Sunday, September 26, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness and Your Teens

Pink Ribbons have become synonymous with Breast Cancer Awareness.  Starting in elementary school children soon learn to recognize what Pink Ribbons mean.  Many have had someone in their family diagnosed with breast cancer – some have even lost a loved one to this disease.  The good news the more awareness we have the more women are being proactive and getting exams earlier.  Teens especially are learning the importance of your female health.  Whether it is eating right or getting enough exercise, the information is out there to help you learn more about staying healthy.  As October is around the corner, it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Take this time to talk to your kids.

Source: Connect with Kids

Kids and Breast Cancer Awareness

“Exercise is good for many things, but I’m not sure many people are honestly aware that it can reduce the risk of breast cancer.”
– Ruth O’Regan, M.D., Oncologist

Raising breast cancer awareness is rarely controversial, but there’s a popular plastic wristband saying “I ‘heart’ boobies” that’s creating quite a stir in schools around the country. The bracelets, developed by the non-profit Keep-a-Breast Foundation, might be too racy for younger students. But that hasn’t stopped their concern about the risk of breast cancer – and what they can do at a young age.

Terri, 14, says, “I used to hate exercising, nobody could really get me to exercise. But now, it’s kind of cool.”

With the help of her mom, she’s losing weight. “One of the things I know about children is that they do what you do, and they say what you say. So my job was to do whatever it was going to take to get them healthy,” says her mom, Paulette.

Terri is getting healthy and she’s reducing her risk of getting breast cancer. Experts say risk factors for cancer include age, family history and weight.
“If you’re thin, you probably produce a little bit less estrogen,” says Dr. Ruth O’Regan, an oncologist. “Exposure to estrogen is probably a major determinate of whether you’re going to develop breast cancer over your lifetime.”

She says exercise early in girls’ lives can delay the onset of puberty, which can in turn lower hormone levels.
“One of the things we know about risk factors for breast cancer,” O’Regan says, “is that the earlier you start your periods, the more likely you are to get breast cancer.”

She says that exercise, along with a healthy diet low in fat and high in fiber, are the easiest ways to reduce weight – and your child’s risk of developing breast cancer.

“They’re obviously things that we can change,” says Dr. O’Regan, “so I think it’s important to actually encourage teenagers to have a healthy diet [and] take as much exercise as possible, because that’s something you can actually do to prevent, to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.”

“It goes back to the same things doctors have been saying for years: diet and exercise, diet and exercise, diet and exercise,” Hogan says.

What We Need To Know

Why is exercise important? Research has shown the following:
  • Over 60 percent of American adults are not regularly active.
  • Twenty-five percent of adults are not active at all.
  • Only 19 percent of high school students are active for 20 minutes or more per day.
  • Men are more active than women.
  • Physical activity declines with age.
  • Ethnic minorities are less active.
  • Higher education and income are associated with more leisure-time activity.
  • Obese people are usually less active than non-obese persons.
The Surgeon General’s report on physical activity endorses a moderate amount of physical activity that can be obtained by doing any of the following:
  • Thirty minutes of brisk walking
  • Thirty minutes of lawn mowing
  • Thirty minutes of leaf raking
  • Fifteen minutes of running
  • Forty-five minutes of volleyball
Not only does exercise keep bodies healthy and help to prevent diseases, it is also important because it can help keep minds sharp and healthy. Experts at KidsHealth have developed the following list of the benefits of exercising.
  • Exercise Makes Your Heart Happy – Your heart is one hardworking part, pumping blood every day of your life. The heart is a muscle, and it’s the strongest muscle in your body, but it’s always looking to become even stronger! Since lifting weights won’t help it get stronger, it relies on you to do aerobic exercise. It’s a good idea for kids to do some kind of aerobic exercise two or three times a week, for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Some excellent aerobic activities are swimming, basketball, ice or roller hockey, jogging (or walking quickly), rollerblading, soccer, cross-country skiing, biking and rowing. Even dancing, skipping, jumping rope and playing hopscotch are aerobic activities!
  • Exercise Makes Muscles – All the muscles in your body do a fine job when you use them for easy stuff, like picking up a book or walking down the stairs. But what about using them for harder stuff, like taking long bike rides or climbing a tree? That’s where exercise comes in. It makes your muscles stronger and sometimes larger. As your muscles get stronger, you can do more active things for longer periods of time. And strong muscles also help protect you from injuries when you exercise, because they give better support to your joints. Building up all different types of muscles is easy to do. For arm strength, try push-ups, pull-ups, tug-of-war or twirling a baton. Rowing in a rowboat or canoeing is great for building strong arm muscles as well. For strong leg muscles, try running, blading, skating and bike riding. And for strong stomach muscles, try sit-ups, bike riding, or even twirling a hula hoop around your waist.
  • Exercise Makes You Flexible – Can you touch your toes easily? Most kids are pretty flexible, which means that they can bend and stretch their bodies without too much trouble. But as people get older they tend to get less flexible, so that’s why it’s important to exercise when you’re a kid – so you can stay flexible. Plus, when you’re flexible, you can be more active without having to worry about getting sprains and strained muscles. It’s easy to find things to do for good flexibility. Tumbling and gymnastics are great ways to become more flexible. Yoga and dancing, especially ballet, also increase flexibility. Karate, tae kwon do and other martial arts are great for flexibility, too.
  • Exercise Keeps You at a Healthy Weight – Every time you eat food, your body does the same thing: it uses some of the nutrients in the food as fuel. It burns these nutrients to give us energy or calories. You need calories for all of your body’s functions, whether it’s things you think about doing, like brushing your teeth, or things you never think about doing, like breathing. So it’s important for kids to get all the calories they need from the foods they eat. But if the body isn’t able to use all the calories that are coming from food, it stores them away as fat. And that’s why exercise helps keep a child at a weight that’s right for his/her height, by burning up extra calories. When you exercise, your body uses that extra fuel to keep you going strong.
  • Exercise Makes You Feel Good – Exercising is a most excellent way to feel happy, whether you’re exercising on your own or with a group. If you’ve had a tough day at school, a fight with your friend or just feel kind of blue, exercising can help you feel better. That’s because when you exercise, your body can release endorphins, which are chemicals that create a happy feeling in your brain. Plus, when you’re breathing deeply during exercise and bringing more air into your lungs, your brain appreciates the extra oxygen. And when you’re active and running around, sometimes it’s hard to think about just what was bothering you. Exercise can make you feel better about yourself, too. When you are stronger and more capable of doing things, you can feel pretty proud – whether you scored the winning goal or hula-hooped for an hour straight!


Friday, September 24, 2010

One in five parents feel unable to prevent teen drug abuse

New survey data from Partnership for a Drug-Free America® and MetLife Foundation finds that more than one in five parents feel unable to prevent their kids from trying drugs and alcohol. To help motivate and equip parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of substance abuse, the two organizations are focusing the next phase of their award-winning radio campaign, which kicks off today, on better preparing parents on ways to safeguard their kids from the risks of drug and alcohol use.

To begin an ongoing conversation, the Partnership and MetLife Foundation’s parenting skills campaign will air educational messages on radio stations in local markets nationwide through the end of October. The campaign is backed by online tools and tips for raising drug-free teens. A brochure containing helpful tips, called “Your Child Needs You,” and other resources are also being made available. All can be found at

Parents Need Help Responding to Recent Increases in Teen Drug Use       
The new data comes from the 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), sponsored by MetLife Foundation, which found more than one in five parents feel there is little they can do to prevent their kids from trying drugs (22 percent) and alcohol (27 percent). The survey also found only two in five parents (39 percent) feel strongly that they could immediately stop their kids from using drugs once they’ve started.  PATS data released earlier this year also confirmed marked increases in teen use of alcohol, Ecstasy and marijuana, namely those substances that teens are most likely to encounter is social situations. The need for parents to play a more active role in helping protect their kids from dangerous behaviors posed by the use of drugs and alcohol is underscored in the campaign.

“It’s crucial that we help parents understand the threats facing teens today, help them be more confident about their ability to make a difference, and equip them with useful resources, which is the purpose of this campaign,” said Steve Pasierb, president of the Partnership. “What many parents may not realize is that they, not athletes, movie stars or popular music artists, are in fact the biggest influence in the lives of their children. Kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who do not get that critical message from their parents.”

The campaign features radio messages in English and Spanish, stressing the importance of talking with kids about drugs and alcohol to parents, encouraging them to overcome their fears about starting a dialogue with kids about these dangerous behaviors, and motivating parents to stay involved in their children’s lives to keep them healthy.

By talking with teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol use, parents can help protect their kids and keep them safe,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “Parents strongly influence the decisions teens make and this campaign provides much-needed tools to help parents feel better equipped to discuss this important health issue with their kids.”

Visitors to can download copies of the brochure “Your Child Needs You! A guide to help your child lead a healthy drug-free life,” available in English, Spanish and Chinese languages. The brochure includes information on the dangers of illicit drug use and helps parents prevent drug use in their own families. Free copies are available from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 877-767-8432.

The month of September is Recovery MonthNorth Florida as well as other parts of Florida are proactive in bringing an awareness to addiction and substance abuse.


Read more.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Teen Self-Confidence: Making Better Choices and Feeling Good About Yourself

The clock is ticking, the alarm is ringing, and the sun is starting to come up.  It is Monday morning and time for school and for most parents, time to go to work.

Many rush around, especially on a Monday morning after a long and fun weekend, and go through the motions of getting their clothes on, doing their hair, brushing your teeth and don't forget to eat breakfast!  In between you are making sure you have a lunch or lunch money, packing the backpack or briefcase and trying to get out the door on time.

Let's stop, roll back the clock and take at least one minute to say something positive to each otherJust one minute can make a lifetime of change to your daughter.  Build their self-esteem and let them know they are loved no matter how busy you are, there is always time for her.

The Dove Movement for Self-Esteem invites all women to join us in creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.

Coming in October is The Dove Self-Esteem Weekend and it is a perfect time for you to be a champion for your daughter or a special young girl in your life.
  • Everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in a young girl’s self-esteem
    • Dove is uniting women across the country – individuals, partners and grassroots organizations
    • Providing the next generation of women with the tools to build a positive relationship with beauty and reach their full potential
Dove Movement for Self-Esteem is getting into full swing.  With the help of the Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc. and Girls Scouts, Dove is marching out a campaign to help teen girls have a brighter future and step into their own skin by believing in themselves.

Read more, watch video and see slide show.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Teen Obesity: Is your teen a member of COAK?

The Coalition of Angry Kids (COAK) is speaking out and it is time for parents to get unplugged, get up and listen!

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and people are saying that 1 in 3 of children are overweight or obese. What about the parents?

An open letter from COAK:

Who are you calling obese?
We heard that September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

And people are saying that 1 in 3 of us are overweight or obese. They even use that weird word—EPIDEMIC—when they’re talking about us kids.

“Eat healthy.” “Go run around outside.” “Turn off the screens.” We hear those things a lot, too. Well, Mom and Dad, can you help us out here? We need more than reminders and threats. We need good examples.
We’re in this together, so let’s fix it together.

If you want us to eat less junk food, then let’s eat better together. If you want us to play an hour a day, then come out and play with us.

That sounds like a healthy solution to us. How about you?

Coalition of Angry Kids
(Could your child's name be here?)

Have you stopped to check out the school menu? 10 Shocking Facts About School Cafeteria Food.

Visit COAK to learn more!

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.

Watch short video and read more.

Monday, September 13, 2010

CyberSafety, CyberSurfing and Your Kids - Be Safe, use YourSphere

With so many horror stories about our children surfing the Internet, it has become a challenge for parents to find that perfect safety net that they feel they can trust.  

As a parent of five beautiful children, Mary Kay Hoal has taken on the mission to not only create a safe environment for kids with Yoursphere, she has expanded into helping parents understand the risks and learn about latest technology in a way parents can actually understand!  Yoursphere for Parents has taken off like a rocket! (Personally, it is one of my favorite bookmarked sites!) offers a vibrant, online, interactive, experience for kids and teens. Member’s safety and privacy come first through the application of common sense safeguards. The site devotes a hyper-focus towards supporting the positive interests, talents and aspirations of its members.

The site is free and is exclusively for children and young people through age 18. Yoursphere offers members a unique online community experience that is rewards-based, content appropriate, age-relevant, and socially conscious.

Isn't it time you took the time to get your child involved?  Your child or teen can share ideas and help each other to be all they can be.  Knowing that this site was created by a mom that had the same concerns many parents have about the dangers of the web, gives you a sense of security and comfort.

Parents that attempt to keep their kids off the computer for fear of dangers is understandable, however it is almost naive to believe they will never be faced with the Internet.  Sit with them - talk to them - and actually create family time that offers safety tips for surfing!  That is online - not at  the beach.

Join Yoursphere today (parents and kids) - it's fun, it's educational, it's inspiring and it's FREE! Click here.
Join Social Networking Safety on Facebook and follow Mary Kay Hoal on Twitter.

St. Johns Sheriff's Office offers a website of Internet Safety Tips for parents and kids.
Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

Watch video  and learn from Mary Kay Hoal about the Joy of Online Safety.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tutoring: Prevent High School Drop-outs - Reasons Your Teen May Need a Tutor

As a new school year has arrived some parents are faced with the fact that their child needs extra help academically.  The sooner this is recognized and addressed, the less likely you will have a failing student.

There are many free and low-cost opportunities to find tutors for your child.  Ask a Librarian has become a major benefit to teens in helping them with reference materials.

Does your child need a tutor?  Here are ten reasons that may answer that question.

1. They work hard, but results are minimal - If your child puts forth the effort each night but isn’t seeing results, a well-trained tutor would be a good investment. A tutor will teach them how to study independently, which is a basic skill they’ll need to have mastered by the time they enter college. They also offer tutelage pertaining to note-taking, organizational and time management skills that will improve your child’s chances of success in every subject.
2. They’re easily discouraged -Does your child’s motivation wane as the subject becomes more difficult? A couple of bad grades can lead to several more, and before you know it, they’ve fallen into an academic hole of which they’re unable to find their way out. The personal attention provided by a tutor can steer them around it, giving them the confidence needed to conquer a challenge.
3. Lessons don’t match their learning style -Not every student learns in the same manner. Perhaps your child is a social learner who needs consistent interaction in order to fully grasp a subject. If their teacher is more of a lecturer, a tutor can provide the social learning experience your child desires. Additionally, lesson plans tend to be rigid and teachers generally prefer not to stray away from them. The use of alternative methods can provide your child with easier and more efficient ways to solve a math problem, balance an equation or write an essay.
4. Their teacher is subpar -Like any other profession, the teaching profession has its good and bad apples. During secondary school, students typically lack the study skills to learn a subject on their own, so they’re unable to compensate for wasted class time. A qualified tutor can teach your child everything they need to know and more, breaking their dependence on their subpar teacher.
5. They consistently struggle in one subject -Perhaps a subject like math just isn’t your child’s strong-suit and they’ve never performed well in those classes. By hiring tutor who specializes in that particular area, you can turn your child’s weakness into a strength. A good tutor should be able to tap into your child’s potential, or at the very least, ensure the subject is no longer a drag on their transcript.
6. Curves only cover the problem -Your child may have a decent grade, but it doesn’t mean they fully understand the subject matter. What they miss now could affect them in the future, causing them to fall behind their peers. For example, if they struggle with polynomials in Algebra, they’re destined to struggle in chemistry and physics.
7. They’re nervous about college -The ultra-competitive nature of high schools these days has caused many kids to fold under the pressure. Teenagers who can barely manage their current lives are expected to know exactly what they want to accomplish in the future. A tutor encourages them to focus on the task at hand, teaching the study skills, time management skills and mindset they need for success -now.
8. They experience test anxiety -There’s no denying the SAT and ACT are key components of the college application process. A good or bad score can affect your child’s ability to gain admission into the school of their dreams. Luckily, there is an abundance of experienced SAT and ACT tutors who can teach your child essential test-taking strategies that will enable them to maximize their score. These tutors possess the resources – like practice exams – that can be used to quell big test anxiety.
9. School isn’t challenging enough -Perhaps your child isn’t being sufficiently challenged by their studies and you don’t want their potential to go to waste. Or maybe they’ve taken an interest in a particular subject – like a foreign language – and you want to cultivate a passion. Either way, a tutor will utilize your child’s free time in a stimulating manner.
10. No other help is available -As previously mentioned, you may not be able to offer the help your child needs in order to realize their potential in a subject. After all, it has been years since you were in their shoes, and more likely than not, teaching isn’t your strength. A good tutor will be able to explain the tedious details of a subject in way that your child can understand.

Source: Christian Colleges Online

Read More.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Defiant Teens - Teen Help - Troubled Teens - Parent Help

Let's face it - parenting teens today can be challenging.  Whether it is the accessibility of drugs or the blatant disrespect many teens have for authority, parents are reaching their wit's end when it comes to their teenagers.

An out-of-control teen can upset the entire family.  Is that fair to the sibling?  Is it fair to the parents?  As many families are struggling with today's economy, possible job loss and even losing their homes, the stress of parenting can be overwhelming.

In many situations seeking outside help is the only answer.  After you have exhausted all your local resources, even tried sending your teen to a relatives to live - and some may have even tried a scared straight program only to find it is very short term results - if any.

Now you are faced with the daunting experience of surfing the Internet to find help.  Doing your research is a priority.  Learn from my experiences - and visit for valuable information to help you sift through the many toll free numbers, marketing arms and in some cases, scams when it comes to this confusing - "teen help industry."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Students Against Destructive Decisions: SADD

Underage drinking is a serious concern for parents.  The Internet has allowed teens to easily obtain false identifications which permits them to be served alcohol. 

The recent headlines of Nicole John,  17 year-old daughter of US ambassador to Thailand has sparked the discussion of underage drinking among teens. Although Nicole John was labeled a party girl by some sources, it doesn't take away the fact that a young life has tragically ended involving illegally drinking. (Watch video below).

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD, formerly Students Against Drunk Driving) has a mission to provide students with the best prevention tools possible to deal with the issues of underage drinking, other drug use, impaired driving and other destructive decisions.

In St. Augustine last spring we witnessed the trial of Diane Katz Santarelli who was accused of serving minors alcohol resulting in a deadly car accident killing two teenagers.  She was acquitted on the manslaughter charges however she was charged with a second-degree misdemeanor for hosting a party with minors, and contributing to the delinquency of a child, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Now that school has opened in Florida, isn't it time to encourage your teens to start a SADD chapter?  Today's peer pressure can be overwhelming, the desire to fit in and the power of persuasion among teens is strong.  Visit for more information.

Get your teens started today, communication is the key to prevention.

Related articles:
Supervised Underage Drinking
Too Smart to Start
The Cool Spot - Educating Your Pre-Teens and Teens
Above the Influence
Buzzed Driving Kills the Same as Drunk Driving