school kid wishes you knew by Rachel Vale author of "Unfriended"

Good advice READ THE LINK ABOVE to read all the good ones that you can't read here.

2. I still want to have fun with you, and feel like home is safe and happy. Smile at me.
4. Sometimes I'm going to be moody and annoyed and frustrated. You need to just let that happen (though you shouldn't let me be rude to you; that's weird and embarrassing). It might just be a mood or something might be going on that I'm not ready to talk about yet. If you hang around doing stuff near me and don't interrupt or try to solve it as soon as I start, I might feel comfortable talking with you about things.
6. It feels really good when you ask me to teach you about what I'm learning or what I'm good at. You don't have to be awesome at computer programming to let me teach you some cool stuff, for instance. I have to be a beginner constantly. Show me it's OK to stay relaxed and present when you are struggling to learn something.
8. If you don't like my friends, it feels like you don't trust my judgment or like I am stupid about choosing friends. Or both. Ask me what I like about them, or what we have fun doing together, or just to tell you about a new friend. Stay open-minded. Still, if you think my friends are being bad to me, I need you on my side that much more.
10. I will fight you every step of the way if you make me do stuff I don't want to do (get some exercise, do my homework, write a thank-you note, practice piano, apologize to my sister, take a shower, wear deodorant... so many things), but you should probably make me do them anyway. I know I will feel better if I sweat and shower each day, and develop my study skills, and show up tomorrow prepared, and, and, and. I know! But please don't overwhelm me. I might not be able to do what I should right away. I might need reminders, later, which will annoy me completely. Remind me anyway.
12. I need to have private jokes with my friends and not explain them to you. It's how we bond. You don't need to be involved in every aspect of my life to still be loved and needed by me.
14. Especially if I've been feeling stressed, maybe you could just hang out with me. Go to the park or get an ice cream or have a catch, whatever; it feels good to just do something together without discussing or solving or teaching anything.
And bonus extra important thing you should know: The fact that my opinions on this and anything else might change tomorrow does not mean I don't feel them fiercely today. 
Keep up. I love you. Remind me you still love me, too.
Check out the rest of Rachel Vale's "15 Things Your Middle School Kid Wishes You Knew"

 Rachel Vale's book "Unfriended"
by Rachel Vail · Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated · Hardback · 288 pages · ISBN 0670013072
In middle school, nothing is more important than friendship. When Truly is invited to sit at the Popular Table with the group she has dreamed of joining, she can hardly believe her luck. Everyone seems so nice, so kind to one another. But all is not as it seems with her new friends, and soon she's caught in a maelstrom of lies, misunderstandings, accusations and counter-accusations, all happening very publicly in the relentless, hyperconnected social media world from which there is no escape. Six eighth-graders, four girls and two boys, struggle to understand and process their fractured glimples into one another's lives as they find new ways to disconnect, but also to connect, in Rachel Vail's richest and most searching book.

Good advice

Saturday, September 13, 2014

"How to Spot a Narcissist " by Starre Vartan, appeared on the pages of Mother Nature Network Blog.

Narcissistic people are usually focused more on themselves than the people around them. (Photo: Peter Bernik/Shutterstock)  Great Photo Peter Bernik!
How to Spot a Narcissist
by Starre Vartan
Starre Vartan has been an environmental journalist for over a decade, and has written for New York magazine, Metropolis,, Audubon magazine (where she was a columnist), Whole Living,, Plenty, and E/The Environmental Magazine. She started her career by focusing on natural beauty, eco fashion and sustainable living on her blog,, on which her book, The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green (St. Martin's Press, 2009), is based. Starre was chosen as one of Glamour magazine's 'Top Green Women' for their 70th anniversary issue, and has been thrice-quoted by the New York Times for her ecological expertise. She currently contributes to The Huffington Post in the Green and Style sections and where she writes about sustainable travel destinations. Starre regularly consults for Fortune 500 companies and is working on a home linens collection (based on her nature photography) that will launch Summer, 2014. Starre has a BS in Geology from Syracuse University and an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When not on the road visiting her family in Australia or checking out swimming holes the world over, she gardens, hikes, reads novels, mountain bikes and snowboards.     
Calling someone a narcissist is one of those casual insults/compliments (depending on who you're talking to, right?) that is lobbed around frequently. But like many other mental health issues that get joked about, this one is based on a very real condition — one that hasn't changed its definition much over the past 20 years, and has, during that time, been consistently defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the psychologist's big book of diagnoses. 
People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as defined by the DSM-V (the most recent edition), need to display the following traits (abbreviated a bit; if you want to see the full definition, click here): 
  • An exaggerated sense of their own self-importance
  • Puts quite a bit of energy and thought into fantasies of success, power or ideal love and romance. 
  • Believes that they are special and unique (and should only associate with others who are similarly gifted)
  • Wants to be constantly admired
  • Acts in an extremely entitled way
  • Takes advantage of other people
  • Unwilling to empathize with other people
  • Is very envious of others or thinks they are envious of him/her
  • Displays rude or abusive attitudes and behaviors toward other people
Does this sound like anyone you know? While a classic narcissist will display all nine of these behaviors, having just five of them qualifies someone — though only a trained therapist can diagnose someone with the disorder. But seeing that narcissists aren't likely to recognize their own problem, many of them go unofficially diagnosed and untreated. 
It's estimated that about 6 percent of the population has this personality disorder, and its more prevalent in men than women. The traits of this disorder get stronger as people age, and are usually in full bloom in a person's 40s and 50s. Kids and teens can't really be diagnosed with this kind of issue since they are growing and changing so fast. 
Like most personality problems, there are upsides to narcissism: These people are usually highly motivated and driven to achieve high levels of power. It's more common for CEOs and politicians to be narcissists, for example. And the most ego-driven, rude and and non-empathetic CEOs — the most narcissistic — make the most money, a recent study found. So it can (literally) pay to be a narcissist. They may not have any reason to change — or any desire to either.
And their public perception may be good: "'ve got this person who is quite charming, charismatic, self-confident, visionary, action-oriented, able to make hard decisions (which means the person doesn't have a lot of empathy)," Charles A. O’Reilly III, a management professor at Stanford business school said in a statement attached to the CEO narcissism study.
Meanwhile, the people who are in the same family as a narcissist can be severely affected, especially their children. Working with one isn't a pleasant experience either. Narcissists have impulse-control issues, and frequently verbally abuse those around them, mock people they see as inferior and/or treat them with disdain — actions that never made anyone feel good (or even OK) about themselves, ever.
It's probably a combination of biological predisposition and environment (how someone grows up) that makes a narcissist, psychologists now believe. And the treatment? Plenty of sessions with a psychiatrist trained in dealing with this disorder.
Related on MNN: 
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