Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teens Sneaking Out of the House

When you bring your new baby home for the first time, you’re filled with dreams, wishes and hopes for his future. You want him to grow into a strong, independent adult who’s reasonably successful and has a life filled with happiness. What you may not be thinking about is the long road to adulthood and how that road can become particularly bumpy during his teenage years. In a bid to express his independence and establish himself as an individual that’s separate from the family unit, he may cross the line into sheer defiance more than once. When his established curfew interferes with things he’d rather be doing, for instance, it’s far from unheard of for a teenager to simply slip out of the house in hopes of getting away undetected. If you have a suspicion that your teen is sneaking out in the middle of the night, or if you’re sure he’s leaving and aren’t sure how to put an end to the behavior, these tips may help you restore a sense of order to your home.

Be Attentive
It’s far easier for a rebellious teen to sneak out of the house when he knows that his parents are largely oblivious to his actions. If he knows that you’re watching him closely and are attuned to his behavior, however, he may be a bit less eager to test his escape-artist skills. Staying up all night to monitor your child’s comings and goings might leave you temporarily exhausted, but making sure that your child knows how closely he’s being observed will be well worth the lack of sleep in the long run.

Get Involved
It’s not uncommon for teenagers to act out and display rebellious behavior as a means of gaining his parents’ attention. If you work full-time or are frequently away from home, your teen may feel that the only way he can get your attention is to behave so badly that it forces you to notice him. While it’s important to give your teenager enough space to assert his independence and establish himself as an individual entity, it’s just as important to let him know that you’re always there for him and that you take an active interest in his life.

Monitor Social Networking and Cell Phone Use
Making a habit of snooping through your teen’s cell phone or monitoring his social networking accounts when he’s given you no cause for suspicion can breed resentment and anger in an otherwise happy kid. When your child consistently proves that he can’t be trusted to stay in the house after curfew or to be respectful of house rules, however, all bets are off. There’s very little point in sneaking out of the house to hang out with friends if your teen can’t coordinate with them without the risk of tipping you off, so don’t be afraid to be the nosy parent until he’s made a concerted effort to regain your trust. You may also find that confiscating his cell phone at night and keeping it in your own room hinders his plans, especially if it’s a smartphone that’s connected to social networking accounts and serves as a hub for all of his communication efforts.

Think Twice Before You Resort to Drastic Measures
The iconic image of an angry father nailing a teenage daughter’s window shut may be the first thing that comes to mind when you discover that your teen has been sneaking out of the house, but sealing windows with nails, screws or bars can actually create a very dangerous fire hazard and impede her ability to escape in the event of an emergency. Rather than rendering windows useless, consider the installation of a home security system that will alert you when windows or exterior doors are open. Keeping the security code a secret from your child may be difficult, but it will also keep him from being able to slip out of the house silently.

Don’t Issue Idle Threats
If you’ve explained that another episode of breaking curfew to sneak out of the house will result in the loss of a treasured privilege or restriction from favorite activities, you have to stick to your guns. Regardless of how hard your teen fights you or the protests she makes, it’s essential that you let her know that bad choices have negative consequences. If you’re easily dissuaded from the forewarned punishment, your teen will start to believe that there are no real consequences for disrespecting house rules and being openly defiant.

Source: Babysitting Jobs

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Good Teens Making Bad Choices: What are the Summer Options?

Summer is almost here and the calls are coming in from parents that are struggling with what to do with their at-risk teens.

Some issues we are hearing:

  • Failing some classes, when they are more than capable of getting passing grades, if not straight A's.
  • Dropping out of their favorite sport or activity.
  • Smoking pot -- occasionally - though parents may blame it on the friends, please keep in mind, it is your child making the decision to inhale that joint or pop that pill.  
  • Drinking - again, it may be the friends you want to blame, but are they holding the bottle to your teen's mouth?
  • Sneaking out of the house.
  • Defiance, lying, stealing......
  • Maybe they have changed their peer group this year?
Let's face it, with a combination of any of these above, you could be traveling down a negative path.  Chances are very good a short-term summer program will not address a long term solution.

It can irritate me when I see parents get sucked into these very expensive Wilderness programs that give tell you they can turn your child around in 4-9 weeks.  Really?

I think if you interview most of the families that have dug deep  into their wallets and spent that $15K-20K on a Wilderness program (which is likely to have zero academics to get your child caught up), you will find that at about the 4 week point, the program is already prepping the family for the "next step" of a Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center (another $50K step).

Or if the family truly cannot afford, which I have spoken to many of them too, since they have spent their  last dime on this summer last ditch hope, they soon find that within 3-6 weeks after Wilderness, their  child is back to their old ways.  

What is the answer?  It depends on the child, but in most situations it is finding the right placement the first time around.  Not starting at one place - and "breaking him down" (aren't they already broken?) and breaking your wallet too, and then going to yet another to break your wallet again.

Most quality and qualified programs are designed to treat teens that come in with the anger and defiance.  There are excellent 6-8-10 month programs that can offer a complete package of academic's, emotional growth (clinical) and enrichment programs (which are so important to help stimulate your teen in a positive direction).

It is my opinion, and after almost thirteen years of watching parents and families in this big business of "teen help" get screwed (sorry for the slang) but until you walk my shoes and have taken the time to learn about what goes on behind the scenes - the word just about seems appropriate.

I firmly believe in getting our kids help, as a matter of fact, it is our responsibility as a parent to do that.  We also have to do our due diligent.

Google is not God -- the Internet has some very disturbing sites - and disgruntled kids, parents, employers. Yes, I was one of them, but I also have a lot of substantial legal facts behind my case.  I don't sit and rant.  As a matter of fact, I don't want to discuss it - I want to continue to educate parents about how they can find the best program for their child's needs.

I offer many great tips, questions to ask schools and programs and resources.  Visit www.helpyourteens.com.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Summer Jobs and Your Teen

Many teens will spend their summer vacations lounging on the couch, watching TV, or playing video games non-stop. However, nearly every one of them would like the opportunity to make money to spend how they want. Why not encourage your teen to start his or her own summer business? This is a way to keep them occupied, engaged, and making money that is their own. It's actually not that difficult to teach your child the basics of a business venture even if you don't know how yourself.

1. The Idea - First, you'll need to find an idea that works best for yourself and your teen. Lawn-mowing and yard care is always a highly sought after service your teen could invest in. Selling night-crawlers if you live near a river, lake, or reservoir could be ideal as well. The whole purpose of this step is to fill a need that is neglected in your area that is safe for your teen to practice.

2. Bookkeeping - If you don't have the money to purchase proper bookkeeping software from the likes of Intuit for the simple use of your teen's new business, free accounting software can be used such as GNU Cash. Have the teen set up the entire account in order to start tracking funds, inventory, and supplies. You can even go so far as to demonstrate how net-worth works from a business perspective. Although you may not have an actual bank account open for your teens business, have a cash reserve that is labeled "bank" as a reference.

3. Supplies and Inventory - Once the accounting software has been set up and ready to start entering information, now is the time to gather the supplies. While your teen may not have the money to invest in what is needed, you can demonstrate how a "loan" or even how purchasing "shares" in a company works as you supply them with starting capital. Once this has been established, the teen will need to develop a supply and inventory list as well as any equipment he or she needs in order to complete the task.

4. Advertising Budget - If they don't know you exist, how are they going to contact you? Helping your teen set up an advertising budget will demonstrate the importance of marketing. Although this may entail simple flyers, business cards, and pin-up sheets on cork-boards at the supermarket and telephone poles, it is still an important lesson about the importance of marketing your business for success. You could even get creative and put some graphic design lessons within this aspect if you have a talent for it. At any rate, advertising is important for any business and staying within the allotted budget could mean the difference between survival and bankruptcy.

5. Payroll - As your teen is probably not going to be able to afford his or her own hourly wages, you'll need to help them determine a fair commission of the services. This is where strict adherence is important. You need to teach the teen that the business needs to be able to sustain itself for continued growth. If they were to take all of the money, there would be nothing left for advertising, equipment, or inventory. The commission should be able to give them a little bit of spending money, but not too much to starve the business.

6. Employees - What teen doesn't want to include his or her friends in the business venture? However, does your teen understand what it means to take on additional help? Although they won't have to worry about insurance premiums or social security taxes, they will still need to realize that increasing the payroll budget decreases another aspect of the business. Having additional help could increase the income in a business that is geared towards timeliness or services that are on location. Two lawn-mower customers at once are better than one.

7. Strategies for Improvement - Using the reports generated by GNU Cash or other bookkeeping software, your teen can see where the money goes. This can help them develop a strategy to increase profits by lowering costs or coming up with plans and innovations to increase revenue. In this regard, the teen will need your help or you can sit with them as they scour the Internet for suggestions and ideas. You might learn something yourself by this experience.

A summer business can work for your teen in a variety of ways. It can teach discipline, dedication, bookkeeping, and could possibly instill pride and responsibility in your child if you support their ideas. They will be faced with real world challenges and have to develop ways to overcome disadvantages. It is a worthwhile endeavor and could inspire your child to continue learning more about business ethics and social responsibility. In any event, it will be a learning experience as they have an opportunity to make their own money to spend in any way they wish.

Author Bio:

Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for www.babysitting.net. She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to rachelthomas.author @ gmail.com.