Communication Challenges with Family

A huge problem that happens in almost every household everywhere in the world is handling family relationships. Almost everyone has experienced this at some point in their lives. You love your family and you wouldn’t change them for anything, but that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t change a few things about them. Sometimes this can lead to having serious arguments with one another, so what happens when it escalates to a huge argument? What happens when there’s a bad communication? When you don’t get along with your mom, dad, brother(s) or sister(s)? What needs to be done to fix this?

Talk about your differences.
Communication is one of the best things you need to do at first when you see that things are not working out. If someone’s talking behind your back, doing things against you that you don’t like, offending another relative or anything similar, you need to talk it out. According to Stress.about.com, if you have some problems with someone you should “see where each of you may have misunderstood the other or behaved in a way you would change if you could, offering sincere apologies, and in other ways resolving the conflict can heal the relationship for the future.”

Communication may solve most (not all) of the problems you may face with your family. So, instead of ignoring the problem, or doing something you may regret, talk it out!

“I used to fight with my mom all the time, until one day I got tired of it and sat with her and talked for hours, problems minimized and now we have a much better relationship” says, Paola Lopez, 15.

See the consequences of your actions.
Don’t do anything you may regret, don’t say anything that you may regret in the future. Think about the situation and what may happen before acting. You don’t know if the other person is going to react the wrong way or take your words or actions. Don’t say anything while you’re angry. Because most problems can be fixed and they will pass, and if you say something hurtful, it may not be possible to take it back.

“I regret some things I said to my cousin, and after 10 years, we are finally talking again,” shares Arely Zapien, 20.

If you can’t see the end of the differences, distance yourself from bad influences.

If you’ve tried to work things out several times and there’s no good answer from the other person, the best you could do is distance yourself from them. You’ve tried and tried, and you’ve done everything in your hands to fix the problem but if things are still the same, it’s time for you to walk away. Even if it’s for a while, distance yourself from the problems and let things cool down a little bit. Don’t hurt yourself no more, be free from that complication and live your life knowing that you did the best you could to work things out. Maybe after a few months, the other person will realize that this thing is not worth risking your relationship for.

“I had to get away from my problems for a while, my aunts didn’t come to their senses, the problems have lowered and now after a long time, they’re realizing they were wrong to judge me,” says Gloria Lopez, 18.

Discrimination: Heard and Stopped

There is nothing that hurts more than being verbally abused or being called on for being different than other people. According to a Pew research poll, Latinos are the 2nd most discriminated against ethnic group.

“When I was in high school, I used to play football. I grew up in a house with all boys, I was the only girl on the team. I was also one of the few Hispanics on the team. I remember trying out and after practice, my coach told me to go back to the ballet classes because he didn’t think a girl could be capable of being on the football team with the other guys,” said Amanda, 19.

Amanda was being discriminated on her gender, thinking that only because she was a girl, she wasn’t capable of doing what boys could do. Even though many people were going against her, she kept her head up and proved him wrong.

“I kept practicing really hard, trained twice as hard, and the day of tryouts I proved him wrong and I made the team. I wasn’t going to let him put me down,” she added.

“When I came to the United States from Mexico, I was the only one from my family to go to college. I was the only one who spoke English, and I was the only one that graduated from high school. I remember one of my first professors in college didn’t pay much attention to me. I had a thick accent and my classmates would always stare at me because I spoke and dressed differently, ” said Stephanie, 23.

“I couldn’t fight my accent, but I studied hard, participated as much as I could, got an A in his class and at the end of the semester, he apologized to me,” she added.

Being the first generation to attend college was not an easy thing for Stephanie to do. Even though she was treated unfairly because of her roots and the language she spoke, but, regardless of her treatment in the class, she proved him wrong — just like Amanda did.

“In middle school I was the girl that dressed funny. I didn’t like the way I dressed either, but I couldn’t help it. My parents couldn’t afford to buy me new clothes every year, or even any clothes. I would usually get the hand me downs from my older siblings and cousins. People would always make fun of me or didn’t want to be seen with me because I didn’t look good. But I didn’t let that stop me. I wore everything I had with pride!  I ignored the people that didn’t like it, and I’ve never been happier, ” said Camila, 16.

An Associated Press-Univision Poll found that 61 percent of people overall said Hispanics face significant discrimination and according to a 2011 study on Child Development, discrimination can cause a great impact mentally and physically on a teenager and even adults. Studies show that adolescents who have recently been discriminated against lose confidence in themselves and lack of motivation.

Whether it’s gender, racial, language, or financial discrimination; it matters and it needs to be heard and stopped.

Say something, speak up, let your voice be heard, and don’t let other people tell you how to be happy. As long as your happy with yourself, nothing else should matter.

Dealing with Feeling Ignored

Youth writer, Elizabeth Enriquez, answers questions dealing with feeling ignored.

I’m having problems with my friends. How do we talk about our issues to find the best solution?  Will they ignore me?

Having friends doesn’t always mean agreeing on everything.  It is healthy to have your differences, as long as those differences do not make you compromise your values.  I think you answered your own question, talking about the problems is the key.  Keep the lines of communication open.  A strong friendship is based on mutual respect and the right to express yourself for how you feel.

My problem is that my dad and mom are separated, and I don’t get to see my dad. I feel like he doesn’t make time for me anymore.
The separation of your parents in no doubt changed the way life was for you.  One thing you must remember is that your parents both love you. They are probably trying to adjust to the new boundaries and limitations that a separation sometimes requires.   Talk to your parents about how you feel.  Let them know where you stand and that you would like to spend equal amount of time with them.

I feel like I don’t fit in. People dislike me because of the things I like. Basically I am different and people hate it. I don’t want to change the things that make me happy, but I would like to not be judged.
If you have to compromise who you are to make friends, you will never be able to be yourself.  It comes down to who you want to be, what role you want in life.  Would you like to be someone that isn’t genuine to be friends with others or rather be yourself and have those around you who respect and like the true you? If you love who you are, why would you ever change that?

 Have a question you want answered by one of your teen writers? Send advice questions to editor@latinitasmagazine.org.

Tips to Making New Friends

friends hugMaking new friends it is not always easy. Sometimes we try so hard to create new bonds and we wonder if it’s us or them.  Making friends doesn’t have to be difficult, so we asked our Latinitas familia to shir their advice on making new amigas (or amigos):

  1. Keep a friendly attitude.
    If you treat people badly, the only thing you are going to gain is that they will run away from you. Be nice to the new people you know, even if it is for a few minutes. You never know how or where you’re going to meet a friend, or future BFF, but being standoffish and mean makes it more difficult to form new friendships.
  2.  Smile
    Smiling will show that you want to make friends and that you are open for people to approach you. Try to not put on a fake smile; genuine smiles comes from within and demonstrates that you are interested in being friendly.
  3.  Say hi!
    It may sound kind of simple, but knowing someone’s name and greeting them makes you look more friendly and it shows that you acknowledge them.
  4.  Learn to be a good listener
    Demonstrate your interest in your potential friend by listening to what they have to say. From family to their pets, listening to what he/she likes, doesn’t like, or what is going on with them in his/her life will not only show that you care, but will also help establish common interests.
  5. Share your interests and be supportive
    If at first the other person does most of the talking, that’s fine! But don’t expect for this to be the case all the time. Be supportive of his/her interests while sharing some interests of your own. Complimenting other people is helpful if you mean it. Classmate has a cute new backpack? Don’t be afraid to tell them.
  6. Stop criticizing
    Judging is one of the worst qualities of human beings, everyone acts according to what it considers appropriate.
  7. Do not talk ONLY about yourself
    This can be annoying and uncomfortable. Contribute when and where you can, but forming a friendship is not a one way street.

Tips to a Festive Holiday

Make this holiday season a blast and create memories that will last with these helpful tips from Latinitas for a festive holiday.

Do Holiday Activities Together
“To have fun this holiday, do holiday activities that involve your whole family. For example, one of my favorite things to do during the holidays is bake. It has turned into a tradition. Every year we pick one thing to bake together as a family. Like cookies, brownies, of course adding holiday decorations to go along with the festive days. It is fun to do something different together plus the house gets all warm and smells delicious! Then we share what we did with a cup of hot chocolate,” adds Itzel Barraza.

Play Fun Games Together
“If you’re gonna spend it with your family, play fun games with them! I go to visit my grandparents every year, and after every dinner every day we spend it playing Loteria until 1 am,” shares Fandi Zapien.

Have a Good Attitude
“Start the holiday season with the right foot. Forgive all the things that made you sad or angry. If a person close to you, did something that you didn’t like…forgive them. Why would you focus on things that already passed instead of happiness?” adds Ariadne Venegas.

Smile
“Try to smile. I know that is hard to be happy all day, but at least on these special days. Start by sharing your smile on this holiday,” shares Ariadne Venegas.

Unplug & Focus on Loved Ones
“Try putting your phone down or turning off your computer at least for a little while and spend time together. We spend so much time on computers, cell phones and working. Instead of technology, you can spend time together playing board games, going ice skating, or baking, and talking to each other and spending time together,” says Itzel Barraza.

Plan a Family Outing
“Another good thing to do is plan a family day, go to the mall, downtown, to visit other relatives, but do it together,” shares Fandi Zapien.

Friendship Advice

Advice by Elizabeth Enriquez

Dear Latinitas, I’m having problems with my friends. How do we talk about our issues to find the best solution? ~A Hurt Friend
Having friends doesn’t always mean agreeing on everything.  It is healthy to have your differences, as long as those differences do not make you compromise your values.  I think you answered your own question, talking about the problems is the key.  Keep the lines of communication open.  A strong friendship is based on mutual respect and the right to express yourself for how you feel.~Elizabeth
 
Dear Latinitas, I feel like I don’t fit in. People dislike me because of the things I like. Basically I am different and people hate it. I don’t want to change the things that make me happy, but I would like to not be judged. ~Feeling Different
If you have to compromise who you are to make friends, you will never be able to be yourself.  It comes down to who you want to be and what role you want in life.  Would you like to be someone that isn’t genuine to be friends with others or rather be yourself and have those around you who respect and like the true you?  If you love who you are, why would you ever change that?~Elizabeth

#GrowingUpLatina

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Whether we grew up watching “Dora the Explorer” or “El Chavo del Ocho,” there are certain traditions that have shaped who we are today. However, because of all the countries that belong in the Hispanic community, it may seem like each heritage has a different culture. Nevertheless, our cultures have influenced our upbringing and, despite the many countries, Latinas have a lot in common.

Name: Vanessa Barajas

Age: 17

Heritage: Mexican

How has your culture influenced your life as you grow up Latina?

“I grew up with Catholic laws that somewhat shaped who I am. Things like don’t steal, respect your parents, and forgiveness. Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays that show this. For Thanksgiving we say a prayer for what we are thankful for then eat. For Christmas we go crazy. Each child much sing to baby Jesus (a little statue of him) while each of us take turns and swing him side to side in a blanket. We all have maracas and tanneries. Then pray some more.”

 

Name: Stephanie Argote

Age: 18

Heritage: Peruvian

How has your culture influenced your life as you grow up Latina?

“The greatest thing about my Peruvian culture is the music because I love to dance. Even though I love my cultures food, my favorite is ceviche, dancing is the main focus when there are get togethers or reunions. The music could be salsa, merengue, or my favorite artist Group Niche which represents and reminds us of who we are and where we’re from.”

Name: Sarah Thomas

Age: 19

Heritage: Guatemalan and Mexican

How has your culture influenced your life as you grow up Latina?

“Growing up Latina has made me proud to be who I am. Growing up Latina, I grew up Catholic and so being religious kind of gives me something to lean on when I’m having a rough time. I also grew up with having family as my #1. We always went to family parties and get togethers. Even now, my family and I still try to find a time to sit down and eat out on Sundays together. Since my parents are from outside the United States, I know the struggle they had to go through to come here and start from scratch. Thankfully my dad, through hard work and more than a decade without a vacation, now owns his own business. So we’re pretty fortunate to have better luck than others.”

How to Beat the Heat

Girls JumpingEl sol is going down but do not let it fool you, take the necessary precautions for the remaining days of sun. That’s why it’s important to watch out for signs of dehydration and alert familia and amigos as well.Be mindful when you go outside to have some fun and come up with a hydration plan. Agua is essential because it fuels your body and it helps you more than you think. Therefore the more you know the better, learn how much water you need to perform at your best and the most important part have fun under the sun.

Every city in the United States is different in so many ways and weather is one of them. No matter where in the country you live staying hydrated is very important. The weather changes constantly so it is important to stay updated and alert for any drastic changes in the weather conditions. For instance even though summer is practically over; precautions still have to be considered and taken when doing outdoor activities.

First things first what’s dehydration? It is basically the loss of water and salts that are essential for regular function of your body for this reason at the first sign of dehydration let someone knows. Not sure what to look for, well here is a list that will describe signs of dehydration.

  • Thirst: it may not be the best indicator that your body needs water but is a big one. At this point your body is already 1-2% dehydrated. (NAFC newsletter 08/2015.)
  • Urine color: the clearer the better. The more water your drink the clearer your urine output will be, dark urine is no good.
  • Mental Changes: You will feel dizzy, light-headed or confused.
  • Dry mouth: Dry lips and feeling thirsty after drinking water.

Planning ahead never hurts; a smart chica is always prepared to deal with whatever comes her way. Consider to use a daily planner that you can easily have access to it, either on your phone or on a notebook; think of activities that you must do outdoors and find alternatives when you have to be outside and you know it will be muy caluroso! Check the weather forecast in advance and do not let the sun melt your plans.

Agua, agua and more agua! You might be wondering how much water is enough? Although the exact amount of water needed per day has not been determined by scientists, it really depends on each person’s activity, diet and complexion. So if you are the type of chica who is all about outdoors activities bebe plenty of water the day before. A healthy number of water intake recommended is 8 glasses of water a day, that way you’ll be good to go and have plenty of energy the next day.

Did you know that the human body is made of approximately 65% of water? In fact, water is essential for life to exist; it makes us healthier, help us to maintain the balance of all of the body’s systems, avoid cramping in muscles, temperature control just to mention a couple of its benefits.

Water makes everything mucho mejor, have H2O with you at all times and it will always be your best ally. Keep in mind dehydration signs and share them with amigos and familia. If you want to know more and have an accurate number of water intake consult your primary doctor or a nutritionist to get more informed according to your complexion and lifestyle. Enjoy the end of the summer and have a healthy return to escuela.

Pope Francisco: Our First Latino Pope!

Pope-Francis-smilingOur current Pope, Pope Francisco, is the first Latin American Pope to grace the Vatican. Pope Francisco was born Mario Jorge Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina and worked as a nightclub bouncer before entering the seminary to become a Catholic priest. He then went on to become Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and when his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI resigned in 2014 he was voted into the papacy.

In office since the end of 2014, his election caused great celebration throughout Latin America as they cheered on the beginning of a new era, one in which the head of the Catholic Church and one of the most powerful world leaders, was Latino.

Many Latinos remember the moment they learned that a fellow Latino had been named as Pope. Maribel, 18, of Mexican descent and a devout Catholic, says that she recalls watching on television as Pope’s Francisco’s election was announced. She immediately jumped up cheering and screaming and her whole family gathered around to embrace and celebrate. “It’s not just because he speaks Spanish,” she says. “Latin America needs a Latino Pope who knows the problems in Latin America and how to deal with them.”

Laura, 19, says that she was shopping when she found out via text message, and that she left the store almost immediately to go to her parish Cathedral and give thanks for his election. There she found plenty of other Latinos gathered around praying a Rosary for their new Pope. She says, “I know the Pope is one of the most powerful figures in the world. Having him in office while bring more awareness and attention to our region of the world.”

But while most Hispanics were overjoyed that their new Pope was Argentine, others criticized Pope Francisco as ‘not Latino enough.’ An article published in Huffington Post: Latino Voices, entitled “Is Pope Francis Latino?” suggested that because the Pope’s parents migrated to Argentina from Italy before his birth, he is not Latino.

But why can’t Pope Francisco be Argentine just because his parents were immigrants? Latinos in the United States have heard this argument before, as others sometime criticize them as not ‘real’ Americans if their parents or grandparents came from elsewhere. But truth is, the Pope was born in Latin America, speaks Spanish, and is intimately aware of the culture and issues in the region. Discrimination against him based on the fact that his parents were immigrants takes away from the reality of the situation: Latin America has a Spanish-speaking Pope who was born and raised there and is dedicated to addressing their concerns. Pope Francisco himself has demonstrated his concern for Latin American affairs in his numerous critiques of income inequality in the region, and his urging of their leaders to adapt policies that support workers’ human dignity. He has also worked closely with the impoverished and marginalized peoples of Argentina. The world carefully watches and listens to the words of the Pope, and his repeated speeches and efforts concerning Latin America both revives cultural pride and encourages the rest of the world to heed the needs of the region.

Real Talk About Your Self-Esteem

Latinitas share their self-esteem advice, thoughts on true beauty, ideas on how media impacts girls and their confidence tips.

How does media negatively impact girls’ body image?
Media affects girls by making them think they are not pretty enough or that they are not wearing a pretty size and it makes girls want to change themselves in the wrong way.
-Jacklyn, Nicole & Kayla

 

Why is it important to have a good body image?

 

  • So they don’t have to feel bad about themselves.
  • So you could stay healthy.
  • So young teenage girls won’t self abuse themselves because they think they are ugly or hideous.
  • They will be happy with themselves and love life and not hate it.
  • So they could think good things about themselves and not think they are not pretty.
  • So they won’t lower their self-esteem.

-Destiny, Kendrea, Desiree, Julia, Lanal

 

What are the negative consequences of having a low self-esteem?

  • Harming yourself
  • Feeling less confident
  • Thinking low of yourself
  • Being angry
  • Feeling depressed and unpleasant.

-Layla, Ashley, Alex, Iris, Savanna

 

Why do you think photoshopping model photos is bad?

  • Because if they don’t like your picture they change it.
  • Because it is not the real you.
  • Even if you think you are pretty, they change you up.
  • You don’t look the same.

-Nevaeh, Chriss, Katelyn, Nicole

 

Do you think altered photos can hurt girl’s self-esteem?

  • It is awful because they don’t look that way and girls wish they were them.
  • It makes me angry because we want to be appreciated for who we are and not just what we look like.
  • It makes girls sad because they don’t appreciate how they look.
  • It makes girls sad because they don’t actually look that way.

-Avan, Dyani, Aileen

 

Why is it important not to compare yourself to models?

  • Because you are beautiful the way you are
  • You should just be yourself all the time
  • Models aren’t perfect they just use photoshop.

-Ayla & Amanda

 

What would you tell a friend if she wasn’t confident in herself?

  • To believe in yourself
  • To think positive
  • Don’t listen to other negative opinions
  • Be who you are

-Natalie, Alyssia, Natalia

 

What advice do you have to help girls boost their self-esteem?

  • Remember people don’t all look the same.
  • You are pretty in your own way.
  • We should focus on the brain and not just the body.
  • You are perfect the way you are.
  • You don’t need makeup to look perfect. You are beautiful the way you are.
  • Everyone is different.
  • We can’t all be models.
  • Say positive things about yourself.
  • Remember a lot of the models are photoshopped and don’t look that way for real.

-Amree, Tatiana, Johnnie, Diamond