Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Parenting Teens: Monitoring their Social Networking Sites - Find the Balance

Snooping vs monitoring: Find the balance
This has been a debate for years and the answer comes back to when safety trumps privacy...
Especially now as technology is in the hands of every teens and many tweens, parents need to be in tune with how are teens are dealing with peer pressure, friendships and most of all, school life.

Teenagers earn their trust with their parents.  Respecting each others privacy should always be priority, however if you fear your teenager is heading down a dark path, and is not willing to talk to you or a third party (therapist, guidance counselor, relative or adult friend), you may have to cross the line of trust.

What are some of the warning signs that may prompt you to cross this line?
  • Is your teen becoming very secretive?  Sure, teens do like their privacy, however if you have a "gut feeling" something is deeper than a secret, you may have to cross that line.
  • Is your teen becoming withdrawn? Again, teens will develop some attitudes of not wanting to be with adults, however when it becomes extreme, it may be time to cross that line.
  • Is your teen changing peer groups?  And this is not into a better one, however to one that is less than desirable?  You will again attempt to talk to your teen and find out why and what happened to the other friends.
  • Is your teens eating habits changing
  • Is your teen sleeping a lot? Bloodshot eyes? Do you suspect drug use?
  • Is your teen sneaking out?  Becoming extremely defiant? Not respecting your boundaries?
  • Overall, is your teen slowly becoming a child you don't recognize?
Are you snooping or are you legitimately monitoring your teens?

Should you read your teen's diary? Scroll through their text messages or even befriend them on their social networking sites?   That is a personal question only you can answer.

Remember writing can be very healthy for teens (and adults for that matter), so if your teen isn't giving you any valid reasons to "invade their privacy" - respect it.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Snooping vs monitoring: Do you read your teens texts? - Fort Lauderdale Parenting Teens | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/parenting-teens-in-fort-lauderdale/snooping-vs-monitoring-do-you-read-your-teens-texts#ixzz1Ei2baSHs

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Teen Part-Time Jobs: Are they beneficial to your teen?

A new study published in the journal Child Development examined the impact of getting a job among middle class teens in 10th and 11th grades. Researchers found that working more than 20 hours a week was associated with a decline in school engagement. Millions of teens juggle work and school, and many describe the stress it can cause them.

Casey P. an 11th grader of Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach said that she finds it very difficult to balance her school work as well as her community service hours and a weekend job at a local store.  "I know that colleges look for a variety of extra-curricular on the applications.  That is why I continue with community service hours and working.  I definitely need the extra money and feel productive at my job, but there is a part of me that wishes I didn't have to work as much."

Educators call it the fatigue factor.

It’s a fatigue factor. The student ends up being too sleepy or too tired the next day. They’ll fall asleep in class or just simply not pay attention,” says Joe Phillips, a high school principal according to a Connect with Kids report. (Watch the video.)

As the report continues, researchers found teens working for more than 20 hours a week showed increases in behavior problems, including using drugs or alcohol. Dr. Richard Winer, a psychiatrist, says that some kids end up experimenting in ways that their income earned is not going toward beneficial outcomes.

Experts say parents need to keep a close eye on where the money is going, and how the job is affecting your children.

On the flip side there are teens like Ryan, a senior at St. Augustine High School, that feels that finding the right balance has helped him complete all he needed to get into the college of his first choice and also have the benefits of extra income from a local restaurant he works at.

As summer is approaching, many teens will be looking for a job.  This is not the same as during the school year when the pressure of studies is on them.  Having a job is about teaching our teens responsibility and accountability early - since their future will highly depend on it.

Be an educated parent, you will have successful teens!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Teens Surviving Divorce

Communication is key. Talk, don't argue.
Talking Your Teen through Your Divorce
Divorce can be a heart-wrenching process for the whole family, and no matter how tough your teenager appears to be through the whole ordeal, he or she isn’t immune to the pain it brings. Even if your teen agrees it’s a good thing for you and your spouse to divorce, they have to endure the massive change that comes with having only one parent in the home, the possibility of moving, custody disputes and perhaps having to hear hateful things about you from the other parent.

Communicate Early and Often
Divorce can be all-consuming for the parents involved, which is why you must purpose to communicate regularly with your teen on the matters that affect him or her. Divorce isn’t something you want to spring on your teen. When you and your spouse come to the conclusion that you are really and truly filing for divorce, pull your teen aside and explain the situation as early as possible so they have time to prepare themselves emotionally for the changes that are about to occur in your family. If you can stand it, it’s best to do this together, but many parents choose to talk to their teen individually.

While talking about the divorce with your teen is important, it’s certainly not important to go into all the gory details. Your teen will likely have a lot of questions as to why the divorce is happening, but if you can’t explain the situation in a way that is fair to the other parent, be succinct and tell them that when it doesn’t hurt so much you’ll explain things better. Sometimes all you’re able to say is “We just don’t love each other anymore” or “We were fighting too much. It wasn’t healthy.” Whatever you do, don’t use these conversations as opportunities to attack or pass blame on the other parent. Doing so is extremely destructive.

Apologize for How It Will Affect Them
If you believe you’re making a good decision by going through with the divorce, there’s no need to apologize to your teen for the divorce itself. You can, however, apologize for the affect the events leading up to the divorce have had on them, and for how the divorce will affect them in the future. For example, you could say, “For the past few years, you’ve heard nothing but your parents fighting day in and day out. No teenager should have to be raised in that situation. I’m sorry you had to live in a house like that.”

Tell them you love them and It’s Not Their Fault
Divorce or no, you can never tell your teen “I love you” too often. Make it clear to them that they mean the world to you and that they had nothing to do with why you and your spouse are separating. Aside from verbally expressing your love, show it by your actions by purposing to not get so engrossed in the divorce that you miss attending important games and events in your teen’s life.

Let Them Vent
Finally, your teen may need to work through a lot of anger and sadness over the divorce. Listen to them when they express their concerns and allow them to work through it. Your teen may blame you for not doing more to keep the marriage together or shut out the whole situation by avoiding home to hang out with friends. It’s at this point that you need to reach out to your teen the most so they don’t turn to alcohol, drugs and sex for comfort in their pain.

Kitty Holman, regularly writes on the topics of nursing colleges.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: kitty.holman20@gmail.com.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Teens Struggling in School

As second semester is progressing, and faster than we realize, our High School teenagers are not recognizing how important these years are to getting into a good college or university.

It is a fact, not all kids are designed to go to college, some are very good at vocational trades, and that is a great direction too – as long as they have a direction.

However if you see that your once A-B student is barely getting C’s and D’s it is time to find out what is going on.
  • Talk to your teen
  • Talk to his/her guidance counselor
  • Talk to his/her teachers
  • Who are your teen’s friends now? Are they also failing?
  • What has changed?
  • Why are they spiraling to a destructive level?
This list could go on forever, but at the end of the day, it is about getting your teen back on track.  Especially if you have a 16-17 year old, you have limited time to get them back on the positive road.

Have you tried therapy, which in many cases can lead to a dead end since your teen doesn’t seem to see the issue – have you tried support groups?  Talked to your member of your church or community or friends that have been there?

Once you have exhausted all local resources it may be time for outside help, residential therapy.  This doesn’t mean your teen needs to be in a place where there are hard-core kid – quite the contrary, you need to find a school or program that helps stimulate your teen in a positive direction.  Get them motivated again – but in a good way.

For more resources visit www.helpyourteens.com.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Getting Your Teen Motivated: Helping Those Underachievers

“My teenager is brilliant!  Highly intelligent, has the potential to make all A’s but is barely bringing home C’s!  Help!”
This is a common complaint we hear about from many of today’s parents.  Teens do not recognize the importance of education and what it means to their future.  As a matter of fact, we are seeing more adults going back for a higher education than ever before.  Why?  It is simple- education is the key to your financial future.  Now we need to get our teenagers to understand this.

It is up to parents to set boundaries and set the example.  We are not saying that teens are not allowed to have a social life, of course they are.  We need them to find the balance.

Here are some great tips from Parents and Kids:
  1. Start early on as possible as you can, set up reasonable goals, begin with small tasks and give them time to improve. For example, have the child state the goal, the grade on their upcoming report card for their classes, math, English, science, history, etc.
  2. Tell your child that you love him/her and wish to help him/her to have a bright future, then start the conversation with patience on his/her daily school activities, homework, test, class projects, etc. Prepare to hear some “bad news”, if it did happen, do not be angry with him/her, be calm down and help your child find the problem and try to find a way to help him/her to solve the problem.
  3. In order to build a strong work ethic, need to set some rules and ask your child to follow, be strict and tell him/her why. For example, finish homework before watching TV. Why? Homework is the key to understand and master what teachers taught, which leads to his/her success in school. This rule helps him/her be stronger on self-control as well.
  4. Encourage and praise the child wisely, not too much, otherwise would mislead him/her to think he/she is the best. Namely, let him/her know that the best needs continuous learning, although did a good job today, need do better tomorrow.
  5. Teach your child to have passion for learning new knowledge by showing fun stuff for the project and try to get his/her interest.
  6. Tell your child successful stories. Help them to understand to get a good education and succeed in school is one of the most important things for his/her life.
  7. Tell your child to make friends with those who are successful in school. Do your best to get your child into a good school, because a healthy competition environment challenges the kid and help him/her to develop better.
  8. Introduce some real role models to your kids, who fighting hard with difficulties and succeeded at last, gained people’s respect. Help him/her to learn that if we suffer a set back, we don’t give up. Instead, we try harder.
  9. Just like parenting, motivating your children is a life-long job. Keep investing your time, efforts to motivate your kids no matter how busy you are, because it is the most important investments in your life. Kids are our future!
If you feel your teen has reached a level that is not productive and they are going down a very negative path, contact www.helpyourteens.com to find resources that could help you and your family.