Trends you may see when dining out

— Restaurants are thriving once again. Since 2014, restaurant-goers have renewed interest in socializing away from home and more money to spend, a stark turnaround from preceding years when diners were living on tighter budgets thanks to a recession that began in 2008.

As crowds waiting in line for their favorite eateries begin to grow anew, restaurants have begun to implement new menus and dining styles in an attempt to attract a broader clientele. Many trends are catering to the younger, technology-driven customer.

· Photo-ready foods: Diners are utilizing social media to share their menu choices with people all around the world. Scroll through anyone’s news feed and you’re likely to find photograph’s of last night’s entre^ae or an impressive dessert enjoyed during a night out with friends. Many restauranteurs understand that their latest culinary creation is likely to find its way onto social media, so a greater emphasis is being placed on plating – or making foods look better when first presented to diners.

· Digital kiosks: Desire an appetizer or want to reorder another beverage? You may not have to flag down your server to do so. Several restaurants have implemented tablet-based service at their tables. In addition to playing games or getting apprised on the latest specials, guests can order some menu items through table-mounted tablets. And if you’re in a rush for the check, swipe your credit card and pay the bill without waiting for your waiter to bring it over.

· Healthier kids’ choices: For years the standard fare for kids has been burgers, fries and various recipes for mac-and-cheese. But a survey of professional chefs sponsored by the National Restaurant Association revealed that many restaurants are now offering a greater variety of foods on kids’ menus. Soups, salads, leaner meats, and more vegetables are some of the items kids can choose from.

· Increase in craft foods: Greater emphasis is being placed on creating meals that look and taste good and are produced in eco- and community-friendly ways. Craft foods are made in small batches from locally sourced ingredients, helping to create a symbiotic relationship between eateries, farmers, food manufacturers, and diners.

· Community tables: Make new friends while dining out by getting seated at community tables, which are no longer restricted to Japanese hibachi restaurants. These larger tables pair different diners together.

· Neurogastronomy: Many restaurants are employing neurogastronomy, or the science of manipulating perception of how foods taste by external factors. Everything from the colors of dishes to the sounds of music being piped in can affect your perception of taste.

· Prepaid reservations: Today you can purchase just about anything in advance, from movie tickets to vacations. Soon you may be able to prepay for restaurant meals as well. Arrive at your reserved time and enjoy your meal. This trend is beneficial to restaurants because they are guaranteed revenue even if patrons do not show up.

Trends in dining out can make meal experiences more unique. Expect some new changes at your favorite restaurants.

What is sexual dysfunction?

Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American

My old school, Southern-bred mother was appalled to learn that my then 2-year-old used words like vagina and penis. She could not believe I had taught her such language because she of course had taught me to say “private parts” and use nicknames such as “pocket book.” Well, I suppose my liberating medical education had freed me from that type of sexual bondage and I dared to embrace body parts for what they were intended to be called.

As I matured even further in this journey, I began to see how so many adult women were still hindered by male-dominated social norms and old-fashioned myths about their bodies. I recall being taught not to bathe/shower or wash my hair while menstruating because this would cause illness. And let us not venture into the bedroom. I’m sure women in my mother’s generation thought it was normal to be directed in sexual intercourse by their partners and would have never considered telling their partners what was actually pleasurable to them. I know women even today who have never actually explored their bodies to learn what pleases them. Where did such practices originate? Were these behaviors part of the reason why medical advances for women in regards to their sexual health lagged so far behind those for men?

When drugs such as Viagra and Levitra hit the market, men across the world rejoiced because they could now continue to experience sexual satisfaction even though they were advancing in age. And please don’t get me wrong, sexual health is an extremely important aspect of a man’s mental well-being. However, fewer men have issues as compared to women, 31 percent versus 43 percent respectively. So, when I learned that there was a possible solution to some of the concerns women face as it relates to their sexual enjoyment, I was excited. No pun intended!

Sexual dysfunction can occur at any age and is defined as a disruption in the sexual response cycle that inhibits a couple from experiencing sexual satisfaction. Excitement (desire and arousal), plateau, orgasm and resolution comprise the sexual response cycle. Problems at any one of these levels interferes with overall satisfaction.

Sexual dysfunction is classified in four different categories:

Desire disorders-lack of sexual desire or interest

Arousal disorders-inability to become physically aroused or excited during sexual activity

Orgasm disorders-delay or absence of climax or orgasm

Pain disorders-pain during intercourse

Although the research suggests that more women have problems with sexual dysfunction than men, very few women, for example, in my practice have complained. Embarrassment has always been my assumption for this hesitancy in reporting this important medical problem. For instance, only a small percentage of women experience orgasm during intercourse yet rarely do women mention this to me during their exams.

There are many causes of sexual dysfunction and they can be divided into physical and psychological. Conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances and a host of other health problems can all cause sexual dysfunction. Stress as it relates to work, marital relationship or finances also contribute to sexual dysfunction. Past history of sexual trauma/abuse is a common reason for women to experience problems in their sexual relationships. Both women and men may also have issues with body image.

By now, many of you have been listening to all of the dialogue about the “female Viagra” pill, flibanserin, recently approved by the FDA for premenopausal women with sexual dysfunction. However, the first misconception to correct is that flibanserin is NOT Viagra and its exact mechanism of action is unknown, but it is believed to correct an imbalance of a chemical in the brain which is responsible for sexual desire.

Per the manufacturer, Addyi, the brand name for flibanserin, is billed to be a remedy for women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder. The drug’s effectiveness ranges anywhere from 8 to 13 percent. Side effects include low blood pressure, dizziness and fainting. Furthermore, many of these side effects are exacerbated by alcohol thereby prompting the FDA to require a boxed warning label inside the package advising against alcohol use while on the medication.

This is not the first time this drug has attempted FDA approval and with such a low efficacy rate it makes you wonder why it was approved. Only certified pharmacies and providers will have access to this medication, but only after special training has been completed.

Therefore, my excitement for a substantial therapeutic option for women was slightly premature. Again, no pun intended. Both providers and patients will have to wait and see if Addyi is all that it is cracked up to be.

Yours in Service,

Denise Hooks-Anderson, M.D.

Assistant Professor

SLUCare Family Medicine

First person: I was in Cuba with the Pope

I have been to Cuba several times and my journey this time around was to witness Pope Francis’ visit.

Many Cubans were excited to see this Pope, who has earned the nickname, “The People’s Pope.”

I have been to Cuba many times, but this time, as I witnessed Cubans preparing for the Pope’s arrival, I saw an excitement I had never seen before. The streets and buildings were cleaned and new street traffic signs were re-painted in Habana.

During my first visit to Santiago de Cuba in January of 2015, I saw how the church was restoring and renovating many areas to prepare for Pope Francis. When I attended the Pope’s mass at Revolution Square I encountered many people from different countries, including Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico, Panama, Argentina, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Angola, and the Cayman Islands. The United States was well represented as I met people from Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Washington, DC, and Baltimore.

Everyone was in good spirits as Pope Francis presented his message of unity. He spoke of how the family should come together and how everyone should help each other and reject materialism. He preached that men should help those in need and not ignore the marginalized and poor.

I later attended Pope Francis’ encounter with the Cuban youth. His message to them was to dream. To dream big and not stop dreaming. His message of inclusion and unity has attracted a massive fan base.

From my vantage point at various places in Cuba, the Pope lived up to his nickname. Overall, the Cuban people seemed pleased with his message of peace and acceptance.

Free Fall Baltimore offers hundreds of free events, activities during October

— Everything is FREE! The tenth annual Free Fall Baltimore, presented by BGE, takes place Thursday, October 1 through Saturday, October 31, 2015. Free Fall Baltimore, a citywide celebration, offers hundreds of free arts and cultural events and activities at participating venues throughout Baltimore City.

Held in conjunction with National Arts and Humanities Month, area attractions and organizations showcase the importance of the arts with concerts, dance and theater performances, lectures, workshops, visual art exhibitions, tours and special events.

Free Fall Baltimore is a program of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.

In 2015, new and returning participants offer a wide range of programming all across Baltimore including free music performances by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Philharmonia Orchestra, Evolution Contemporary Music Series and the Baltimore Children’s Choir; free workshops by Charm City Fringe, EMP Collective, Center Stage and the Baltimore Museum of Art; and free festivals like the Little Italy Baltimore Madonnari Arts Festival; Baltimore Rhythm Festival; Arise, Baltimore Short Play Reading Festival; and AVAM’s Free Fall Halloween Celebration. Overall,

Free Fall Baltimore features more than 200 events and activities from nearly 80 participants. Baltimore residents and visitors can find a full schedule of events online at:

Columbia triathlete Michele Tuttle Places at 2015 World ITU Triathlon

USA triathlete and registered dietitian, Michelle Tuttle, placed sixth in the Sprint World Championship (50-54 age group), third for the U.S. team, at the 2015 International Triathlon Union (ITU) triathlon in Chicago recently. With a time of 01:15:36, Tuttle, who hails from Columbia, Maryland, beat her former record set during the 2013 London ITU triathlon. Tuttle also placed eighth in the Olympic Distance World Championship with an official time of 02:07:45.

“What a race today! Winds were a factor both on the swim and bike. So amazing to be out there competing with all these incredible athletes,” said Tuttle.

The Wheat Foods Council (WFC) sponsored Tuttle’s training to highlight the role of wheat foods in the diet. As a part of its sponsorship, the WFC featured Michele throughout her training this past year, and she shared insights about her workout regimen, dietary choices and the importance of wheat foods in her training.

“We could not be prouder of Michele,” declared Tim O’Connor, WFC president. “Her discipline and determination over the past year has been phenomenal. As a registered dietitian, she also knows the importance of making smart dietary choices, including wheat foods, to be at her best whether competing in triathlons or managing the daily stresses of a working mom. We look forward to having her as an ongoing member of the WFC team to educate consumers about the role of wheat foods as an essential component of a nutritious diet.”

“Not only does wheat factor into my pre- and post-race nutrition in terms of the nutrients it provides, but more importantly, I really love eating wheat-based foods like bread, pasta, cereal, bagels, and cookies. I eat a huge variety of foods, and even I have to watch my portions, but the truth is that life would not be much fun for me without wheat,” Tuttle said.

Tuttle competed at USA Triathlon (USAT) 2012 Nationals (Olympic and Sprint distances) and qualified for the 2013 World ITU Triathlon Championships in London. There, she won the bronze medal for the sprint distance (50-54 age-group) and placed 8th in the Olympic distance. She has been a USAT All-American triathlete since 2012 and is currently certified as a USAT Level I Triathlon Coach and US Masters Swimming Coach (Level 2).

For more information about Michele Tuttle’s training journey visit the Wheat Foods Council’s Facebook page or her on Twitter @irongirlrd. The Wheat Foods Council is a leading source of science-based information on wheat and wheat foods nutrition. For more information, visit the WFC website,

Expert shares job, internship search tips

Many job seekers may re-evaluate their employment goals and question effective strategies to find a new position, as the end of 2015 draws near. Marsha Harris, the founder of InternStaff, works with job candidates in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. She connects prospective interns and employees with employers and helps job seekers improve their resumes.

Harris, who has worked as a recruiter for over 10 years says that some companies hire interns who are in high school. The freshman year of college is the next best time to begin an internship.

“For any student, they need to have some internships on their resume. Competition is tight. They need to have something that is going to differentiate them, and set them apart from all of the other applicants,” Harris said. “These internships can help them to find permanent employment beyond college. Oftentimes, these interns become entry-level employees at these companies [where they interned] when they graduate.”

The job expert explained that if something inappropriate turns up after Googling an applicant, an employer may not give the individual further consideration.

“People put so many things online, and they think just because it’s their personal page an employer is not going to look at it. Most of the time they don’t, but there are times where they do,” Harris said. “There are so many people out there. You kind of have to get an idea of ‘Who am I hiring?’”

A job applicant can increase his or her chances of being called for an interview. Harris noted that that a submitted resume should include relevant experience. All job requirements that were stated in the employment announcement should be addressed within the resume. Thoroughly fill out an online application and follow all instructions.

Submitting sloppy resumes to potential employers, and using inappropriate email addresses, when contacting them are common mistakes. Harris also recommends addressing potential red flags.

If job candidates have gaps in their resume, as a result of a situation such as a layoff, or in the case of a stay-at-home mother who wants to return to the workforce, Harris advises that honesty is best policy. Specifics of the situation can be explained in the cover letter. Volunteering at a child’s school or at church can be valuable as long as the experience is relevant to the position for which you are applying.

“It’s experience whether it is paid or not,” Harris said, “For any of the roles, you can always find skills and duties that you performed that match whatever job you’re applying for. It’s important to highlight the relevant duties.”

If a job seeker wants to pursue an entry-level position in a new field, transferable experience and skills should be highlighted on the resume.

“First, I would say look in their personal network. Try to contact folks, or network with folks, that are in the field that they want to work in. Then, I would say look at some job descriptions for those entry-level jobs, and pull out what they’ve done in their old positions. They may find that they’ve actually performed several of the duties that are required for that new position, even though it is in a different field or industry,” Harris said.

Harris suggests trying to meet recruiters outside of the traditional applicant tracking system, or finding an open position through an internal contact, since recruiters often receive hundreds of submitted resumes when filling a position. Reaching out to alumni organizations, church career ministries or temping can speed up job search results.

Online networking tools like LinkedIn, Facebook groups, Twitter and searching for career-focused events announced on Eventbrite, or building a networking through can be productive. Career fairs hosted by associations may increase job seekers’ chances of speaking with a decision maker. Companies like InternStaff can also

help job candidates locate positions.

A career and internship-hiring event will be presented by Intern Staff on Friday, October 2, 2015 at 5110 Auth Way in Suitland, Maryland from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will be open to students seeking internship positions and experienced professionals. For more information about the job fair or services offered by Harris, visit:

RAMBLING ROSE: Support our musicians and community events

Hello everyone, I hope everything is well with you. I know I have received a couple of memos that some of my readers have lost someone in their family including a musician and my prayers are with you and your family. For those of you who are a little under the weather, just remember that no matter how you feel, some else somewhere else is worse off than you. So feel blessed.

Siblings Ephraim and Ebban Dorsey are talented saxophonists and recipients of the Rosa Pryor Scholarship Award. They will perform at the Rosa Pryor Music Scholarship Fund’s Formal Black & Gold Scholarship & Awards Ball on Sunday, October 25 at the Forum Caterers. For ticket information, email: or go to

Siblings Ephraim and Ebban Dorsey are talented saxophonists and recipients of the Rosa Pryor Scholarship Award. They will perform at the Rosa Pryor Music Scholarship Fund’s Formal Black & Gold Scholarship & Awards Ball on Sunday, October 25 at the Forum Caterers. For ticket information, email: or go to

This week, I want to talk to you about a couple of things, one is about “The Viola & Sandi Bridges Musical,” which will be held at the Inner Court Ministries, 1804 Kavanaugh Street in Baltimore on Saturday, September 26 from 2-6 p.m. The program will include entertainment from Rebirth, The Wallace Sisters, The Positive Youth Expressions Choir, Minister Jonathan Wallace and many others. This event is to raise funds for the music program for the Positive Youth Expressions, Inc. For more information, call 410-945-7300.

Brian Hall, CEO of D.O.T. Sports is Baltimore’s t-shirt mega entrepreneur has a designed a special shirt for die-hard fans of the Old Pennsylvania Avenue Royal Theatre. For more information, go to his website:

Brian Hall, CEO of D.O.T. Sports is Baltimore’s t-shirt mega entrepreneur has a designed a special shirt for die-hard fans of the Old Pennsylvania Avenue Royal Theatre. For more information, go to his website:

The Mighty Men of Metropolitan AME Church and East River Jazz is hosting a “Journey Down Memory Lane” featuring the Strayhorn’s Big Band Sound on Saturday, September 26, at 7 p.m. at the Frederick Douglass Hall, 1518 M. Street N.W. Washington, DC. The men of Metropolitan are reaching out to the beloved community through worship, liberation and service. This program will include Baltimore’s Dunbar Alumni Jazz Band featuring vibraphonist, Warren Wolf. Light fare will be served and parking is free. For more information contact Vernard Gray at

Sherry Whalton, renowned song stylist will perform with her band for the Rosa Pryor Music Scholarship Fund Press Reception Party on Thursday, October 8th from 6-9 p.m. at the Arch Social Club on Pennsylvania & North Avenues. It is open and free to the public with invitation. For more information and invitation, call 410-833-9474.

Sherry Whalton, renowned song stylist will perform with her band for the Rosa Pryor Music Scholarship Fund Press Reception Party on Thursday, October 8th from 6-9 p.m. at the Arch Social Club on Pennsylvania & North Avenues. It is open and free to the public with invitation. For more information and invitation, call 410-833-9474.

The Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center is hosting the “Billie Holiday: Life in Music” exhibit from September 25 thru October 3 at the Eubie Blake Center on Howard Street. This exhibition will allow visitors to view photos and rare film clips of Billie Holiday’s performances and interviews and to listen to her music recordings. The Eubie Blake Cultural Center is dedicated to promoting the history and legacy of African-American art and culture and is the perfect venue for the centennial exhibition. For more information, contact Stuart Hudgins 443-925-8771.

Another community event is celebrating life with local musicians, The Sound Storm Band and Habit Band perform Saturday, September 26 from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. at the Pikesville Community Hall, 40 East Sudbrook Land in Baltimore. For ticket information contact Swat at 443-416-4053 or Eric at 443-791-6161.

Blues music and entertainment are back in town and everybody in Baltimore who enjoys great music will appreciate these local jazz spots. The blues and jazz influences are very prominent in the city’s nightlife. And as quietly as it is kept it is important to me too. The Club 347, 347 N. Calvert Street in Baltimore is a popular place for both jazz and blues live entertainment. Other places are: Cabaret at Germano’s, 300 S. High Street in Baltimore and Bertha’s Restaurant & Bar, 734 S. Broadway Street, this club used to be one of Ruby Glover’s favorite spots.

The DC Blues Society presents live Blues Jam Session the first Sunday of every month from 4-8 p.m. at the American Legion Post, on Fenton Street at 905 Sligo Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland. DCBS Jam is free and open to everyone and gives all blues players, experienced or not, an opportunity to perform. For more information, go to:

Well, my dear friends, it is about that time for me to go. I am out of space, but remember, if you need, me call me at 410-833-9474 or email me at, UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.

Annapolis native awarded fellowship in Computer Science

— Jeremy Blackstone, 23, knows what it means to embrace unforeseen challenges with courage and determination. The Annapolis native recently became the first of 12 incoming Ph.D. scholars selected to receive a fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Minority Ph.D. Program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), to pursue a doctorate in Computer Science and Engineering. The program is a multi-million dollar initiative to support underrepresented minority graduate students in STEM fields. Jeremy will receive $40,000 over a four-year period, along with additional funding.

Jeremy is a Howard University (HU) alumnus who was previously awarded a Computer Science scholarship. He graduated magna cum laude in his undergraduate studies and earned a 3.8 GPA upon completion of his degree. Although the scholar says that he always showed an aptitude for excelling in science and mathematics, when he was growing up, he was uncertain about his future career field. Upon reflection, he says that his parents, Andres Blackstone and Beverly Blackstone motivated him to do his best.

“My mom [Beverly] would have homework mode when my brother [David] and I were in elementary and middle school. Basically, it was a time [after] we got home, until everyone was done their homework— no one could turn on the TV, ” Jeremy said.

Bishop Avier Salter and First Lady Angela Salter at Victory City of Praise Ministries; Joseph Hargett, sexton of the Andrew Rankin Memorial the Chapel; Dr. Legand L. Burge III, the Computer Science Department Chair at HU; and Dr. Wayne Patterson, Jeremy’s master’s thesis advisor are among the many individuals who played and integral part in his academic endeavors. Additionally, Dr. Mugizi Robert Rwebangira connected Jeremy to research opportunities at UCSD.

“Being at Howard not only gave me the technical skills to go forward, but it also gave me mentoring from my professors, colleagues and others mentors of various positions at the university. It’s basically a family environment, not just professional,” Jeremy said.

Jeremy grew up attending Holy Temple Cathedral in Annapolis. After surviving a nearly fatal heart attack in 2010, the medical emergency led him to develop an even closer spiritual walk with God.

“It was during my senior year in high school, I was just playing a pick-up game of basketball at the park, and all of the sudden I went into full cardiac arrest, and I was medically declared dead for 20 minutes,” Jeremy said. “One of the guys that I was playing basketball against at the park that day happened to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in training, and there were three nurses at the park…so they were doing CPR for 20 minutes, until an ambulance showed up with the defibrillator to shock my heart back to life.”

Jeremy was placed in a three-day, medically induced coma. Testing revealed that he needed open-heart surgery to correct a rare, unknown heart condition. Despite recovery time, the Annapolis High School graduate was able to walk during his graduation ceremony then later begin his freshman year at HU on time.

“People say all of the time that tomorrow isn’t promised, but for me that became a reality, and so after that incident, I tried to live everyday as if it would truly be my last day. So I got a lot more involved in my church and Bible studies when I got to Howard,” Jeremy said. “I put God first, and I put my studies second, and there was pretty much not much room for anything else.”

Through volunteering to tutor and mentoring other students, Jeremy discovered his passion for teaching. The Ph.D. student wants younger minority students to know that with hard work and support, they too can thrive in Computer Science. Jeremy’s brother, David is currently studying it at HU. Jeremy serves as an example to many how to pursue a successful path and persevere.

“I definitely want to become a college professor,” Jeremy said. “I want to be an encouragement to students who were like me, when I first started Computer Science, so they can see another successful minority professor who is able to relate to them.”

Jeremy Blackstone is a cousin of writer Andrea Blackstone

Baltimore five-year-old wins state pageant title

On August 13, 2015, five-year-old Gabrielle Giles, won the prestigious title of Miss Maryland Princess 2015 for the National American Miss Pageant. She will represent Maryland in the 2015 National American Miss national pageant in Hollywood, California, to be held during Thanksgiving week 2015. In addition to winning the state title for her age division, Gabrielle also swept her division with awards in the talent and casual wear competitions.

The National American Miss (NAM) pageant is a program organized to encourage positive achievement in today’s youth. The NAM program awards scholarships to individuals based on achievement and service.

During the week of the national competition in California, Gabrielle will have the opportunity to win a national title and thousands of dollars towards her future education. She will also be able to travel the nation with the title of National American Miss Princess, should she capture the national title.

Gabrielle is excited to be involved with NAM, as awards are provided for academic achievement, volunteer service and spirit of participation.

Additional scholarships are provided for talent, modeling, public speaking and other categories.

Gabrielle’s parents and grandparents believe that this pageant system fits Gabrielle perfectly, as it allows her to develop her self-confidence and recognizes her community involvement with local senior homes and anti-bullying campaigns.

Gabrielle also has aspirations to become a triple threat Broadway star. She is well on her way, having already starred in six plays already. She is also training in dance and voice at the EYD Performing Arts School in Baltimore. Gabrielle is also a proud of client Be Victorious Pageant Prep in Baltimore, Maryland.

Your child’s friendships: How to be encouraging without hovering

School has already begun for most children, while for others school won’t start for a few more weeks. Perhaps over the summer, your child got together with their friends on Facebook instead of face-to-face. Your child may have 1000 Facebook friends, but no real friends.

However with the new school year, your child will need some friends to talk to, spend time with, share sleepovers and growing-up drama.

You may feel at a loss as to helping your child. You don’t want to be that helicopter over-protective parent, yet you doubt your child’s ability to make face-to-face friends. The more they engage on Facebook or other social media outlets, the more awkward they become with face-to-face friends. It isn’t healthy for your child to have only virtual friends. They don’t live in a virtual world. They have to go to a real school, get a real job and interact with real people. Your child is at a disadvantage if they don’t know how to interact and make friendships.

How can you help and support your kids to find friends without hovering or getting in their way of making friends on their own? Here are suggestions for parents who don’t want to hinder or hover, but do want their child to have lasting friendships:

  1. Have reasonable expectations about your child’s social skills. As school begins, encourage them to invite one or two kids over for pizza.
  2. Make it a point to meet the parents of your child’s friends.
  3. Encourage friendships over popularity. Discouraging kids from manipulative friends is one thing, but insisting they only make friends with the popular kids sends the wrong message.
  4. Best friends share interests. If your child has a friend who shares their interests, suggest an outing they could invite a friend to attend.
  5. Only get involved in a friendship dilemma if your child asks for help.
  6. Separate your friendship needs from your child’s, and don’t assume they feel as you would.
  7. If your child is a loner and seems depressed, don’t hesitate to get professional guidance. Loners are more likely to get bullied and feel misunderstood. Their self-esteem is fragile and that is one of the reasons kids need friends.

They build each other up and help each other feel good about themselves.

Friendships are important for kids because they help the child feel supported and good about themselves.

Social media is a wonderful way to connect with long-distance friends, but virtual friends cannot replace the face-to-face communication friends share. Activities kids do with their friends is important in establishing a strong foundation of what healthy relationships look and feel like. Your self-esteem, confidence and attitude toward adult friends are established in childhood. Parents should encourage their children’s friendships without directing them.

Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of “Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever.” For more information about Rapini, visit: