Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tough Love is Misunderstood: Loving Your Teen To Death

Face the issue, don't ignore it.
After watching Dr. Drew on HLN last week, as he explained to his guest (a mother) that has a young adult struggling with alcoholism, ‘she can’t save him‘,  and having that thought process is not helping him.  Only he can help himself.   Many parents have a misconception of Tough Love, as Dr. Drew explained.  You can literally love your child to death. You can actually do more harm when you believe you are helping or saving your child.

Parent Denial: It Only Hurts Your Teen and Puts Them at Serious Risk

Parents in denial is probably one of the most common threads many teens have while they are smoking a joint or popping a pill – even downing the cough syrup.  Many parents think their teen is not the bad child – it is the ones they are hanging with – or simply doesn’t exist.

Being a parent in denial doesn’t help anyone, not even the parent.  Since eventually it does catch up with you and you find yourself dealing with a teen that is escalating out of control or worse, on a road to becoming an addict.

We hear these common excuses from parents when they call us for help:
  • My teen is so smart! His/her IQ is superior, but they are not working up to their potential. (Also known as, underachieving)
  • 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 (or kicked off a team) and has zero interest in this sport. (Major red flag).
  • It’s not my kid, it is the kids he/she is hanging out with! (Really, do you understand your teen has free will and is choosing to hang with these kids?)
  • It’s only pot! (Really, do you realize that marijuana today is not like generations prior.  Marijuana is being laced with higher levels of PCP, as well as even heroin).  It is not only pot, it is serious.
The irony of these comments are,  they are calling us, Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, for help, but when we recommend resources,  many fall back to their “hope and a prayer” that this is only a phase. While some teens do straighten up, most don’t – and the problems get worse.

Typical teen behavior?  Maybe, but do you want to risk not getting them help if it is more than typical teen behavior?

Major misconception of parents: Almost all parents that contact us have that next Einstein or Dan Marino (the mother on Dr. Drew last night even used the most common phrase, ‘my son is highly intelligent’, which may be true, but using drugs or other substances is not too smart), 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.

Order today.
As a mother that dealt with a challenging teenage daughter, I know the feeling of facing the fact you can’t do this alone.  My daughter was that athlete, she was popular, she was beautiful and I always said – “well, at least she never did drugs.”  Boy was I wrong.

In my book, Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen, published by Health Communications, Inc, I wrote my thoughts and feelings at the time my daughter was 14 years-old.  However when you reach the chapter she wrote, you soon realize that mom (myself) didn’t know it all!

When local therapy isn’t working, you exhausted all your local resources, you have now come to realize an intervention is needed.  Residential therapy is a big step, both emotionally and financially.

Another major misconception among parents is they are looking for a Military School or Boot Camp to straighten up their teen.
  • Military Schools are a privilege and honor to attend.  Your child needs to be accepted usually with an essay of why they want to attend as well as a good GPA.  If your teen is forced to attend and gets expelled, you will very likely forfeit your tuition.
  • Boot Camps and Wilderness Programs are short term programs that offer short term results (if any at all).  Many parents believe that 6-8 weeks is going to resolve a year or more worth of issues.  These types of programs are band-aids that quickly fall off shortly after the teen arrives back home.  Most Wilderness Programs recommend a Residential Therapy program following their 6-8 weeks.  Consistency is key, finding the right program from start to finish has proven most beneficial.
Looking for the best residential program and/or school for your individual teen is challenging.  It is critical we don’t place your teen out of their element.  Finding the right balance make take time, but it is worth it and can lead to a brighter future for your child.

Learn more about residential programs by visiting

Most importantly, don’t be a parent in denial – be proactive!

I will Blog more about how to find sound residential therapy as well as letting you know, you are not alone!
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School: Cyberbullying can start with cyber-gossip

We are heading into a new school year and more and more we are hearing of the digitial bullying, cyberbullying and sexting.

Gossip can be mean.  Bullies can build on gossip and create stories and ugliness about a student that can go viral in seconds.

In today’s internet age, gossip can be spread at lightning speed to hundreds, thousands or millions of people. The new “party line” is cyberspace where millions of people can all access the same information instantaneously. Just get on your computer, iphone, ipad or blackberry and let the rumors fly.

Here are 10 ways people (including kids) can us new technology to rapidly spread gossip in 2011 (in no particular order).
  1. Email – One way to spread a rumor quickly is to send an email to all the contacts in your account, except the one the rumor is about, of course. Then they can forward it to all their contacts and on it goes from there. You better hope they delete your name when they forward it, or you might get blamed for starting it.
  2. Facebook – Post your gossip on facebook and all your friends will know about it instantly. If they “like” it, comment on it or repost it, all their friends will see it too. Pretty soon you’ve got the rumor spreading quickly.
  3. Myspace – Another social networking sight great for gossiping is Myspace. Post that rumor on a bulletin or your group’s message board and watch it spread like wildfire.
  4. Twitter – You can tweet a rumor and all your Twitter followers will know your juicy gossip in 140 characters or less. They can re-tweet it to all their followers and in no time the gossip is flying through cyberspace.
  5. Blogs – Some people love to spread gossip through their blogs. Even unintentional rumors are sometimes started by bloggers.
  6. Website – You won’t believe some of the stuff you find posted on websites, and you shouldn’t either. There are whole websites put on the web just for the purpose of spreading misinformation. Always remember to check their sources.
  7. YouTube – If you have a registered YouTube account you can upload an unlimited number of videos. If you have a video of someone doing something dubious, this is the best way to spread that rumor to millions of viewers.
  8. Comments – A great way to anonymously spread gossip is to post a comment on a website, blog or YouTube video. You can log in under an assumed username and say all kinds of outrageous things without revealing your identity.
  9. Chat rooms – Another anonymous way to spread rumors are internet chat rooms. You can start with an offhand comment and embellish it as you go.
  10. Texting – If you see or hear something juicy to gossip about, you can send a text message to all your friends. That will get the thumbs flying as the rumor gets spread.
The new social media available has taken gossiping to a whole new level. Unfortunately this can lead to cyber bullying and be very traumatizing to vulnerable people. Celebrities and politicians are easy targets for internet gossip and careers are ruined by unintended tweets. 

Everyone should use the new technology responsibly, but many abuse their newfound privileges. Be careful what you put out into cyberspace or it may come back to haunt you and always check the sources of what you see or read. Chances are it’s just more cyber-gossip.

Source:  Internet Providers

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to School: Teenagers Driving to School

A special guest post by Safe Teen Driving Club as school is opening throughout the country.

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury among 15- to 20-year olds.
Will your teen be driving to school this year?

Do You Know the Facts?
  • 16-year-old teens have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age.
  • They are three times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than the average of all drivers.
  • In 2008 some 2,739 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 died in motor vehicle crashes.
  • About 2 out of every 3 teenagers killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2008 were males (IIHS).
  • Drivers ages 15-20 accounted for 12% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2008 and 14% of all drivers involved in police-reported crashes.
  • 63% of teenage passenger deaths occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager.
  • Among deaths of passengers of all ages, 19% occurred when a teenager was driving (IIHS).
  • 58 percent of teen drivers crash the car in their first year of driving; over 80 percent in the first three years, according to the National Safety Council.
  • The majority (58%) of young people 16 to 20 years old involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes were unbuckled.  (Ref.: NHTSA)
  • The leading Risk Factors are:
-Driving after dark
-Inexperience, age
-Driver Distraction – iPod, Cell Phone, Radio, Other Passengers
-Failure to buckle up
-Drugs, Alcohol
Teens who get less than eight hours of sleep per night are twice as likely to say they have fallen asleep at the wheel (20 percent) than teens who report getting eight or more hours of sleep per night (10 percent). A national survey of 3,580 students in grades 10-12 found that 36 percent of teens often drive when drowsy to school in the morning.
Ref: Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions).

Driving between 9PM and 6AM triples the risk of a fatal crash for 16-year-old drivers, a 2003 IIHS report showed. A NC study found “the majority of 16 and 17 year-old drivers' nighttime crashes (nearly 80 percent) occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.”
(Ref: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (
What To Do? Get Engaged!
  • Parental involvement is a key contributor to safe driving behavior. Establish clear family  rules for driving.
  • Work with your teens to get more sleep
  • Consider putting them on the bus or driving them to school - even if it is not cool!
  • Vehicle monitoring and reporting has dramatic impact on reducing accident rates – proven in the commercial arena for years.
  • Establishing driving agreements contributes to reduced fatalities (when enforced.)
  • Parents need to enforce Graduated Driver Licensing laws rather than relying on law enforcement.
  • Discussion, awareness and training for teens and parents are key
Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.
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Visit Safe Driving Club today for more valuable information.
Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today's teenagers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Class Learning verses Online Classes: What Fits Your Teenager?

As technology continues to influence and change our way of living, parents are now faced with the consideration of allowing their teenagers to prepare for or begin college through online courses for credit. During the past five years or so, a great deal of development in this area has been taking place, all with the backing of the U.S. Department of Education. There are, however, a number of pros and cons when it comes to this modern method of study, and launching young adults out into the world is a heavy responsibility. Most parents want to get through the process with no regrets, so it is wise to take the time to determine if online classes would actually be a good fit for your teenager.

Let’s face it: not all kids and family situations are alike. What works well for some may spell disaster for others. With the growing number of options available in educating our children, this should certainly be considered from more than one perspective. Whether you’ve sent your son or daughter through public or private school, or even educated them at home, the subject of entry-level online college courses is very likely to come up at some point before or after high school graduation.

Considering all the angles when it comes to online education may mean doing some personal research and evaluation. Web-based education has some fantastic benefits, but there are additionally some serious drawbacks. Allowing a teen to stay home in front of a computer for extended periods of time could possibly have health or psychological disadvantages. Parents needs to assess things such as the physical condition and mental health of their children. Some parents may also wonder if they actually want to encourage more screen time in a lifestyle already loaded with digital activity. On the flipside, there are cases where studying online may be a hindrance to teens with more outgoing personalities, leading to a sense of isolation, or at minimum feeling somewhat separated from other people. Those are the students that truly need to have face-to-face interaction with others and will learn better in that environment.

Another big consideration ought to be the student’s learning and communication style. Teens whose learning styles lean more toward the auditory than visual or who are more kinetic learners may do better in the usual face-to-face classroom setting than sitting in front of a laptop screen loaded heavily with text. If this seems like a big mystery, it may be sensible and wise to consult a professional for some input or learning style testing just to be sure. Some community colleges even offer this sort of help in their student services departments.

It isn’t uncommon for older teenagers to take a gap year before starting a rigorous academic program, and in fact it’s becoming something of a trend. While some use the gap year for travel and a complete break from school, others may combine a few courses of study with travel opportunities. Still other students simply need a time to gear up gradually, or do some soul-searching and exploration of ideas before making the big break from home. Online courses may fit in well with any of these situations. Students might find that studying via the Internet before leaving home is a safe way to make decisions while still living under their parents’ roof. This can also be a time to test the waters, get a better feel for the responsibilities of college, and the demands and workload involved with being a more advanced, full-time student.

Some high school students engage in programs that allow for dual credit. This option not only provides credit toward high school graduation, but gives students a head start in college. If saving money is a big issue for parents and their kids, encouraging an early start with online courses could save thousands of dollars. Programs are popping up both on the Internet and through local community and state colleges, and there will be more in time. So whether high school students go for dual credit or want to have a gentle start to their college careers, big savings can be realized through taking courses online.

Taking advantage of online college courses is a viable option for many families, but it is understandably not everyone’s cup of tea. Parents should definitely weigh it all out before allowing or encouraging their teens to sign up for this route. One way or another, online college courses are here to stay as we move more and more into an electronic society.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Teen Girl Self-Esteem: After School and Your Daughter

Yes, schools are opening throughout our country and another academic year with the normal peer pressure and stress of being a teenager.

What are you doing after school? Many girls will be hitting a transitional point in their lives in a few weeks. Some will attend new schools, some will be away from home for the first time and others could be leaving their summer loves….

Although women have made gains in education and employment in the equal rights war, they’re still losing the self-esteem war. Girls’ self-esteem peaks when they are about 9 years old, and then takes a nosedive. Although the media, peers, and pop culture influence children, parents still hold more sway than they think when it comes to having an impact on a daughter’s developing self-esteem.

Girls are faced with an onslaught of influences daily- most of them not the ones we’d like. In fact, a national survey of girls’ use of social media released by Girl Scouts of the USA (Who’s That Girl: Self Image in the 21st Century, 2010) finds that girls with low self-esteem are more likely to be susceptible to negative experiences on social networking sites than are girls with high self-esteem.

As parents and mentors, we want to help our daughters develop a strong sense of self, learn about the benefits of a balanced diet and physical activity, develop healthy relationships, promote confidence and well-being among While having fun.

Wondering how to enhance your daughter’s school year? The Girl Scouts’ flourishing new leadership program Journeys is at the core of the nearly 100-year-old organization’s transformation and a key benefit of this latest offering is building a strong sense of self. Building self-esteem does not happen overnight, but research shows that one way to accomplish this is through the development of leadership skills and competencies.

For more information go to!

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Monday, August 8, 2011

TEEN HELP: Who Do You Trust for Helping Your Teenager?

At any given moment, a parent in need of help with their child can make some very rash and costly mistakes.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you feel that you are at your wits end?
2. Do you feel you or your family is in danger?
3. Do you feel like something needs to be done now?
4. Do you feel out of control with your child’s actions?
5. Do you feel out of control with yourself?
6. Do you feel hopeless and no one will understand?
7. Do you feel completely alone in dealing with this child?
8. Do you feel you lack the capability to make the right decision?
9. Do you feel your child is running your life and the household?
10. Do you feel Desperate?

The feelings of desperation are very real and very painful, however it is not the time to make rash decisions. In most cases, the dysfunction has taken months if not years, to come to pass. It will not be resolved in an instant decision to “send your child away” the quickest and easiest way. This is the most important time to stop, think, research, evaluate and conclude what is best for your child and family.

If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, it is time to reflect and begin planning your alternatives. It is not time to make any decisions. We feel that if you are working with a Psychologist, Therapist or Doctor, they should always be consulted first. Once it is determined residential treatment is needed, it is time for your research to start.

Information and resources will be a valuable asset. When calling the schools and programs, be sure they are looking for your child’s best interest. Any program that is quick to enroll your child is not in your best interest. Always keep notes, and document every conversation.  When contacting a program; does the Admissions Director ask you questions about your child or do the go directly into how their program can help them? How do they know they can help, if they haven’t taken the time to listen to your child’s needs?
As a parent, your heart and gut will tell you when you have found the right placement for your child. Again, the advice of a Professional (i.e. Doctor) is always beneficial, but not always the end result. Most Doctor’s are not familiar with the many residential treatments centers throughout the country, but can give you advice as to what your child’s needs are.

In some cases urgency is needed. Especially with some legal matters, however many can go into a local Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital for 2-3 days (usually insurance paid) until you can do your homework. Make the most of the 24-36 hours with your research. This can buy you time to find the most appropriate placement for your child.

When your search starts, use caution to a desperate sales person. Many Admissions Personnel are paid per enrollment. Although everyone is entitled to make a living, when it comes to your child, there should be a division.  It is more beneficial to speak with a program owner, Director or therapist at the facility.  These people are usually not sales people and want their program to succeed.  They will screen their potential students to be sure they are a fit for their program.

Parents’ Universal Resource Experts does not engage with  admissions and/or enrollments. We always encourage parents to contact the programs directly to determine if the program is appropriate for your child’s needs.  We do, however help educated you in this “big business” of teen help.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Teens Getting Tattoos: Know the Risks

Between piercings and tattoos, parents are finding themselves facing another issue to discuss with their teens.  What do you do when your teens wants a tattoo or a piercing in a less than desirable area?

Tattoos are permanent, so spur of the moment decisions to get a tattoo are never a good idea. Even when the decision has been made for quite some time, there may still be good reasons to reconsider.
Here are ten of the ways that people use to try and convince someone not to get a tattoo.
  1. Pain – There is pain involved in getting a tattoo. How much pain will depend on where it is located on the body, the size of the tattoo and the pain tolerance level of the person receiving the tattoo. If the person has a low pain tolerance, emphasizing the pain involved in the process, and the time needed to complete the tattoo can sometimes be enough to get them to change their mind.
  2. Cost – Tattoos are not inexpensive, especially at the best shops. In addition, the cost of having one removed if you should change your mind about it in the future will be even more costly. Is a little bit of colored skin really worth that much money?
  3. Social impact – Not everyone has an appreciation for the art of tattooing. Your tattoo may negatively impact future relationships, both personal and in the employment/business arena. The cost of that is impossible to gauge.
  4. Bad results – What if it doesn’t turn out looking like you expected it too? Not everyone is happy with the results they receive from a tattoo artist. It doesn’t grow out like a bad haircut.
  5. Personality changes – What is appealing to you now may not be in 5, 10 or 20 years. Everyone’s personality continues to evolve with their life experience and level of maturity. What you will be like in the future is impossible to predict.
  6. Lifestyle changes – A tattoo may fit perfectly with your current lifestyle, but just as with personality, lifestyles change. Having to deal with trying to cover or explain the ‘fashion’ of your past could be something you’d rather avoid.
  7. Body changes – Ten years could mean adding or losing twenty pounds or more. With those changes in weight, the look of a tattoo is going to change too, in a negative way.
  8. Infection – In spite of precautions, infections do still occur. That can mean medical costs and disfigurement of the tattoo. Do you really want to risk that?
  9. Disease – It is possible to transfer incurable diseases like Hepatitis C with tattoo needles. You’re trusting in the word of your tattooist that the needles are sterile. In addition, tattoo ink is not regulated by the FDA. You have no idea what might be in that stuff that is going into your skin.
  10. Aged tattoos – Show them some pictures of people who have carried their tattoos on their body for a lifetime that are no longer colorful or appealing on their 70-80 year old bodies. Is that what they want to look like when they’re a grandparent?
In reality, you may not be able to convince a person not to get a tattoo with these arguments, but they should at least encourage them to think it through more carefully. It is their body and their life, but often times tattoos done in youthful years are regretted later on in life. Sometimes convincing them to simply wait a few years will be more effective than trying to convince them not to get a tattoo at all.

Source:  Best Dating Sites

Tattoo laws for teens under 18 vary from state to state, and in some cases even from city to city.  According to Florida Tatto Laws:

(3) No body of a minor shall be

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.