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Mental Health

Teen Help For Troubled Teens During COVID19

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 30, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Depression, Teen Drug Use, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

Are you searching for teen help during COVID19?

Is your teen driving you crazy?

You’re not alone.

No doubt, many parents are experiencing new challenges with their anxious teenagers during these uncertain times.

Quarantine life could be a time of relaxation for some, but for some parents of teens, it’s anything but relaxing.

Whether your teen is stressed out from not being able to mingle with their friends, or spending way too much time online (especially since they had to finish school virtually) — maybe your teen is feeling isolated or lonely, are they sinking into a depression? Are they self-medicating? Becoming defiant, angry, raging or even explosive? Are they stealing your credit card — ordering things offline without your permission?

You’ve exhausted your local therapy, in many cases, your teen has been able to manipulate their way around their therapist. Maybe you’ve tried out-patient — even a short stay in a local hospital.

Is residential therapy for you?

When a parent calls P.U.R.E. they are usually surfing the internet and confused by all the fancy websites, terminology they are now learning about (RTC, TBS, Wilderness, transport services and more) and wondering — is this really want my child needs?

The fact is, in many situations you have a good kid that is now making some bad choices and you never in a million years thought you would be facing this day.

None of us did. Yet here we are.

That’s the best part – you’re not alone.

There are many residential therapy schools and programs in our country, probably because there are many families in need of help today. Although there are many good programs and schools – there are also many that you need to be skeptical of – as well as many sales people you need to concerned about that may not have your child’s best interest at heart.

When will you know it’s time for residential therapy?

  1. Have you exhausted all your local resources? From using local therapy to extending into outpatient teens can be easily shut-down. Although we know that many times it’s difficult to get a teen to open up to therapist – or even attend a session, parents need to know they at least tried. When in residential therapy, the entire program evolves around their emotional wellness, 24/7. Being removed from their negativity – helps tremendously.
  2. Living with a relative. Some families have attempted to move the troubled teen to a relative. Again, sometimes this works – and others it can be a band-aid, however it can help you make that decision that you have exhausted your local resources before you decide to choose residential.
  3. Is your teen a danger to themselves or other people (you)? Has your child become violent towards you or themselves? This is when you know it’s time to start researching for residential therapy. It’s not working at home.
  4. Do you feel like you are hostage in your home by their behavior? Do you feel like you are walking on egg shells? Being careful about what you say or how you act for fear they may become explosive? Again, this is a red flag it may be time for residential therapy.

Keep in mind, there are different types of residential therapy. P.U.R.E. can help educate you on what may best fit your child’s individual needs without placing them out of their element.

During COVID19, most programs are taking precautions to keep your child safe. They will likely have your teen placed in a 2-week quarantine home prior entering a program.

Residential therapy is a major emotional and financial decision. Contact us today for more information.

 

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What’s My Teenager Thinking: Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 27, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Book, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting Books, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

What’s My Teenager Thinking: Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents

How to avoid conflict with your teen

As the teenage brain rewires, hormones surge, and independence beckons, a perfect storm for family conflict emerges. Parenting just got tougher. But help is at hand.

This uniquely practical parenting book for raising teenagers in today’s world explores the science at work during this period of development, translates teenage behavior, and shows you how you can best respond as a parent – in the moment and the long term.

Taking over 100 everyday scenarios, the book tackles real-world situations head-on – from what to do when your teenager slams their bedroom door in your face to how to handle worries about online safety, peer group pressure, school work, and sex.

Discover how to create a supportive environment and communicate with confidence – to help your teenager manage whatever life brings.

Here’s an example of what you might be going through with your teen:

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1. I’ll clean my room later

Your teen’s room looks as if it’s been hit by a bomb.

What your teen is thinking…

When he was younger, your teenager’s room was a place to sleep and keep his things. Now he’s an adolescent, he sees it as an expression of who he is, as well as a sanctuary to escape to. Having his things around him makes him safe. Tidying up may also involve a level of planning and self-discipline he hasn’t yet developed.

What you’re thinking… You may feel he’s not respecting your home or the things you’ve bought him, and he’s not developing the organizational skills he needs to look after himself.

How to respond... View your teen’s untidiness as part of his transition to adulthood. The outward mess represents some of the reorganization going on inside his brain. Furthermore, when faced with a big job, your teen may not know where to begin.

Limit instructions to one or two at time, like putting rubbish in a bin bag, followed by putting dirty laundry in the basket. Suggest he blitzes his room for five minutes because once he’s started, he’s likely to keep going.

Talk about how it’s in his own interests, as he’ll be able to find things more easily and clothes look better if they’re hung up, so he’ll want to do it for his own reasons. Keep faith that he’ll eventually work out that a neater room is a more pleasant place to be.

Learn more, order What My Teenager is Thinking? by Tanith Carey and Dr. Carl Pickhardt on Amazon today.

 

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Conduct Disorder in Teens: Symptoms and Treatment

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 15, 2020  /   Posted in Entitlement Issue, Featured Article, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting Teens, Teen Depression, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

Conduct disorder is a serious behavioral and emotional disorder that can occur in children and teens.

A child with this disorder may display a pattern of disruptive and violent behavior and have problems following rules.

It is not uncommon for children and teens to have behavior-related problems at some time during their development. However, the behavior is considered to be a conduct disorder when it is long-lasting and when it violates the rights of others, goes against accepted norms of behavior and disrupts the child’s or family’s everyday life.

What Are the Symptoms of Conduct Disorder?

Symptoms of conduct disorder vary depending on the age of the child and whether the disorder is mild, moderate, or severe. In general, symptoms of conduct disorder fall into four general categories:

  • Aggressive behavior: These are behaviors that threaten or cause physical harm and may include fighting, bullying, being cruel to others or animals, using weapons, and forcing another into sexual activity.
  • Destructive behavior: This involves intentional destruction of property such as arson (deliberate fire-setting) and vandalism (harming another person’s property).
  • Deceitful behavior: This may include repeated lying, shoplifting, or breaking into homes or cars in order to steal.
  • Violation of rules: This involves going against accepted rules of society or engaging in behavior that is not appropriate for the person’s age. These behaviors may include running away, skipping school, playing pranks, or being sexually active at a very young age.

In addition, many children with conduct disorder are irritable, have low self-esteem, and tend to throw frequent temper tantrums. Some may abuse drugs and alcohol. Children with conduct disorder often are unable to appreciate how their behavior can hurt others and generally have little guilt or remorse about hurting others.

What Causes Conduct Disorder?

The exact cause of conduct disorder is not known, but it is believed that a combination of biological, genetic, environmental, psychological, and social factors play a role.

  • Biological: Some studies suggest that defects or injuries to certain areas of the brain can lead to behavior disorders. Conduct disorder has been linked to particular brain regions involved in regulating behavior, impulse control, and emotion. Conduct disorder symptoms may occur if nerve cell circuits along these brain regions do not work properly. Further, many children and teens with conduct disorder also have other mental illnesses, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disorders, depressionsubstance abuse, or an anxiety disorder, which may contribute to the symptoms of conduct disorder.
  • Genetics: Many children and teens with conduct disorder have close family members with mental illnesses, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders and personality disorders. This suggests that a vulnerability to conduct disorder may be at least partially inherited.
  • Environmental: Factors such as a dysfunctional family life, childhood abuse, traumatic experiences, a family history of substance abuse, and inconsistent discipline by parents may contribute to the development of conduct disorder.
  • Psychological: Some experts believe that conduct disorders can reflect problems with moral awareness (notably, lack of guilt and remorse) and deficits in cognitive processing.
  • Social: Low socioeconomic status and not being accepted by their peers appear to be risk factors for the development of conduct disorder.

How Common Is Conduct Disorder?

It is estimated that 2%-16% of children in the U.S. have conduct disorder. It is more common in boys than in girls and most often occurs in late childhood or the early teen years.

How Is Conduct Disorder Diagnosed?

As with adults, mental illnesses in children are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms that suggest a particular problem. If symptoms of conduct disorder are present, the doctor may begin an evaluation by performing complete medical and psychiatric histories. A physical exam and laboratory tests (for example, neuroimaging studies, blood tests) may be appropriate if there is concern that a physical illness might be causing the symptoms. The doctor will also look for signs of other disorders that often occur along with conduct disorder, such as ADHD and depression.

If the doctor cannot find a physical cause for the symptoms, he or she will likely refer the child to a child and adolescent psychiatrist or psychologist, mental health professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses in children and teens. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate a child for a mental disorder.

The doctor bases his or her diagnosis on reports of the child’s symptoms and his or her observation of the child’s attitudes and behavior. The doctor will often rely on reports from the child’s parents, teachers, and other adults because children may withhold information or otherwise have trouble explaining their problems or understanding their symptoms.

How Is Conduct Disorder Treated?

Treatment for conduct disorder is based on many factors, including the child’s age, the severity of symptoms, as well as the child’s ability to participate in and tolerate specific therapies. Treatment usually consists of a combination of the following:

  • Psychotherapy : Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) is aimed at helping the child learn to express and control anger in more appropriate ways. A type of therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to reshape the child’s thinking (cognition) to improve problem solving skills, anger management, moral reasoning skills, and impulse control. Family therapy may be used to help improve family interactions and communication among family members. A specialized therapy technique called parent management training (PMT) teaches parents ways to positively alter their child’s behavior in the home.
  • Medication Although there is no medication formally approved to treat conduct disorder, various drugs may be used (off label) to treat some of its distressing symptoms (impulsivity, aggression), as well as any other mental illnesses that may be present, such as ADHD or major depression.

What Is the Outlook for Children With Conduct Disorder?

If your child is displaying symptoms of conduct disorder, it is very important that you seek help from a qualified doctor. A child or teen with conduct disorder is at risk for developing other mental disorders as an adult if left untreated. These include antisocial and other personality disorders, mood or anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders.

Children with conduct disorder are also at risk for school-related problems, such as failing or dropping out, substance abuse, legal problems, injuries to self or others due to violent behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, and suicide. Treatment outcomes can vary greatly, but early intervention may help to reduce the risk for incarcerations, mood disorders, and the development of other comorbidities such as substance abuse.

Can Conduct Disorder Be Prevented?

Although it may not be possible to prevent conduct disorder, recognizing and acting on symptoms when they appear can minimize distress to the child and family, and prevent many of the problems associated with the condition. In addition, providing a nurturing, supportive, and consistent home environment with a balance of love and discipline may help reduce symptoms and prevent episodes of disturbing behavior.

Courtesy of WebMD.

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How Do I Recognize If My Teenager Is Using Drugs Or Alcohol?

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 24, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Depression, Teen Drug Use, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

How Do I Recognize If My Teenager Is Using Drugs Or Alcohol?

This is a difficult question that many parents have to face on a daily basis.

By Shawnda P. Burns, LMHC, CAP

Parents who spend a great deal of time with their teenagers are often tuned into what is normal behavior and what is not.  However, even parents who are actively involved in the daily activities of their teenagers may overlook – or subconsciously deny – the earliest signs of a substance abuse problem.

Some of the clues that your teenager may exhibit when using drugs or alcohol are fairly subtle, but others are rather obvious:

*Many hours spent alone, especially in their room; persistent isolation from the rest of the family.  This is particular suspicious in a youngster who had not been a loner until now.

*Resistance to taking with or confiding in parents, secretiveness, especially in a teenager who had previously been open.  Be sure that your teenager is not being secretive because every time he tries to confide in you, you jump on him or break his confidence.

*There is marked change for the worse in performance and attendance at school and/or job or other responsibilities as well as in dress, hygiene, grooming, frequent memory lapses, lack of concentration, and unusual sleepiness.

*A change of friends; from acceptable to unacceptable.

*Pronounced mood swings with irritability, hostile outbursts, and rebelliousness.  Your teenager may seem untrustworthy, insincere or even paranoid.

*Lying, usually in order to cover up drinking or drug using behavior as well as sources of money and possessions; stealing, shoplifting, or encounters with the police.

*Abandonment of wholesome activities such as sports, social service and other groups, religious services, teen programs, hobbies, and even involvement in family life.

*Unusual physical symptoms such as dilated or pinpoint pupils, bloodshot eyes, frequent nosebleeds, changes in appetite, digestive problems, excessive yawning, and the shakes.

These are just a few of the warning signs that can be recognized.  Be careful not to jump to the conclusion that your teenager may be using when you see such behavior.

Evaluate the situation.  Talk to your teenager.  Try to spend time with her so that she feels that she can trust you.  By creating a home that is nurturing, she will understand that despite of unhealthy choices that she will always get the love and moral support that she deserves.

Building a strong relationship with your teenager now will mean that in time of crises your love, support, wisdom, and experience won’t be shut out of your teenager’s decision making.

If you have a suspicion that your teenager is involved in the use of drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to bring the subject up.  The sooner the problem is identified and treated, the better the chances that your teenager’s future will be safeguarded.  Raising the subject will be easier if you already have good communication in the family.

Discuss the ways in which you can seek help together.  An evaluation by a substance abuse professional may be the key to understanding what is really going on with your teenager.

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If you have exhausted your local resources, such as therapists, out-patient and possible short-term in-patient, and still find that your teenager is struggling with behavior issues, it might be time to consider residential therapy. Contact us for more information.

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The Self-Love Workbook for Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 15, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Book, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting Books, Parenting Teens, Teen Depression, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

The Self-Love Workbook for Teens: A Transformative Guide to Boost Self-Esteem, Build a Healthy Mindset, and Embrace Your True Self

By Shainna Ali PhD.

Discover how to change your attitude, build confidence in who you are, and genuinely love yourself through the guided activities and real-world advice in this easy-to-use, friendly workbook for teens and young adults.

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As a teen, life can be stressful, whether from worrying about looks, performance in school, relationships with friends and family, or societal pressures. It is easy for you to lose focus and feel like you’re not good enough.

The Self-Love Workbook for Teens gives you the tools to conquer self-doubt and develop a healthy mindset. It includes fun, creative, and research-backed exercises, lessons, and tips, including:

  • Interactive activities
  • Reflective exercises
  • Journaling prompts
  • Actionable advice

Self-love is a journey, but it is the first step on the path to a happier, more fulfilling life.

About the author:

Shainna Ali is a mental health counselor, educator, and advocate. Dr. Ali is passionate about destigmatizing mental health counseling and helping individuals worldwide recognize the importance of fostering mental wellness. She is the author of The Self-Love Workbook: A Life-Changing Guide to Boost Self-Esteem, Recognize Your Worth, and Find Genuine Happiness.

In her Psychology Today-hosted blog, A Modern Mentality, she promotes mental health awareness in an effort to improve mental wellness across the globe. Dr. Ali is also an active blog contributor for the American Counseling Association and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. As a mental health advocate Dr. Ali has been featured in outlets such as ABC, NBC, Yahoo, Bustle, NPR, The Washington Post, and The Insider.

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Dealing with Teen Rebellion

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 27, 2020  /   Posted in Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting Teens, Teen Depression, Teen Drug Use, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

Teen Rebellion: Oppositional Defiance Disorder or Spoiled Brat?

“It would be like saying your husband is ‘rebelling’ when he disagrees with you,” says Laurence Steinberg,Ph.D., a Temple University psychologist and author of more than a dozen books on adolescence, most recently the Age of Opportunity. “Parents become accustomed to little kids not questioning them, so when their kids get to an age where it’s natural for them to question, they see it as defiance.”

None of this is to say that dealing with a teenager who is constantly being contrarian is easy. Having someone in your house who rolls his eyes at your every utterance, slams her bedroom door when you tell her to clean her room, or stomps off when you set bedtimes or curfews can be extremely stressful.

But the distinction between actual rebellion and what most adolescents do—which is to push back in a normal, healthy way—is crucial.

3 Ways Parents can Make the Teen Years a Little Smoother:

1. Compromise where it makes sense.

It is important to understand that the major battles between teens and their parents are usually about control.

A typical example is when your kid has a messy bedroom. Mom and dad can’t get past the dust and dirt, piles of clothing, and grimy dishes. All they want is for things to be cleaned up—and now. Meanwhile, the kid says, “It’s my room. If you don’t like it, I’ll close the door.”

The key to solving this kind of argument is not to give your teen an ultimatum. “Clean your room or you can’t go out this weekend.” Instead, Steinberg suggests that parents find a way to reach a reasonable compromise. Acknowledge your teen’s point of view while asserting your parental right to have a clean home.

“Brainstorm with your kid to figure out a way you can both be happy,” Steinberg says.

In my own house, we’ve reached just such a compromise. My 17-year-old is required to pick up the mess in his room once a week so it can be cleaned. The rest of the week, I let him have his space. (I just try not to look.)

One way to find a middle ground is to test things on a pilot basis. Says Darling: “If there is an area where they want more freedom and you are uncomfortable, you can say, ‘Let’s try it—if it works out, great. If not, we’ll step back.’”

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

On big issues—abiding by curfew, attending school, never drinking and driving—parents have an obligation to be firm. And research shows that most teens are more than comfortable with that.

“In our studies we find that kids actually complain that parents don’t set rules—not that they do,” Darling says. “They may not like the rules, they may not agree with you, but they believe in your right to set them and they want those boundaries. It lets them know that you care, and it gives them something to rub up against.”

At the same time, parents shouldn’t be rigid on things that don’t matter as much, if at all.

“These are areas where you could make a case that the kid should have a say,” Darling explains. “Like what music they listen to, who their friends are, who they date, what they wear, and what they do in their free time.”

Steinberg agrees. “On most of the big issues, teens and parents usually see eye to eye,” he says. “It’s the little things that they get hung up on.”

3. Communicate early and often.

One way to lower the temperature in your house is to keep the lines of communication open. This is important no matter what age your child is. And if you are not in the habit of talking with your kids, it’s never too late to start.

That said, the earlier the better.

“Don’t wait until they are 13 or in trouble,” says Amy Bobrow Gross, Ph.D., a New York psychologist whose private practice focuses on children and teens. “You want them to feel comfortable talking to you well before they become teenagers.”

This isn’t always easy—especially if you have a tendency to argue. That’s why it’s best to walk away in the heat of the moment, Gross says. Then come back when everyone is calmer so you can have a more productive dialogue.

How To Talk To A Rebellious Teenager

If you want to talk to your teen about a particularly touchy topic, Gross advises, try sitting down with him and watching a TV show or a video that hits on the subject. That way, the conversation will feel less personal; the lens will remain on the larger issue, not on your child per se.

Another tip: sometimes the best time to chat is in the car, on a hike, or before bed when the lights are out—all occasions when you’re not looking your kid right in the eye. “Avoiding eye contact can take some of the pressure off,” Gross notes.

Finally, don’t lose sight of the fact that communicating with your teen is a two-way street. Keep your ears—and your mind—open. “A healthy argument is a good time for you to really listen and consider what your kid is saying,” Darling counsels. “It may be a good time to reconsider some of your rules.”

Of course, there are still situations in which teenagers act out in ways that are not normal or healthy. As a parent, you must be alert to the red flags.

Experts agree, for instance, that if your child is arguing with you about absolutely everything—“You can’t force me to go to school,” “You have no right to tell me not to drink”—it’s a cause for concern.

“In families where teenagers are being oppositional just for the sake of being oppositional, there is usually something wrong,” Steinberg says. “There are usually deeper problems in the family’s relationships.”

The same is true if your adolescent is lying to you, abusing drugs, or withdrawing completely. “If they are having unsafe sex, if they are drinking too much, if they are in trouble, you need to step in and get them to stop,” Darling says. “That is your job as a parent.”

But remember, this kind of behavior is more often the exception. In most families, a certain amount of pushback from your teenager is to be expected—even embraced. “They are just becoming more independent and autonomous,” Darling says. “They are doing what they are supposed to do.”

Just don’t call it rebellion.

Article by Randye Hoder, courtesy of Your Teen Magazine.

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If you’re struggling with your teenager and have exhausted your local resources, contact us today to learn more about how residential therapy can help your family.

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RESET: Summer Digital Detox Program for Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 28, 2020  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Featured Article, Mental Health, Summer Camps, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

RESET SUMMER CAMP

Serious Help for Technology Addiction

Looking for a summer digital detox program that is both affordable and effective?

Welcome to Reset.

Digital Addiction

Today we are facing a time when teen depression is on the rise. Young people are struggling with anxiety, stress and overwhelmed by peer pressure. They are isolating themselves – completely immersed in their screens without considering their emotional or physical health.

Symptoms:

-An obsession with being online
-Frustration, anxiety, and irritability when not able to get online
-Abandoning friends or hobbies in order to stay digitally connected
-Continuing to spend time online even after negative repercussions (such as failing grades, deteriorating relationships, and even health issues)

Getting Help

Reset Summer Camp offers a fully immersive, clinical program hosted on a university campus, providing a fun-filled summer camp atmosphere. Participants are able to detox from their screen addiction and learn how to self-regulate, as they participate in individual and group therapy.

Life Skills

The Life Skills program cultivates responsibility and builds self-confidence, so campers will be prepared to handle their real-world obligations. Everything from healthy meal-prep and laundry skills to basic vehicle upkeep and a healthy sleep schedule.

Therapeutic Setting

Their staff includes experienced youth-development professionals, clinical interns, registered nurses, and private-practice mental health PhDs who work daily with those suffering from problematic use of technology, including gaming addiction and other unhealthy screen-time habits.

With 4-weeks of intensive therapeutic intervention, a full Family Workshop weekend and 12-weeks of individual follow-up with every camper, Reset Summer Camp stands alone as the leader in summer digital detox programs.

Aftercare

Reset Summer Camp isn’t done when your teen goes home. What sets them apart from others is their therapeutic after-care. Counselors will be available to help you, your teen and your family find a healthy relationship at home with technology.

Dates and rates

Santa Barbara, CA: Teens (13-17) July 5-August 2nd
New Brunswick, Canada: Teens (13-17) July 19 – August 15th
Harpers Ferry, WV: Young adults (18-26) fall of 2020, call for more information
All 4-week programs are $7850.00.
Please contact RESET for financing options.

RESET also offers kid sessions (8-12 year-old) at their Santa Barbara location at $4250.00 for two weeks.

Contact RESET at 1-775-771-3171 to learn more or email at info@resetsummercamp.com and visit them on Facebook.

Apply now.

As featured on the Today Show:

P.U.R.E. is not compensated by RESET Summer Camp.

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Screen Time During COVID-19: Raising Humans In A Digital World

Posted by Sue Scheff on March 28, 2020  /   Posted in Cyberbullying, Digital Parenting, Featured Book, Internet Addiction, Mental Health, Online Repuation, Parenting Books, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

“Is Internet Addiction Really A Thing?”

YES!

Building a healthy relationship with devices starts at home.

Author Diana Graber is helping parents teach their teens and kids build a healthy relationship with technology. It’s not about removing their devices – it’s about finding the right balance in a digital world.

Raising Humans In A Digital World is your answer.

Screen Time During COVID-19

Suddenly families across the globe are finding themselves at home with kids who are staring at screens more than ever. For many, this is a necessity. Technology is their only access to schoolwork and to their peers. While families may have had firm screen time rules in place pre-pandemic, these have largely gone out the window. And that’s okay.

Still, it is important for parents to help their kids take a much-needed break from their screens now and then, and this is easiest to do if you provide them with alternatives to their screens. Especially if it’s an alternative they came up with themselves.

How We Do This In School

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During normal times, I teach an in-school course called Cyber Civics to middle school students. It’s a series of digital literacy lessons that cover the whole spectrum of online life. One of the topics we explore is “screen time.” Here is a key lesson from our curriculum that I also share in my book “Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology,” that you might find useful at this time:

Make an Offline Bucket List

Many teens and kids today find their most pleasurable experiences online, and that’s too bad because the real world offers lots of pleasurable experiences too. Dr. David Greenfield, an internationally-recognized authority on the treatment of Internet and Technology Addictions, helps his patients reconnect with offline life’s pleasures by having them write down one hundred things they can do without a screen. Even though many find this activity challenging initially, once they get going it becomes easier, and their lists become road maps, full of real-time activities to choose from when the urge to plug in hits.

This is a great activity for kids to do too. The goal is for them to make a list they can refer to when you suggest they take a break from technology and they inevitably tell you they have nothing to do. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Get a large piece of blank white paper. Write “My Offline Bucket List” at the top. Challenge your kids to come up with at least 50 non-digital they’d love to do. For example, they could paint, bake a cake, learn to skateboard, or camp in the backyard (These activities will vary according to each child’s age and interests.) They could write a letter to Grandma, make dinner with you, or walk the dog. The point is for them to come up with at least 50 ideas and write them down.
  1. Post this list in a prominent place in your house. Encourage your children to refer to it when they’ve been online too long. You might make your own list to refer to as well, and use it when you find yourself scrolling mindlessly through your Facebook feed. The point is to give your children fun, non-screen alternatives that they come up with themselves. Your kids may even find these new offline experiences so much fun that they end up craving a good hike over making another TikTok video. Who knows?

We often forget that this generation of kids simply do not know a world without digital devices to fill in every moment of boredom. Help them by letting them discover the joys of the offline world, before we all forget what they are.

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Contributor: Diana Graber, author of Raising Humans In A Digital World

Are you interested in summer digital detox camps? Learn more here.

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Parenting Teens In A Hookup and Sex Culture: How to start a conversation

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 12, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Mental Health, Parenting Teens, Sexting, Teen Help

How to Talk to Teenagers about Hookups and Sex

By Sari Cooper, LSCW

As a certified sex therapist, speaker and mom, I understand the anxieties around teen sexuality and the topic of hooking up. Most parents are worried. Does a teen have the maturity to walk through the emotional, psychological, and medical consequences of engaging in oral sex or intercourse?

The definition of “hooking up” is ambiguous and can change with each situation, from making out to having sexual intercourse. And whether it is bragging or shaming will also fluctuate.

Biology accounts for teen sexuality. Hormones during puberty are responsible for boys’ erections and the tingling feelings in girls’ genitals and breasts. The biological basis is set, but the peer community establishes the norms.

It is important to  talk to your teen about sex and hookups.

Tips for Talking about Sex and Hooking Up:

1. Define hookup.

Ask your teen what their friends mean when they use “hookup.” If your teen is willing to talk, ask them about what their peers have done sexually at which ages. It’s easier for teens to talk about other kids than to talk about themselves.

2. Describe normal.

Describe the actual physical feelings that are normal for this age. Clarify that it is normal to crave the pleasure associated with making out with someone you’re attracted to. Use the word masturbation when describing the natural way boys AND GIRLS can take care of those longings in private. Masturbation is the SAFEST SEX, yet most parents are too embarrassed to talk about it.

3. Understand STIs.

Educate yourself about the most common STIs (sexually transmitted infections): how they are transferred (some can be passed by rubbing without penetration or through oral sex) and the best ways to protect oneself from them. Oral Herpes can be passed through oral sex without a barrier, like a condom or dental dam.

4. Use correct terminology.

Girls should get to know their own genitalia. Use the term “clitoris” (not vagina, since the nerve endings and pleasure are primarily focused in the clitoris).

5. Acknowledge the DOUBLE STANDARD for girls.

This is not a bitter exclamation, rather an explanation of reality. A girl involved in oral sex or sexual intercourse may be labeled as easy, a slut or a whore.

6. Establish appropriate state of mind.

Use the words “conscious,” “responsible” and “authentic” to describe the state of mind that is necessary before making these decisions. “Sober” and “smart” also work. However, your teen might experiment without feeling emotionally crushed afterwards. This part may be hard for parents to accept.

7. Explain your family values.

Be very clear about your family values. Let your teen know what you feel is the healthiest situation to experiment with his or her feelings and with whom. Let them know that real life is different than movies. Real sexual hookups might not be physically or emotionally wonderful.

8. Set specific ages for sexual activity.

Most parents will say something vague like, “When you meet someone you love or when you get married, you will be glad you waited.” This is too vague for most teens. Like the age for a driver’s license, let your teen know when you think your teen would be emotionally prepared to have oral sex and intercourse. (Then add two more years. Adding two years anticipates their need to rebel and try it sooner.)

9. Stress trust.

Stress the importance of trusting their partner. Ask, “If you do choose to engage in some sexual behavior, will your partner keep the information private or spread it around online or at school?”

10. Articulate guidelines.

If you agree with certain behaviors at certain ages, let them know what they are, and ask them to do it with a person they trust and in a private place beyond the phones of others who can shoot a photo and upload it on social media sites without their permission.

11. Share information.

Sexual education books and videos can help teens understand their bodies and the many ways to feel pleasure and prevent STIs.

12. Buy condoms.

Show your teen how to put a condom on a cucumber. This ensures that they know how to use them safely to prevent the transfer of herpes or other STIs. Do the same with dental dams or saran wrap when oral sex is given to women.

Saying no is one type of empowerment, but having the tools to say yes safely is a more realistic type of empowerment. You wouldn’t let your teen drive the car without getting driving lessons first. Don’t let your teens out the door without a full sex education.

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Article republished with permission from  Your Teen for Parents. Visit them for more educational articles on parenting teens today.

Also read: Sex Hasn’t Changed It’s Our Culture Giving it a Bad Rap

Book recommendation, our featured book, Boys & Sex .

Also check-out Peggy Orenstein’s book, Girls & Sex.

 

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Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 12, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Book, Mental Health, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Uncategorized

Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity

Author Peggy Orenstein’s new book, Boys & Sex, is based on extensive interviews with more than 100 college and college-bound boys and young men across the U.S. between the ages of 16 and 22 on intimacy, consent and navigating masculinity. They spanned a broad range of races, religions, classes and sexual orientations.

In Boys & Sex, Peggy Orenstein dives back into the lives of young people to once again give voice to the unspoken, revealing how young men understand and negotiate the new rules of physical and emotional intimacy.

Drawing on comprehensive interviews with young men, psychologists, academics, and experts in the field, Boys & Sex dissects so-called locker room talk; how the word “hilarious” robs boys of empathy; pornography as the new sex education; boys’ understanding of hookup culture and consent; and their experience as both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence.

By surfacing young men’s experience in all its complexity, Orenstein is able to unravel the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important realities of young male sexuality in today’s world. The result is a provocative and paradigm-shifting work that offers a much-needed vision of how boys can truly move forward as better men.

Listen to Peggy Orensten on NPR talk about her recent book, Boys & Sex.

Order from Amazon.

Boys & Sex is available at your favorite book store including Amazon.

Also check-out Peggy Orenstein’s book, Girls & Sex.

Order from Amazon.

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