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.