Understanding the Inner Workings of Your tween

Parenting a teen takes a combination of heart, skill, knowledge and intuition. One of your main goals as parent of a tween should be to understand their influences and their inner workings and what emotional beliefs are starting to shape who they become for the rest of their lives. This is essential in order to be able to help guide them successfully, and to get along in the process. Here are some things you will want to know in order to be the best parent you can be to your growing tween.

They Are More Emotional

Teens more often use the part of their brain that controls emotions than the part that controls logic and reason. Tweens have also been shown to have a higher chance of misinterpreting facial expressions. This is a combination that can lead to great misunderstandings, and a resulting overflow of emotions. 

Try to be gentle with your tween when it seems they are overreacting, as they may not be doing so intentionally. Just remember the emotions they are displaying are not a representation of the person, they are simply a momentary reaction based on fears.

They Are More Impulsive

Tweens are known to be impulsive. In one way, this is a good thing because sometimes as adults we overthink situations without ever taking action. But being impulsive can also lead to unnecessary confrontations, and feeling let down by the results of the actions they thought would bring positive changes to their lives.

Be a sounding board for your tween when they need someone to talk to as they navigate these various disappointments.

They Are More Risky

Tweens are prone to risk. Teenage boys are especially likely to engage in risky activities, but both genders engage in risk more than adults. With tweens, the frontal lobe of the brain is not as connected to the rest of the brain as it is later in life. Because it takes longer to make a decision, your teen may come to a conclusion that a risk is worth it before being able to consider all the facts.

Risk is something that can make our world a better place, as many inventions are created and brave acts taken because of the courage of youth. Teach your teen the balance between risk and safety. Talk to them about natural consequences, and educate them fully on the possibilities of their actions. Encourage them to take their time making decisions, as this will prevent a lot of undue risks being judged as safe before they have the time to truly consider every aspect.

They Are More Sensitive

Have you ever disagreed with your teen and seen them dissolve into a pile of tears? You can blame their age. The high degree of emotion felt at this stage in combination with their largely social nature can combine to cause a high intensity of sensitivity. If they are not allowed to go to the party they wanted to, it does not simply feel disappointing, but life-altering.

Explain to your child that it is normal to feel this deeply sensitive and refrain from judging them over it, because otherwise they may think there is something wrong with them.

Your teen undergoes many changes as they grow and mature. Take every opportunity to validate your child’s feelings and emotions, because this will help them understand that the teen years are a time of much change, and that it is ok to feel and act the way they do. With a strong sense of support, your teen’s adolescence can be a mainly positive experience, and lay a firm foundation for the rest of their life.


Teenage Girls and Social Media

Like it or not, social media is one of the most popular methods of communication in the era that we live in. No matter what your daughter is doing on social media, it is almost guaranteed that she is on there in some form. It is important for you as a parent to know what is happening on social media so that you can be aware of the benefits and downfalls of it, and can protect your child from the possible dangers.


How Social Media Influences Teenage Girls


Social media is the new way to stay in touch with all that is popular. Whether it is searching for new hairstyles, forwarding memes, or participating in group chats, social media is taking up a lot of time in the lives of adolescent children.


Social media can be used for good, helping your daughter to stay in touch with her friends and distant family members. It can also be used for negative things, such as exposing your daughter to the unpleasant thoughts of others, as well as allowing tragic situations such as online bullying.


What Teenage Girls Are Doing on Social Media


Your daughter is doing many things on social media. It is more than likely she is connecting with friends. With sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it is easy to connect with others so that individuals can share photos, jokes and fitness videos among many other things. Your daughter is probably building networking skills as she meets friends of friends and connects with them on a slightly personal level.


Sending and posting photos is also, of course, a very popular thing to do on social media. There are personal photos shared, humorous photos and pictures of the latest concerts and events your daughter has participated in.


Another thing your daughter is able to do on social media is to research her interests. From fashion to pop culture to music, your teen can find it all online. Her and her friends will likely post, share, and send links to each other about whatever is popular at the moment. The internet and social media in particular is amazing in the opportunities it provides for research in any area one is interested in. However it can also be a dangerous place that can create negative beliefs which can create lifelong emotional beliefs and challenges.


How to Prepare Your Daughter to Use Social Media Responsibly


Social media is a great opportunity, but it can also be dangerous. There are several steps your daughter should take before she joins any social media sites, or views anyone else’s.


First, talk with your daughter about where she is at. Is she able to participate in public, online conversations without getting too involved? Does she know the dangers of keeping important and personal information private? Is she dedicated to not only avoid bullying situations, but also to stand against them? Is she willing to put time limits on herself, and show responsibility in her use of social media?


Take steps to assist her in becoming accountable in her use of social media. Some suggestions include adding her as a friend or contact on whatever particular medium she is involved in, and letting her know that you will be regularly checking in on her by using a password that is known to both of you.


For teens, social media is going to be around a long time. Although certain social media websites may come and go, this way of keeping in touch will be around awhile. Use this opportunity to help your daughter navigate a new experience which will assist her life skills long term.

Helping Your Teen Deal with Conflict in a Positive Manner

Conflict is difficult to deal with, and it is especially tough in the adolescent years. Your child is already going through many changes in their body and mind. Conflict simply adds another complex layer to a time in life where things may already feel as though they are in an upheaval. 

By supporting your child through any conflict they find themselves in, you can be a stabilizing voice in their life. Here is how you can help your teen deal with conflict in a way that will help them to push through the tough times and find their way to a better place in life.

Learning from Mistakes

Always remind your teen that although conflict is laborious, it is a sure way to learn different kinds of lessons. We can all learn from our mistakes. This means we can explore and find a tangible lesson, and then go forward while being able to avoid the same pitfalls in the future.

Using Conflict to Learn about Themselves

When there has been a disagreement, it is a rare opportunity to search inward and learn about oneself. There are many lessons you can find if you are determined to learn them, and this is important for teens to realize.

Maybe your teen will come to the awareness that he (or she) does not fight in a fair manner, or that he holds his feelings in until he bursts in a dramatic way. Or maybe he will find something positive, such as his strength when forced to stand alone on an issue.

Using Conflict to Learn about Others

Conflict is a great way to learn about others. Your teen can learn about what kinds of friends, family and other individuals are in their lives based on how conflicts arise and play out. Teach your teen to decipher whether the other party is still supportive during conflict, or whether they are using it as an opportunity to push your teen down. Is the other party fair and honest, or angry and deceitful? Conflict will reveal all.

Using Conflict as a Springboard to New Opportunities

It is said that unless we grow uncomfortable where we are, we never have the motive necessary to make changes. Conflict can sometimes cause your teen to want to move beyond where they are at the moment.

Maybe being in constant conflict with their boss will push them out of their current workplace and into the job of their dreams. Perhaps conflict experienced with a current boyfriend will prove to your daughter that she deserves better in a partner, and will prompt her to break up and move on.

Be an Emotional Support

During times of conflict, your teen will need your unconditional love and support. Be a strong role model and teacher of how to deal with negative encounters, and most of all let your teen know you will always be there for them.

Spend quality time with your teen and help them get their mind off of their problems. Know when to discuss, and when to suggest taking a mental health break and heading to the mall to grab an ice cream together.

Conflict will be difficult for your child, because conflict is difficult for everyone. You will be one of the main guiding supports for your child as they navigate it. Use this opportunity to teach your child about growth, friendship and self-care, and they will keep those lessons for life.


How Family Portraits Boost Your Child’s self Esteem

One of the hidden but powerful aspects of portrait photography that moms and most photographers rarely consider is how it can help us raise children with stronger confidence in their own worth and abilities. Psychologists and experts have done some work in recent decades exploring the link.

A revealing study was conducted in 1975 with a group of fourth graders at a Tennessee school by Tulane University. During a five week period, the children took Polaroid instant photos of themselves with provided cameras in a variety of assigned poses, compositions and expressing various emotions. The children worked with the printed images of themselves and created scrapbooks once a week over those five weeks. Testing of the students and teachers at the conclusion of study revealed a significant increase of 37 percent in the students’ average self-esteem behaviors. This Murfreesboro Study shows some evidence personal photography of children seen and enjoyed in a specific way can help boost a child’s self-esteem.

But how can family photography, specifically family portraits, help boost a child’s self-esteem?

David Krauss, a licensed psychologist from Cleveland, Ohio says, “I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit. A photographer’s job is to create and make the image look like a safe holding space for kids where they are safe and protected. Kids get it on a really simple level.”

Krauss is one of the earliest pioneers in using people’s personal photography and family albums to assist in mental health counseling and therapy. He co-authored “Photo Therapy and Mental Health” in 1983 that is considered a founding text for the use of photography in therapy.

“It lets children learn who they are and where they fit,” says Judy Weiser. a psychologist, art therapist and author based in Vancouver. “They learn their genealogy and the uniqueness of their own family and its story. When a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photograph they say to themselves: ‘These people have me as part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from.’”

Weiser has spent more than 20 years using all manner of personal photography to assist in the treatment process of her clients. She is considered by many to be the foremost authority on these treatment techniques, called PhotoTherapy.

When It Comes To Having The Greatest Positive Impact For Your Child, Which is Better, Digital Images or Paper Prints?

Obviously, rather than print and display family photographs, families are increasingly enjoying their images in a digital form, be it a mobile device, a laptop, or simply on social media. But does an image on a tablet, computer screen or social media site have the same impact for helping families boost a child’s self-esteem?

“My bias is very simple. I think they (family photographs) should be on the wall,” says Krauss.

“I am very conservative about self-esteem and I think placing a family photo someplace in the home where the child can see it every day without having to turn on a device or click around on a computer to find it really hits home for that child this sense of reassurance and comfort. They have a certainty about them and a protecting quality that nurtures a child. It let’s them know where they are in the pecking order and that they are loved and cared for,” says Krauss.

The importance of printed photographs displayed in your living space was echoed by other experts.

“My personal and clinical bias is there is something very powerful in touching your fingers to an actual print,” says Craig Steinberg, a licensed psychologist who works with children ages five through 13 near Eugene, Ore. “Touching the photograph where a face is smiling or the shoulders, it is the same thing as touching a book when you read it. There’s a lot of stimulation of the brain when you have that sensory experience. That is a bit lost in the move to digital. You are touching a keyboard, mouse or a touchscreen but you are not touching the image.”

“Displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one another, and we honor the memories we have experienced,“ says Cathy Lander-Goldberg, a licensed clinical social worker and a professional photographer in St. Louis, Missouri and the director of Photo Explorations, which offers workshops to girls and women using portrait and journaling for self-reflection.

Additionally, Krauss recommends having photographs of that child with their family placed in the child’s bedroom so it can be among the last things they see before sleep and the first thing they may see before beginning their day.

“It says we love you and care about you. You’re important.”

by Chris Cummins,

Associated Press, Manuel Balce Ceneta

The ‘Who I am’ Project –tween photography experience

I find myself asking at what age our daughters go from saying I am so beautiful, to I do not want to look at myself. after 20 years in the photography industry I can tell you children are highly influenced in their tween years.

Over the last two years I’ve been working with woman in Australia and the USA on empowering their beliefs about who they, why and how to create self love and belief.  Most of them talk about their experiencing of moving into high school as negative. They lacked self belief and were bullied or followed negative influences to gain peer acceptance. "


I am leading gap studios  to make it our mission to show preteens that they have everything within them to create a wonderful, confident woman that embraces her dreams. The goal is to help tweens look and feel beautiful and have unshakable confidence in themselves when they hit high school.

In comes the “Who I am.” project

I am starting tahe “Who I am” photography project to fill in the forgotten photo years while enriching the lives of pre-teens. The main goal is to make these tweens look and feel beautiful and be confident in who they are.


Who I’m looking for

I am looking for girl models for this photography project (boys are welcome too – they just tend to be less interested in getting their photos taken), ages 10-12. I will ask the model and their parents a few questions, then combine the text and photographs to create one impactful piece of art.


Why “Who I am”?

I aim to capture the personality of these tweens and record the last stage of their childhood before they become young ladies. I want them to realize their true beauty so that they are confident in themselves before they hit High school.

Imagine the impact a single beautiful image can do for your tween’s self-image.



Please click on apply now by Friday if you are interested in having your child participate in this project, or if you would like to nominate a friend or family member of yours that you think would be perfect for this.

I will capture your child’s personality – whether they are silly, shy or a little bit of both. I also want to capture what they LOVE. If they love to swim, you can bring their goggles and swimsuit, if they love basketball, bring a basketball and uniform. If they love music, have them bring their favoured instrument and they can serenade me with their talents. The options are endless!


Please apply by Friday if you are interested in having your child participate in this project, or if you would like to nominate a friend or family member that you think would be perfect for this. Please nominate people you think would enjoy the boutique experience we provide. The in-studio session itself is complimentary and includes a complimentary 8x10. Our goal is to create a gorgeous group of photos you’ll love and that truly show your daughter’s spirit and soul!   We will also be producing  an e book at the end of the project with all the tweens involved 

After you email us, we will send you specific details and you can decide if this project is perfect for your daughter granddaughter or niece