Category: Dealing with social and inner pressures

The Masks Children Wear


When we think of a child wearing a mask, most of the time we think fun; make believe, Halloween, or Mardi Gras. Pretending and using their imagination.

Wearing a mask can also be something that protects us.  It can be a way of coping with fears, anxieties and insecurities. It can help us from being bullied or worse.

 A mask can protect us from secrets or it can foster secrets. It can protect us from being mistreated. But wearing a mask can sometime be a burden, be uncomfortable and block our true selves.

As a child an artificial mask might be a fake smile, or it can be exhibited as anxiety, quietness, or even lying.

I remember as a child my masks began with a smile. It wasn’t a real smile, but I hid behind it. No one knew how I really felt inside. I would be Hoping it would help me make it through the day.

Maybe you are feeling your child is showing signs of hiding behind a mask; not showing their true selves.


Things to look for;

  1. Do they have friends? How do they interact with classmates?
  2. When you hear conservations with friends or observing how they act with their friends. Do you see their true self or do their words and actions seem put on, do they put on a mask or do they seem to show what you believe to be their genuine self.
  3. Pay attention to if they are gossiping or if you think they are being bullied.
  4. Pay attention when you have discussions with teachers for more than just how they are doing academically Ask for your child’s teacher evaluation on how your child participates with other children.


Ways to help them remove the mask and celebrate their uniqueness.

  1. Encourage playdates that will help them communicate with their peers. Keep the focus on smaller groups so they don’t get overwhelmed or too anxious. Smaller groups can nurture success.
  2. Provide opportunities to shine in an activities or clubs. Encourage them to take risks and praise them when they are successful.

The more successful they are being their genuine self the faster the protective mask will come off.

Sometimes our children are hiding because they actually do not want to shine in front of others. Some children are embarrassed and they keep quiet about it.

By encouraging accomplishments, it reinforces their strengths and improves the possibility of removing their mask. Let them know it is ok to be unique and to shine.


As a child, wearing a mask should be something done out of a sense of fun not due to a need for protection.


“Removing my mask shows courage. It takes time.

I work at daily and as I do, I grow stronger.”


A Mirror is more than a reflection

What does a mirror signify to your daughter? For me as a young girl, it signified the negative appearance and thoughts I carried with me each day. The mirror was something I avoided.

For today’s young girls the mirror is not the only reflection she has of herself. She also has to struggle with smartphones and social media. The difference for today’s young girls is the vulnerability can be instant and often cannot be removed.

Today’s technology can deliver bullying that is relentless and powerful. It is hard enough moving through puberty, but the abuse from others can sometimes be debilating.

It is as if we have looked in the mirror and let someone else tell us what we look like and who we are.

Instead, what if there is an opportunity to look beyond that mirror and see who we can be, moving beyond the judgements?

I work with the girls in my ChatterGirls program and provide them with potent tools that go beyond the mirror, the smartphone or the social media. I empower them to find their own strengths that make a difference in their life’s journey.


“As I think about the image that I see in the mirror, I will remember that does not reflect the person within. I have power to change, as well as to accept and embrace myself for who I am.”

Alicia Birong

9 Secrets to an Excellent Spring Break with the Family

Family dynamics are tricky, but it’s important to appreciate your family’s quirks and treat your time together as a wonderful opportunity to relax and renew, rather as a source of stress.

Whether you’re taking a trip or remaining home for a staycation, we’ve put together a few tips on how to prepare and cope. These may just make you the star of Spring Break!


  1. Unplug- decide that you won’t be tied to your device! If work calls, answer, but otherwise, just use your camera to capture moments and that is a great present for Christmas a book of Spring break weather home or on a trip
  2. Be present- set time aside for one on one time with your partner and children
  3. Establish a no TV rule and have maybe a board game time or create something
  4. Find time to spend with each child individually for a special experience of movie time, pedicure or even a walk.
  5. Learn something new or refresh an old skill– take a cooking class or go bowling or roller skating and of course a making new batch of slime is always good fun!


  1. Unplug!
  2. Agenda- create an agenda to manage expectations
  3. Don’t over plan- leave time open for family talks, walks and down time
  4. Each parent should try to do an activity with each child and their own time away from siblings. That individual attention is key to what each child takes away from the trip. Not everyone will want to hike or shop, so when possible, try to make a special trip with an individual child to address their interest.

Congratulations! You’re on your way to an AWESOME Spring Break.

If you find in your post-Spring Break recovery that you and your family are in need of some professional assistance to build a stronger family unit, please call us today to learn more about how our staff can help.

A Great Partner! Congratulations on 106 years!

This week is National Girl Scout Week and the focus is leading like a G.I.R.L, with a 5 day plan to maximize that initiative. We are proud to say that we’ve worked with Girl Scout troops and are a preferred partner of their organization.

We support the initiative across the country to provide leadership and empowerment training to our young women and pay it forward.

ChatterGirls know that they are at the core of change and are given the tools to positively contribute to their family, community and beyond. We focus in on activities and messages that support the CHATTER in ChatterGirls:








We love to partner with other groups whose mission is to empower our children with tools to be better today and every day of their lives.

Happy birthday Girl Scouts and congratulations on 106 years!

6 Simple Questions to Prevent Cyberbullying

It’s Teen Tech Week and with so many different forms of technology at teen’s fingers, it’s more important than ever to be informed of how they use them. More teens are using technology to express negative feelings, predominantly anger, and the backlash from this is long lasting and harmful to themselves and others.

Cyberbullying and all forms of teen to teen harassment is happening at a staggering rate:

*68% of teens agree that cyberbullying is a problem

*25-50% of teens report being cyberbullied or harassed by other teens

*41% of teens bullied are girls being bullied by other girls

*33% of those bullied report that the messages had escalated to threats

As we work towards balancing the benefits that technology can offer the youth of today in terms of education and communication, we need to be asking ourselves the following questions to ensure that we, as their protectors and advocates, are doing all we can for them.

  1. Do you know who your child is texting/messaging?
  2. Do you have the password/code and agreement to look at your child’s phone or tablet?
  3. Have you established restrictions on the duration of time and time of day they text?
  4. How much time is spent texting vs. one on one interaction?
  5. Do you know if your child has been cyberbullied? Do you know how to start that discussion?
  6. Does your child’s school have resources for preventing and addressing cyberbullying?

Being a parent in today’s technological environment is challenging! Make sure you’re available and interested in what your child does with the phone you give them.  You are also responsible for how it’s used and instilling appropriate boundaries for usage.

Be aware, be prepared and stay current on how technology and different sites/apps work.

A Day in the Life of an Empowerment Expert

I have the best job in the world but I never feel it is a job because it’s my passion!

ChatterGirls is the embodiment of my education and volunteering with, counseling and coaching children and adults and helping them claim their uniqueness.

January is always a wonderful reminder of all things new- new year, new resolutions and new goals! As a plan 2018 and look forward to making ChatterGirls available nationally, I reflect on how I developed the program and the work and hustle I have ahead to ensure that girls across the country experience this amazing program!

My days, as I’m sure are yours, are packed with ever-changing duties and priorities, but I always start my day with a few affirmations- some are my own which serve as a reminder of how I’ve shaped some of life’s negatives into positives and others from Oprah and Maya Angelou, that I’ve compiled over the years that speak to me.

I so appreciate my supporters and make sure that I stay on top of replying to inquiries about the program or my book. I’m a firm believer that you have to keep open lines to share in the learning process. I’ve received valuable feedback from those who’ve experienced ChatterGirls and it only helps to develop a stronger program.

My journey to empower others has run parallel with my own continued journey. Writing blogs, like this one, and talking with followers on Facebook, help me to share what I’m finding and often times, it can be a forum for bigger discussion.

I maintain a coaching practice for one on one assistance. Any time I’m able to work face to face with a client (or Skype), my day is significantly better! It’s an amazing feeling to educate and interact with girls and women who are finding their voice and making decisions that will impact their lives.

Tomorrow I’ll work on the business end of things, networking and reviewing a few marketing initiatives.

To teach others to be empowered means every day I must evaluate how I am empowering my self. Every day of my life I look at my grandchildren and am proud I can help them lead better, more empowered lives and be a part of life long change.

Cheers to another day of Changing the Chatter!

Empowering the Child in Your Life

We want every child to be the best they can be.

Empowering a child is a daily job. No matter what the age.

There are empowerment opportunities at every stage of development. This starts when your child begins to walk and you encourage that power with each step. As they begin school, the opportunities to learn and make friends present themselves and this is often times when a child experiences their first feeling of rejection. This is when we need to up our parenting game and go beyond what we’ve done thus far.

How do you encourage them to try again after failure or rejection?

We first have to continue to celebrate the wins and find better ways to deal with failures; both are growing steps no matter the age. Next, we have to know when to let go and have them step out on their own- this is hard for both parent and child but necessary. The days of choosing their friends and scheduling their every moment do come to an end.

It’s similar to when a child learns to ride their bike and you hold on less and less before they finally ride on their own. The most important thing that a child needs to know is that you will give your hand for assistance at any point it’s needed and no matter how old your child is. 

Encourage their uniqueness, support their successes and teach them ways to grow from the failures.

4 Strategies to Understand a Sensitive Child

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As a child, this was a tough day for me as I had high expectations and that carried into adulthood. What happens when a child doesn’t get a valentine, or isn’t invited to a party or is just left out of a group? Naturally, this leads to hurt feelings but to a sensitive child, this can be traumatic.

What happens when your child is sensitive to the people and things around them? In ChatterGirls and when coaching one on one, when I’m working with a sensitive child, it’s about the perceived invasion into their world or space and they do not always understand it.

Whether it’s emotional or physical sensitivity, as parents, we need to incorporate new tools:

  1. Offer a safe place-this helps with all sensitivities.
  2. Create a strategy to manage stressful situations.
  3. Empower your child to use their voice to express their feelings.
  4. Develop a schedule with room for changes.

Today is a great day to remind ourselves that we need to show others compassion and love.

Utilize the tools above and if you need further assistance, please contact me.

So, Happy Valentine’s Day and remember it can be a great day for your child if you’re all prepared and are setup for success.

How to Teach Your Kids about Gender Equality

First I want to say this not about politics. It is about human rights.

How do you teach your children about equality?

A few weeks ago, I marched the Women’s March in Chicago. I marched for every women and girl who feel less then what is true when it comes to their value in the world. I marched with men, women and children who want to change the way we approach the issue of equality in the world. The powerful speakers gave me increased awareness regarding the importance of women voting and how we can start making positive changes starting today!

Knowing your value and sharing it by making a difference will start change! We can be the change!

I think of my own daughter and granddaughter and know that with each generation we reinforce a more positive future and gender equality for all.

As we live our daily lives (at home or in a classroom), let us remember to let go of stereotypes, offer up more diverse role models, remain positive, as well as these things:

  1. Understand that we all have equal rights. That should be respected.
  2. Value who we are, starting at a young age.
  3. Respect others thoughts and opinions.
  4. Know that change is always possible.
  5. Reflect on how far gender equality has come.
  6. Live in the moment but do not forget the past.
  7. Have the conversations in your home to share your values with your children.

Change and progress is happening all around us. Follow your passions and let your children stand beside you as you support the ideals and values that are a driving force in your life.

Speaking with a game changer!

Lori McConville, owner of Marvins Toy Store, truly represents all the best qualities of an educator and business owner.

I’ll be speaking to Lori live today on Facebook and I invite you to watch whenever you have time. This lady is a game changer! She worked in education, teaching kindergarten, 3rd and 5th grade and tutored. She then went on to open a wonderful toy store in ChatterGirls backyard of Crystal Lake, offering an environment friendly for children, amazing toys and an option to big box stores. Her connections with the children and families in our community is very evident in all she does in her store and in the community for environment issues.  To bring this support and opportunity is so needed.

Watch us on ChatterGirls Facebook page today!