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Monthly Archives April 2016

Makeup, Skincare & Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 25, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

TeenSkinCareIn this day of beauty bloggers, Instagram filters and celebrity beauty trends, young girls yearning to wear makeup are more prominent than ever.  But as parents of the little girls who once played with lipstick and pranced around in mommy’s high heels, it can be tough to know when it’s the right time. Many parents struggle with the question: When should I allow my daughter to start wearing makeup?

It can be a tough balance to let children come into their own without letting them grow up too fast. And while there are no hard and fast rules on this topic, there are some expert guidelines you can look to for help.

More than skin deep

One of the best pieces of advice from experts is to simply use common sense. Clinical psychologist Jamie Howard says that a little common sensecan go a long way, particularly when it comes to a younger child.

She notes that certain events are appropriate for young girls to wear makeup, such as a performance or dance recital. Further, she says that if young girls or young teens want to get a manicure with friends or family or wear a light lip balm, there is no concern. However, she does express concern when makeup gets to a point of sexualizing the teen to look too old. That, she says, crosses a boundary. Things like dark lipstick, smoky shadows on the eyes, thick liner, etc., can be taken too far.

When it comes to slightly older teens, it can be tougher. While balancing being supportive and wanting your child to be able to feel confident in their appearance, it can get tricky.

Dr. Howard cautions parents that the wrong message could actually hamper their child’s self-confidence. So it is key to let your child know that you love her exactly how she is and that her appearance is not the most important thing about her.

Start slow

Being a teen can be difficult these days. Throw in the pressures to look perfect brought on by social media and the likes of teens like Kylie Jenner who, seemingly, obsesses about beauty and shares it with her loyal young following, it can be even tougher.

However, expecting your daughter to avoid makeup forever is unrealistic.

Carol Tuttle, mother of five and author of “Dressing Your Truth” says to start with lip gloss around ages 10, 11 and 12. Then move on to foundation and concealer at about ages 13 and 14. She says that eye shadow, blush and eyeliner are appropriate by ages 15-17. After all, as your teen becomes an adult, she will want to know the proper way to apply makeup… and a few years of practice can prepare her.

According to the experts at Parents.com, parents and their children should set up a basis for makeup rules to avoid fighting about the topic. While, they say, elementary school is too young to wear makeup, a little lip balm is fine.

As kids grow into teens, suggest concealer to cover blemishes, a bit of powder (rather than caking on full-blown foundation), some gloss and maybe a swipe of mascara. Even a bit of natural-looking bronzer or naturally shaded blush is acceptable.

Concentrate on the items that accentuate your child’s natural beauty rather than hide it. For example, if your child has freckles, let her know that they are a unique and beautiful feature she has, therefore, she shouldn’t cover them up with heavy makeup.

Skincare first

Though we’re talking about makeup… let’s take one step back. The first part in feeling comfortable in your own skin (for your child, and yourself!) is high-quality skincare. As teens go through hormonal changes, acne or blemishes can hinder self-esteem. If your child’s skin is prone to breakouts, it’s a good idea to get a good cleanser that fights acne. And though it’s natural to have zits here and there, if your child is experiencing intense breakouts, a visit to the dermatologist may be necessary.

Further, it’s wise to teach kids early on about how to preserve their own beauty. Skincare products that offer superior hydration and replenishment can help nurture your teen’s skin long into the future. And it’s never too early to start taking good care of our faces with high-quality cleansers, toners and moisturizers. Don’t forget the SPF, particularly for teens who play outdoor sports. Always aim for SPF 30 or higher and reapply as needed.

Lead by example

Though they may not always admit it, your teen is watching you and taking to heart what you do. So be sure you have and display a healthy attitude toward beauty, makeup, skincare and self-confidence. Because no matter how many times you tell your child she’s beautiful, if you’re tearing yourself apart she will start looking for flaws in herself.

Above all, teaching your child to appreciate her natural beauty is the best advice. Everyone is beautiful in their own way and makeup should be used to highlight features, not go against them. At times, every one of us can feel insecure. But with the right tools — and the right support system — it can be easier to love ourselves.

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Teens and Apps: What’s Trending Now

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 15, 2016  /   Posted in Internet Safety, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

TeenonTabletIt’s no secret that keeping our children safe is a full time job. In the past we could simply baby proof our homes and hold our child’s hands when they crossed the street. Now, today’s children have the world at their fingertips with the countless devices and forms of technology we have come to rely on. While this invasion of social media and the Internet offers our families countless benefits, it can also expose our kids to a variety of unforeseen dangers.

Many parents find it can be difficult to make sense of the apps our children are using on a daily basis, because new trends and apps on the market are constantly changing at rapid paces. In an effort to keep our sons and daughters safely snapping selfies and sending messages, we have compiled the following guide for parents that highlight seven popular apps and possible problems areas teens commonly encounter using this app.

Dubsmash. This fun app allows users to develop short videos that feature themselves lip syncing to movie and song sound clips. The possibilities are endlessly entertaining, with celebrities even enjoying in the fun.

Things for parents to know:  A few questions have been raised about copyright laws and this app. If possible, children should be encouraged to use sounds that are public domain to avoid infringing someone’s intellectual property. Lawyers suggest only privately sharing videos with close friends and keep them off “public forums such as Facebook or Instagram”.

Whisper. This favored anonymous app allows our teens and fellow users to share secrets and confessions. Users place the words of their confession over funny or related images to post and people scroll through the post “hearting” the ones they enjoy.

Things for parents to know: This app is definitely entertaining, but behind these confessions lurks a dark side of cyberbullying and slandering. The anonymity of this social media application is perfect for spreading lies or posing as others.

Meet Me. This app, formerly known as MyYearbook, allows users to meet new people that are located nearby. It is meant to encourage new friendships with other users who share similar interests.

Things for parents to know: The FBI warns that there are 500,000 child predators online everyday seeking new victims. This app is the perfect vehicle for grooming and contacting new prey, because often the predators create fake profiles or share interests that kids enjoy to lure them into their traps.

Ask.fm. This is another anonymous app, but it relies on a question and answer format. Users simply pose a question and other users answer.

Things for parents to know: We need to know that this app has a checkered past associated with extreme cases of cyberbullying resulting in suicides and even has been used as a communication method for terrorists.

Burn Note. This disappearing app self destructs all messages after the receiver views the message. It was created to keep sensitive material and emails in the workplace from falling into the wrong hands. One feature people enjoy is the “spotlight” that highlights a certain section of the text as it is being read to prevent screenshots and prying eyes from reading the content.

Things for parents to know: All Burn Notes disappear leaving no evidence behind. This provides bullies a wonderful outlet for sending hateful messages, because there is no trail of the cruelty.

Tinder. This site is often associated with adult dating and hookups, but the site admits that 7 percent of its users are are between the ages of 13 and 17 years old. Users simply scroll through profile images to look for attractive people they want to meet.

Things for parents to know: Tinder has a dedicated section for teen dating, but many teens lie about their true age on social media apps exposing them to much older, wiser, and experienced people. It also allows children to quickly judge others on appearance alone.

Down. This app was formerly known as “Bang With Friends”. It allows people to sort through Facebook friends and ‘friends of friends’ to mark someone they are interested in getting “down” with for a one night stand. If two people like each other, a message is sent to both parties so they can contact one another.

Things for parents to know: Yes this app reduces the awkwardness of finding friends with benefits. However, it can promote unhealthy relationships and sexual encounters.

TeensonCell

What sites and apps do your children frequently use?

Contributor: Hilary Smith

About Hilary Smith: Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics. @HilaryS33

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How To Keep Your Teens Safe On Prom Night

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 08, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

PromHilary2016_2From picking a dress or tux to asking a date, prom night can be an exciting time in teens’ lives, however it can stressful for parents. Unfortunately, prom night is not only associated with fun music and dancing, but also with peer pressure, drinking and sex. To keep kids safe on prom night, follow these tips:

Have a written timeline.

If your teen plans on hopping from place to place on prom night to meet up with friends, go out to dinner and then to the dance, it’s best to have a written timeline of their activities. Go through the night step-by-step with them to make sure you know what time they’ll be at each location and what they’ll be doing. With all of the commotion going on during prom night, you may be unable to get in touch with your teen.  Parents can easily check teens’ locations with a cell phone tracker when they begin to worry about why they can’t get in touch. This tracker will put your fears at ease without disturbing your teen’s fun night!

Talk about underage drinking.

Many teens think that celebrating prom night isn’t complete without alcohol, so to keep your child safe, it’s important to have conversations about underage drinking early on. Make sure you expressly say you do not approve of underage drinking, since 80% of teens say their parents are the leading influence on their decision not to drink. Also, let teens know that you’ll be able to tell if they’ve been drinking. Some teens think they can sneak it by their parents without getting caught, so if you make them aware that this is not the case, they’ll be less likely to engage in this dangerous behavior.

PromHilary2016Have the talk.

Teens may find themselves feeling pressured to have sex on prom night, so it’s important for parents to prepare them for what may happen. Although this may be an awkward conversation for teens to have with their parents, it’s crucial for their safety since 63% of high school seniors have sex. Talk to teens about saying no and being assertive when they don’t feel comfortable, and warn them about different scenarios they may be in. You may want to give teens a secret code or phrase that they can text you or call you with if they want to be picked up, but don’t want others around them to know.

Be there for teens.

Remind your teens that no matter what happens, you’ll be there for them on prom night. Many teens may be nervous to call their parents for help if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation on prom night. It’s important to let them know that you would rather they reach out to you for help than make bad decisions.

Arrange transportation.

Teens tend to travel in groups to prom, so it’s essential that parents find out who will be driving. Even if you trust your own teen not to drink, if they’re driving with someone else, you have to trust this person to make smart decisions as well. Some parents choose to carpool teens themselves or arrange for a limo service. Either way, make sure that transportation to and from prom is arranged ahead of time so teens don’t have to jump in the car with someone they don’t know at the last minute.

Don’t wait until the last minute to talk to your teens about staying safe on prom night. As they plan their memorable evening, have small conversations every step of the way to make sure you’re reinforcing your expectations, love and support.

Contributor: Hilary Smith

About Hilary Smith: Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics.

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Advice for Teens with ADHD

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 04, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens
Image via Pixabay

Image via Pixabay

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is difficult for people of any age, but especially for teens. The teenage years are challenging enough, but ADHD adds to the challenges as teens are even more impulsive, inattentive, and at times hyperactive because of the disorder. Teens with ADHD have difficulty focusing and being organized, which leads to trouble in school, at work, and at home. Plus, hormone changes affect medications intended to treat ADHD symptoms. Teens with ADHD do not have to despair, though. There are strategies and tips for managing symptoms and making life a little easier for teens with ADHD. Here’s some advice for teens with ADHD.

Study and School Tips for Teens with ADHD

Studying, focusing, and recalling information are difficult for teens with ADHD. While these challenges make facing school rough on teens with ADHD, they do not make success in school impossible. Students should work with their parents, teachers, and counselors to identify their unique challenges and work toward finding solutions. Experiment with strategies until you find those that help you most in school. You may find that one of these study and school tips helps you to succeed in school:

  • Get a planner – Use a paper planner or the calendar on your smartphone, but use some form of a planner. Record homework, test dates, due dates, and other important school-related information in the planner. If you use your smartphone, set reminders in advance of assignments so that you don’t feel overwhelmed at the last minute when something is due for school.
  • Plan early on for college and career – Because procrastination and difficulty in school are typical for teens with ADHD, it is important to start thinking about the future in advance. Consider your strengths and areas of interest and think about what you want to do when you graduate. Research colleges and work with teachers and guidance counselors to plan ahead. If you know which college you’d like to attend or which career path you’d like to follow, it may motivate you to do better in high school because you know you are working toward a goal.
  • Experiment to find the best place to study – Some teens with ADHD study better when they are in a quiet place, while others need to have some noise in order to focus better. You may need complete quiet, so you could try headsets that block out all noise. Or, you may need to listen to music with noise-canceling headphones or earbuds so that you just hear your music and are not distracted by other noises around you.
  • Join a school athletic team. – Not only is exercise known to improve brain function, but doing it regularly can help burn off that restless energy that can be distracting when sitting in class. It’s usually better to join a non-contact sport like swimming that allows you to focus only on your own role rather than your own, your teammates’, and your opposition’s.

 

Relationship Tips for Teens with ADHD

Teens with ADHD may have issues with peer relationships. In fact, research shows teens with ADHD have fewer reciprocal friendships and are more ignored or rejected by peers. Similarly, they are likely to be victims of bullying or be the bullies themselves. There are some things teens can do to improve their relationships with their peers…

  • Talk about friendships and relationships – Find someone with whom you can discuss your friendships and relationships. The best option may be your therapist or school counselor, because they can help you with coping strategies and relationship strategies to help you overcome some of your friendship and relationship issues. These trusted adults are here to help you, so be as honest with them as possible.
  • Improve communication skills – Relationships are all about good communication, so teens with ADHD should work to understand non-verbal cues and become better listeners. Try to be more aware of the other person’s body language. Watch her face and hands and see whether she is relaxed and comfortable, or nervous and uncomfortable. Take a deep breath and focus on what she is saying while she talks. Try not to interrupt or change the subject. Talk with a parent or counselor about improving your communication and social skills so that you are more relaxed and less anxious with friends or people you are interested in dating.
  • Adopt a service dog.ADHD service dogs provide endless benefits to their owners, especially when it comes to relationships. In public, they provide an easy topic of conversation and a buffer for any potentially awkward run-ins. One-on-one, they provide completely nonjudgmental companionship. It may be difficult for your peers to understand you, but a dog will always accept and love you for exactly who you are. They even make playtime better: no competition, just fun!

Keep in mind that the teenage years are not easy for anyone. When your ADHD symptoms make your life more difficult, mention it to a trusted adult and work through it together. You can experiment with strategies that improve your studying and schooling to see what works for you. You also can approach relationships with some strategies in mind so you can foster friendships and date more successfully.

Contributor: Vee Cecil is a wellness coach, personal trainer, and bootcamp instructor. Vee is passionate about studying and sharing her findings in wellness through her recently-launched blog.

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