Sunday, June 26, 2011

Teen Relationships: Summer Love

Teenagers are no different than adults, they want to find love and find that relationship that they believe can fill their lives.

As summer is here, school is out in and teens are looking forward to their time off.  Whether they are traveling with their family or off to summer camp, most will be meeting new people and building new relationships.

Love is the most influential, powerful state of being that any of us will ever encounter or experience in the course of our lives. It is beyond emotion, as it encompasses and affects all levels of our actions, thoughts, inspirations and aspirations. To be devoid of love is to be absent of life. The elements of love are intertwined and dependent upon one another; and, in most instances, are realized upon reciprocity. Any deficiency of these elements, or ‘links’, would therefore compromise the ‘chain’ that binds and holds each component together, and love will suffer.

Trust - This may be considered the most challenging element of love. You grant another person the right to hold your life, your emotions in their hands. You don’t question their intention as you firmly believe and confirm that they will not do you harm and, instead, will flourish with such privilege.

Honesty - There is no true love relationship that may occur without honesty. While certain truths may be painful to expose and share at times, the act and willingness to put truth above self-preservation is a constant testimony to that attests to the claim of love.

Tolerance - We are all predisposed to idiosyncrasies and quirks inherent in our personalities; and, in general, these are very good things. Oftentimes, however, such things may go across the grain of those closest to you. Tolerance permits these differences in actions or thoughts and accepts the  them in the other’s composition as part of who they are, and not an affront to who they are.

Forgiveness -It is impossible to embrace another so closely without, at some time, hurting or disappointing them in some way. Forgiveness is the power and strength the ‘victim’ renders that indicates that the relationship is more important than the injury they feel has been done to them.

Kindness -As simple as this may appear, it is the food that helps a relationship to grow. Kindness acknowledges a unique awareness of the other person. It demonstrates gratitude and sensitivity in the relationship.

Security -While often difficult to foster and maintain in a relationship, security is closely related  to trust. When you are secure in the relationship, envy and jealousy are less likely to raise their ugly heads. Security dismisses the notion that a partner may hold something or someone else in higher regard or interest.

Understanding/Compassion -It’s important to achieve an understanding of the motivations and values of your partner.  True understanding and compassion recognizes that both the strengths, and weaknesses of another, equally comprise the total makeup of who they are.

Commitment -While some may see this is as a form of personal sacrifice, it is really quite the opposite.  To be dedicated to the wants, needs and aspirations of your partner is truly noble and selfless. With commitment, your focus is on striving, to the best of your ability, to encourage anything that will bring prosperity and happiness to the other; and to do so without self-interest.

Respect -It’s important to avoid anything that would hinder the growth of the partner and, subsequently, the success of the relationship.  This is achieved by showing respect for the partner and the relationship, at all times.

Desire–This would be considered the delicate thread that weaves through all those elements listed above.  Without the passionate desire to meld with another, the concept of love would certainly be an exercise in futility.

As the title states, these are the ten words that describe love to me. You may have a different list, but it was a good exercise for me. Sometimes it helps just to think through what we really mean, when we use a word like ‘love’.

Source:  Top Dating Sites

Monday, June 20, 2011

Teens and Cell Phones: Should Your Teen Have One?

This is a question many parents face as more and more tweens and teens are getting cell phones.

Is your teen ready for this responsibility?

Different families have come to different conclusions on this issue. In some families, every member of the family has their own cellphone, even kids that are not yet in their teen years. In other families, parents do feel it is necessary for their teenagers to own a cellphone.

Here are ten of the reasons parents have given for allowing their teens to have their own cellphones.
  1. Emergencies – This is the biggest one, especially after a teen begins driving. They want their teens to have access to a phone if they should need it an emergency, such as an accident.
  2. No excuses – Another reason is to eliminate the excuse for not calling home when they are going to be late or to ask permission about something. If they have a cellphone, they can’t use either of these excuses.
  3. Busy schedules – Families have such busy schedules these days that it can be difficult to keep everything straight. It becomes a convenience issue for the parents. If the kids have cellphones, the parents can call to let them know if they are running late or if there’s been a change of plans, and vice versa.
  4. Responsibility – Many parents use the cellphone as a tool for teaching personal responsibility. Kids are responsible for taking care of their phone and not losing or damaging it. They may also be given a limited number of minutes or text messages that they can use during the month and have to pay for overages themselves.
  5. Texting – Much of today’s teenage communication goes on via text messaging rather than voice. A standard land line phone doesn’t have that option.
  6. Phone conflict – If kids don’t have their own cellphones, then they are bound to be asking to borrow their parents on a regular basis. This can become an issue with teenagers who can often spend hours on the phone.
  7. Babysitting – Teens who babysit sometimes will be in homes that no longer have a land line available for them to use while they are caring for the children. By having their own cellphone, they can call for help in an emergency and stay in contact with parents if necessary.
  8. Privacy – The parents privacy, not theirs. If adults are sharing their cellphones with the kids, it eliminates their own privacy. Text messages they’ve received can be accessed by their kids, which is not always something a parent would want to happen.
  9. Parental connection – Many kids have two homes to travel between after their parents divorce. Parents sometimes will provide their kids with a cellphone for their times when they are staying with the ex-spouse, to be assured on continued contact.
  10. Savings – At times parents can find that giving their children their own cellphones is a cheaper alternative than simply sharing their phones with them. Check out special family plans to see what is available on your network.
This is a very individual subject. What is right for one child, may not be right for another. Each family needs to way out their own decision on the matter.

We also want to point out that we did make an argument for teen not getting a cell phone that you might find interesting.

Source:  Phone Service

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Google and Your Teens: Know Your Digital Profile

Know what the Internet is saying about you.
PEW study shows that about 75% of all Americans are using the Internet. More importantly over 53% of people are Googling each other! Do you know what Google and Bing are saying about you?   Do you know what it says about your teenager?  Is he/she virtually dressed for the college or job interview?

Whether your teen is applying to colleges or interviewing for a job, chances are very good that they are being Googled.

•53% of Americans Google each other. Pew Internet & American Life
•26% of college admissions officers use search engines to research candidates. University of Massachusetts Center for Market Research
•64% of teens say that most teens do things online that they wouldn’t want their parents to know about.
77% of executive recruiters use search engines to research applicants. CareerBuilder

What can you do?  Encourage your teens to be sure they are virtually dressed before an Internet search is done on them!  Another words, don’t get caught naked onlineNaked doesn’t necessarily mean nude – it means inappropriate pictures and language that wouldn’t make your parents or grandparents blush!

Here are some 5 quick tips to start. Remember, the Internet is today’s  information highway and your name has a road sign.

1. Sign up for free services and post your resume or other information that pertains to your services, business, profession etc. Some of these services are,,,
2. For teenagers that will be applying for colleges, keep in mind, what you post today can haunt you tomorrow. More and more college admissions are using search engines to research their potential candidates. Take the time to secure your social networking sites and other places you surf.  What does this mean? Keep it clean. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want to show your parents or your grandparents!
3. Be sure to own your own name. Sign up for free services on Blogs with your name as the URL. and are two that are most frequently used. Try to keep them updated as time permits, however owning them is most important.
4. Set up your Google Alerts. You want to know when your name it being used online. This is another free service that will take you minutes to set up and keep you informed when your name is posted on the Internet. is used for Twitter Alerts. This is another free service to be alerted if people are using your name on Twitter.
5. Buy your domain name. This can be minimum in costs and the return will be priceless. Purchasing your name through GoDaddy or another source, can cost you about $9.99 a year (ie: Building a small website can also be cost effective. GoDaddy and offers services to assist you. You may even know someone that can build this for you. Most teens today are very proficient with their technology skills.

Your online resume can literally make or break your interview or acceptance at colleges.  Don’t risk it,  keep your virtual presence alive and clean.

Be an educated parent, pass this on to your teens!

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Teen Drug Prevention Tips for Parents: Be an Educated Parent

Drug use (substance abuse) is a serious cry for help, and making your teen feel ashamed or embarrassed can make the problem worse. Some common behavior changes you may notice if your teenager is abusing drugs and alcohol are:
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  • Violent outbursts, rage, disrespectful behavior
  • Poor or dropping grades
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Skin abrasions, track marks
  • Missing curfew, running away, truancy
  • Bloodshot eyes, distinct “skunky” odor on clothing and skin
  • Missing jewelry money
  • New friends
  • Depression, apathy, withdrawal
  • Reckless behavior

Tips to help prevent substance abuse:

1. Communication is the key to prevention.
Whenever an opportunity arises about the risks of drinking and driving or the dangers of using drugs, take it to start a conversation.
2. Have a conversation not a confrontation.
If you suspect your teen is using drugs, talk to them. Don’t judge them, talk to them about the facts of the dangers of substance abuse. If your teen isn’t opening up to you, be sure you find an adolescent therapist that can help.
3. Addict in the family?
Do you have an addict in your family? Sadly many families have been effected by someone that has allowed drugs to take over their lives.  With this, it is a reminder to your teen that you want them to have bright future filled with happiness. The last thing you want for them is to end up like ____.
4. Don’t be a parent in denial.
There is no teenager that is immune to drug abuse. No matter how smart your teen is, or athletic they are, they are at risk if they start using. I firmly believe that keeping  your teen constructively busy, whether it is with sports, music or other hobbies they have, you will be less at risk for them to want to experiment. However don’t be in the dark thinking that your teen is pulling a 4.0 GPA and on the varsity football that they couldn’t be dragged down by peer pressure. Go back to number one – talk, talk, talk – remind your teen how proud you are of them, and let them know that you are always available if they feel they are being pressured to do or try something they don’t want to.
5. Do you know what your teen is saying?
Listen or watch on texts or emails for code words for certain drug lingo. Skittling, Tussing, Skittles, Robo-tripping, Red Devils, Velvet, Triple C, C-C-C-, Robotard are some of the names kids use for cough and cold medication abuse. Weed, Pot, Ganja, Mary Jane, Grass, Chronic, Buds, Blunt, Hootch, Jive stick, Ace, Spliff, Skunk, Smoke, Dubie, Flower, Zig Zag are all slang for marijuana.
6. Leftovers.
Are there empty medicine wrappers or bottles, burn marks on their clothes or rug, ashes, stench, etc in their room or if they own a car, in their car? Teens (and tweens) either take several pills or smash them so all of it is released at once. Be sure to check all pockets, garbage cans, cars, closets, under beds, etc. for empty wrappers and other evidence of drug use. Where are your prescription drugs? Have you counted them lately?
7. Body language.
Tune into changes in your teen’s behavior. Changing peer groups, altering their physical appearance and/or lack of hygiene, eating or sleeping patterns changing, hostile and uncooperative attitude (defiance), missing money or other valuables from the home, sneaking out of the house, etc.
8. Access to alcohol.
Look around your home, is there liquor that is easily accessible? Teens admit getting alcohol is easy-and the easiest place to get it is in their home. Know what you have in the house and if you suspect your teen is drinking, lock it up! Talk to them about the risks of drinking, especially if they are driving.
9. Seal the deal.
Have your teen sign a contract to never drink and drive. Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) provides a free online contract to download. It may help them pause just the second they need to not get behind that wheel.
10. Set the example, be the example.
What many parents don’t realize is that you are the leading role model for your teen. If your teen sees you smoking or drinking frequently, what is the message you are sending? Many parents will have a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, however the teen needs to understand you are the adult, and there is a reason that the legal drinking age is 21.

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.

Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen, (Health Communications, Inc) is a book most parents will find comfort in. Not only does it share the struggles of raising a problem teen, my daughter who was a good kid, very athletic, yet made some bad choices, this book also outlines how to locate safe and quality schools and programs.

Learn from my mistakes, gain from my knowledge.” – Sue Scheff

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Animal Therapy: Making a Difference in Teens

Animals help humans in more ways than we'll ever fully understand, but what we do know is that they can have an important role in a person's physical, social, educational and emotional well-being.

Animal-assisted therapy can be an effective alternative or addition to traditional therapy models, whether it's physical therapy, occupational therapy or cognitive behavior therapy. Even though animal-assisted therapy may not be able to fully heal a person or cure their disease, this life-changing interaction and companionship can improve a person's mobility, increase their self-esteem, foster learning and simply make life more enjoyable.

Here are 10 inspiring animal-assisted therapy programs:
  1. Island Dolphin Care: Island Dolphin Care in Key Largo, Florida, is a truly inspiring and unique animal-assisted therapy program that uses dolphins to assist children with special needs, including physical and developmental disabilities, emotional challenges and illnesses. The unconditional support and gentle, fun-loving nature of dolphins eases children's nerves and helps increase their self-esteem. In addition to swimming with the dolphins, children will also learn a great deal about dolphins and improve their communication skills in the marine science and dolphin education program.
  2. NARHA-Therapeutic Riding: NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association) is a national organization that specializes in therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults with special needs. NARHA's equine-assisted therapy programs have been shown to improve flexibility, balance and strength in people with physical disabilities, as well as increase their self-esteem and help them achieve goals they never thought were possible.
  3. Breathing Space Thailand: Breathing Space Thailand, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Thailand, has taken an innovative approach to helping people overcome their addiction and achieve sobriety with the help of elephants. This elephant-assisted therapy program is based on current equine and canine therapy models, but adds a different element of bonding through feeding, bathing and daily interactions within the elephant sanctuary. The gentle, fun nature and unconditional love of elephants helps clients overcome emotional issues, improve their mood and reduce anxiety as they recover.
  4. Hearts in Harmony: Hearts in Harmony is a pet therapy organization located in East Texas that provides support and comfort to abused and at-risk children and adolescents using cuddly canines. This early therapeutic intervention program will help children cope with emotional issues and allow them to relax and receive unconditional love from the Hearts in Harmony dogs and volunteers, who are specialized to teach children about trust, respect, compassion and humane treatment of animals.
  5. Therapet: Therapet is a non-profit animal-assisted therapy program that uses dogs, cats and miniature horses to help hospitalized patients with acute or chronic diseases feel better inside and out. Therapets serve a special purpose for patients during the rehabilitation and healing process. With the direction and supervision of therapists, these animals can help patients improve mobility, strength and balance, as well as increase self-esteem, reduce stress and anxiety and reach recovery goals.
  6. Helping Hands: Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled is a touching program that places specially trained capuchin monkeys to assist patients suffering from severe spinal cord injuries, mobility impairments and other disabilities. These monkeys help people with daily activities that they might never be able to do otherwise. In addition to being excellent helpers around the house, capuchin monkeys also provide companionship, love and support for their owners and help them feel better inside and out.
  7. Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas: The Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas provide a fun-filled alternative to traditional animal-assisted therapy. These easygoing and friendly llamas bring a great deal of happiness and joy to their admirers at hospitals, schools, rehab facilities, day care centers and nursing homes around Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA. Patients interact with the llamas in a number of different ways, helping individuals improve mobility, reduce stress, combat loneliness and calm their nerves.
  8. HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response: HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response is a truly unique and inspirational program that uses dogs to provide support and compassion to people affected by disasters and traumatic events. HOPE canines and certified handlers report all of over the nation to bring joy and comfort to people during the recovery phase. Simply playing with and petting a dog during tough times can reduce stress, improve your mood and help you cope more easily.
  9. Kitty Angels Foundation: Kitty Angels is a one-of-a-kind cat-assisted therapy program located in Massachusetts that assists the disabled, elderly and ill through fun-filled feline visits. Trained handlers visit hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes and bring their cuddly cats along for people to pet and play with. Often, patients develop close, meaningful bonds with the kitties and they experience increased mobility, decreased blood pressure and are less lonely.
  10. The Family Farm: The Family Farm, located in Twisp, Washington, provides farm-animal assisted therapy to children, adults and families who are in need of physical and emotional healing. From pigs, horses, goats and hens, The Family Farm gives clients the opportunity to work with one or all of the animals and assist with feeding, brushing, bathing and exercising. The animal-human interactions on the farm help people increase their strength, improve communication skills and motivate them to achieve goals.

If you are at your wit's end with an at-risk teen or a teen that is struggling and making bad decisions, there are excellent programs that can help through animal-assisted therapy.  Founded in Broward County, Parents' Universal Resource Experts has helped, and continues to help, thousands of families dealing with troubled teens.