Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Teens and Fake Profiles on Facebook

Recently I have read reports about teens leaving Facebook.  Of course we can understand why -- more and more parents and seniors are joining Facebook and teens want their privacy!

However I am not convinced that teens are quitting the largest social networking site - for several reasons.  Sure they have Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, SnapChat and others - but none will give you the functionality that Facebook has.

I believe teens (and tweens - since we know that minors are also on Facebook) are likely creating fictitious profiles on Facebook.

How would a parent know and why is it important to know?

Safety reasons obviously.  As a parent it is your responsibility to monitor your child's digital life.  Especially if their off-line behavior starts acting suspicious (withdrawn, secretive, changing friends, etc) you need to be aware of what is going on with them so you are able to help.

Recently I wrote an article in Huffington Post Parents with tips to see if your teen has a fake profile on Facebook.  Read more and pass it on to a friend with kids.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens! On and off-line.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cyberbullying: It Doesn't Recognize Holidays

Order today!
Wouldn't it be nice if there was a time when you could power up your electronics -- whether it's your iPad, tablet, PC or cell phone -- and not have to worry about any type of hostile content?

Internet trolls and cyberbullies never take vacations or summer breaks, and they don't recognize holidays.

This holiday season, as cyberbullying and bullying sadly continues, you can give your teens and kids the gift of cyber-armor!

Read my latest post on Huffington Post Parent - click here.

Order Words Wound!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Good Teens Bad Choices: Helping Your Kids Build Self-Esteem

Help! My teen is hanging with the wrong crowd!

This is a common statement from parents when their child is starting down a negative road.
Your child’s self-esteem is an important part of his self-image. It helps him feel he’s worthwhile just as he is and helps him feel good about his choices and decisions. A healthy self esteem doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s something that is nurtured and grown throughout a lifetime, and something that the important people in his life have a chance to help cultivate.
Here are some tips for boosting your child’s self-esteem.

Give your child choices throughout the day. A big part of healthy self-esteem is feeling capable. Offering your child choices about what outfit to wear, what to have for a snack or for lunch, or if he should pick up the play room before or after going to the park will give your child practice making good choices. When offering young children choices, the key is being comfortable with whatever the child chooses. The goal is to help him think about both sides and make a decision that he feels will best satisfy his needs.

Avoid generic praise. Parents want kids to feel good about the things they do and to encourage them to repeat the types of behavior they value. So parents often say things like “Great job!” after everything from finishing vegetables at dinner to putting socks on in the morning to going down the slide at the park. While generic congratulations feel good to a child for a short time, after too many times it becomes meaningless. In fact, congratulating a child for things that don’t require real effort can make a child lose trust in the parent’s honesty.

Use specific praise generously. It’s helpful to a child’s self-esteem to hear from parents and other adults about their accomplishments, both big and small. Instead of using generic praise, let your child know how much you admire and appreciate his specific behavior. Phrases like “I appreciate your help in picking up the play room this afternoon. It means we have more time at the park!” or “Eating your vegetables will help your body grow strong and healthy. I love your willingness to try new things.” or “I’m so proud of how you climbed to the top of the tower. That took strong arms and great balance!” will help your child feel good about his abilities and choices.

Avoid negative labels. Most of the way we communicate with others is based in lifelong habits. Unfortunately some unhealthy habits may find their way into your parenting or caregiving vocabulary. Labeling a child as being mean, lazy, uncoordinated or hyperactive, or calling him a whiner, liar or babyish can negatively affect his self-esteem. Children are sensitive to what the people they love think about them and words can have a huge effect. Choose your words carefully and talk about challenging behaviors or traits in positive terms.

Become a great listener. Giving your child your full attention and truly listening to what he is saying and how he feels is an immediate self-esteem booster. When you turn off your phone, the TV and the computer and fully engage with your child it shows him that you really care about him and that you’re interested in what he has to say. That kind of undivided attention is rarer than it should be these days and will make your child feel valued and loved.

Model healthy self-esteem. Your child looks to you for clues about how to think, act and feel. Make sure you’re sending the right message. Invest in developing your own healthy self-esteem and you’ll be on your way to helping your child develop it too. Have a positive body image, be confident about your abilities, and don’t let petty criticisms from the outside world make you feel bad about yourself and your choices. If you struggle with esteem issues, talk about them with your child in an age appropriate way and show him the steps you’re taking to develop a healthy self-esteem. Showing your child that you’re not perfect, but that you’re working towards being better, gives him the freedom to accept his flaws too.

Teach problem solving skills. Teaching your child how to objectively assess a situation, brainstorm solutions, and put a plan into action is a proactive way of building self-esteem. Children who feel able to handle challenging situations, who recognize that when they get knocked down they can get right back up and try again, and who are confident that every problem has a solution have a strong sense of self-esteem.

Self-esteem is an important part of a child’s healthy emotional development. It acts like a suit of armor for your child, protecting him from many of the bumps and bruises that come with everyday life. It also gives him a strong foundation to build life skills on.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What Is Your Parenting Style?

Does your teen listen to you?
Most parents know that raising teens is a challenge today.

Consider these suggestions when dealing with the following temperaments on a day-to-day basis:

• Flexible and affable. These teens live on the sunny side of the street. They are generally agreeable and tend not to take things personally.

Appreciate their good nature and let them know that you do. It’s unfair and risky not to give them your very best parenting just because they are less likely to get angry or become sullen.

• Sensitive. These teens often take awhile to adjust to anything new. They like routine and knowing what is going to happen when. They may not appreciate teasing or certain kinds of humor.

Give these teens plenty of advance warning when a change is about to happen. Take a little extra time to explain things to them. If you hurt their feelings, apologize.

• Challenging. These teens can be critical, especially of their parents. Their first reaction is often a negative one, and they seem to enjoy arguing for its own sake.

These teens dislike rules, so set only a few that speak to your top priorities. Model a good example for them. Don’t return criticisms with criticism of your own. Let them know you always love them, even though you may not love their behavior.

Copyright © 2013 Parent Institute

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Teen Mischief

Teen shoplifting....
As the holidays are approaching, there will be many teens off from school - many staying at home looking for something to do.

It is important to keep your kids busy in constructive and positive ways.  Bored teens can sometimes lead to trouble.  Teen Shoplifting, vandelism and more may haunt your homes – be an educated parent, take the time to create activities for the entire family.

For many kids, adolescence is a trying phase of life. Body changes, school pressures, and personality changes can be very overwhelming to your teen when occurring all at once. Because of these pressures, adolescents can be more susceptible to things like peer pressure. Whether it’s out of a desire to fit in or stand out, your normally levelheaded teen can be easily pressured into committing dangerous and illegal acts they might never otherwise consider.

Sometimes, these activities are relatively harmless, and can include things like dying their hair a bold color, or cutting a class or two. But often, many teens find the desire to fit in so strong they are willing to compromise their own morals to be part of the ‘in’ crowd. They may be more likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol, or commit other criminal activities, all for the sake of ‘fitting in’.
Though there are many dangers your teen may encounter, this site deals specifically with teenagers and criminal activity, like shoplifting, vandalism, and violent crime. Teens can partake in these activities for many reasons- peer pressure  being just one of a long list of possibilities.

Click here for my website on Teen Mischief.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Does Your Teenage Boy or Girl Show Weight Loss, Increased Body Hair, Acne? How to Spot the Signs of an Eating Disorder


Is your teen losing weight, suffering from severe acne, hiding food, or fasting? Could it be Anorexia or Bulimia? Causes, symptoms and treatment discussed.

Is your teen losing weight, suffering skin problems like severe acne, hiding food, binging, vomiting or fasting? He or she might have an eating disorder. 

Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia are serious eating disorders that have severe health impacts, sometimes even causing death in teens as young as eleven or twelve.

Weight loss, over-excercising, teenage acne,counting calories, depression and distorted body image, binging or uncontrolled eating, vomiting, and hiding food.  These are just some of the symptoms.  There are many others.

Symptoms of Anorexia:

  • Weight loss-15% below the ideal weight for her age and height.
  • Being obsessive about counting calories and eating fat-free foods.   
  • A fear of gaining weight.
  • Being cagey about eating habits.
  • Obsessive and compulsive or excessive exercising.
  • Abusing laxatives or diuretics.
  • Mood and emotional problems like depression or anxiety.
  • A severely distorted self and body image.
  • Loss of bone mass.
  • Absence of menstrual periods.
  • Low body temperature.
  • Death-from dehydration, heart failure or other causes.

The main symptom of Anorexia Nervosa is a marked fear of being fat and obsessions about being and becoming thin.  This usually translates into intense and secretive efforts to avoid food.  No matter how thin an anorexic girl or by becomes they will still see themselves as fat.  Ultimately the person will starve themselves, and use exercise and laxatives to aid this process.

Unfortunately attempting to force an anorexic teen to eat will likely end in failure and might even make the problem worse.  This is because the disorder isn’t really about food or weight.  Some patients become obsessed with other health concerns like teenage acne, hair care, or how they dress and behave.

Anorexia is more than just a desire to look good or be accepted.  Teens with these diseases are looking for more than just a perfect body.  Anorexia is a complex psychological disorder that is linked to severe depression and low self-esteem.

Symptoms of Bulimia:

  • Uncontrollable eating (binge eating).
  • Dieting, fasting and vomiting as weight control measures.  
  • Visiting the bathroom often after eating –usually to purge.
  • Heartburn, indigestion or sore throat.
  • Being obsessive about body weight.
  • Mood changes and depression.
  • Hoarding or hiding food.
  • Dental changes such as loss of enamel, cavities and abrasions –due to frequent vomiting.
  • Dehydration and electrolyte loss.
  • Bowel, kidney and liver damage.
  • Irregular heartbeat and possible cardiac arrest.

Teens with bulimia eat very large amounts of food and then induce vomiting to remove the food from their bodies.  They are not comfortable or happy with their self and body image. 

Most appear to be of normal weight, which can make the disorder difficult to spot, but some are underweight or overweight.  Some sufferers also abuse drugs and alcohol.  Bear in mind that many obese people have binge eating disorder but this is not the same as Bulimia.

Who gets Anorexia and Bulimia?

Around 75% of girls are not happy about their weight or feel they are too fat.  Anorexia occurs only in 1% of girls worldwide.  Do bear in mind that while eating disorders are more common in girls they also affect teen boys. 

About 90% of sufferers are girls between 12 and 25 (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill). Fewer than 10% are boys or men.  It is more prevalent in groups that value slim physiques such as athletes, dancers or models. As already mentioned eating disorders may be masked in seeking treatment for teenage acne, skin problems, tooth decay etc. just as an adult might.
  
What causes eating disorders?

It is not known exactly why one person will develop an eating disorder and another won’t.  In two thirds of cases dieting can trigger the disease, but this is not the only important trigger mechanism.  Most girls and boys with eating disorders have low self and body image or co-existing emotional disorders like anxiety and depression.

How dangerous are eating disorders?

The effects of both Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia can be very damaging to the general health.  They can even cause death.  Diuretics (water pills), laxatives, and weight loss pills can be very damaging to the body’s organs.  Syrup of ipecac is often used to induce vomiting and is also deadly if used in excess. Very low body weight on its own offers some life-threatening complications. 

Some effects are minor such as skin, hair problems and back acne, for which treatment might be sought. Most teenagers do not need any type of diet, except a healthy one.  If your teen is overweight good eating habits and exercise is usually all that is needed to bring the problem under control.   

The body mass index (BMI) of a teen is more important than calorie and pound counting.  A body mass index below the 5th percentile for the child’s age and sex can be considered underweight.  Consult BMI tables for more information. 

How to help your teen cope with an eating disorder:

Teens can be helped to avoid falling prey to unhealthy obsessions with food or weight by learning early on to associate healthy eating with good health and self-love.  Avoid excessive focus on weight within the family and place the emphasis on lifestyle changes not dieting. 

If you suspect that your teen has an eating disorder, use “I” statements and make sure he or she understands that you are concerned not judging.  It is important to LISTEN.  The average teen finds it hard to share emotions, and these teens are especially blocked or sensitive.

In Anorexia nervosa it is very important that some weight is regained as soon as possible so this should be an important goal of treatment.  To do this, teens will need to overcome fears and perceptions in a therapeutic setting.  In most cases any eating disorder is best dealt with at a clinic or facility especially tailored for this. 

Concerned parents can call the National Eating Disorders Association’s Toll-Free Information and Referral HelpLine at 1-800-931-2237.

If you uncover that your child does have an eating disorder he or she needs to be evaluated as soon as possible. Eating disorders need to be properly diagnosed by medical and psychiatric professionals. They always need medical attention.

The National Institute of Mental Health has an online brochure on eating disorders that discusses current research. 

Eating Disorders  by KidsHealth will also provide parents with information. 

Guest post by Joanna Curtis

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bullying: 10 Ways Technology Has Made It Worse

It is National Bullying Prevention Month.

When we were growing up there were bullies. Nobody liked to be bullied, but it was a fact of life that you had to deal with kids that weren’t very nice. Now, schools are so anti-bullying that anything that even slightly seems like bullying is taken very seriously. At least when we were growing up they didn’t have Facebook to upload embarrassing videos to that would ruin a person’s life. 

Check out 10 ways technology makes bullying worse.
  1. Facebook: Embarrassing pictures and videos can be uploaded to Facebook in a matter of a few seconds and ruin someone’s life forever. Kids do not understand the damage that something like that can do to a person. People have actually committed suicide because of events like these.
  2. Cell phones: Growing up we did not have cell phones. Kids these days have the ability to take pictures at a moment’s notice and sometimes not in the most appropriate places. Nude pictures of students in the shower or in the locker room have also caused suicides.
  3. Texting: Kids can bully by texting now. They can text everyone else at the same time something bad or embarrassing about someone else. They can also send pictures over their phone to everyone on their contact list. Bullying like this can make someone’s life miserable.
  4. Flip cameras: These cameras are used to shoot quick videos at close range and can be uploaded to the Internet. Kids that want to bully just have to take embarrassing videos of a student and share them with everyone. Or a video can be sent to a parent as well that would get them grounded or in trouble.
  5. You Tube: A lot of good things have happened to people by posting a video on You Tube, but a lot of bad stuff has happened too. People love to be the first one to dish the dirt on someone else. They witness a fight they grab their cell phone and upload it to You Tube. Or they set someone up and post what they think is a funny video to You Tube, but it’s actually very embarrassing. People don’t think they are bullying when they do this stuff, but they really are.
  6. Gaming systems: Many online gaming systems allow conversations between the players. Teens have reported that someone pretending to be them said mean things or embarrassing things to another person. This kind of bullying is hard to stop and hard to track. It does however cause a lot of problems for today’s teens.
  7. Blogs: There are teens that create blogs that post the latest gossip about people and will say nasty things about people. Teens feel that they are anonymous and that no one can tell who is doing the bullying, but there are ways to track down who’s doing it and there are some big consequences. If the bullying leads to a suicide the teen who is behind the bullying can be brought up on charges and sent to jail. Lesser sentences are losing privileges to use a computer for 2 years. Try doing your homework without a computer these days.
  8. Chat sites: Other sites online have chat rooms where teens can go and chat with their friends online. People can go into these chat rooms and make up a user name and start saying bad things about kids in that chat room. Many times there is a chat room that the students frequent because all their friends go there so when someone bullies in a chat room a lot of that kid’s peer group could be reading it.
  9. E-mail: Bullies steal identities and will sign into an e-mail account and send damaging e-mails pretending to be that teen. Inappropriate messages to a female teacher or a nasty message to the principal are all things that can really get that child in trouble and they didn’t do anything. Remind your child to keep passwords absolutely private.
  10. Instant messaging: Bullies will try to send nasty instant messages threatening to do something to a teen when they see them next. Or tell them that they are going to make sure that they don’t get something they want at school like a part in the play or a solo in choir. Bullying can take many forms even if it’s just telling someone that they did a terrible job on their audition or they overheard someone important say that they did a terrible job. Anything like that is going to put undue stress on that child. Make sure that your child is aware and being safe.
Source:  Full Time Nanny

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Tips for Your Teen to Have a Successful Senior Year

The rapid pace of senior year can be an excruciating ordeal for any high school student. There are countless factors to keep track of, and they all seem equally important. As a result, parents should intervene to remove unnecessary hassles from this defining time. Parental assistance can steer a growing child’s focus in the right directions, allowing them to form positive memories without sacrificing long-term academic trajectory. For a truly successful year, there are multiple angles of teenage life that need to be effectively tackled; here are some to keep in mind.

Prepare for Steep Expenses
The Consumerist extensively details how senior year can be the most expensive time of parenthood. There are endless investments to be made, and every single one of them appears to be dire. No amount of preparation can buffer the impact of steep charges, so it is crucial for parents to prepare for those expenses as early as possible. It’s not impossible for senior year to require more than $10,000 of extra expenditures. This spending is distributed across school portraits, yearbook purchases, prom, senior trips, class rings and testing costs. (And that doesn’t even count college application fees.)

Start College Applications Early
Summer is an excellent time to take advantage of universities that allow applications to be tendered early. This prevents in-depth forms from being compounded with the stress of schoolwork during the academic year. Parents should structure a calendar that gives them time to collaborate with their teenager about future plans. Help your college-bound child discern between his interests to make sure they end up going to the right institution of higher learning. To avoid excessive payments, applications should be initially sent to schools at the top of the list. Working together with a teenager bolsters their confidence in transitioning to the next stage of their life. U.S. News and World Report has more strategies for pursuing this process.

Keep Track of Extracurricular Activities
Academic resumes are bolstered by extra school participation, but some extracurricular activities are more valuable than other ones. Core studies should not be sacrificed for the sake of a frivolous after-school group. Parents can monitor their children’s academic commitments to help them fine-tune their approach to education as their schedules become more demanding. Ensure that stable transportation is available for important events, and make sure they have the freedom to experiment with their interests.

Follow Examination Schedules
Sharing a calendar can keep parents mentally attuned to the fast-paced needs of their high school senior. To help your child succeed, avoid planning distractions (nights out, family dinners, etc.) before big tests, and help enforce studying habits during these final days. Parents can keep their teenagers from becoming lost in piles of homework.

Emphasize Social Engagements
Don’t let your kid drown in the work, though. One of the biggest regrets seniors can have is failing to savor the social aspects of being young. This Huffington Post columnist talks about the importance of reveling in childhood friendships as youth comes to a close. After graduation, everyone is going to go down a different path, and this is the last chance for your senior to see many of his friends. Don’t forget that. If he appears to be overworked, then your best option is to encourage increased socialization. Spending time with friends will alleviate the pressures being externally placed on him.

Plan Graduation Parties in Advance
High expectations can incentivize focus during the final months of a high school experience. It also provides a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel for stressed out teenagers. This is the ultimate act of support, but don’t let the promise of a party or reward become a stress in its own right. A balanced strategy of positive reinforcement will help your child gradually achieve goals.

Avoid Excessive Interference
Even if the notion seems counterintuitive, it is actually important to trust a teenager’s instincts sometimes. Your child has made it this far, and he’s about to have to go a lot farther on his own, so it’s time to start letting go of the wheel. Listening is a vital skill for parents to practice at this stage of their child’s development. Often, teenagers just need more compassion. Giving them emotional support is preferable to inundating them with advice, but if your child asks, don’t be afraid to share your wisdom. The most important thing to remember is that he needs to be able to chart his own course. Do all you can do, and then be ready to let go.

Source: Babysitting Jobs

Friday, September 6, 2013

Teens and Tattoos

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 tattooed without the written notarized consent of the parent or legal guardian.

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Parenting Cyber-Safety: Keeping Your Kids Safe Digitally Speaking

 
Are you a TIP (Technologically Inept Parent)?  Almost 60% of primary school kids know more about technology than their moms, according to new research by Vtech.

Although this may sound amusing, experts agree parents should make the effort to keep abreast of technology for their children’s safety.  Research by Ofcom and EU Kids Online shows around a fifth of parents do not talk to their children about staying safe online, are not confident they can protect their children, and don’t have any rules about safe internet use.

The internet is an amazing resource and has innumerable benefits for our children, but how can we make sure they stay safe online?

Parental Controls
Many parents worry about the content their kids may come across online.  Parental controls can provide some peace of mind.  They let you do things like block selected websites and email addresses by adding them to a filter list, set time limits for use, and prevent your child from searching certain words.  Your internet service provider (ISP) or mobile phone operator will be able to tell you more about any child safety measures they offer.  With younger children, encouraging them to use child-friendly search engines can be a good way to filter content.

Privacy settings
Around 20% of 8 to 15-year-olds with social networking profiles have them set to open, and 29% of UK children have had contact with people they had not met before online.   Banning Facebook is extreme, but there are things you can do to reduce the risks.  Ask your child to select the strongest privacy setting available to ensure that they control who sees their personal information.  Explain why they should never give out personal information to people they only know online – this includes name, home address, phone numbers, bank details, PIN numbers and passwords. It’s also a good idea not to have a username or email address that references their age or gender.

Parenting, not filtering
While filtering tools can be useful, they are no substitute for parenting.  Filtering software is problematic as it can block acceptable sites, and overprotecting your kids might convey that you don’t trust them.  Make sure your kids understand your intentions for watching over them.  Include your child when making a set of rules for using the internet.  Being involved will help them understand the dangers and give them a sense of responsibility.  It’s also important that they feel they can tell you if they experience anything inappropriate that worries them.

Contributor:  Emma Baron of Find A Babysitter

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Teen Driving: Tips and Resources to Help Your Teen With Safe Driving Skills

Thinking about teaching your teen to drive might be giving you anxiety attacks, but with some careful planning and preparation it doesn’t have to. To help make the process a smoother one, it’s a good idea to start talking to your child about driving well before he’s ready to get behind the wheel. Your child is taking cues from you, so you need to model responsible driving skills, too. No matter how experienced of a driver you are, you’ll want to brush up on safe driving rules and laws before you start teaching your teen, as well as prepare some basic lessons for him once it’s time for him to start learning to drive. To learn more tips on how to teach your teen to drive, read these 15 blog articles.

Set a Good Example
Everyone is susceptible to road rage on occasion, and you’ve likely pushed the speed limit once or twice in your life. Think about your driving habits before you start teaching your teen to drive and fix any bad habits now, because your child is watching and learning driving habits years before he gets his learner’s permit. It’s never too early to start talking about defensive driving tips with your teen, and these five blog entries are full of tips to help you exhibit and teach good driving skills for your child.
Know the Rules
Try to think back to when you took the driver’s test to get your own learner’s permit.  Do you remember the questions on the test?  If it’s been 20 years or so since you took the test, you probably need a refresher. After all, a lot of things can change in 20 years! Check out these five blog posts to learn why knowing the rules is necessary before starting driving lessons with your child.
Plan Out Your Lessons
Before you get into the car with your teen it’s a good idea to plan out what you’re going to teach him. Start slowly by making sure that he knows how to adjust and work everything in the car.  Driving down the road in a sudden rain shower is no place to realize that he doesn’t know how to turn on the windshield wipers. These five blog postings will give you more tips on how you can break up your lessons.
Source:  Babysitting Jobs

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Distracted Driving: From One Second To The Next, #ItCanWait

Xzavier, Chandler, Debbie, and Reggie all know the horrors of texting & driving firsthand. Watch their stories in this It Can Wait Documentary.

Schools are opening and many teens will be driving to their classes.  What type of role model are you?  Do you talk or text while driving?  Studies have shown that kids are largely influenced by their parents.  You have to lead by example.

Don't be a distracted driver - your child is watching.  #ItCanWait - Take the Pledge.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Teens and Online Porn: Creating Boundaries Online and Off

In the past, pornography was mainly limited to artwork, magazines and the red-light districts. With the Internet and cable television, however, pornography has now made its way into our family rooms, home offices, teens cell phones and kids’ bedrooms. It is easily – and often inadvertently — accessible by children and teenagers, and parents must work even harder to prevent their children from becoming addicted to it.

Experts at the Jacob Wetterling Foundation developed the following tips to help parents prevent their children from becoming addicted to pornography:
  • Place home computers in a central area of the house, not a child’s bedroom or secluded area. Make surfing the Internet a family experience.
  • Talk with your children about what they can and cannot do online, while trying to understand their needs, interests and curiosity.
  • Know your child’s password and screen names; they may have more than one.
  • Set reasonable time limits on computer use, and ensure that your children adhere to the limitations.
  • You should also realize that children may be accessing the Internet from outside the home, such as friend’s homes, work, libraries and school.
  • Be open with your children and encourage them to come to you if they encounter a problem online.
  • Explore filtering and blocking software, which is used to sort information on the Internet and classify it according to content. A major drawback is that some filtering may block innocent sites, while many “negative” sites still get past the filters. Though these programs can be great assets, parents still need to maintain open communication with their children to inform and protect them.
The best cure for addiction is prevention. Many parents may suspect their children of being sexually addicted, but may not be sure of the warning signs. Victor Cline, Ph.D., an expert on pornography and its effects, encourages parents to be on the lookout for the following symptoms of sexual addiction:
  • A pattern of out-of-control sexual behavior
  • Experiencing severe consequences due to sexual behavior, and an inability to stop despite these adverse consequences
  • Persistent pursuit of self-destructive behavior
  • Ongoing desire or effort to limit sexual behavior
  • Sexual obsession and fantasy as a primary coping strategy
  • Regularly increasing the amount of sexual experience because the current level of activity is no longer satisfying
  • Severe mood changes related to sexual activity
  • Inordinate amounts of time spent obtaining sex, being sexual and/or recovering from sexual experiences
  • Neglect of important social, occupational or recreational activities because of sexual behavior
Being an educated parent will help you have safer teens both online and off.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Parenting Teens Online: Tips to Help Keep Them Digitally

When used in a responsible and safe manner, the Internet can be one of the most powerful research and educational tools at a child’s disposal. It can expose him to a wealth of knowledge that would otherwise be difficult to obtain, help him experience other cultures and ways of life and encourage him to learn about the world around him. When used irresponsibly by children that have not been adequately taught about the potential dangers, however, the Internet can also be one of the most powerful tools at a predator’s disposal.

These ten tips can help you keep your kids safe without depriving them of the valuable knowledge available online.
  • Take an Active Role in Monitoring – While you’ll want to provide your child with a certain measure of trust and freedom, it’s also important that you maintain an open policy about Internet and social media use. Make sure that you’re keeping tabs on what he’s doing online, and that you’re doing it in an open, honest manner that doesn’t seem like covert spying to your child.
  • Be Honest About Use of Monitoring Software – Monitoring software can be a very effective method of keeping up with what your kids are doing online, but it can also send a very clear message about your lack of trust if it’s used on the sly. Let your children know that there is monitoring software installed, rather than accosting them with evidence of misbehavior out of the blue.
  • Use Content Filtering Features – Web browsers, anti-virus software and search engines all have some level of filtering capability built in to them, so it’s wise to take advantage of those features to block questionable or mature content. Kids can inadvertently stumble over nudity, pornography or violent content without actively seeking it out, and these features make that a bit less likely.
  • Keep Your Computer Located in High-Traffic Areas – When your child has her own computer, she’s free to do her homework or study without tying up the family computer. She’s also able to access questionable content with some degree of privacy. Keeping your computer in a high-traffic area allows you to see what she’s looking at during her browsing sessions.
  • Limit Social Networking Use – Social networking sites are among the most popular on the Internet, but they’re not always a safe place for kids. Make sure that security settings on your child’s account are locked down, that he understands not to accept friend requests from strangers and that his social networking use is kept to a minimum.
  • “Friend” Your Child – While there are filtering options and lists that will allow a determined child to post and share questionable content without you seeing it, not all kids are that tech savvy. Insisting that your child send you a friend request as a caveat of social networking use can be a major deterrent from unsafe and risky behavior online.
  • Talk About Illegal Downloads – Kids don’t always understand the harsh penalties that can come along with copyright infringement and illegal downloading, which is why it’s important for parents and kids to have conversations about the repercussions of breaking the law, even if the Internet seems like a largely anonymous space.
  • Emphasize Values, Rather Than Tech-Savvy Tips – Kids will almost always have technical knowledge that outstrips that of their parents, which is why it’s important to emphasize a set of values over technical methods of staying safe. Talk about what is and is not okay to post online, how to handle scary situations and how to comport themselves rather than how to work the latest safety feature.
  • Keep Tabs on Gaming Devices – Most parents know that their kids’ cell phones and computers are sources of constant connectivity, but may not realize that their gaming consoles also connect to the Internet and put kids at risk of encountering predators. Make sure your little gamer knows never to share personal information with people he plays games with, and that you understand just how much outrageous “trash talk” is normal in the gaming community.
  • Maintain an Open Dialogue About Online Safety It’s not enough to have one conversation about online safety and to leave it at that. Instead of having a single conversation about safety, establish an ongoing dialogue about what he sees online, what’s okay and what’s not okay.
Source:   Nannywebsites.com

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Parenting Teens: The Challenge When They Hate You

No matter how great your relationship is with your teenager, there will inevitably come a moment when she screams that she hates you at the top of her lungs. While these declarations of animosity will naturally leave you feeling hurt, angry and even like a bit of a failure as a parent, they can also be a sign that you’re doing something right. Involved, engaged parents are occasionally forced to make decisions that are in the best interest of their children that their teenagers hate.

These are ten of the ways that you can be a mom your teenager hates, at least until she gets older and acquires a new perspective with age.
  • Give Her a Curfew – One surefire way to make your teenager hate you for a few years is to set a reasonable curfew. Teens are itching to express their independence and explore the boundaries in their lives, and they’re eager to make their own rules. When you insist on their return home at a reasonable hour, you know that you’re keeping them safe and helping them to get the rest they need. Your teen just thinks that you’re out to spoil her fun, though, and she will hate you for it.
  • Get to Know Her Friends – There’s nothing quite as embarrassing as your parents talking to your friends when you’re a teenager, which is why yours will not be your biggest fan when you get to know her friends. You’re a walking, talking and breathing embarrassment, and she’d probably rather her friends think that she sprung, fully formed, into existence. Don’t take it personally; she hates your presence on principal, but she doesn’t really hate you.
  • Make Her Dates Come to the Door – Generations of parents have been hated by their teenagers when they refused to allow a date to pick their kids up by honking a horn in the driveway. When your daughter’s dates meet you at the front door, she’ll hate you for embarrassing her and making her seem childish. Later in life, she’ll realize that you were just keeping a healthy eye on who she was spending time with.
  • Insist on Family Dinners – Kids from families that share meals on a regular basis, rather than eating on the go before heading out to yet another activity, tend to perform better on an academic level and are less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol or experience a teen pregnancy. Your teenager may hate the fact that she’s forced to spend the evening with her lame family while her friends are having a great time without her, but those family meals will be treasured memories one day. They’ll also have a lasting impact on the person she becomes.
  • Make Her Earn Her Own Money – Today’s teens are often accused of being filled with a false sense of entitlement, and of being materialistic or spoiled. Generalizations aren’t always accurate, but you can help to prevent entitlement issues in your teen by insisting that she earns her own money, especially for pricey, frivolous items. When her friends’ parents are lavishing them with gifts while she works for the things she wants, she’ll probably hate you a little bit. Later in life, when she’s able to manage a budget and appreciate the value of hard work, she’ll thank you.
  • Give Her Chores – Kids that don’t have to do chores around the house get to have more fun with their friends, and enjoy their teenage years without many burdens. What they don’t do, though, is learn how to be an adult. Your teen will hate being forced to manage household chores, but she’ll be learning valuable lessons about how to care for herself when she’s no longer living at home.
  • Assign Her Real Responsibilities – Your teen wants to be free of responsibilities because she wants to spend her days talking to her friends and exploring her identity as someone separate from her family. When you make her responsible for certain things and hold her accountable when she fails to meet those responsibilities, she’ll hate you. She’ll also, however, be figuring out the importance of taking care of things independently.
  • Let Her Learn About Natural Consequences – Teenagers want complete independence from their parents, but they also want those same parents to shield them from the harsh realities of life by covering for them when they make a mistake. It’s never easy to let your child fail when she doesn’t do what she’s supposed to, but experience is the only way she’ll learn to modify reckless behavior.
  • Enforce a Dress Code – Sweatpants aren’t appropriate for a family celebration, and party dresses aren’t ideal for a trip to the mall. Your teen is probably still learning about dressing appropriately, and will hate you for pointing out her missteps.
  • Establish House Rules – Your teen wants absolute freedom, not rules. She’ll hate you for establishing and enforcing house rules, but she’ll appreciate the values you’re instilling later.
It’s important to realize that there’s a very real difference between being an authoritative parent that kids occasionally feel like they hate and being a harsh, authoritarian parent that teenagers genuinely dislike. Make sure that you’re making decisions with your kids’ best interest at heart, rather than trying to live through them vicariously or browbeat them into submission.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Teens and Body Image: Reasons Not to Put Your Children On a Diet Without Doctor's Orders

 Childhood obesity is endemic in the United States, so much so that the Unites States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that up to 18% of American kids between the ages of six and 11 are obese. These kids are more likely to suffer from pre-diabetes, and are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. In an effort to capitalize on this health crisis, many companies and for-profit entities are advertising diets for kids, ostensibly to slim kids down while lining their own pockets. Before you buy into the hype, these are seven of the reasons why you should never put your child on a diet that hasn’t been ordered by his pediatrician.
  • Growing Bodies Have Very Real Nutritional Needs – The body of a growing child requires a specific balance of nutrients, fats and calories in order to develop normally. Those needs are very different from those of an adult, and putting your child on a regimented diet that isn’t prescribed and supervised by your child’s doctor can actually deprive her of the things she needs most. The low-carb, high-protein diet that helped you lose weight simply isn’t appropriate for a child’s needs, and can cause more harm than help.
  • Hunger Leads to Desperation – When you’re on a strict diet, you understand that the hunger pangs are something that you’re managing in order to achieve a desired outcome. Your child, on the other hand, only knows that she’s hungry and that food is being withheld from her. The desperation to fulfill that hunger can easily lead to problems when you’re not watching, up to and including gorging when she’s not being supervised.
  • Emotional Eating isn’t Curbed by a Rigid Diet – Just like their adult counterparts, kids that learn to view food as a source of comfort will turn to it in times of stress. When you’re forcing her to adhere to a harshly restrictive diet, you’re only causing your child to feel the stress that makes her want to eat. You’re not treating the root of the problem, only the symptom.
  • Diets Encourage Deprivation, Rather Than Promoting Physical Activity – Kids need plenty of fuel for their growing bodies, but they also need plenty of physically intensive, active play to stay healthy. When you put your child on a diet, you’re placing the emphasis on what she eats, rather than the lifestyle she keeps. Encourage healthy activity and provide ample access to nutritionally sound, healthy snacks, rather than taking an approach that espouses minimal activity and maximum deprivation.
  • Diets Condition Kids to Look for the Quick Fix – A crash diet works in the short term, but is typically accustomed to a return to the poor habits that led to the weight gain in the first place. Teaching kids to diet in order to lose weight temporarily not only complicates their relationship with food and potentially causes a host of other problems, but also sends the message that the quick fix is the solution to their problems, rather than concentrated and sustained efforts to make better choices all of the time.
  • Putting Kids on a Diet Can Damage Fragile Self Esteem – Even young children know, thanks to social conditioning, that “diets are for fat people.” Putting your child on a diet and, even worse, using the term “diet” is effectively telling your child that she’s fat and needs to change because the person she is right now isn’t appealing to you. The renowned Mayo Clinic suggest placing an emphasis on health when discussing food and dietary choices with your child, rather than weight.
  • Dieting Creates a Complex Relationship With Food – Kids need to see food as fuel for their active bodies, not an enemy to avoid or a friend to turn to when they’re upset. Complicating your child’s relationship with food can lead to very real problems with eating disorders as she gets older, which will only damage her health further and make her adult life more stressful than it should be.
If you have concerns about your child’s weight, discuss the matter with her pediatrician and work together to find a solution that’s both nutritionally sound and unlikely to be emotionally damaging to your child. Remember that the lessons you instill in her as a child will shape the adult she becomes, and act accordingly to avoid causing lifelong problems with food and overeating.

Source:  Nanny Sites

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tips to Know if Your Teen is Lying

When your child is younger, spotting a fib isn’t much of a challenge. Little ones don’t quite have the skills they need to fabricate a plausible excuse, so picking apart a questionable story is usually the work of a moment. As kids get older and hone their skills in the world of deception, however, it usually becomes a bit more difficult to spot a false story. Accusing your teen of lying when she’s telling the truth can cause a major blow-up and do serious damage to your relationship, but letting her out of the house with a flimsy story can put her in dangerous situations. At no time in your child’s life is it more difficult to pick out a lie than when she’s a teenager, but it’s also the time when it’s most imperative.

While there’s no fool-proof method of sussing out the truth when a teen is determined to lie, there are a few things you can keep in mind that may help you get to the bottom of a story before things get out of hand.

Look for Out-of-Character Behavior
Just as all poker players have a tell or two that will tip off an opponent in the know, everyone has a few tics that can give them away when they lie. The key to spotting suspicious behavior in your teen, however, is to be intimately familiar with her habits when she’s telling the truth. When you know your child and her mannerisms through and through, you’ll be better positioned to pick up on inconsistencies that indicate a lie or two. For instance, a teen that normally looks at the floor may be conscious that she needs to make eye contact in order to sell her story, and may hold that eye contact for so long that it tips you off to her tall tales. Any mannerisms that are out-of-character and suspicious can be indicators that she’s lying, so be on the lookout for changes in behavior.

Listen Carefully
It’s easy to get so caught up in trying to decode your teen’s behavior that you miss out on the most important aspect of determining the veracity of a story: just listening. Make sure that you pay attention to not only your teen’s mannerisms, but also what she says and how she says it. Long pauses after you ask a question are usually the result of your teen looking for holes in her story before answering, concocting an answer to your question that falls in line with her previous tale or to cover her tracks in case of a misstep. Slight stuttering or stammering or a change in pitch may also be indicators that your teen’s story isn’t entirely true.

Observe Her Body Language
A teenager that’s normally poised and graceful may have a perfect, seamless story to tell that fails only because her shifty body language betrays her. Look for fidgeting, excessive touching of the face, mouth or neck, tapping toes or a visible struggle to stand still. If your teen is suddenly fascinated with the hemline of a shirt or a stray thread poking out of a seam, she may be looking for an excuse to avoid making eye contact with you. Watching your child’s body language and comparing it with her normal behavior can give you a good idea of when her story is less than honest.

Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions, or even the strange ones. Your job as a parent is to find out where your teen is going and what she’s up to, so don’t shy away from questioning a story that doesn’t sit right with you. Follow your instincts and listen to what your own experience tells you. If there’s a loose thread in your teen’s story, follow it to see how well that story holds up. Look for inconsistencies or discrepancies with the information you already have versus what she’s giving you.

Trust Her
While it may seem like trusting a teenager is just asking for trouble, you may be actively harming your relationship with her by questioning every word that falls from her mouth. Realizing the importance of showing her that you do trust her, and letting her know that you’re approachable when she’s in need of help or advice can actually foster a more open relationship that’s based on mutual trust and respect. When you work to build that trust, you won’t have to worry so much about picking apart her stories, as she’ll be more honest with you from the outset of a conversation. Accusing your child of lying when she’s telling you the truth only makes her angry and makes her more likely to stretch the boundaries of the truth in the future. After all, if she’s being accused of lying and punished undeservedly for dishonesty, why shouldn’t she at least earn your lack of trust and the penalties you level against her by doing exactly what you accuse her of?
Source: Babysitting.net

Friday, June 21, 2013

Does Your Teen or Tween Have Their First Cell Phone?

Tips to keep your kids and safe on their cell phone.

 

1. Be Aware of Surroundings

Emphasize to your child the importance of being aware of his/her surroundings. The element of surprise is a powerful tool. All of this new technology, cell phones and iPods, has created a diversion of sorts for criminals who are intent on performing an illicit or unlawful act. Cell phones are a distraction which detracts from a person’s attentiveness to their surroundings. When you are preoccupied with a phone conversation, you may not hear footsteps behind you or notice a person who seems to be just a little to interest in what you are doing. It is easier to overpower a person who is unaware than it is to face one who is prepared. While your child is absorbed in what the friend on the other end of the line is saying, a predator could be sneaking up behind them.
It isn’t just criminals your child must be concerned about. Talking on a cell phone while walking, bicycling, skateboarding, rip sticking or driving can be a hazard. It is important to pay attention to traffic when performing any of these actions near a roadway. If your child becomes too wrapped up in a conversation on the cell phone, he/she may not notice the car coming down the road. Your child should know they cannot rely on the drivers to notice their presence. Drivers have to divide their attention among too many things while on the road. If your child isn’t paying attention and steps or rides in front of a vehicle, the results could be devastating.

2. Parental safety controls

Take time to carefully consider which cell phone to purchase for your child. Choose a cell phone with parental safety controls. Programmable cell phones allow you to decide who your child can receive phone calls from and who they are permitted to call. You can set the numbers in their cell phone and eliminate the opportunity for someone to whom your child should not be speaking to call or be called from the cell phone. No need to worry about a wrong number resulting in an undesirable friendship. Some experts recommend you don’t buy a cell phone with a camera. There really is no reason your child’s phone must have a camera on it. You won’t have to worry about inappropriate images (i.e. nude photos of your child) being sent.

3. Limit Internet Access

Purchase a cell phone that doesn’t provide access to the internet. In all likelihood, your child already has a computer at home or school with internet access. It isn’t necessary for them to have the internet on the cell phone also. Not only can accessing the internet on a cell phone be extremely costly without a data plan, but it also provides another window for predators to reach out to your child. Everything that can be done on a computer through the internet can also be done on a cell phone. Instant messaging, emails, blogging on MySpace or any of the other social sites are all available with internet access on a cell phone. The difference between a cell phone and the computer is the level of privacy afforded with a cell phone. A computer can be kept in a common area so that you can monitor what your child is doing on the internet and to whom they are talking. On a cell phone, these activities can be done with you none the wiser.

4. Never talk to strangers.

Though you probably already gave this advice to them when they were young, as your children grow older they lose some of their fear of the people they don’t know and often need to be reminded that this rule still stands. Developing new friendships is exciting for the younger generations. In their excitement over the prospect of earning a new friend and the ensuing efforts to impress the person, children often forget their basic training from their early years. Their growing confidence in their own ability to recognize danger often leaves them vulnerable. Children are generally not skilled in recognizing danger in unfamiliar people. They don’t realize that predators are skillfully adept at blending in and appearing harmless. These predators are truly the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing, patiently developing friendships over time with the intent of eventually luring your child into a face-to-face meeting. A reminder of such facts could prevent a tragedy.

5. Discuss Sexting

Sexting, for those of you who don’t know, is the act of sending sexually graphic pictures or messages from one cell phone to another. The most common instances of sexting in the younger set involve sending pictures of themselves in provocative clothing or completely nude. It is important that you discuss this practice with your child and let them know in no uncertain terms that it is not allowed and will not be tolerated. If you are afraid to bring this subject to their attention in case your child doesn’t already know what it is, don’t. You can be assured that your child is already familiar with it. You will not be teaching them about something they don’t already know about. Don’t wait until you see evidence that your child is engaging in this practice before establishing this rule. If you avoid this discussion because of a fear that you will be informing your child about something of which they know nothing about, you run the risk of them facing serious consequences.
This trend has become so prevalent it has even caught the attention of legislators. Lawmakers have begun to draft and create legislation making the act a prosecutable offense. Some have gone as far as to label it a child pornography offense with an equal punishment. These new laws are not arbitrary legislation created for the purpose of appearances; individuals caught engaging in sexting have already been prosecuted for the crime of distributing child pornography. Distribution doesn’t even require that you take the picture in order for you to be prosecuted under such a law; it only requires that you send it. So if your child receives one of these graphic sexting messages and forwards it to a friend for a laugh, your child could face prosecution. Explaining all of this to your child could save both of you a lot of heartache.

6. Cell Phone Monitoring Software

Purchase a subscription to a cell phone monitoring program or software. My Mobile Watchdog is one such service. It monitors all of your child’s cell phone activity and allows you to view it online. It is not done secretly so you will have to let your child know you are monitoring them. The website allows you to preset which phone numbers are trusted or unapproved to contact your child. There is also an assigned setting for suspicious. Alerts are sent out to warn you when an unapproved, suspicious or unknown person attempts contact. You also have access to a transcript of every text message your child sends and receive. You can read the entire content and see the phone numbers associated with the messages. You also have the option of printing the reports if you needed. You can also view every picture sent or received from the cell phone. The website also offers practical tools such as appointment and task reminders.

7. Keep Tabs On Cell Phone Activity

Check your child’s cell phone and activity regularly. If a subscription to a cell phone monitoring website is not in your budget or just isn’t something you choose to do, then you should check your child’s cell phone and activity regularly. Do not warn your child in advance or check the cell phone at the same time every week as that will give them an opportunity to clean the contents. Random checks will allow you to read the text messages going out or coming in as well as to see what pictures are being sent and received. You can also check the phone number on the incoming and outgoing call lists to see who is calling and at what times. Most cell phone providers make this information available to their customers online. Though it may be perceived by your child as an invasion of their privacy, explain that is not your intent. It isn’t that you distrust your child; you are only trying to protect them. If this is always the rule from a young age and treated matter-of-factly, then privacy may never even become an issue.

8. Don’t Disclose Private Information

Advise your child to be careful about what information is discussed in public. A person who is looking to do someone harm will eavesdrop on public conversations to gather any information which might be useful. Private and personal information can be used at a later time to gain your child’s trust. Once again, predators are devious creatures practiced at developing illicit relationships. Having personal information about your child will assist these types of people in forging a friendship based on common interests. It can also reveal places where the predator can plan ‘chance’ meetings with your child. Discussions about the school they attend, activities they participate in, or places they frequent can supply a wealth of information to the wrong persons.
Identity theft is another concern. Your child may be too young to have need for credit lines, loans and/or credit cards, but there are plenty of dishonest people who are old enough to find them useful. Even with limited information, a motivated criminal can find a way to obtain the remainder of the information they would need to use it to their full advantage. Your child is too young to understand the deviousness and conniving of these types of individuals and just how damaging their actions can be, but they would learn quickly when they eventually get out on their own and discover their identity has been stolen. The process of repairing the damage is time consuming and often costly. Identity theft usually leaves residual stain which cannot be completely eliminated. Teach your child to limit public calls on their cell phones to general conversations and leave the private conversations for times when they are, well, in private.

9. Be Respectful In Public

Teach your child to try to be respectful of others when using your cell phone in public. Instances of violence relating to cell phone usage are becoming more commonplace. The latest news reports of violent acts being committed as a result of someone’s inconsiderate use of a cell phone are becoming more prevalent. The public is becoming less tolerant of the lack of courtesy which is evident in the way the public is responding to these reports. The individuals committing the violent acts are being commended by the public. And as cell phone courtesy is becoming more of a point of contention, these incidents have the potential to become more commonplace.
Protect your child from cell phone violence as you would from road rage. Explain that being courteous when using a cell phone is important. For example, tell your child that the cell phone ringer should not be turned on while in a movie theater and of course should not be answered either. If a call comes through which must be answered, they should leave the theater and answer it in a hallway. Though something so simple may not seem all that important to a self centered teen or preteen, as a parent you know that to some people it is worthy of violence in the same way that being cut off in traffic is for the same person. A courtesy reminder could help protect your child from senseless violence and will ensure they remember their manners.

10. Place a curfew on cell phone usage.

Children despise curfews, but they are in place for a reason. A telephone curfew is nothing new. Many of us had such curfews on our home phones when we were younger. Phone calls were not permitted during or after certain times. Just because the phones are now mobile doesn’t mean this practice is now irrelevant. The same reasons that a curfew was important when we were young still apply. Late night phone calls interfere with sleep, studying and can lead to trouble. Prank calls and texts are more likely to occur after bedtime. It’s all coming back to you now, isn’t it? Sexting is easier at night, also. Think of all the trouble which can be curtailed if you have possession of the cell phone after hours. A curfew is an effective method of preventing trouble. And it will provide an opportunity for a quick look at the content of your child’s cell phone.

11. Have a plan for unusual calls of text messages

Encourage your child to talk to you about any concerning phone calls or text messages they may receive. It is important that your child knows what to do in the event that he/she receives harassing phone calls on the cell phone. Any type of threatening or bullying phone calls or text messages should be reported to you so that you can help them decide how best to handle the situation. This includes sexually inappropriate pictures, messages, or requests. If something like this occurs there are a few options available to you and your child. You can contact your cell phone provider and ask to have the number changed. Most providers will do this at least once free of charge. You can also request that text messages be blocked from the cell phone. Though it will be an inconvenience since this action will block all text messages from coming through, this is an effective method of stopping offensive texts from being sent. After a couple of weeks of unsuccessful attempts, the person sending will grow tired of the constant rebuffs and quit trying. You can always have the service reactivated.
Technology is rapidly evolving and will continue to do so. You have to be prepared to adapt your rules accordingly. Remember that criminals are not intimidated by technology and are using it to find easier ways to find victims. They are just waiting for opportunity to present itself. And criminals are not the only danger from which your child needs protection. Your child depends on you to lead them away from trouble, even if they do not always appreciate your guidance. You do not need to be an expert in the use of technology to establish relevant, general rules. Don’t use inexperience as an excuse.


A few basic steps and rules could help protect your child from danger and you from heartbreak.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Parent Empowerment Blog Selected as Top 20 Blogs and Websites for Parents and Teens

For over a decade I have been helping parents with struggling teens after my own challenges with my teenager.  Back in the time when the Internet was in its' infancy, there wasn't a lot of information to be out here yet.  Now it seems there are literally thousands, if not millions of sites and bloggers with every click of a mouse.

With this, I am so flattered and honored to be selected in the list of of top 20 blogs and websites, not only once, but for two of my sites.  This one and www.suescheffblog.com which I created only several years ago.

I want to personally thank the team at Wilderness Ventures for believing in my work and understanding my passion for what I do.

Here is there recent press release as well as the other top sites and blogs that are all tremendous!!!


Wilderness Ventures, the oldest and most experienced adventure travel program offering teen summer camps, is announcing their choices for the “Top 20 Blogs and Websites for Parents with Teens” for 2013. The blogs and websites selected by Wilderness Ventures are being honored for their innovative and creative content as well as their ability to offer parents and teens a personal connection and invaluable virtual resources.

Team members at Wilderness Ventures scoured the web to find bloggers that demonstrated practicality, creativity, personal engagement and fun in their blog while offering unique perspectives on being a parent of young children or teenagers. Criteria such as design, helpful tips and pointers, level of engagement, number of followers, and more, were factored into the final selection process.

Wilderness Ventures, who has offered teen adventure camps for more than 40 years, believes that active personal engagement and communication between parents and their teenage children are important factors for parents whose job is to teach the next generation of young adults. For this reason, Wilderness Ventures is choosing to recognize blogs and websites that they feel promote interpersonal connection between teens and their parents as well as shared resources between parents.  

The list of top 20 blogs and websites for parents with teens included here, in no particular order:


About Wilderness Ventures:
With more than 21,000 student alumni, Wilderness Ventures has pioneered outdoor adventures for young adults and has paved the way for youth travel around the world.  Their 40 years of experience, unwavering values of community, inter-personal growth, wholesome environments, safety, wilderness education, discovery, conservation, and exploration have led to their unmatched and trusted reputation. Wilderness Ventures currently holds special permits to operate their teen adventure camps in 20 National Parks and 17 designated wilderness areas with special permits.