Tuesday, April 26, 2011

High School Proms, Underage Drinking

The event of prom is no small matter, endless movies have been crafted around this big dance– can we say “Footloose” without our toes tapping?

With nostalgia comes temptation, not only for teens, but parents. Local St. Johns County parents with seniors graduating this year may remember when the legal drinking age was 18. Coupled with memories of your own senior prom, well meaning, otherwise logical parents may be tempted to relax an otherwise firm “no alcohol” policy for this special event.

Let’s talk you off the ledge and back into your parent pants.

P is for planning. Seniors want to have a good time at prom. Regrettably, they’ve grown up in a media culture that has shown them images of good times being had with alcohol, and alcohol only. The best way to mediate this attitude is to literally plan for a goodtime. What happens before prom and after prom are often more important than the prom. Contrary to popular belief, teens are not wired to drink; they’re wired for fun and risky behavior.  Pool parties, slip and slides with bubbles, scavenger hunts and other types of crazy and somewhat goofy activities make memorable events. If you’re not planning for fun, they’ll find it on their own.
R is for respect. Most teens don’t respect parents who provide alcohol to minors and the largest portion of alcohol to minors comes from a small percentage of parents. The adage “their going to do it anyway” is a slippery slope for parents trying to convince themselves they’re doing the right thing by providing alcohol. There are many things teens “might” do when given the opportunity – sex, drugs, speed, steal, lie – at the end of the day, we’re obligated to provide the framework for good decisions, not try to mediate potential bad ones.
O is for omnipresent. Defined as, “present everywhere”, our teens once believed we were omnipresent. No matter where they were, or what they were doing, we somehow knew or found out everything. As they get older, carry more responsibility, and prove themselves worthy, we loosen our omnipresent grip. Consider however, that a teen’s brain is rapidly developing until about 21 to 22 years of age. Their decision making still has very much to do with two things – 1) what is everyone else doing? and 2) will I get caught? A healthy dose of omnipresence before big events such as prom reminds your teen that you still care enough to check up on them and gives them a powerful out should they face an overdose of peer pressure.
M is for memories. Remind teens that the best way to remember prom is to add nothing but fun. Who wants to risk having their head end up in a toilet, have a date that pukes all over them, or be so hung over you can’t make it to the beach the next day? When they send their own teen off to prom, the memory of how you handled their prom, from pictures to rules to curfew will undoubtedly be fresh in their minds. Let’s keep the parent pants on and enjoy prom. Be the wall between teens and alcohol.
Provided by PACT Prevention Coalition of St. Johns County
Visit www.PACTPrevention.org for more information and remember, “Be The Wall!

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Prom is a four letter word – Jacksonville Parenting Teens | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/parenting-teens-in-jacksonville/prom-is-a-four-letter-word#ixzz1KX8pjsCI

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

10 Reasons Parents Need to Learn about Technology their Kids are Using

Protect your kids online.
According to the results of one survey I read, 46.9% of internet users are under the age of 25.  Taking those results, this article should be an interesting one.  While part of that percentage is probably in their twenties, that leaves a big number below the age of 18.

It is wonderful how new technology has brought us closer to all points of the world.  Technology, especially the Internet has made our once big world small; Insomuch that at any given time we can talk to China or Australia and never leave our home in rural America.  While for the business world that may be a good thing, it goes without saying that for our children, it is a little much for them to be experiencing so much of the world so soon.

I enjoy watching the TV show “To catch a predator”.  Maybe enjoy isn’t the correct word, but it is interesting to say the least.  Maybe the part I like best about is to see the would be pedophile caught, and watch him squirm.  Also knowing it is a foiled attempt to actually meet a young innocent teenager. I like watching as they are hauled off to jail to stay awhile and think about what they are doing or were about to do.  How many are actually rehabilitated is a million dollar question.

The outcry from parents has been so loud against pop-up pornography sites that the Microsoft people have played a big part in stopping most pop-ups.  As careful as I am about certain sites my PC got viruses and I had to have it commercially cleaned.  I was appalled at what they found – so thankfully it was removed with no harm done except the fee I had to pay for getting it cleaned up.

Without thinking young people fill in applications for this or that, leaving themselves open to the world with all their information; from age to sex to likes and dis-likes.  Nothing is hidden on the WWW.  Parents beware of what your children are telling about themselves.  Spammers are good at what they do.  And once Spammed is too late to keep it from happening.

A recent article about parents in China, showed that 42.6 percent of the parents surveyed “strongly oppose their children’s use of Internet” or “relatively oppose”, while as high as 78.4 percent say they worry that surfing Internet could adversely affect children’s study. Another 44.9 percent worry about their children’s exposure to pornography online.

I remember when CHAT was the thing back in the 90’s.  It was weird to get on a chat with people one did not know just to talk (chat) awhile.  It opened up an exciting venture for teens to introduce themselves and chat with people around the world.  Now the truth is – were they from down the street?  Across town?  Was their name really Jack or Mary?  There are a lot of messed up people in the world and children are not mature enough to know the difference in real versus crazy people.

Now there is the ChatRoulette which is supposed to be for viewers above18 years or older, however there is not a place to enter the birth date of the viewer.  By the name Roulette, it gives us a good picture of the content.  It is easily accessible using Skype and what the viewer sees on the screen is anyone’s guess and from what I read it can get pretty graphic even porn-a-graphic.

One thinks of the internet as a place to do research and study.  Invariably it has taken place of my set of World Book Encyclopedia’s.  However not everything on the Internet is true. Just because it is in print and somehow got on the internet, does not make it Gospel.  Everyone has an opinion.  Opinions are not History.  History is an actual accepted record of what happened at a certain point in time.
Kim Komando of CyberSpeak,  brought up an interesting subject with the following:  “We all know that music can alter your mood. Sad songs can make you cry. Upbeat songs may give you an energy boost. But can music create the same effects as illegal drugs?"
This seems like a ridiculous question. But websites are targeting your children with so-called digital drugs. These are audio files designed to induce drug-like effects.  All your child needs is a music player and headphones.”

Do you find this as scary as I do?   I wish I were knowledgeable enough to even discuss it, however it would bear great urgency for Parents to check it out.  I found the information on the USA Today site.  Very informative.

Then there is U Tube, the place where a megabyte of fame is worth everything.  Kids have excess to cameras every day; on their phone or mini video cameras.  In a moment when a young lady has let her guard down can change her life forever.  Or for that matter a young man, being teased can be shown on the WWW and he is embarrassed for life.  What may have started out as a joke, may wind up as being harassment.
We cannot keep our children locked up for short seven years of their teens.  The Internet is technology that is here to stay.  And from the youngest of ages, our children are being exposed to the World Wide Webb.
Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children’s Technology Review says, “Kids are surrounded by screens in a way like never before, at home, in their pockets, in the minivan, and they know how to use them at younger and younger ages and Parents must be a part of it.”   He goes on to say:  “”If you’re going to allow your kid to go to a website or play a game, you have to first check it out yourself.  Think about it, you don’t let your child eat a meal you’ve never tasted before.”

Special guest contributor: Kate Crosten of Internet Services

Read more.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Troubed Teens? Call Teen Help Advice

If your teen needs help, call today.
Recently launched yet has helped over 30,000 families, www.TeenHelpAdvice.com offers over 25+ years of combined experience in the big business of teen help schools and programs.

Offering sound and objective advice, the Teen Help Advisers are experts in the “business” of the teen help industry.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  Many parents are duped on a daily basis when they have reached their wit’s end.  They are feeling desperate – alone – and hopeless.

No more!  We have been there – I have been duped, my teen was abused and I am determined that this doesn’t happen to other parents as they believe they are getting help.

The questionable decision to hire an Educational Consultant (EC) can be answered very quickly.
Just yesterday (and many times prior) I hear from parents that have spent at least $2500 to as much as $5000.00 for the services of an Educational Consultant.  Yesterday this desperate mother, located in the Northeast, hired an EC months ago for her troubled teenage daughter.  It was determine she needed a smaller program and the EC said that Utah was the only place – there weren’t any options on the East Coast!  Now she is broke and her daughter still needs help.

Seriously?  There are options, but these options won’t play politics in the Educational Consultant industry.  So they are cut off from parents that are on the East Coast that hire EC’s and these parents honestly don’t know any better.

Even on the West Coast – this happens.  The same programs are rotated through the EC Shuffled – and very likely you are spending an additional $15K-20K on a Wilderness program first.  Their philosophy – they need to break your teen down!  Isn’t your teen already broken?  Why not start and finish at the same program?  Why put your teen through changing therapists and their peer support groups – not to mention their structure?  Don’t our teens need some positive consistency?

YES – they do.

Contact www.TeenHelpAdvice.com to learn more.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Teen study with disturbing results: 5 or more drinks, no biggy

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and a new teen study just released has teen drug (including drinking) use trending in a negative direction.

Downing five or more alcoholic drinks nearly every day isn't seen as a big problem for many of the nation's teens, says a new report. 

According to the report:

Teens See Little Risk in Heavy Drinking; Parents Feel They Can’t Stop Risky Behavior
Weak perceptions of risk and a perceived “normalization” of underage drinking underlie the PATS survey data on adolescent alcohol use.
  • Almost half of teens (45 percent) reported they do not see a “great risk” in heavy daily drinking.
  • Only 31 percent of teens strongly disapprove of teens and peers their age getting drunk.
  • A majority of teens, seven out of 10 (73 percent), report having friends who drink alcohol at least once a week.
While the number one reason teens reported using alcohol is that they think “it’s fun to drink” (60 percent), a significant number of teens reported using alcohol to deal with stress.
As communities, schools and parents continue to be proactive in educating teens and kids about the risks and dangers of drugs and alcohol, it seems teens still believe they are invulnerable.  It is time to step it up and create stronger campaigns against substance abuse.

The Partnership at Drugfree.org is an organization that is taking action.  With resources such as Time to Get Help, offers valuable information and tools for parents, teens and educators.

Visit www.TeenHelpAdvice.com if you are considering outside help for your teen.

Read more.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Boot Camps and Jails should never be an option

Don't break your teen down, get real help.
There are parents that believe that their teenager needs to be taught a lesson - learn to appreciate what they have, understand that respect is expected not a choice.

However what many parents, in their time of anger and frustration, don't realize is that their teen isn't happy with themselves either.  They are crying out for help with their negative behavior.

Seeking a scared straight program or even a boot camp can be more damage than parents realize.  You are taking a broken child and beating them down even more (emotionally - if not psychically).

Is your teen using drugs?  Smoking pot?  Suspended or expelled from school?  Failing? Hanging with a new group of kids that are not on their way to a bright future?

Don't be a parent in denial but don't make rash choices.  Having your teen arrested may end up doing more than teaching him/her a lesson.  Who will they meet in juvie?  What will this accomplish?

There are options.  Take your time - do your research.  Visit www.TeenHelpAdvice.com - and get answers!