Saturday, December 31, 2011

Five Tips to Boost your Teen's Self Esteem

Being a teenager is not easy.  Many teens struggle keeping up with peer pressure and trying to figure out where they fit in.  This can sometimes cause them to make not so great choices.  However if your teen has good self self-esteem, they are more likely to make better choices.  Enjoy this guest post and especially during the holiday “time-off” take the time to be sure your teen is feeling good about themselves!

Self-esteem is a delectate issue in your teen’s life. This is a time in their lives when they are changing mentally, physically and emotionally. It’s important to help your teen but also know that this something they can only control, all you can do is assist. Address the issue or issues your teen seems to be facing, whether its low self-esteem based on appearance or grades, you can help. Here are some ways to boost your teen’s self-esteem.

1.  Volunteer- When you do something good for someone else it makes you feel better. Sign your teen up with a program or organization that he/she can help with. Whether it is helping once a week or once a month, the act of giving is crucial. Check out your local soup kitchen or animal shelter and get them started today. Not only are the people and animals benefitting but so is your teen.
2.  Hobbies-Talk with your teen and see what activities interest them. This may require lots of talking and observation. Take note in their everyday activities and pick up on signs of when, how and what makes them smile. For example you can sign them up for painting classes or get them books on a topic they like.
3.  Exercise- There are many studies that show, when a person exercise they are much happier. According to, ‘Running is a great way to rev up your metabolism and increase your energy levels. Cross country skiing is the only physical activity that burns more calories than running. Running releases endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy; this is how the expression “Runner’s high” came about.’ So get them outside and active!
4.  Remove Negativity: Be sure to support your teen in all he or she does. Keeping a positive and happy vibe in the home will make them feel good. Keep negative words like: ‘ugly and fat’ out of your vocabulary. You would be surprised to how much teens listen to what you say. Just because you should remove negativity doesn’t mean you stop parenting. Discipline when necessary but keep in mind in day to day life, remain positive.
5.  Friends: Your teen’s friends have a huge impact on your teen’s life. Be sure that your teen is hanging out with the ‘right crowd’. A good way to assess this situation is to invite their friends over for dinner. You will be able to judge if you think they are helping or hurting your teen’s self-esteem. If they are helping, then great, invite them over more often. If their friendship is not benefitting your teen, be sure to promote the positive friends in their lives more.
Remember this is a sensitive time for teens and nothing can help a teen like a supportive and loving parent. Follow these guidelines and listen to your kids. Happy boosting!

Author Bio
Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, and Babysitting, find a nanny tips etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @

PS:  Adults can use these tips too!  Thanks Nancy for sharing these tips!

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Teen Suicide - Holiday Blues - Prevention Assistance on Faceback

As the holidays are here it can also be a very dark time for some people.

For anyone who has lost a loved one due to suicide, it is one of the most painful issues they will ever face; sometimes leaving an overwhelming sense of doubt, guilt, and silence enfolding the circle of friends and family like no other experience can. In the wake of this tragedy, we are painfully forced to question- What could I have done? Could I have made a difference? Why didn’t I know?

We don’t have a life to lose in this world. We must confront suicide and suicidal thoughts openly and honestly, and use every opportunity to make a difference by breaking the silence and suffering. Ten years ago the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention was launched. Its objectives galvanized the country around a common goal.  As a result, we have advanced the science and support for suicide prevention programs nationwide.

New suicide prevention work has emerged across the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services and others. One notable achievement is the establishment of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (8255), a number that can be dialed anywhere in the United States to connect the caller with confidential and expert help.

To accelerate the action needed to prevent suicide, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius launched the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention with the charge to advance and update the National Strategy. The Action Alliance brings together public, private and nonprofit partners to engage every sector of society with a vision of ending the tragic experience of suicide in America.

Facebook is an important part of that partnership, and the new initiative to augment its response to potentially suicidal members by offering the opportunity for a private chat with a trained crisis representative from the Suicide Prevention Lifeline in addition to providing the Lifeline’s phone number. This service will be available to people who use Facebook in the United States and Canada.

The new service enables Facebook users to report a suicidal comment they see posted by a friend to Facebook using either the Report Suicidal Content link or the report links found throughout the site.  The person who posted the suicidal comment will then immediately receive an e-mail from Facebook encouraging them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or to click on a link to begin a confidential chat session with a crisis worker.

Preventing suicide is everyone’s business. Nearly 100 Americans die by suicide every day, and in the past year, more than eight million Americans 18 or older had thought seriously about suicide. As members of a family, a school, business, neighborhood, faith communities, friends, and our government, we all need to work together to solve this problem.

We simply can no longer allow those we live, work and play with to ever believe that suicide is an acceptable solution even in the worst of times.  Everyone needs to learn about the symptoms of mental illnesses and substance abuse, the warning signs of suicide, how to stand with and support someone who is in crisis, and how to get someone you care about the help they need.

Most of all, we need to be open to talking about these issues in our communities.  Once we begin to support those in need, and whenever possible treat their mental and substance use disorders with the same urgency as any other health condition, we will reduce the rates of suicide, advance health and improve the use of limited health care dollars.

Learn more about the partnership between Facebook, SAMHSA and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sex Education: 20 New Trends for Parents to Know About


Parenting includes many sensitive talks with our children, however the birds and the bees still remains one of the most difficult for many parents.


It seems we are starting it a younger age than generations earlier!

Sex education isn’t necessarily something people like to talk about, but it’s certainly necessary. Without sex education (and often, even with), teens can get into trouble with pregnancy, abortion, STDs, and even AIDS, all of which can have a negative impact on their lives and future happiness. Awareness and education are important, but they’re not always the same. Sex education has changed considerably in recent years, with abstinence-only education, sex education for younger children, and more, so it’s worth taking a look at some new developments in the field. Read on, and we’ll discuss 20 new trends that are going on in sex education right now.
  1. Mandating medically accurate sex education

    It seems like a no-brainer, but many states have recently enacted bills that would require medical accuracy in school sex education. We have to wonder what’s been put out that’s not accurate, but at least these states are working to get it right now. Typically, the educational programs are required to be in accordance with “accepted scientific methods and recognized as accurate and objective by professional organizations and agencies with expertise in the relevant field, such as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”
  2. Teens aren’t learning about contraception before they have sex

    Sexual activity is common by the late teen years with 7 in 10 teens engaging in intercourse by their 19th birthday. But many students who have engaged in sex report that they didn’t learn about contraceptive use before getting started. In a Guttmacher Institute fact sheet on American teens’ sources of information about sex, 46% of males and 36% of females reported that they didn’t receive formal instructions about contraception before having sex for the first time.
  3. Kids are learning about sex from outside of school

    This is obvious to most, but the majority of sex education actually takes place outside of school. Kids learn about sex from porn, TV, and pop culture these days. Stars like singer Solange Knowles lend their time and image to campaigns that promote safe sex, and even death metal bands get in on the action.
  4. Sex education for younger children

    Sex education can start as young as third grade, although that education doesn’t necessarily involve explicit sex explanations. For third graders in China, sex education starts in the form of a toilet tour, in which children get the opportunity to peek into the other gender’s bathroom to better understand the differences in their bodies and behaviors. Students also view presentations about sperm fertilizing eggs.
  5. Many sex ed programs are abstinence-only

    According to the CDC, about 1/3 of sex education omits the use of birth control, engaging in the controversial abstinence-only sex education that has been both lauded and criticized. However, about 2/3 of teens got instruction in birth control before graduating from high school: about 62% of boys and 70% of girls. Research suggests that comprehensive sex education that includes both abstinence and birth control began to decline from 1995 to 2002 and has not changed much since then.
  6. Federal funding mandates prohibit educating students about contraception

    Since 1997, the federal government has invested more than $1.5 billion into abstinence-only programs, which require schools to avoid teaching about birth control in order to receive federal funding for sex education. These programs must adhere to a strict eight-point definition of education, with the “exclusive purpose of teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity.” Critics point out that the eight-point definition is not created by “evidence-based, public health and social science research,” but rather, a values agenda put in place by Congress.
  7. Elementary schools are passing out condoms

    Schools passing out condoms to students is not a new idea, but some schools are taking things a step further and making them available to virtually all ages. In Provincetown, Massachusetts, one school will allow students as young as first grade to get free condoms, as long as they listen to a talk about sex education beforehand. The program is a move to decrease teen pregnancy. While the superintendent recognizes that first graders and other young elementary school children probably don’t know what condoms are and won’t ask for them, parents are worried that just by having them available, students are going to get the message that it’s acceptable to have sex at such a young age.
  8. Almost all sex-ed programs teach about AIDS and STDs

    Almost all students will learn about AIDS and STDs, a move that is smart for stopping the spread of disease. About 97% of teens report receiving formal sex education by the age of 18, and about 92% of boys and girls report being taught about STDs, including preventing infection with the AIDS virus. This may cut down on the spread of AIDS and STDs now and in the future among young people who are sexually active.
  9. Teen males will use more condoms if they learn about them

    Although federal funding mandates abstinence-only education, research has shown that formal sex education, regardless of whether it includes information about birth control or not, leads to greater condom use among teen males. So even though teen males may not be educated about condoms, being informed about sexuality seems to increase responsibility. According to Condom Use and Consistency Among Male Adolescents in the United States, “the critical factor for male condom use and consistency is the presence of any formal instruction.”
  10. Schools are testing students on health and sex education

    Washington DC public schools annually test student progress in reading and math, and now, they are testing what students know about sexuality, contraception, and drug use as well. This is a bold move in a city with some of the country’s highest rates of sexual transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies. Officials share that the test will fill gaps in what they understand about young people’s awareness and why they behave a certain way. According to Brian Pick, deputy chief of curriculum and instruction for DC Public Schools, “it paints a fuller picture.” Adam Tenner, executive director of MetroTeenAIDS, believes the new test is positive, pointing out that “what gets measured gets done.”
  1. States who denied abstinence-only funding typically have teen pregnancy rates under the national average

    There is a correlation between abstinence-only education and high teen pregnancy rates. In 2005, states who did not receive federal funding for teaching abstinence-only education typically had teen pregnancy rates that were under the national average. Abortion rates also tended to be lower in those states, indicating that students with comprehensive sex education may have more favorable outcomes.
  2. Masturbation isn’t really discussed

    Although abstinence is discussed as an option in virtually every sex education program, whether birth control is mentioned or not, masturbation is hit or miss. Some teachers believe that discussing personal or mutual masturbation can be beneficial to students who want to explore sexuality without the risk of STDs and pregnancy, but others believe that teaching students about masturbation, and mutual masturbation in particular, may just be a prelude to intercourse.
  3. Sex education curriculum often has distorted information

    Parents and students trust sex education programs to teach accurate information, but according to Advocates for Youth, sex education curriculum often includes distorted information. A 2004 study by the House Government Reform Committee took a look at commonly used curricula and found that they contained unproven claims, subjective conclusions, and outright falsehoods, including the “facts” that “half of gay male teenagers in the US have tested positive for HIV,” “condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse,” and “as many as 10 percent of women who have an abortion become sterile.”
  4. Sex education programs with both abstinence and contraceptive education can create favorable outcomes

    Advocates for Youth points out that considerable scientific evidence supports the idea that sex education programs including both abstinence and contraception can help teens delay sexual activity, increase contraceptive use, and have fewer sexual partners when they start having sex. The group also believes that youth development programs that engage young people constructively in communities and schools are helpful. Specifically, Advocates for Youth identifies characteristics of effective curricula, including programs that last more than a few weeks, address peer pressure, and reflect the appropriate age, sexual experience, and culture of the students in the program.
  5. Virginity pledges

    Some teens and young adults have begun to commit to virginity pledges, often as part of church programs. Studies have found that these pledges can delay vaginal intercourse, however, pledgers often replace it with other sexual activities including oral sex and anal sex, both of which do not reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. Some studies indicate that virginity pledges may reduce the likelihood of contraceptive use once pledgers engage in sex. The first virginity pledge program was created in 1993, by the name of True Love Waits, started at the Southern Baptist Convention, with now more than 2.5 million pledgers.
  6. Teens are having less sex

    Although parents and concerned citizens worry that today’s teens are having more sex than ever, a CDC survey, Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing indicates that teens’ levels of sexual experience have decreased. The numbers of teens who have had sexual intercourse at least once have not changed significantly, and that number has been in overall decline over the last 20 years. As points out, that means today’s teens are less likely to be sexually experienced than their parents were as teens.
  7. Teens don’t learn about the connection between AIDS and anal sex

    Researchers at the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center discovered that anal sex is on the rise among teens and young adults. They say that girls are often persuaded to try anal sex to have sex without risking pregnancy or their virginity, but don’t understand the health consequences. Even students who can recite how you get AIDS may not understand how exactly it translates to their behavior, thinking that they can’t get AIDS because they’re not having vaginal sex. In fact, anal sex can be more risky for HIV infection, as tissue may tear and cause direct blood exposure to infected fluids. Lead author Celia Lescano remarks, “There is no doubt that teens lack information about STDs and the safety of different behaviors and they they are engaging in more sexual experimentation.”
  8. Some states leave sex-ed curriculum up to local school districts

    In some states, sexual education curriculum is variable among different school districts, with differences in what is taught and how it’s presented. In Connecticut, for example, the state leaves it all up to local school districts, allowing them to decide what is taught about sex education. The state does, however, offer guidelines on what it believes should be taught, and all public school districts do offer at least basic health education for high school students, and state law requires school districts to teach about HIV. Bonnie Edmondson, a health education consultant at the Connecticut Department of Education shares, “It is a local control issue. The communities have a feel for what is best.”
  9. Teens want more input from parents

    Although most teens are at an age when they are pushing their parents away on a regular basis, the fact is that they would like more input from their parents when it comes to sex education. In Baker County, Florida, teens don’t believe they’re getting adequate sex education from parents or teachers, and they shared that parents need to find better ways to discuss sex with their kids. Some teens pointed out that sex education is first and foremost the parents’ responsibility, and they need to find ways to make the topic less awkward to bring up. They also note that teens learn more about sex from their peers than their parents, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
  10. The elderly are getting sex education as well

    Schoolkids aren’t the only ones learning about sex these days. The elderly are finding value in sex education as well. In Malaysia, one state is providing sex education for the elderly to stop rising divorce rates. Family development foundation head Mohamad Shafaruddin Mustafa notes, “Many elderly couples sleep in separate bedrooms and are not intimate. This is unhealthy as they can still have vibrant intimate relationships, especially with all kinds of therapy and health supplements now available.” With sex education, elderly couples can better learn how to reconnect and enjoy their sexual relationship together.
Source:  Best Colleges Online

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Gifts for Teens: New Study - Teens Prefer Cell Phones over a New Car!

Teenagers prefer smartphones to cars, according to research firm Gartner, highlighting the impact of technology on kids and the auto industry’s future challenges.

The study found 46 percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 prefer access to the Internet over access to their own car, and that teens drive less overall today than they did in past generations. Comparatively, only 15 percent of baby boomers said they would choose a mobile device over an automobile.

The advent of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is likely responsible, as they create an interactive, fun world that’s accessible anytime, from almost anywhere. For teenagers who want to stay connected to their friends, social networks provides an ideal platform for communication.

Public transportation and hitching rides from parents also give teenagers more time to stay connected to their social world via their smartphones, making driving seem an unnecessary hassle that interrupts their social life.

Thilo Koslowski, lead automotive analyst for Gartner, said, “Mobile devices, gadgets and the Internet are becoming must-have lifestyle products that convey status,” and devices “offer a degree of freedom and social reach that previously only the automobile offered.”

To keep up with the trend, the auto industry has gradually begun integrating smartphone-type features like built-in GPS devices, Bluetooth, and iPod docks into their newest car models. In the future, auto makers may increase such features in hopes of making cars more of a “must have” for teens.

We are not looking at this to ask how we can get teens to buy a car versus an iPhone,” says K. Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical leader of open innovation at Ford. “Instead, the car has to become more than just a car. It has to become an experience.”

Parents, meanwhile, may sleep a little easier knowing their kids are at home and not out engaging in dangerous behaviors like texting while driving. The trend may also be easier on the family finances, as parents won’t be pressured to buy an expensive automobile for their teens.

However, concerns have been raised about whether social networking can ever truly replace face-to-face social interaction. Teens need a balance of online interaction and real time hanging out with friends. The balance can be difficult to attain, since the lure of social networks can be all-consuming.
The auto industry hopes the open road still holds a classic allure, but how teens navigate that road may change in the near future. Automatic Foursquare check-ins and voice recognition systems are already being tested in cars, marking a new trajectory for teens and the auto industry alike.

Source:  Mobiledia.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Teens and Money: Financial Literacy

Holidays are here, people are spending money.

What role model are you setting for your kids?

Approximately fifteen hundred high school seniors were recently asked basic facts about personal finance, and the great majority were stumped for answers. The results were not promising for our children’s future:

REALITY CHECK: 95% of teens surveyed scored below a C in financial literacy.

Wonder why? Another survey finds a key reason for teens’ low financial scores:

REALITY CHECK: 80% of all college freshman admit to never having a conversation with their parents about managing their money. What’s more, almost one in four of these same teens say it’s just fine to blow as much as $500 without checking in with their parents. 

The findings are hardly a proud parenting moment, but I also hope you are starting to get my drift.

The truth is too many kids are flunking financial literacy and one big reason may be that we’ve failed to teach our children a few essential “money smart lessons.”
If you’re concerned about your kids’ future spending habits, then start your money talk now and there’s no better time than these next few weeks. Newspapers will be filled with coupons and penny savers. Television ads for holidays “deals” will air non-stop. Teen magazines will feature those supposed holiday “in” gadgets and “must have” items. Those are also perfect opportunities to let your kids know that money doesn’t come easy. It’s also the time to review that  you do have clear expectations and limits about your family’s spending during the holidays. Here are a few ways to weave in those crucial money chats over the coming weeks with your kids.
Kids look to us as the example to copy so how are you doing in modeling money smarts to your children? Are your kids seeing you cut out those coupons? Waiting for the right price?
Displaying smart spending habits? Prioritizing your must-haves? Beware that your children learn spending and saving habits from you. How are you doing?
  • Monitor TV Consumption:  Television is the one of the biggest culprits in fueling kids’ spending urges, and commercials are relentless in trying to get kids to buy, buy, buy. Research also shows that media impacts our children’s money attitudes and increases materialism. During the next few weeks those retailers will be pushing products and urging your kids to spend. So beware of those advertisements! Do take time to explain to your kids the real intention of those advertisers.
  • Use Real-Life Examples:  Take your child shopping with you. I dare ya! But when–or if–you do, show him how you compare prices. Explain to her how you look for bargains. Use those outings as teaching moments that do instill good shopping habits.
  • Teach Bargain Hunting:  If your kids are purchasing gifts for siblings (or even you!) get them involved inchecking out those penny saver ads. Have them clip out coupons. Tune your kids into the bargains at those dollar stores. Hit the outlet malls, and don’t overlook thrift stores and even garage sales. And tell them to watch for sales! Grandma will never know if her present was ten dollars less because Johnny waited to buy until sales day.
  • Cut Impulsive Shopping:  Set a household rule that your child must write down any pricier intended purchase, and then postpone buying it for at least twenty-four hours. It’s a great way to teach kids to delay gratification and to “Think” before spending. A younger kid can draw it  on her “wish list.”The wait time could vary from an hour or day to a week or month depending on the  child’s age and maturity.  If your kid loses interest before the time is up, even she will agree that she didn’t really want that item after all.
  • Teach “Wants vs. Needs”:  This is the “Gotta Have It NOW Generation” so a big step in helping today’s kids learn to be smart spenders is teaching the difference between “want it…” vs. “need it.” The trick is to get your kids to assess what they already have that is still in good shape and can be recycled, what’s missing and then what’s really needed is on the “need” list and holiday request list. Now your kids can create a holiday wish list based on real needs not wants to help prioritize spending.
  • Do One Store Shopping to Boost Consumer Skills: Your kids planning to do their own holiday shopping? If so, this is a great way to help teach them consumer skills. Consider choosing just one store that has the best bargains to take the kids this year (like Wall Mart, Target, K-Mart) for their gift-buying. By announcing, “We’re shopping only at this store,” the kids are forced to look for the best bargains in one place and you won’t find yourself driving to multiple stores (and bringing back multiple items). This is also the time for them to bring their coupons and shopping lists. Make sure you also have them compare prices of items so they understand value.
  • Consider After-Holidays Gift Buying:  Seriously! I know more families who realize the best deals are December 26. Those parents set a new rule: “You receive a few items under the tree but wait for that pricier item the day after the holidays.” The kids learn to appreciate the value of a good deal, the parents are grateful to save a ton of money, and the whole family enjoys that day after shopping outing for everyone’s “one special–and better-priced-gift.”
Special contributor:  Parenting Expert, Dr. Michele Borba

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Michele Borba is the author of over 25 parenting books including The Big Book of Parenting Solutions.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

When Teen Drinking Becomes Drunkorexia

At first, "drunkorexia" may sound like kind of a funny word, jokingly made up to describe a situation in which college students and others forgo food in order to be able to afford more alcohol and feel higher effects of alcohol on an empty stomach. But what some may brush off as crazy college-kid behavior is actually a serious problem that can have highly damaging consequences both in long- and short-term health.

Of course, that hasn't stopped college students from engaging in this unhealthy trend, and a study at the University of Missouri-Columbia indicated that one in six students had practiced drunkorexia within the last year. Typically, drunkorexia is done by women; the study showed that three out of four drunkorexia respondents were female.

Students may not realize that drunkorexia is incredibly damaging to their health, but the fact remains that the practice puts them at risk for problems like sexually transmitted diseases, malnutrition, and even seizures and comas. Specifically, the University of Missouri study indicates that drunkorexia may lead to:
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • HIV
  • Drunk driving
  • Injury risk
  • Perpetrating or being a victim of sexual assault
  • Passing out
  • Malnutrition
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Heart problems
  • Seizures
  • Comas
  • Organ failures
All of the possible effects are disturbing, but perhaps the most worrisome are heart problems and cognitive disabilities that can stem from drunkorexia-induced malnutrition. STDs, injury, or sexual assault are without a doubt difficult to bounce back from, but malnutrition-induced heart problems and cognitive disabilities are something you just can't take back.

Cognitive problems are especially disturbing for college students, as they can result in "difficulty concentrating, studying, and making decisions." These are long-term health issues brought on by drunkorexia that can follow a college student for the rest of her life. That is, assuming that the student survives past the possibility of seizures, comas, and organ failure.

So it seems that a practice that may be approached lightheartedly is in fact a very serious problem that doesn't just stop with fun (and possible weight loss) one night. Used as a regular practice, drunkorexia can scar you for life and even end in death. And although the long-term effects are certainly frightening, the short-term possibilities of drunkorexia aren't incredibly easy hurdles to get over, either. Just one night of drunkorexia can have serious consequences, with higher levels of intoxication and starvation putting students at risk for dangerous behavior.

At high levels of intoxication, students lose the ability to make good decisions, which can lead to dangerous situations like having unprotected sex, or even being involved in a rape, driving drunk, and becoming injured as a result of stunts, fights, or simply an inability to function properly. In addition to these risks, just one night of intense drinking on an empty stomach can lead to blackouts, hospitalization, and death from alcohol poisoning.

Clearly, drunkorexia has serious and lasting consequences, even for students who aren't repeat offenders.

Source:  Online College

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Teen Depression: Know How your Teen is Feeling - Check their FB Status

"Forgive me."
"When will this end?"
"I hate my life"

RED FLAGS and parenting.  Know them!

Facebook is the social hangout of the internet for all ages, but it is particularly true of teenagers.
Teenagers often are much more open about what they are thinking and feeling in this cyber environment than most older adults. Since teens experience many emotional ups and downs, it can be easy to dismiss most of their dramatic postings as nothing more than normal teenage drama. However, there have been too many instances in recent years when parents had wished they’d paid more attention to what their teenager had posted as their ‘current status’.
Here a few status updates parents should watch for and investigate further.
  1. I can’t take it anymore. Although, this could mean anything from homework overload to sibling irritation, it could also be a cry for help from a teen who is truly overwhelmed with life in someway. It is not a status update that you want to ignore. Parents should take the initiative and find out what prompted this entry.
  2. Text me. This may seem innocent enough, but, for some parents, it may be a signal that their teen may be trying to keep something hidden that needs to be in the open. Privacy and protection are always a fine line to walk with teenagers. Parents, however, should never hesitate to ask about the reason behind such a post.
  3. Really loaded right now. If your teen is high enough to make this post on Facebook without thinking about the fact that their parents might see it, there is drug or alcohol abuse going on. Ignoring these types of problems does not make them go away.
  4. Depressing song lyrics. Song lyrics are popular posts from teens. It may be what they’re listening to at the moment or a song that is running through their head. If the lyrics of the songs are continually negative and depressing, this could be an indication of the teen’s emotional state, as well.
  5. No one understands. This is a common feeling during teenage years, but it is also one that can develop into a true depressive state. Seeing this posted as your teen’s Facebook status should raise enough concern for their parents to pursue the reasons behind the posting.
  6. I hate my life. Again, this is not an unusual statement to come from a teen at different points in their adolescence, however, posting it as your Facebook status is similar to shouting it from the rooftops. It is always better to treat these statements seriously, than to ignore them as a simple impulse statement.
  7. Forgive me, Mom & Dad. This kind of post would be one that should require immediate connection with your child. If it doesn’t mention what they are asking forgiveness for, it may be a subtle plea for you to stop them from doing something terrible. Take this very seriously!
  8. You’re all going to die. In light of the terrible things we have seen happen in our schools, a teen who posts something like this should not be ignored. “I was just joking” is not an acceptable explanation for this type of post. A teen who posts such a statement publicly should expect inquiry from, not only his parents, but school and law enforcement as well.
  9. I wish I were dead. Never assume these statements are words only. Any type of suicidal expression like this should be taken very seriously. Many parents have had the misfortune of finding out that even a verbal statement can be an indication of suicidal thoughts. A public posting of that thought should be taken just as seriously.
  10. I hate my school. The key word in this status update is ‘my’. It doesn’t say ‘I hate school’, it is more specific than that. It would behoove the parents to find out what it is, about the child’s school, that made them post this statement, and what can be done to improve the situation.
Facebook status updates reach a lot of people, a parent of a teenager should definitely be one of those people who pays attention to what their child is broadcasting into cyberspace. It may be their way of trying to find out if anyone is really paying attention, and if anyone really cares.

Source: My ISP Finder

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Words Kill: Abuse Bites - It's not just bullying anymore - It is suicide

Words kill - literally!
Bullying and cyberbullying is rapidly spreading and harming our kids today. 
Some being driven to suicide - why? Because words do kill!

The stats are disturbing:

·  42% of kids have been bullied while online.
·  35% of kids have been threatened online.
·  21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other messages.
·  58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online.
·  53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online.
·  58% have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.
  • 51% of teen girls say pressure from a guy is a reason girls send sexy messages or images
  • 44% of both teen girls and teen boys say it is common for sexually suggestive text messages to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.
  • Middle school cyberbullying victims are more apt to commit suicide
  • Suicide rates among 10-14 yr. olds have risen over 50% the last 3 decades
Abuse Bites was created by Lisa Freeman who is an abuse survivor.
Many don't realize that bullying isn't just limited to kids and teens.  Adult bullying is more prevalent that many know.

Abuse Bites Workshops Aim to Educate & Train employers and workers alike how to defeat bullying and make the workforce a more enjoyable, safer, and productive place.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Drugs and Teens: Know the risks and dangers

Learn more about today's drugs and what our kids are using and dealing on the street.  Be a parent in the know - you will have safer and healthier teens.

Anabolic Steroids—Hand out this "damage diagram" activity and help kids understand the big picture about steroids' side effects.
Brain & Addiction—Try this activity to get the brain going and the discussion flowing.
Ecstasy—Find out how much your students know or don't know about ecstasy. Have them try this quiz.
HIV, AIDS, and Drug Abuse—Teach your children/students the connection between drugs and HIV infection.
Inhalants—Students will learn how the chemicals in inhalants can change how the brain and body work by finding their match.
Marijuana—A friend on "weed" is a friend in need-of your kids' knowledge. Download and discuss this email-writing activity.
Prescription Drug Abuse—Have your students take this quiz to learn more about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
Stimulants—Help your children/students better understand the symptoms and consequences of stimulant abuse by having them fill in the missing blanks of this diagnostic report.
Tobacco Addiction—Try this matching activity in class to help kids understand nicotine's causes and effects.
Mind Over Matter—This series is designed to encourage young people in grades five through nine to learn about the effects of drug abuse on the body and the brain.
Mind Over Matter Teacher's Guide—Use this Teacher's Guide in conjunction with the Mind Over Matter magazine series to promote an understanding of the physical reality of drug use, as well as curiosity about neuroscience.

Need more help?  Visit

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sex, AIDS, HIV, Drugs and Teens

It's only sex.....or is it?

October 31st through November 6th is National Drug Facts Week.

This is an opportunity to shatter the myths about drug and substance abuse as well as become an educated parent and build a stronger drug-free community.

What Are HIV and AIDS?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). AIDS is a disease of the immune system that has treatment options, but no cure, at the present time. Most people just say “HIV/AIDS” when they are talking about either the virus (HIV) or the disease it causes (AIDS).

HIV is a blood-borne virus. That means it can spread when the blood or bodily fluids of someone who’s infected comes in contact with the blood, broken skin, or mucous membranes of an uninfected person. Sharing needles or other equipment used for injection drug use and engaging in risky sexual behaviors are the two main ways that HIV is spread. Infected pregnant women also can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding.

HIV destroys certain cells, called CD4+ cells, in the immune system—that’s the body’s disease fighting department. Without these cells, a person with HIV can’t fight off germs and diseases. In fact, loss of these cells in people with HIV is a key predictor of the development of AIDS. Because of their weakened immune system, people with AIDS often develop infections of the lungs, brain, eyes, and other organs, and many suffer dangerous weight loss, diarrhea, and a type of cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma.

The good news is that HIV isn’t the death sentence it was when the epidemic began, thanks in large part to a treatment called HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy). HAART is a combination of three or more antiretroviral medications that can hold back the virus and prevent or decrease symptoms of illness.

How Many People Have HIV/AIDS?

HIV/AIDS has been a global epidemic for more than 25 years; today's youth have never known a world without it. In the United States, the estimates indicate that more than 1 million people are living with HIV or AIDS.

It is estimated that in 2009, approximately 35,000 people were diagnosed with AIDS. During that same year, the estimated number of HIV diagnoses in U.S. areas where this information is collected (it isn’t collected in all 50 states) was 42,959. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that close to one-quarter of the people in the United States who are infected with HIV do not know they are infected.

Can You Tell if Someone Is Infected With HIV or Has AIDS?

You cannot tell by looking at them if someone is infected with HIV. A person can be infected with HIV for many years, and the virus may or may not progress to the disease of AIDS. A medical test is the only way to know if a person has HIV or has developed AIDS.

How Are Drug Abuse and HIV Related?

Drug abuse and addiction have been closely linked with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. Although injection drug use is well known in this regard, the role that non-injection drug abuse plays more generally in the spread of HIV is less recognized.

Injection drug use. People typically associate drug abuse and HIV/AIDS with injection drug use and needle sharing. Injection drug use refers to when a drug is injected into a tissue or vein with a needle. When injection drug users share “equipment”—such as needles, syringes, and other drug injection paraphernalia—HIV can be transmitted between users. Other infections—such as hepatitis C—can also be spread this way. Hepatitis C can cause liver disease and permanent liver damage.

Poor judgment and risky behavior. Drug abuse by any method (not just injection) can put a person at risk for contracting HIV. Drug and alcohol intoxication affect the way a person makes decisions and can lead to unsafe sexual practices, which puts them at risk for getting HIV or transmitting it to someone else.

Biological effects of drugs. Drug abuse and addiction can worsen the progression of HIV and its consequences, especially in the brain. For example, research has shown that HIV causes more harm to nerve cells in the brain and greater cognitive damage among people who abuse methamphetamine than among people with HIV who do not abuse drugs. In animal studies, methamphetamine has been shown to increase the amount of HIV in brain cells.

Drug abuse treatment. Since the late 1980s, researchers have found that if you treat drug abuse you can prevent the spread of HIV. When people who have a drug problem enter treatment, they stop or reduce their drug use and related risk behaviors, including drug injection and unsafe sexual practices. Drug treatment programs also serve an important role in getting out good information on HIV/AIDS and related diseases, providing counseling and testing services, and offering referrals for medical and social services.

How Are Teens Affected?

Young people are at risk for contracting HIV and developing AIDS. According to CDC, more than 50,000 young people age 13 to 24 in the United States had been diagnosed with AIDS by the end of 2009. In the past, most of those cases were in adolescent males. That ratio is changing as more females become infected.
In youth, as in adults, some populations are disproportionately affected. That means that some populations are more affected than others. For example, Blacks/African Americans age 13 to 19 represent only 17 percent of the U.S. teenage population, but accounted for more than 70 percent of the HIV infections among people age 13 to 19 in 2009. The reasons for this gap aren’t completely understood; in fact, Black/African American youth have lower rates of drug abuse than Whites and Hispanics. This remains a strong research priority for NIDA.

In general, middle and late adolescence is a time when young people engage in risk-taking and sensation-seeking behaviors that may put them in jeopardy of contracting HIV. Regardless of whether a young person takes drugs, unsafe sexual practices increase a person's risk of contracting HIV. But drugs and alcohol can increase the chances of unsafe behavior by altering judgment and decision making.

How Can Teens Protect Themselves?

The best way to protect yourself is to stay healthy and think clearly. Choose not to use drugs. Know that drug use can change the way the brain functions, thereby affecting the way people make decisions and weigh risks.
Why Is NIDA Studying HIV and AIDS?
Since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began, injection drug use has accounted for about one-third of the AIDS cases in the United States. We now know that the poor judgment and impaired critical thinking that can result from non-injection drug abuse also can contribute in a big way to the spread of this lethal virus through risky behavior.
What Can I Do To Help?
Go to for more information on learning the link between drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. On World AIDS Day—every December 1—participate by spreading the word that drug abuse and HIV/AIDS can shorten lives. Tell your friends what you've learned and how they can avoid infection.

Source:  NIDA

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Text Talk - What is your teen really saying?

Whether it is texting, instant messaging, or social networking – do you really know what your teenager is saying?  They seem to have their own language and codes for things parents may not approve of.
One of my favorite new sites is Enough is Enough! And how many times as parents do we say this?

Do you feel overwhelmed about protecting children from the dangers of the virtual world?

Who doesn’t?

When it comes to teens it can be more difficult and even more important to be a parent in the know.

Let’s start with 50 Acronyms Parents Should Know:
(Courtesy of Enough is Enough and NetLingo)
  1. 8 - Oral sex
  2. 1337 - Elite -or- leet -or- L337
  3. 143 - I love you
  4. 182 - I hate you
  5. 1174 - Nude club
  6. 420 - Marijuana
  7. 459 - I love you
  8. ADR - Address
  9. AEAP - As Early As Possible
  10. ALAP - As Late As Possible
  11. ASL - Age/Sex/Location
  12. CD9 - Code 9 – it means parents are around
  13. C-P - Sleepy
  14. F2F - Face-to-Face
  15. GNOC - Get Naked On Cam
  16. GYPO - Get Your Pants Off
  17. HAK - Hugs And Kisses
  18. ILU - I Love You
  19. IWSN - I Want Sex Now
  20. J/O - Jerking Off
  21. KOTL - Kiss On The Lips
  22. KFY -or- K4Y - Kiss For You
  23. KPC - Keeping Parents Clueless
  24. LMIRL - Let’s Meet In Real Life
  25. MOOS - Member Of The Opposite Sex
  26. MOSS - Member(s) Of The Same Sex
  27. MorF - Male or Female
  28. MOS - Mom Over Shoulder
  29. MPFB - My Personal F*** Buddy
  30. NALOPKT - Not A Lot Of People Know That
  31. NIFOC - Nude In Front Of The computer
  32. NMU - Not Much, You?
  33. P911 - Parent Alert
  34. PAL - Parents Are Listening
  35. PAW - Parents Are Watching
  36. PIR - Parent In Room
  37. POS - Parent Over Shoulder -or- Piece Of Sh**
  38. pron - porn
  39. Q2C - Quick To Cum
  40. RU/18 - Are You Over 18?
  41. RUMORF - Are You Male OR Female?
  42. RUH - Are You Horny?
  43. S2R - Send To Receive
  44. SorG - Straight or Gay
  45. TDTM - Talk Dirty To Me
  46. WTF - What The F***
  47. WUF - Where You From
  48. WYCM - Will You Call Me?
  49. WYRN - What’s Your Real Name?
  50. zerg - To gang up on someone
Be an educated parent – you will have safer teens!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teen Help for Struggling Teens

Are you wondering what happened to once happy-go-lucky, kind, polite and studious child went?

Teens can be a challenge – especially in today’s ever changing world with technology and a society that is making our kids grow up so much faster.

Common parent statements:

“My teen is so smart! His/her IQ is superior, but they are not working up to their potential.”
“My teen is so beautiful/handsome – good looking – even has many friends.” (Of course, the peer group has changed and you don’t know why.)
“My teen is very athletic! He/she made the varsity team at a young age, has won all sorts of awards, but now has dropped out and has zero interest in this sport.”

How to be a perfect parent?

There is no such thing as a perfect parent, however there is such a thing as being an educated parent.  This is not about book smarts or academics, it is about first hand experiences from parents that have been where you are.

Becoming an educated parent in the teen help industry is possible with Parent’s Universal Resource Experts.

Blame Game and Parent Denial
  • Not my kid, it is the kids he/she is hanging with.
  • My child was caught with pot, but he swears it was his friend’s.
  • It’s the schools fault.
  • If I only had sent him to another school.
  • If I only had given into the cell phone.
  • His grandparents spoil him rotten.
  • When is it appropriate to read your teen’s journal, text messages, emails, social networking sites etc?
  • When safety triumphs privacy!  Is your teen withdrawn, secretive, changing friends?
  • Be a parent first, friendship is built on that foundation.
Common mistakes parents make:

Major misconception of parents:  Almost all parents that contact us have that next Einstein or Dan Marino, but the fact they are either changing friends, smoking pot, not attending classes or school at all, wanting to drop out of school all together and just get a GED, are all signs you are heading down a very negative path. This road usually escalates before it gets better.

Get help today – contact

Friday, October 14, 2011

PEERx: Who is your teen hanging with?

What path will your teen choose?

National Drug Facts Week is Monday, October 31st through Sunday, November 6th, 2011.

Sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Drug Facts Week is an annual official health observance designed to shatter the myths and spread the facts about drug abuse and addiction.

National Drug Facts Week (NDFW) is a health observance week for teens that aims to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse. Through community-‐based events and activities on the Web, on TV, and through contests, NIDA is working to encourage teens to get factual answers from scientific experts about drugs and drug abuse. Download the NDFW Info Sheet!

PeerX: RX abuse is drug abuse.

Over and over again parents will say that it isn't their kid, it is the peer group they are hanging with.


Isn't it your teen making the choice to be with them?

Until parents move out of denial, it is almost impossible to get your teen help.  Not only is it the teen that has to admit they have a problem, the parents have to face the fact that their child is making some very poor choices.  As with many parents, they are afraid of the stigma - afraid of what family or friends will think, but what about your teens future?  Doesn't that take priority?

Are you ignoring teen drug use signs?
Check out 10 quick tips to help prevent teen drug use: Click here.

Do you have a teen that you suspect is using drugs? Have you exhausted all your local resources? Take the time to learn about residential therapy, visit Each teen and family are unique, there are many teen help programs, knowing how to locate the one best for you can be a challenge, however Parents’ Universal Resource Experts  can help, starting with a free consultation.

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Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Health Benefits of Video Games with Teens

Since home video games were popularized in the '80s, killjoys have blamed them for almost every ill in society. Games have supposedly started wars, made children morbidly obese and caused people to shun the outside world, at least according to their theories. In reality, video games are an entertaining, sometimes time-consuming hobby that falls somewhere between watching TV and reading books.

Believe it or not, there is some good associated with parking yourself in front your favorite console each day. Perhaps you've experienced some of the following health benefits — and, even if you haven't, you can show them to your significant other to convince her/him that you haven't really been wasting massive amounts of time.
  1. They comfort people with depression As with any mind-consuming activity that you thoroughly enjoy, gaming can serve as somewhat of an antidepressant. In the case of Bejeweled, a puzzle game in which players move gems into rows based on their colors, a study indicated that participants experience improved mood and heart rhythm from a session of play. Essentially, it helps people unwind and relax as if they're working on a crossword puzzle — something that certainly isn't viewed as an unhealthy activity.
  2. They improve dexterity A study conducted by psychologists at the University of Rochester found that video game-playing surgical residents and surgeons who were tasked with performing a procedure were 24% faster, made 32% fewer errors and scored 26% better overall. Those percentages were even higher for those who played game in the past for more than three hours. The findings could open the door to training potential surgeons and scientists from an early age. Having surgery soon? You'll be better off if your surgeon is a gamer — imagine that.
  3. They improve your eyesight Forget LASIK eye surgery — you can spend $60 on a video game and experience improvement in your vision. According to researchers at the University of Rochester, people who played action video games for a month were able to identify letters presented in clutter 20% better than before. Incredibly, results were shown after just 30 hours of play. When you play action games, your vision is tested to its limit, and the brain adjusts accordingly. The human body is pretty neat.
  4. They improve social skills Gamers have been unfairly stereotyped through the years as socially inept, significant-other-less freaks who dwell in their parents' basements. The fact of the matter, given the sheer popularity of gaming, is that a variety of individuals with varying personalities compose the gaming community. As it turns out, World of Warcraft, a game that requires players to be social, teaches leadership and conflict resolution skills, according to a Swedish researcher. Although fans of the game may be viewed as cult-like, they're actually strengthening their ability to function in the outside world.
  5. They improve knowledge retention  Video games can be used for the specific purpose of advancing learning. A study conducted at the University of Kansas found they can impart specific knowledge. Researchers administered tests to three different groups, one of which prepared using a PowerPoint lecture and two of which prepared using a video game. Of course, the latter two groups demonstrated better knowledge retention. The advantage of using video games in this case may have been the mere fact that it requires active engagement of the mind, as opposed to almost thoughtlessly looking over slides.
  6.  They increase response time Amazing work is being done at the University of Rochester. In another much-welcomed study, researchers found that video games can provide a training regimen that increases visual reaction times while maintaining accuracy. Certain games require quick processing of sensory information, an activity that can be mastered with practice. If you're a fan of Halo or Call of Duty, take note — those skills could prove useful in other nonviolent endeavors.
  7. They reduce stress Not only do video games serve as a distraction, but they can fight anger. Researchers at Texas A&M University found that playing violent video games, such as Call of Duty 2, gave players an outlet in which to take out their aggression, contradicting the numerous studies that have indicated the opposite. Thinking of going postal? Play Playstation instead.
  8. They improve self esteem It always feels good to crush your opponent in Madden, which naturally makes you feel better about yourself. But did you know there have been games designed for the specific purpose of improving your self esteem? McGill University researchers focused on encouraging positive thoughts and positive attitudes in an effort to remove negative thought patterns. Of course, developing self-esteem is a bit more complex than just playing a video game, but it provides a good start for patterning behavior.
  9. They actually help you exercise and lose weight One of the most obvious health benefits of modern gaming is physical, thanks to the creation of Wii and its exergaming offerings. The International Sports Sciences Association confirmed that such games are effective at getting kids off the couch and increasing their heart rates, a far cry from the stereotype that all gamers are obese oafs. Seniors seeking gentler exercise can play Wii fit, for example, to maintain their health, which is why many senior residences contain the gaming system.
  10. They relieve pain Perhaps pain really is all in the mind. Once again, the key word is "distraction" here, as participating in games can take a player's mind off of their ailment, according to researchers at Emory University. It's most effective using virtual reality, which can transport a player into an entirely different virtual world. This type of therapy has been used with real patients, including those who've endured significant trauma. What's more, there are no side effects — beats the heck out of a lot of medications.
Source:  Best Online Colleges

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Parent Teacher Conference Tips

It was only a short time ago parents were scrambling to get school supplies and their kids ready for a new school year.

Now the time is nearing for parents.

Parent teacher conferences are usually set for October.  

Are you ready?

Here are some tips to help you get the most from your time with your child's teachers.

Before the conference:
  • Check grades and teacher expectations. Many schools post student’s grades on their Student Information System. So review your child’s past work. There’s no reason to get caught off guard.
  • Jot questions and prioritize concerns. Take a few minutes to jot down questions for the teacher. Take those with you so you won’t forget to ask. Also, don’t forget to ask your kid if there is anything the teacher might tell you that you don’t know. (It’s always best to not be surprised.)  
  • Meet your needs. If you need extra set of “ears” to be with you, you feel intimidated, or worry the teacher may use jargon you don’t understand, bring a friend (a neighbor, relative, older child). If you need a translator (language or sign), call the school to arrange one. Let the teacher know before the conference if you are in a contentious divorce or if your partner requests to come to the conference separately.
  • Block time. The teacher has scheduled only a set amount of time, so you will want to use every second wisely and not be distracted. Arrange a baby sitter for a younger child and allow ample time to get there.
Here are the four areas of learning to discuss during the conference:
  • Academic: Find out what your child’s strongest and weakest subjects are, how he compares to the other students and if he is keeping up with the workload. You might ask: “If you were to evaluate my child now, what would his grade and average test score be in each subject? "If the teacher uses educational terms that you’re not familiar with, ask for a simpler explanation. Ask to see specific examples of any academic problem so you know how to help or if a tutor might be helpful.
  • Social: Find out how your childgets along with others. Let the teacher know of any bullying or repeated peer rejection and create a safety plan. Ask for recommendations for a new friend if there are social problems.
  • Behavior: Find out how your child behaves around peers and adults and if he is showing up on time and prepared to learn. If there are behavior issues, get specifics: what the behavior looks like, the teacher’s discipline approach, any triggers or patterns (when and where the behavior usually happens), and how it is being resolved.
  • Emotional/health: Find out how your child is coping. Explain any home issues that could affect your child’s learning performance (a divorce, deployment, illness of a relative) and any serious allergies, sleep problems, medication, counseling or other health-related issues that the teacher should know about.
If your child is having any kind of problem in one or more of those four learning areas, then discuss strategies you and the teacher can do to help your child by creating common goals. Discuss how you will you know if things are improving or declining and if there's no improvement, ask what our “next step” will be and how the teacher would like to be contacted.

After your conference:

Go home, share what you learned with your child and parenting partner, and then commit to doing what you discussed. If you see that your child continues to struggle or you do not see improvement in a few weeks, or things get worse, call for another conference. If you still don’t get help, then it’s time to seek the help of the principal, vice-principal or counselor.

Special contributor: Michele Borba, Parenting Expert and author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Teen Dating Abuse and Violence: Know the Warning Signs

Nation’s leading experts confirm college dating violence is a much larger problem than anyone realizes, the National Partnership to End Dating Abuse, launches new initiative to combat dating violence on college campuses nationwide
A new survey reveals dating violence and abuse to be surprisingly more prevalent among college students than previously believed. Nearly half of dating college women (43%) report having ever experienced violent or abusive dating behaviors, and more than one in five (22%) report actual physical abuse, sexual abuse or threats of physical violence. Despite the high number of students experiencing these types of abuse, more than one-third of college students (38%) say they would not know how to get help on campus if they found themselves in an abusive relationship. 

The survey, “Liz Claiborne Inc.’s Love Is Not Abuse 2011 College Dating Violence and Abuse Poll,” was conducted by Knowledge Networks to address the lack of data on dating violence and abuse among college students and to increase the understanding of this problem on college campuses nationwide. 

According to dating violence expert, Dr. Karen Singleton, Director of Sexual Violence Response, a program of Columbia University Health Services, “This survey expands on earlier reports and reinforces the complexity of the issue.” Among the findings are: 

·         Nearly 1 in 3 (29%) college women report having been a victim of an abusive dating relationship in her life.
·         57% of students who report having been in an abusive dating relationship indicate it occurred in college.
·         52% of college women report knowing a friend who has experienced violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, digital, verbal or controlling abuse.
·         Further, 58% of students said they would not know how to help if they knew someone was a victim.
“The findings of this survey prove that colleges and universities need to provide a more comprehensive response and additional creative educational programs to address dating violence and abuse,” said Jane Randel, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Liz Claiborne Inc. 

The survey findings were released today, during a forum to educate students about sexual assault prevention and survivor assistance at American University. 

The full report of survey results can be found at

National Dating Abuse Helpline and Break the Cycle Respond to the Urgent Need for Education

In direct response to these new findings,, a partnership between the National Dating Abuse Helpline and leading teen dating violence prevention organization, Break the Cycle, is launching an initiative to target college students with new, relevant resources to address the issue of dating abuse. 

The expanded online content includes: Take Action (information on how students can get involved on their campus), Stay Safe (safety planning designed specifically for college students) and Help a Friend (information to assist bystanders). The survey shows that 57% of college students say it is difficult to identify dating abuse - substantive evidence of the need for increased education and awareness.

“It is our hope that with these targeted college resources, we can help increase knowledge about how students can combat the issue and ultimately, help prevent the prevalence of dating abuse and violence among students,” said President of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and National Dating Abuse Helpline, Katie-Ray Jones.

The resources are available, free online at

In addition, Liz Claiborne Inc. has created a college dating violence curriculum called Love Is Not Abuse, designed to help students deal with dating violence and abuse on campus. The first college curriculum of its kind, Love Is Not Abuse educates students about the dangers and warning signs of dating violence, offers lessons specifically on abuse via technology and provides resources where college students can find help on campus.

The Love Is Not Abuse curriculum was created by a task force consisting of educators and domestic and sexual violence experts from Columbia University, George Mason University, the University of Kansas, Virginia Community College System, Northern Virginia Community College and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) following the May 2010 murder of University of Virginia student Yeardley Love. 

The Love Is Not Abuse college curriculum is available online, free at

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Girls verses Boys: Who are smarter?

What do you think?

Since the beginning of time, scientists, philosophers and the common man and woman alike have been struggling to understand what, besides the obvious, differentiates the genders. Are behavior deviations a product of societal expectations or something more deeply hard-wired from birth via hormones and DNA? There’s still a lot we don’t understand about the relationship between gender and behavior, and even more regarding gender and education.

Hundreds — if not thousands — of studies done on the subject over the past few decades have come up with some interesting results. From understanding why girls don’t often go into math and science to exploring the different expectations teachers may have for each gender, the discoveries reveal a lot about how educators teach, treat and relate to students — both good and bad. Whether you want to hone a more gender-focused approach or believe neutrality is best, these facts (from what we know at present, anyway) are an interesting read for any educator who wants to better understand what may make students tick.

We have to interject a word of caution for readers, however. It’s important to remember that these facts and findings represent averages and generalizations that, while holding true for many, certainly don’t preclude members of either gender from being quite different in their thoughts, actions and preferences. Gender studies and the results they produce can be valuable tools in developing new and better educational methods, but they should never result in pigeonholing students who need space to be who they are.
  1. Boys are more likely to be tested and diagnosed for a learning disability than girls.Educators take note: boys are almost twice as likely as girls to have a learning disability, and are three times more at risk for ADHD. This doesn’t mean that girls don’t have learning disabilities, of course. Many believe females may receive fewer diagnoses not because they aren’t having trouble, but because boys are more likely to visibly act out their academic frustrations.
  2. Boys comprise two-thirds of special education classes.From dyslexia to autism, boys are diagnosed with learning, behavior and social disorders at a much higher rate than their female counterparts. Teachers need to be on the lookout for symptoms and signs in both genders. Doing so means they can get help early, when it will do them the most good.
  3. Regardless of racial or ethnic group, boys have higher rates of suspension and expulsion than girls.While rates differ from district to district, boys are twice as likely to be suspended as girls. Girls can be troublemakers as well, but statistically, boys typically act out in more violent or disruptive ways. Unfortunately, there is also a racial gap with regard to suspensions, with black males three times more likely to be suspended than whites.
  4. Girls are much less likely than boys to drop out of school.This fact is related directly to suspension rates. Suspended students are much more likely to be disengaged and disinterested in school than those who are not. They also tend to fall behind (if they were not already) due to missed school days. Currently, boys are 30% more likely to drop out of school than girls — a gap that reflected in the higher number of women going on to college and graduate school each year.
  5. Boys tend to be bigger risk takers.There is some truth behind the stereotype that boys are more willing to take risks than girls. Dr. Leonard Sax has found that boys get more enjoyment out of taking risks, are more impressed by others who do the same and are more likely to engage in such behaviors if other males are present. Girls, while not unwilling to take risks, were much less likely to actively seek out the same behaviors.
  6. Boys and girls may be motivated by different factors in the classroom.While each child is unique, researchers have found some trends that show marked differences in what motivates male and female students. Girls are often driven by a desire to please adults, even if they find an assignment uninteresting. Boys care less about having a teacher like them and are more motivated by work they find meaningful. Additionally, males perform better on tests under moderate stress, while girls do worse.
  7. Girls are more likely to ask for help if they need it.While male students may not care as much what the teacher thinks about them, they are acutely aware of their peers’ judgment. When they become frustrated, they may act out rather than asking for assistance, as this disruptive behavior may raise their status. Asking for help may make them feel weaker and less able. Girls, on the other hand, are often much more willing to ask for help. Their peers do not inhibit their desire to develop a close relationship with teachers.
  8. Boys and girls mature mentally at different rates and in different ways.The way the brain itself develops as children age may actually be quite different in girls versus boys. Girls tend to develop more advanced language and fine motor skills early on, as much as six years earlier than boys. Boys’ brains may develop better spatial memory and targeting aspects of the brain as much as 4 years earlier than girls. This is especially important for early education teachers to note, as each gender may find certain tasks very challenging and may need additional help and support.
  9. More attention and praise may be given to male students than females.Whether in grade school or in college, the way teachers interact with male and female students can be quite different. Studies have shown the male students are more likely to be praised, listened to and called on than their female counterparts. While many teachers strive for equality, subconscious ideas about gender roles impact the treatment of students — something every educator needs to watch out for in his or her own behavior.
  10. Single-sex classrooms can improve outcomes for both boys and girls.There is some evidence to suggest that single-sex classrooms may be more beneficial for both males and females. Students report feeling more comfortable in such settings, finding greater academic success and touting that the classes improved their self confidence. While some students and parents exalt the benefits of single-sex education, others don’t agree. In the end, it may boil down to personal choice and preference. But if many of the research findings hold true, gender-tailored education may prove beneficial for students who struggle in co-ed classes.
  11. The way boys and girls use technology at home and school differs.Technology is a major part of both the educational and working sphere, so the ways in which students use it can be quite important. Research published in The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat showed that boys and girls are approaching computer use differently. Boys were found to use computers more frequently and chose to play games, use educational software and access the internet. Girls used computers less often and focused on activities like emailing, chatting and homework. Teacher attitudes about computer use were also different, with educators letting girls give up more quickly on computer-related problems than boys.
  12. Girls are much more likely to be bored, disengaged or stressed in science classes.A Northern Illinois University study found that girls in high school science classes reported a much different experience than their male counterparts, despite spending an equal amount of time and getting similar grades. The study found that girls were most engaged in science class when listening to lectures or completing work, and were much less likely to take the lead in lab work. Educator attitudes might also have something to do with it. Of the 13 teachers studied, only two chose girls as their top students, describing them as "hard workers. The favored male students were considered "naturals" who "just got it."
  13. Boys and girls respond differently to certain teaching methods."One size fits all" might not work when it comes to engaging male and female students equally. Girls typically benefit more from teaching methods stressing hands-on, active approaches to learning, as well as team, cooperative assignments and performance-based assessment. Boys, on the other hand, seem to excel in more competitive situations and testing with time constraints, though they too prefer hands-on learning.
  14. The achievement gap between American boys and girls is among the smallest in the world.While the gap between math and science and reading and writing skills between American girls and boys is certainly notable, it may not be as bad as other countries. In the latest round of international tests, the split found between male and female students sat among the smallest of anywhere in the world – though still significant, with boys scoring lower on literacy and girls on science and math.
  15. Girls are less likely to take AP exams in math and science subjects.In general, girls take more AP exams than boys — except when it comes to math, science and computers. In 2003, only 6% of the students taking the computer science AP exam were girls. Additionally, girls represent only 10 to 15% of all students in AP physics classes, and are significantly less likely to take the AP exam for this or calculus courses.
  16. Educational differences based on gender are more pronounced in childhood than adulthood.As children grow and mature, the sex differences that made many of their educational needs so different may gradually even out. Teachers working with students in lower grades may need to pay more attention to gender-based education than those with high school or college students.
  17. Some gender differences may be hardwired into the brain from birth.While gender expectations undoubtedly play a role in later development, studies have shown that some of who we are as men and women may simply stem from biology. Newborns react differently to stimuli along gender lines, with female babies being attracted more to faces and male babies to motion. These differences persist into the early years of education, and can influence student motivation and interest.
  18. Research has found differences between the ways boys and girls respond to stress.There is no doubt that learning can be stressful for both girls and boys at times, but the differing ways in which each gender may respond to it complicates matters. Boys are more likely to act out when they get upset, girls to burst into tears or trust a friend for comfort. When it comes to learning-related stress, boys perform better under anxious conditions than girls, with such issues actually lowering girls’ test scores.
  19. The average 11th grade boy writes at the same level as the average 8th grade girl.Teachers need to be especially aware that boys may struggle to write at the same level as girls. The U.S. Department of Education came up with this statistic, which brings into stark clarity some developmental differences in male and female brains — some which might leave big impact on academic performance. Studies have shown that the brain of a 17-year-old boy is more similar to that of a 13-year-old girl, a result that holds true over cultural and racial boundaries.
  20. Boys tend to perform better on standardized tests, while girls get better grades overall.Throughout school, girls tend to get higher grades than boys in nearly all subjects. Boys, conversely, seem to do better on IQ and standardized tests. Researchers think this may have to do with girls possessing more self-discipline, and being more willing to push themselves to study and earn good grades. Though other factors may come into play as well, of course.
  21. There are differences in perception between boys and girls.Girls have been shown, even from birth, to have the ability to hear a wider range of sounds. Additionally, the ways that boys and girls see may differ as well. The eyes of young girls may actually be thicker with the types of cells that collect information about texture and color, while boys’ have more following motion and direction. By adulthood, these differences evaporate or become very small, but can be key for teachers working with younger students.
  22. Boys often develop speaking, reading and writing abilities more slowly than girls.This is largely a product of brain development differences between the sexes but can lead to a wide disparity in early grades. In middle and elementary school, girls outscore boys by wide margins on NAEP reading and writing tests, and the gap often doesn’t close until late high school or college. Boys may need more help in expressing their thoughts in written and verbal form — something educators should take note of.
  23. Boys and girls use their left and right hemispheres skills differently in early grades.In early grades, girls tend to use left-hemisphere skills to speak, read and write well, and their right-hemisphere skills empathizing and understanding the feelings of peers and teachers. Boys, on the other hand, use the left hemisphere to help them recall facts, rules and categorize information, while the right serves to give them their visual, spatial and motor skills.
  24. Women are more likely than men to continue on to college and get a bachelor’s degree.Regardless of race or socioeconomic group, men earn bachelor’s degrees at a lower rate than women. Those who do head to college are less likely to complete their degrees in the usual four to five years, and will — on average — get worse grades than women.
  25. While there are developmental differences between boys and girls, overall there is little to indicate that education performance can be explained by biological differences alone.All this research is great, but in the bigger picture, gender differences can’t account for all performance gaps between individual children. In fact, social and cultural factors including career aspirations, teachers’ expectations and familial involvement prove far more important. This means educators may have bigger role to play in the success of a child than their biology — a reminder of their work’s value and importance.
Source:  Accredited Online College

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