Monday, December 31, 2012

Dealing with an 18 Year old Child: Parenting an Adult Teenager

Getting a teen help at any age is a priority.
At this time of year, it seems we are contacted by more and more parents that have an 18 year old or a 17 year old that is almost 18. If you have been struggling with your younger teen and like many of us, keep hoping and praying it will change, take a moment to think about if it doesn’t. Don’t miss opportunities to give your child a second chance for a bright future. Whether it is local therapy, a motivational program or a Boarding School, as parents we do what is best for our kids.

“My 18 year old is out of control and I am at my wit’s end! What can I do?” Anonymous Parent.

18 – 19 year old teens can be the most difficult to address simply because they are considered adults and cannot be forced to get help. As parents, we have limited to no control. Practicing “Tough Love” is easier said than done, many parents cannot let their child reach rock bottom. As parents, we see our child suffering whether it is needing groceries or a roof over their head and it is hard to shut the door on them.

I think this is one of the most important reasons that if you are a parent of a 16-17 year old that is out-of-control, struggling, defiant, using drugs and alcohol, or other negative behavior I believe it is time to look for intervention NOW. I am not saying it needs to be a residential treatment center or a program out of the home, but at least start with local resources such as therapists that specialize with adolescents and preferable offer support groups.

It is unfortunate that in most cases the local therapy is very limited how it can help your teen. The one hour once a week or even twice, is usually not enough to make permanent changes. Furthermore getting your defiant teen to attend sessions can sometimes cause more friction and frustrations than is already happening in the home.

This is the time to consider outside help such as a Therapeutic Boarding School or a Residential Treatment Center. However these parents with the 18-19 year old teenagers may have usually missed their opportunity. They were hoping and praying that at 16 or 17 things would change, but unfortunately, if not addressed, the negative behavior usually escalates.

In the past 12+ years I have heard from thousands of parents and most are hoping to get their child through high school and will be satisfied with a GED. It is truly a sad society of today’s teens when many believe they can simply drop out of school. Starting as early as 14 years old, many teens are thinking this way and we need to be sure they know the consequences of not getting an education.

Education in today’s world should be our children’s priority however with today’s peer pressure and entitlement issues, it seems to have drifted from education to defiance being happy just having fun and not being responsible.

I think there are many parents that debate whether they should take that desperate measure of sending a child to a program and having them escorted there but in the long run you need to look at these parents that have 18-19 year olds that don’t have that opportunity.

While you have this option, and it is a major decision that needs to be handled with the utmost reality of what will happen if things don’t change. The closer they are to 18 the more serious issues can become legally. If a 17+ year old gets in trouble with the law, in many states they will be tried as an adult.

This can be scary since most of these kids are good kids making very bad choices and don’t deserve to get caught up the system. As a parent I believe it is our responsible not to be selfish and be open to sending the outside of the home. It is important not to view this as a failure as a parent, but as a responsible parent that is willing to sacrifice your personal feelings to get your child the help they need.

At 18, it is unfortunate, these kids are considered adults – and as parents we basically lose control to get them the help they need. In most cases, if they know they have no other alternatives and this is the only option the parents will support, they will attend young adult programs that can offer them life skills, emotional growth, education and more to give them a second opportunity for a bright, successful future.

Do you need help finding young adult life skills programs?  Contact us at

Parent’s Universal Resource Experts
Sue Scheff
Wit’s End Book

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Teen Help and Parents at their Wit's End

Be an educated parent.
The recent tragedy in Newtown, CT has many conversations sparked about the need for mental health services.  As a Parent Advocate for over a decade, I speak with parents on a daily basis and hear their desperation for assistance with their tween or teenager.  Some parents are at their wit’s end and feel like a hostage in their own home by their own child, however the resources can be limited for some.

Residential therapy is an excellent option however it can be costly.  Some insurances will help cover the cost, but only a portion of it usually.  In most cases it is usually a PPO insurance that will cover the clinical component of a residential program and even with that, usually a parent has to be prepared to pay the upfront costs and file the claims to be reimbursed. (This all depends on the mental health policy and what it covers).  HMO can be very limited when it comes to mental health, which is why we are hearing a lot about being under-insured in mental health.

When it comes to Residential Treatment Centers, another concern parents need to be aware of is the scams that are out there.  I was once a victim of one over a decade ago, which prompted me to created my organization – Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.) Parents need to understand there are some programs and schools (or programs that claim to be schools) online with toll free numbers going to marketing arms ready to prey on desperate parents.  This is exactly what happened to us.  Though there are many excellent programs and schools in our country, like with many other businesses, there are always those that are less than what you would want for your child.

I always encourage parents to do their due diligence.

The program that duped my family, though it is closed now, has several other programs opened under different names.  They have a specialty of always changing names, in my opinion.  But you will notice the staff seems to stay the same.  Recently I heard how their LaVerkin, Utah program has gone from Cross Creek to Horizon Academy to Riverview now I just heard they are calling themselves Youth Foundation.  I don’t know – but I do know if you are doing things the right way you don’t have to hide under all these name changes – of course, that is my opinion again.

As you can imagine, this group has a script they share with their potential parents about me too.  I am a disgruntled parent.  Yes, I am – you harm my daughter, a parent becomes disgruntled.  You dupe me, scam me – I become disgruntled. I won in a “jury trial”.  I didn’t settle out court with a confidentiality – though they will tell you a jury made a mistake -I will say not jurors condone child abuse.  Now they are facing another lawsuit.  What is there excuse now?  I assume that is why the name change again.

Either way – use your gut.  If it doesn’t seem right – it usually isn’t.

At the end – your child needs help – get them help.  Don’t make a rash decision, make an educated one.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Teen Self-Injury: What and Why?

A very disturbing topic that many don't like to discuss.

Though many parents don't want to believe their teen would self injure themselves, many more are realizing it is their teenager that is actually cutting.  Why?

  • Peer pressure?
  • Depression?
  • Drug use?
  • Anxiety?
  • Stress?
According to experts, one of the most common reasons teens self injure is because the injury is in some way a “release” from emotional anxiety. The pain of the injury provides a distraction from the emotional pain the teen is feeling, and acts almost as a drug to them. It can also help the injured feel ‘human’ again, by putting them in touch with a common human experience: pain.

If you discover that your teen is cutting, there are several important keys to remember. First and foremost, approach your teen with a level head. Address your teen calmly and supportively. Do not react angrily or upset your teen in any way.

Experts warn that overreacting or reacting loudly or angrily can often push your teen further away and increase the cutting or self injuring behaviors. Your teen needs to know you are open to hearing what she has to say and getting her the help she needs. You should also tell your teen that you are not upset with her, love her, and know she is in a lot of pain.

Counseling for a teen that cuts is crucial. It can often take many years of therapy before your teen is willing or able to uncover the reasons she/he cuts herself.

If you feel your teen is in need of residential therapy please visit

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Teen Runaways: Tips if your teenager is threatening to runaway

"I hate you, I am out of here!"

Parents of teenagers have heard this probably more than we realize, especially over the holiday time when stress levels can be on the rise.

The National Runaway Switchboard estimates that up to 2.8 million children and teens run away from home each year. Many return home within the first 24 hours, but there are still a staggering number that never make it home.

If your child is threatening to run away, here are 10 things to consider.
  1. Assess the Actual Risk – An older child with serious behavioral problems is significantly more likely to run away than an angry elementary school student. Try to determine if there’s an actual risk, or if your child is simply making threats out of an inability to properly express themselves.
  2. Create an Environment Conducive to Talking – Kids that don’t feel as if they can be honest and open with their parents often feel as if there’s no one at home who can help them. Creating an environment that helps your child feel comfortable and respected is one of the best ways to get to the root of and to prevent problems.
  3. Ask Them How They Can Make Their Situation Better – When your child calms down enough to speak rationally, ask them what other steps they could take to improve the situation they’d like to run away from. Often, verbalizing their problems and actively looking for alternative solutions will ease the powerlessness that they feel and help them think more clearly.
  4. Focus On Causes, Not Threats – Though threats of running away should never be treated lightly, it’s best to focus on finding out the cause of your child’s distress before tackling the resulting threats.
  5. Speak to Your Pediatrician – If you genuinely feel that your child is at risk of running away, your pediatrician or family doctor can refer you to a therapist or counselor who can help you monitor your child and uncover the underlying issue.
  6. Stay Calm – Though threats of running away are very upsetting to any parent, it’s important not to let anger or hysterical emotion come to the surface during a conversation with your child, especially a teenager. Teens are often uncomfortable with these displays and may feel an even stronger urge to escape the pressure.
  7. Never Call Their Bluff – Offering to help your child pack or calling their bluff only serves to make them feel unwanted, which could elevate what was an idle threat to a point where they feel obligated to leave.
  8. Acknowledge That You Can’t Stop Them – A sense of powerlessness and an idea that living on their own will help them regain that lost power is often a large part of the appeal of running away. By acknowledging that you can’t stop your child from running away if they’re determined to, but that you desperately want them to stay, can help them feel as if a bit of power has been restored.
  9. Explore Other Options – Kids that want to run away because of bullying or harassment at school may be so desperate to escape the torment that they’ll go to any lengths. If this is the case with your child, it might be a good idea to seriously discuss options like homeschooling or even moving to another school district.
  10. Understand That Threats Are a Plea For Help – When kids threaten to run away, they’re doing so because they want to be stopped. Cluing parents in on plans to flee opens the door for serious preventative measures, and kids know that. Without marginalizing your child’s threats to leave, focus on the help they’re seeking.
Children that run away from home and never return are often victims of sex trafficking, drug abuse and other dangers. Letting your child know that they are loved and wanted, and that you will do everything in your power to help them through a difficult time, can keep them from this dangerous fate.


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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Teen Medicine Abuse: Safeguard My Meds

Statistics show that 70% of people 12 years-old and older who abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or relative.

Where will you be for the holidays?
Grandparents? An aunt's? Friends?

Most homes have medicine cabinets - and most medicine cabinets have prescription drugs in them.
The holiday season is upon us and with family dinners, parties and get-togethers, you can usually expect more visitors in your home. But did you know unused and easily accessible medicines have the potential to be misused and abused by anyone entering your home – including teens and young adults?

Yet many people don’t realize the personal responsibility that comes with having prescription medicine in the home. That's why the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma launched the Safeguard My Meds program.

Here are a few simple, yet important steps that can be taken to protect prescription medicine.

· A locked storage container should be kept for prescription medicines at greater risk of being abused – such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and depressants. These medicines are targets for theft by anyone who enters your home, so extra precautions should be taken.
· Keep track of your medications with the Medicine Inventory Sheet. Take inventory of your prescription medicines at least twice a year, such as when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
· Learn more about the safe storage and disposal of prescription medicine by Downloading the Brochure and by visiting
· Take the Personal Responsibility Pledge and commit to doing your part to safeguard and keep prescription medicine out of the wrong hands. Take the pledge!

Have a safe, healthy and fun holiday!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Peer Pressure: Parenting Tips to Help Teens Deal with Peer Pressure

Frequently we hear how a teen used to be such a nice kid until they started hanging out with so-and-so. Yes, the wrong crowd. Everyone knows about the wrong crowd.

We’re surrounded by peer pressure every day in a variety of different ways, from the unknown forces of the media to our friends and family. Although a parent can’t erase peer pressure from her child’s life, she can give her the tools she needs to stay strong in the face of it and make decisions based on what’s best for her.

Here are a few tools to help you teach your child about peer pressure.

Talk to your child about the influences of the media. Every time you turn on the TV, pick up a magazine, read a billboard, go on Facebook or Twitter, or surf the web there are people trying to get you to take the action they want you to take or think the way they want you to think. Many people don’t recognize these forces as peer pressure because they’ve become such an engrained part of our lives; however, the media greatly influences our ideas and choices. Talking with children about these influences can help kids see things with a critical mind and allow them to make smarter, more objective decisions.
Be a good role model. If your child sees you rush out to buy the latest fashion, stand in line for hours to land the latest gadget, or try the latest fad diet because everyone else on the block is singing its praises, she’s much more likely to fall prey to the same peer influences. Let your child see you making decisions based on what’s best for you and the situation, even when it’s not necessarily the popular choice.
Talk to your child about the people and things that influence him. Conversation is one of the most powerful tools you have in helping your child withstand peer pressure. Talk with your child about what choices his friends are making, the choices he’s facing, the factors that influence him, and how he makes decisions about what to do and what not to do. Giving him a safe place to explore his thoughts and feelings will help him make well thought out decisions. It will also allow him to make up his mind about what to do in a tough situation before he’s actually in the tough situation. Working through his choices ahead of time gives him the confidence to act in accordance with his beliefs and values.
Involve your child in a community that supports your values. Although you can’t insulate your child from peer pressure, you can stack the deck in your favor by surrounding your child with people that can help her make good choices. Your local church, Boys and Girls Club, Boy and Girl Scouts, and community programs are all great places to find like-minded families. Your child will still be pressured to do things that are not in her best interest, but it’s a lot easier to say no when others are saying no alongside you.
Help your child develop a strong sense of self. Children with high self-esteem and a positive self-image have a much easier time resisting peer pressure. Those things don’t develop overnight, so plant the seeds of self-esteem and self-image when your child is young and cultivate them as your child grows.
Help your child avoid troublesome situations. Sometimes peer pressure can be avoided simply by avoiding a certain person or taking control of a situation. If your child’s classmate is known for rallying friends to pick on younger kids, stop meeting him and his mom at the local park. Instead, foster a friendship between your child and a kinder classmate. If your child’s new neighbor friend spends hours watching R rated movies while he’s home alone after-school, insist they play at your house where you can monitor their TV choices. If you’re worried about your daughter being out late with her older boyfriend, impose an early curfew but allow the boyfriend to stay and visit.
Be supportive. Making good choices in the face of peer pressure is tough. It can be a very emotional struggle for many kids. Be the person your child can confide in, can count on, and can ask for advice.
Don’t expect perfection. Your child will make mistakes. She will hang out with the wrong people. She will make bad choices. How you react when those things happen will have a big impact on how she handles similar situations in the future. Your goal is to help her learn from her mistakes, help her learn how to make a better choice next time, and help her correct her course when she realizes that she’s going in the wrong direction.

A parent can’t protect her child from peer pressure, but she can help her make decisions based on what’s best for her and not simply on what everyone else is doing.

Source: Go Nannies

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

College Choices and Your Teen: How Parents Can Help

As a parent, you have to help your child make several decisions over his or her lifetime. At first these decisions are easy. You help them choose a Halloween costume. You help them pick out a gift for their teacher. You stand beside them as they decide to cut off all of their hair in a fit of self-expression.

Then gradually they get a little more difficult. You help them choose a first job. Pick out a smartphone then finally, one day you’re helping them select a college.

As you sift through brochures and applications, your mind begins to race as you consider just how important this decision is. Essentially, this will be where your child spends the better part of the next four years. This is where they will make the friends they will keep for a lifetime, and where they could potentially meet the love of their life.

Before you start freaking out and retreating from this milestone, take a minute and soak in what is happening. You’ve gotten your child this far, so you have to have SOME idea of what you’re doing. So, as you browse schools and campuses keep a few things in mind. The tips below will help make this a smooth, seamless process for both you and your college-bound kid.

Don’t Impose Your Dreams
Maybe you’ve always envisioned you son or daughter doing you proud in an elite Ivy League school on the East Coast, but their heart keeps pulling them West. Let that happen. As long as it’s for legitimate reasons and not just to chase some significant other they may or may not stay with through the end of the month, support your child’s dream.

Just because they don’t want to pursue the path you thought might be best, doesn’t mean they aren’t making a good choice. To help allay your fears and apprehensions, have them explain exactly why they want to attend the school they have in mind.  Have them elaborate on specific programs or classes that caught their eye. This will help you realize your child is using smart judgment, has thought this through and is not merely acting on spontaneous whims.

Visit The Campuses With Them
Although they might not let on about it, your child is likely feeling a bit nervous about being away from home for the first time—especially if it is miles away from where they grew up. Making the move in the fall will be hard enough, so don’t make them go on campus visits alone. They may act annoyed that you want to tag along, but once you’re there I promise they’ll appreciate every minute of it, especially when they start to notice the kids who aren’t as lucky to have their parents there.
Not only will you be able to keep them company and ask questions they might not think to ask, you will also be able to gain a bit of familiarity with the place they might be spending the next 4-6 years. This will make those long nights you’re up worrying a bit easier because you’ll have SOME idea of where they are, even if you can’t be there in five minutes.

Be Realistic About Expenses
These days more than ever, the COST of college is an issue. It’s always been expensive, but with the current state of the economy it can be downright farfetched for some. If you and your spouse are worried about the expenses that are to come with sending your son or daughter to college, talk to them about that.

For the first time in their lives, bills and fees will be addressed to them and them alone. Sure, you might still be footing part of the bill, but they will be the ones held accountable if the money’s not in time. They will be the ones who are given the fee bills each semester, so they need to know what they’re working with.

This is especially important for them to know early on, so that they may apply for scholarships and aid where possible. If there’s a program or school they are really interested in, but it seems a bit pricey, discuss alternatives and options with them like school loans, so that they can make informed, educated decisions about their future.

Overall, when you’re helping your child choose a college, just BE SUPPORTIVE. Continue being the involved, concerned parent you’ve been up until this point, but learn to loosen the reigns a bit. Don’t freak out when they set out to make decisions on their own. Let them do it, but be there, waiting in the wings, if they need you. While it is their future, and ultimately their choice, but your input can make a world of difference.

Contributor: Lenore Holditch is a freelance writer and blogger covering education stories for Lenore has a journalism background with an emphasis in covering higher education policies, student lifestyle, and the cost of college. Feel free to send some comments her way!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Teen Driving Safety Week: Texting and Driving Kills

 It is a parents nightmare -- the call from a hospital or police saying your child has been in an auto accident.

Those who send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash. We are hearing more and more about accidents that are caused by distracted driving. This is why ATT is committed to putting an end to texting and driving.

Our goal is to save lives and make texting and driving as unacceptable as drinking and driving. - AT&T

Merry Dye, the mother of a teen who died in a texting accident the day before high school graduation, will host an AT&T-sponsored web chat this Friday, October 19, with students nationwide to discuss the dangers of texting while driving.


Be Smart. Don’t text and drive. No text message is worth a life.
Be in control. Remember it’s your phone. You decide if and when to send and read texts so take control. Download AT&T DriveModeTM – an app designed to curb the urge to text and drive.*
Be Caring. Don’t send a text when you know your family member, friend or co-worker is driving.
Be Focused. Never use your phone to take pictures, send and read messages, record video, or watch TV while driving.
Be an Example. A recent survey2 found that 77 percent of teens say adults tell them not to text and drive - yet do it themselves “all the time.” Still, 89 percent of those teens said their own parents are good role models in terms of not texting while driving, so please lead by example.
Be Proactive. Take the pledge and commit to never text and drive:
Be Aware. If you have teens, some wireless companies offer parents an easy way to manage their teen’s phone functionality, such as the time of day the phone can be used for messaging, Web browsing or outbound calling. However, 911 calls are always allowed and parents can also set up “allowed numbers” that the teens can call as parents or others deem appropriate.
It only takes a split second to find yourself in an accident. The message is simple, yet vital: When it comes to texting and driving, it can wait.

For more information, tips and tools, check out AT&T’s online resource dedicated to educating wireless users about the risks of texting and driving at It Can Wait.

Take the pledge here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Teen Depression: Helping Teens Feel Good About Themself

Teen depression, sadly, is common today.

Feeling good has a lot to do with the choices your teen makes regarding their health.

The life of a teen is filled with choices, and most teens do not base decisions on their health, future, or long-term risks. Keeping up teens' health ultimately falls on the parents' shoulders, even though most teens are already making many of their own choices.

If you struggle finding a balance when it comes to your teen's health or want to be sure that you're doing as much as you can with the time you do have, here are a few simple ways to make a big impact on the health of your teen:

1. Require consistent exercise. There is no need to be a drill sergeant or make exercise feel like a chore, but there is something to be said for requiring exercise from your children. Whether they take up a sport, enroll in a dance program, or just join the gym with you, teens need to start now with a consistent exercise program for optimum health in the future.
2. Buy daily vitamins in gummy form. Daily vitamins are no fun. And, it's difficult as a parent to, a) remember to dole them out, and, b) make sure your kids actually take them. But, vitamins should no longer be a dreaded routine. The vitamin gummies offered today are delicious and taste like candy. Teens will want to take more than their daily share.
3. Fill plates with more greens and fruits and less grains and protein. The FDA has recently re-vamped the old standard of food charts and opted for something simpler: a plate divided into four sections. Half the plate is filled with vegetables and fruits. The remainder contains a fourth grains and a fourth protein. This is a simple and easy way to see that your teens are getting the proper servings of the food they need.
4. Restrict TV to certain hours. Monitoring TV hours is a challenge, especially when teens have become accustomed to turning them on whenever they want. But, in order to maintain optimum health, the TV has to go once in a while. Teens need time and space to go outside, call friends, read, create, and do other things that help maintain a balanced life. This can be as simple as turning them off during regular chunks of time when you know you'll be around.
5. Make doctors' appointments a part of the norm. Many of us restrict doctor's appointments to emergency visits when we come down with the flu and need a quick prescription. But, it's very important to get your teen started with regular physicals and preventative doctor's visits. This will get them in the habit of seeking out the advice of a physician and setting dates for those much-needed physicals.
6. Talk about sensitive health topics early-on. Instead of waiting until the last minute, it's important to discuss any health topics that your teen needs to know as early as possible. This applies to the menstrual cycle, the birds and the bees, and your preference on the best forms of contraceptives or abstinence. Waiting until your teen finds out about these hugely important issues from friends, television shows, or the school counselor means that you have missed the chance to help form extremely important choices your teens will make and prepare them for life events that will come up soon.
7. Drink more water, and get rid of soda. This is simple, but definitely worth it. The health benefits of drinking enough water cannot be overstated, and the harmful effects of soda have been well-documented. Most soda contains such a huge amount of sugar that the body has difficulty digesting it properly. Once and a while, it's fine, but make sure your teens are reaching for something else on a daily basis.

Contributor: Leslie Johnson is a freelance writer for

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Teens and Online Reputation

It’s hard for kids to think that the things they do now will matter later. But the reality is, those things will, especially if they have put them anywhere on the Internet. Sure, having a Facebook page is cool and fun, but kids and teens need to know that what goes on Facebook, stays on Facebook. Once something has been put online or sent out as a text, it’s out there, and unfortunately, there’s no getting it back.

Read on to find out more information about online reputations—and how you can protect your own and your child’s.

What You as a Parent Can Do

As parents, it’s your job to get this in your child’s head. Kids and teens need to know there are viable repercussions for posts, pictures, and texts they might publish. Parents need to let them know this. Explain to your kids it’s not as easy as deleting a post—or even an account—to get rid of something. Explain how fast things can travel through social networking and how easy they are to dig up.
Parents should monitor cell phones and computers and see what their kids are texting, emailing, tweeting, and posting. Let your kids know you’ll be doing this and make some surprise attacks as well. Reality is that as technology gets better, more of it becomes accessible to kids. When cell phones first became the norm for kids to have, you could still find one without texting or cameras; now you’d be hard pressed to get one of those. But set boundaries and make your child aware of what can happen—where that one picture could end up, or who may come across that Facebook post.

How Will This Affect Kids Later?

But really, what’s the big deal, your kid may ask. Who’s going to see it? Well, the answer is as simple as it is broad—anyone! Most employers now do a quick Google search on any potential employee, and they also take a look at Facebook pages. If your child has a bad online reputation, whether from pictures he or she has posted, or from posts that even mention his or her name, it can surface. And it can be ugly.
Imagine a potential employer looking at a few applicants. Does the one with the partying life on Facebook, the ugly comments directed at others, and vivid accounts of late nights and hangovers win over the one with the more professional online presence? Probably not.

It’s not just potential bosses that will look at online reputations, but so will the people who decide on college applications. What your child has put online over the years can have a huge impact on getting into a college of choice or not.

Think Ahead

 Though some future concepts are hard for kids to understand, it is vital that they keep clean online reputations. If a parent can simply impose the standard of “If you don’t want your potential boss to see it, don’t do it,” maybe there would be a lot less regrets of posts and pics on the Internet by kids and teens.

Special contributor:  Heather Legg is an author who writes on parenting tips, technology, and healthy lifestyles.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Teen Drinking: The Mentality Behind Teen Alcoholism

And the ONE RULE you need to follow to stop it!

The Pre-Game
Teens often indulge in a “pre-game” drinking binge before parties or sports events. Large quantities are consumed quickly in order to sustain a sense of inebriation over many hours. The point of a pre-game binge is to achieve inebriation before an event where access to alcohol and drugs will be restricted.

Pre-gaming is especially dangerous in that it often occurs in a vehicle. Although drinking can occur during the drive to the event, teens may also drink in the parking lot of the event venue. Alcohol can also be smuggled into venues, disguised in water bottles or hidden inside large purses or jackets.

The Parent Game Plan: Before parties and big events, be involved as your teen prepares. When possible, drive your teen and his friends to the venue. As always, be honest with your teen about the dangers of drinking and your stance on the issue.

Working for the Weekend
Some kids work hard all week on academics and sports, but see the weekend as a time to partake in illicit activities and party behavior. This mindset is especially prevalent at competitive high schools. This attitude toward drugs and alcohol equates recreation as something that is rebellious against responsibility and is seen as a reward for good behavior. After working hard, they feel as though they deserve to play hard. This type of attitude can lead to a dependence on drugs or alcohol as a means to relax.

The Parent Game Plan: Explain to your teen that responsible behavior throughout the week does not warrant complete independence. It is also important to teach your teen positive ways to relax. Positive recreational activities and hobbies not only occupy a teen’s time, but they also offer a sense of accomplishment and self-worth that alcohol and drugs can never provide.

Social Lubricant
Let’s face it. Being a teenager is difficult, and social interaction can be awkward. Many teens drink to feel less inhibited and more secure in social settings. Unfortunately, some teens will drink in response to anxiety about a crush, which heightens the risk of poor sexual decisions. Forming these habits during formative years can have a drastic effect on a teen, potentially making it difficult for her to socialize without alcohol or other substances.

The Parent Game Plan: Teens needs to learn how to face the fears and risks of social interaction in a substance-free environment. Host co-ed movie nights or game nights for your teen’s friends and serve as a chaperone. Sometimes teenagers turn to illicit activities because the peer group doesn’t accept wholesome activities as fun. It is your job to provide your teenager with a healthy example of “adult” fun.

Another option is to introduce your teen to an older mentor. Encouraging your teen to spend time with mentors with similar interests can help him adapt to a more mature standard of behavior. This will also give your teen the opportunity to talk about embarrassing or difficult situations he may not be able to come to you about.

For the Win
During unsupervised parties, many kids participate in drinking games popularized by college students. While these games can seem as harmless as table tennis to teenagers, the truth is those who participate in drinking games are at a higher risk for developing alcoholism. Once teens accept the rules of these games, the height of tolerance levels is tantamount to strength. These teens think they are winning at a game, but they are actually exposing their brains to toxic levels of alcohol.
Essentially drinking games are a way for teenagers to bond while participating in binge drinking behavior. Unlike pre-gaming, there is no time limit in drinking games. This means that many teens will drink until their physical limits are reached. Alcohol poisoning and black-outs are two immediate effects of binge drinking.

The Parent Game Plan: Teenagers who binge drink will be unable to hide the effects from their parents, which means they will most likely “crash” where the party was thrown or they will stay with a friend who has lenient or oblivious parents. Parents can discourage binge drinking by confirming plans with other parents and enforcing curfews. Let your teenager know that you expect him not only to behave responsibly, but to look out for his friends who may be affected by this social behavior.

How to Stop Teen Alcohol Abuse

Be involved.

Parents who are involved in their teenagers lives – offering support, encouraging questions and providing wholesome outlets for socializing – are following the #1 rule to keeping their children safe from alcohol abuse.

Contributor: Lauren Bailey can be reached for comments at Lauren at blauren 99

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Is Your Teen Depressed? Know the Warning Signs

High school can be hard for anyone; it doesn’t matter if your teen is the captain of the cheerleading squad or the chess club.

There are many factors into teens becoming depressed like lack of self-esteem, bullies, hormones or an unfortunate event.

Here are 5 signs that your teen may be depressed:

Chooses to stay home: Teens typically spend their youth hanging out with friends, going to movies and the mall or over to a friend’s house. If your teen has been choosing to stay home and without friends, this could be a sign they aren’t happy. It’s normal for a teen to go through friendship changes but if you think it is something more, talk to your teen.
Change in clothing and hygiene: This could go either way, if your teen stops taking care of their appearances or they drastically become obsessed with their appearance and hygiene these could be signs your teen is depressed. Teens often use clothing and makeup to express themselves and when they start to let themselves go, it’s because they don’t care about themselves. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your teen starts to overdue the makeup, hair and clothing –it’s not just a trend, it’s a sign they are feeling the need to present themselves in a dramatic fashion to gain attention from anyone.
Extreme mood swings: Yes, hormones can be the reason for mood swings but not all of it. If you teen goes from being extremely happy and then straight to sad in a matter of moments, your teen could be depressed. Depressed teens do not how to express themselves and handle pain and when they are experiencing that pain, their reactions reflect so.
Grades slipping: Grade slipping is the first and easiest sign to every teacher and parent that a teen may be having difficulty, such as depression. Depression can consume one’s mind to where studying becomes hard and concentration difficult, resulting in bad grades. This is why it is important to always check your child’s progress reports and to meeting with their teachers.
Loss of friends: Teens will fight with friends but tend to get over their problems fast. Your child with gain and lose friends because it is just how life works, but if you notice that your child’s closest friends are not around, something could be wrong.

It is hard to tell if a teen is depressed or not because of the growing, learning and hormones but when in doubt, talk. Talk to you teen if you see any of these signs and consult a professional for help. Depression runs deep and could take time to heal. Talk and keep an eye on your teen and remember that this too shall pass.

Special contributor: Kelsey is the editor in chief for She loves to write article and ideas that parents & nannies would be interested in hearing. She helps society on giving information about nannies through nanny services. She is a professional writer & loves writing on anything.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Should Parents Befriend their Teens on Facebook?

Kids these days, with their Facebooks and Twitters and the phones that are smart–who do they think they are? Flash Gordon? One thing’s for sure: When it comes to computers, these whippersnappers think their knowledge and expertise leave their parents in the Stone Age. So, Mr. or Ms. Cavedweller, should you be your child’s friend on Facebook? Is it your priority as a parent to protect her, or to trust her to do what she knows is right?

Facebook is a netherworld of deceit and temptation–a series of gutters, each overflowing with more filth and depravity than the last. A child has neither the life experience nor the emotional maturity to recognize or appropriately deal with an online con artist or sexual predator. He needs you as his Facebook friend, if only to keep a loving watchful eye over him as he navigates the turbulent waters of social media. He may know every line of code behind Facebook’s technology, but he does not know the darkness that lies in the heart of human sharks who use Facebook as their feeding grounds. He will friend you, and that’s that.

The tenuous bond between a parent and a teen is made of thin strands of trust. You have passed your wisdom on to her, you have led by shining example, and you have helped her to learn by her–and your–mistakes. Now is the time when you must let loose the moorings and trust her to row and steer the currents and eddies of the Sea of Facebook to find safe passage to adulthood. Leave her be, and trust that the love you two share will engender two-way trust; when she encounters trouble, she will come to you, knowing that you will assist unconditionally. Do not friend her.

Levity aside, this is not a choice that can be made for you, nor is it one that you should make on your own. Talk with your child; even if you exercise veto power, solicit his input. Don’t enter the discussion with preconceptions or a final decision.
The first thing you should ask is: Why does she use Facebook? Is she simply socializing with real-world friends? Does she collaborate on schoolwork or extra-curricular activities? Is she getting involved in causes or learning more about other cultures? These are a few of the ways in which Facebook can positively influence a teenager.

On the other hand, if you get the feeling that he uses Facebook to bolster his self-esteem by presenting himself to be someone he isn’t, or to find a group to fit in with, investigate further.
Whether her reasons for being on Facebook are positive, troubling, mixed, or unknown, you should at least work out a way in which you can get an idea of who she interacts with and what the tone of those interactions are. If you need more information on how Facebook works and how to talk to your child about it, check out the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) Parent’s Guide to Facebook (PDF).

Guest contributor:  Al Natanagara is a writer, journalist, and blogger whose career includes stints with ZDNet, CNet, CBS, LexisNexis, and law enforcement. He has hundreds of Facebook friends, but all of them are blocked.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Google and Your Teenager

Do you know what Google is saying about you?
What is it saying about your child or your teenager that will be applying for college or a job shortly?  This is a very important question you have to be ready for.

Years ago your resume was based on your education and experience, today there is a machine waiting to dispute and humiliate your reputation. That machine (and technology) is the Internet or the World Wide Web.  It isn’t going away so it is time many parents and everyone learn to embrace it!

5 Tips to help secure your teen’s digital profile

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!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cell Phones and Teens: Do they Need Them?

A debate that can depend on the child?

A debate that can depend on the age of the child?
A debate that can depend on the maturity of the child?
A debate that can depend on the family and their beliefs?

The debate regarding the necessity of mobile phones for children continues to rage on as kids demand cell phones at younger and younger ages. Many parents, however, believe that cell phones are a non-essential luxury that can be reserved until a certain age; others feel that in this day and age, mobiles are an important asset for everyone, children included.

In this article, we’ll look at 10 reasons why your kid can do without a mobile:

1. Children shouldn’t be any place where there isn’t responsible adult supervision – Any time children aren’t within the care of their parents there should always be someone old enough to watch the kids with them. There is no need for them to carry their own personal phones when they and their parents adhere to this simple common sense policy, which has worked for centuries.
2. What children actually use phones for varies greatly from why the phone was initially bought – Children are using these phones for everything but the emergencies that parents use as a rationale for equipping them with mobiles in the first place. Facebook won’t help in an emergency, and neither will Angry Birds. And who texts an emergency message anyway?
3. The phones being purchased for emergency situations are coming equipped with the latest technology – Most parents who argue that the phone is a safety measure for their child wind up spending a bundle on web access and texting service for their kids’ phones, both of which are totally unnecessary for their supposed purpose.
4. Cell phones are becoming less a help and more a hindrance – Kids spend time on their mobile phones that could and should be spent more productively. Given the state of education in this country, the time is past due to eliminate distractions rather than hand them out to our kids.
5. Cell phones open gateways to trouble – Most of the dangers to their kids that parents are dealing with are related to the fact that their kids are in constant contact via cell phones. Cyber-bullying, sexting and other such issues are far more likely to put your child at risk than not having a cell phone.
6. Having the world at your fingertips can be a dangerous distraction – Cell phone use could in fact put your child at risk to the sort of perils that parents envision when they buy the kids phones to begin with. Think about it: your child is too busy texting, surfing, or playing games that she becomes otherwise oblivious to her surroundings.
7. They cause a dependence on constant connection – It isn’t healthy for kids to remain so dependent on constant connectivity in order to function. Kids need to develop independence and the capacity for responsible decision-making without supervision.
8. They have a negative influence on productivity and learning – Kids are frequently using their cell phones, to their own detriment as well as others, at times and in places at which there is no need for them to have one, such as in school. Some schools, for this reason, have taken steps to ban them.
9. Cell phones encourage superficial relationships – Cell phone use inhibits social development. Kids become more reliant on their devices to communicate and spend less face time with friends and family as a result.
10. They make kids grow up too fast – Kids should be allowed to be kids. There will be plenty of years ahead when they will have jobs and responsibilities that might necessitate their having these electronic leashes. We should let them enjoy this time in their lives while they still can.

Source: Land Line Phone Service

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

5 Signs Your Teen's Friend Isn't Who They Seem to Be

The Internet has given child predators new hunting grounds: a place where they can pretend to be anyone they need to be in order to gain a child’s trust. But there is only so much that parents can do to limit exposure to potentially dangerous areas of the Internet. Aside from technological safeguards and a list of rules, the best thing moms and dads can do to protect kids from child predators is to observe.

When to Pull the Plug

There are some obvious signs that your child’s online buddy isn’t who he/she seems. For instance, if your child is posting nude or semi-nude photos of herself via chat, social media, and/or email, put a stop to it immediately and contact authorities. When obviously unsafe online activity occurs, take steps to keep your child from accessing the Internet: Remove his cell phone; secure other phones, laptops, and tablets; alert parents of friends; and above all, remain calm. Do not get angry with him or indicate in any way that he is to blame. A child’s trust is easily gained by a crafty, determined predator, and what he needs most at this point is reassurance that there are adults who love and protect him.

Five Not-So-Obvious Signs

Then there are signs that are not so obvious–behaviors on the part of your child or their online acquaintance that could indicate harmless communication among peers, but when they persist or are observed in combination with other signs, they could add up to a dangerous situation.
  1. The “friend” asks questions about your child’s physical attributes, such as height, weight, or bra size. While it is within the realm of possibility that a peer might innocently ask such questions, this is one of the signs that requires cessation of online activities and a thorough investigation into email history and account logs. For more information on monitoring your children’s computer activity, check out the NetSmartz Workshop site.
  2. The “friend” asks to meet your child in person. Even though this is the sign that Law & Order: SVU repeats every other week as the One Sign that signals “predator” in flashing red neon, it can slip by parents if the child’s behavior seems otherwise normal. Before you allow your child to go online unsupervised, let her know that she is to tell you if someone asks her this or any of the questions from sign #1. If she is old enough to go to the mall on her own, you still need to know who else is going; if you have any suspicions at all, check with those kids’ parents before she leaves home.
  3. Your child’s behavior changes. Is he suddenly spending more time online? Does he become angry when he is not allowed to use a computer or cannot get access to one? Does he dodge questions about his online activity? Does he lock the door when he is using his computer?
  4. Your child keeps her online activity secret. Closing a chat window, deleting emails and chat logs, and locking parents out of social media groups could be signs that she is communicating with someone who has told her to hide their relationship from her parents. It could also be typical teen behavior. Err on the side of caution by looking for further instances of this and other telltale behavior.
  5. Your child receives gifts. We are living in a material world, and like it or not, your child is most likely a material girl…or boy. A bribe from a predator could be anything, including any innocent trinket or Bieber-branded product of the moment. Items that raise a red flag include: webcam, cell phone, iPod, iPad, or anything that facilitates online communication and/or seems too expensive for a peer to afford.
For more information on keeping your children safe from predators, visit the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Special guest contributor:  Al Natanagara is a writer, journalist, and blogger whose career includes stints with ZDNet, CNet, CBS, LexisNexis, and law enforcement. He has done his time both in a cubicle and in the real world, but wherever he is, he always has one protective eye on his children.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Talking with Your Teenager: 10 Tips to Make it Easier

Communicating with teens can be even more difficult. During your children’s teenage years you’ll likely encounter a period of time when it seems like you have nothing in common with each other and carrying on conversations is akin to climbing Mt. Everest. This is heavily influenced by the fact that teenagers and the adults who care for them are very different creatures and are at very different points in their lives. Understanding those differences will help open the lines of communication between you and the teen in your life.

Check out these ideas for ways to get teens talking:

  1. Create a topic jar. A topic jar is a jar that you fill with different pieces of paper containing conversation topics. Each night at dinner a different person gets to choose a slip of paper from the jar and read it aloud. The reader gets to start the conversation. For example, the slip of paper could say, “Tell about something that surprised you today”.
  2. Ask open-ended questions. By asking questions that cannot be answered with only a yes or no, you are opening the door for your teenager to say more than a couple of words in reply to you. Try to avoid grilling her and stay away from asking questions like, “How was your day?” Her answer will most likely be a one word answer to these type of questions. Instead, say something like, “Tell me about your day.”
  3. Talk about topics she likes. Often teens feel like they are misunderstood by their parents. Instead of trying to get her involved in whatever you want to talk about, try talking about something that you know she likes. If she is an avid soccer player then ask her if she heard about the latest soccer match between Spain and Italy. She will probably be stunned that you even know that Spain and Italy recently had a soccer match and might actually want to talk about it. Once the door is open she may continue to talk about other things that are on her mind.
  4. Schedule some one on one time with her. Take her out to her favorite restaurant with just the two of you. If that is too expensive, just go for dessert and linger over coffee. Do something that she enjoys, like going to a local soccer match. Sharing these moments with her will give her the opportunity to talk to you while you are both relaxed and alone.
  5. Listen more than you speak. Every minute of your time together with her doesn’t have to be filled with idle chit chat. If you are trying to get someone to talk, leaving some silence will give them the opportunity to fill that silence with conversation.
  6. Be patient with your teen. If she is going through a rough time with her boyfriend or her other friends at school it may be difficult for her to talk about. Give her opportunities to broach the subject with you, but don’t try to force her to talk to you. That will only result in her becoming more stubborn and closed off.
  7. Put yourself in her shoes. Teenagers think that their parents and caregivers don’t understand them. Try to resist saying things like, “I understand what you are going through because I was a teenager once too you know”. Every generation has their own obstacles to overcome, and you can’t know what she is going through until she tells you. Really try to imagine how you would feel if you were in her shoes going through what she is going through.
  8. Don’t try to fix her. Parents and caregivers often try to fix a situation before they even understand it. Everyone is busy, but make time to hear her out. Don’t jump in and offer advice until it’s asked for. The only thing you should be doing while she is talking is nodding and saying the occasional, “hmm” or “I see” to indicate you are actively listening. This part is very difficult, but she needs to feel heard. Imagine how it would feel if you were sharing one of your problems and the person kept interrupting you to offer advice. Would you enjoy that?
  9. Try to be her soft place to fall, not a road block. Teenagers are faced with a lot of peer pressure. Amazingly enough, teens will come to the right decision most of the time if given the chance. Comfort her if she’s had a fight with a friend or if she breaks up with her boyfriend, but don’t condemn the boyfriend or friend. Anything negative that you say now will come back to haunt you when she gets back together with her boyfriend or the next time that her friend comes over to spend the night.
  10. Only offer your opinion when she asks for it. If you are lucky enough to get your teen talking, don’t interrupt with your opinions. Telling her what you would do isn’t going to help because she will remind you that you and she are nothing alike. Teens are trying to break away and prove their individuality. If she asks for your advice, start by asking her what she has considered so far. This will give you an idea of where her head is and you can act accordingly. Avoid lectures at all costs.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012