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Parenting Teens

Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 13, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Depression

Understanding Teen Dating Violence

Help Your Teens UnsplashTeenDating-300x220 Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help Adolescence is a pivotal time in a child’s development. They begin to make decisions, develop relationships, and take on more responsibility in their lives. The lessons and habits they learn will stick with them throughout adulthood. Teens are impressionable.

The relationships they have when they’re young, both personal and romantic, can have lasting effects.  Teen dating violence is a serious issue. Not only does it harm the teen, but it also has lasting consequences that can follow them throughout adulthood. 

Teen dating violence (TVD) is the physical, sexual, and psychological abuse experienced as a teen in a dating relationship. Although abuse is more common in middle-aged women, millions of teens every year experience some form of teen dating violence. TVD can take many forms and can happen both in-person and digitally. Teens who experience dating violence are more likely to be victims of domestic violence in adulthood. Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s important to share information on these topics to help those that are victims and prevent any further abuse. 

Red Flags & Warning Signs 

Emotional Abuse 

Emotional abuse is when an abuser will bully, falsely accuse, isolate, or gaslight a victim to assert dominance and psychologically control their victim. Emotional abuse is one of the most common tactics used by abusers, and one of the first signs of teen dating violence in a relationship. Some warning signs of emotional abuse include: 

  • False accusations of cheating
  • Isolation from friends and family 
  • Belittlement, mockery, or consistent criticism  
  • Undermined emotions, opinions, and feelings  
  • Public humiliation or intentional embarrassment 
  • Held responsible for all the partner’s mistakes 
  • Manipulation through threat or blackmail 
  • Sporadic or unnecessary arguments 
  • Personal attacks and swearing towards partner 

Although emotional abuse is the most common form of teen dating violence, it can be the hardest to detect. Abusers will act friendly around friends and family, then flip a switch when they’re alone with the victim. Many victims don’t notice the signs of emotional abuse. They tell themselves that it isn’t that bad or blame themselves for the abuser’s actions. Emotional abuse can cause a victim to have low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and increased levels of guilt and shame. 

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is when money is used as a weapon to control a victim. Stealing a partner’s money, controlling how a partner spends their own money, or preventing a partner from academic success or getting a job are just some forms of teen financial abuse. Some common red flags of financial abuse include: 

  • Having to ask partner for permission to use their own money 
  • Being forced to pay for all the dates 
  • Having to give the other partner access to their money and accounts
  • Financially supporting a partner with nothing in return
  • Being prevented from attending school 
  • Not being allowed to partake in higher education and employment opportunities

Financial abuse can have detrimental long-term consequences such as dropping out of school, giving up academic and job opportunities, being financially reliant on the partner, and having little to no money to their own name. The effects of financial abuse are amplified when a teen has a debit or credit card.

Abusers can gain access to their accounts and rack up debt in their name. This can cause teens to enter adulthood with severe debt and a low credit score. Although it may not seem important to a teen now, financial abuse can make reaching milestones like attending college or making big purchases much more challenging. Things like buying a home have certain credit score requirements, that financial abuse survivors may not be able to meet. 

Physical Violence

Physical violence is the intentional hurting of a partner’s physical body. Bitting, hitting, kicking, choking, throwing, and beating are common forms of physical abuse. Many abusers will create excuses for physical violence, blame the victim, or will make the abuse seem like an accident.

This form of abuse is the easiest to identify since it often leaves victims with bruises and scars. However, many victims will cover up any signs or markings by wearing long clothing or applying makeup to their wounds. If you notice your child wearing long sleeves and pants on a hot day, it can be an indicator of physical violence. Some other red flags for physical violence are:

  • Bruises on the body 
  • Black eye or swelling around the eye and face
  • Broken glasses or personal items
  • Busted lips 
  • Sprained wrists 
  • Unexplained wounds or injuries 
  • Wearing scarves or sunglasses during unorthodox times 
  • Extra alertness or waiting for something bad to happen 
  • Flinching or putting hands up in defense at sudden movement or being touched 

Physical violence is regarded as the most dangerous TVD. Victims of physical abuse often experience PTSD, increased anxiety, trust issues, and addiction. Abusers will start controlling their victims using psychological tactics and then move into physical violence. Identifying other forms of abuse in a relationship can help prevent your teen from experiencing physical violence. However, if you notice signs of physical abuse it’s imperative that you get them the help they need before the violence escalates. 

Sexual Violence

Help Your Teens BigStockGirlOnCell-300x202 Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help Sexual violence, also known as sexual assault, is when a victim is pressured physically or emotionally to engage in sexual activity. Sexual assault is not limited to intercourse. It can be any unconsented sexual touching, sexting, or sending explicit pictures of a partner to others.

Sexual violence is another way abusers control and manipulate their victims for their gain. This form of abuse is the hardest for teens to talk about. However, some warning signs to look out for include: 

  • Signs of physical abuse (bruises, wounds, scars) 
  • Unusual weight gain or weight loss
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts 
  • Abnormal changes to self-care (clothing, hygiene, appearance) 
  • Self-harm or substance abuse 
  • Panic attacks 
  • STDs or sexually transmitted infection 
  • Pregnancy or pregnancy scare 

If you notice these signs, have an open conversation with your teen. Create a safe space for them to speak their truth. Sexual violence can lead to unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection/disease that, if not treated early on, can end severe health risks. Sexual violence also has long-term effects on a victim’s mental health. It can cause a victim to develop an eating disorder to reclaim a sense of control, PTSD,  numbness, and fear of sexual interaction or intimacy. 

Stalking 

Stalking is the repeated unwanted contact and attention from a partner. Some forms of stalking include an abuser showing up at the victim’s house unexpectedly, physically following a victim, sending unwanted texts and phone calls to the victim, tracking the victim through social media, and hiring or making other people follow you. Stalking is a tactic used to make the victim fearful and is often used when the victim leaves the relationship. It may not seem as dangerous but if not addressed early, can continue long after teenage years.

Some red flags of stalking include: 

  • Rumors being spread about the victim 
  • Unwanted phone calls to anyone with a connection to the victim (friends, family, employers) 
  • Abuser showing up to victim’s place of employment
  • Abuser waiting for the victim or following them 
  • Abuser monitoring or tracking victim’s location and internet use 
  • Threats to victim’s new partner 
  • Unexplainable damage is done to home, car, or personal belongings

If you suspect that your teen is being stalked it may be wise to take legal action against the abuser. Consider getting a restraining order to put a stop to this manipulation. Stalking may not seem like much, but it can implicate a child’s life, and if it persists, can lead to rather dangerous or life-threatening situations. 

What Parents Can Do 

Help Your Teens PexelSadTeen2-300x204 Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help Knowing the signs of teen dating violence and educating your teen on the signs can help prevent your child from becoming a victim. If you suspect your child is experiencing teen dating violence, initiate conversation. During the conversation listen to your teen, taking note of what they need most. Be a source of comfort and guidance, but most importantly, encourage and help your teen take action. Teen dating violence is a serious issue. By talking about these red flags and warning signs, and by taking the necessary actions against abusers, we can help put a stop to teen dating violence. 

Guest contributor.

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Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 29, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book, Parenting Books, Parenting Teens

Family Conflict: Finding Resolutions

Real solutions to a hidden epidemic: family estrangement.

By Karl Pillemer, Ph.D.

Estrangement from a family member is one of the most painful life experiences. It is devastating not only to the individuals directly involved–collateral damage can extend upward, downward, and across generations, More than 65 million Americans suffer such rifts, yet little guidance exists on how to cope with and overcome them.

In this book, Karl Pillemer combines the advice of people who have successfully reconciled with powerful insights from social science research. The result is a unique guide to mending fractured families.

Help Your Teens BookFaultLines-198x300 Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them Fault Lines shares for the first time findings from Dr. Pillemer’s ten-year groundbreaking Cornell Reconciliation Project, based on the first national survey on estrangement; rich, in-depth interviews with hundreds of people who have experienced it; and insights from leading family researchers and therapists. He assures people who are estranged, and those who care about them, that they are not alone and that fissures can be bridged.

Through the wisdom of people who have “been there,” Fault Lines shows how healing is possible through clear steps that people can use right away in their own families. It addresses such questions as: How do rifts begin? What makes estrangement so painful? Why is it so often triggered by a single event? Are you ready to reconcile? How can you overcome past hurts to build a new future with a relative?

Tackling a subject that is achingly familiar to almost everyone, especially in an era when powerful outside forces such as technology and mobility are lessening family cohesion, Dr. Pillemer combines dramatic stories, science-based guidance, and practical repair tools tohelp people find the path to reconciliation.

Order on Amazon.

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The breakdown of your family unit can mean the destruction of each individual emotionally. Is your teen controlling your household? Do you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells? Have you exhausted your local resources? Is this tearing your family apart? It might be time to consider outside resources.

Contact us today for more information on therapeutic boarding schools.

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How to Resolve Family Conflict with Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 28, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Are you struggling with family conflict in your home?

Does your teen make you feel like your walking on eggshells?

You’re not alone!

Help Your Teens BigstockAngerTeen-300x194 How to Resolve Family Conflict with Teens Conflict can happen when family members, especially teenagers, have different views (wants or needs) or beliefs that clash. Sometimes conflict can occur when people misunderstand each other and jump to the wrong conclusion. Issues of conflict that are not resolved peacefully can lead to arguments and resentment.

It is normal to disagree with each other from time to time. Occasional conflict is part of family life. However, ongoing conflict can be stressful and damaging to relationships. Some people find it difficult to manage their feelings and become intentionally hurtful, aggressive or even violent.

Communicating in a positive way with your teen can help reduce conflict so that family members can reach a peaceful resolution. This usually means that everyone agrees to a compromise or agrees to disagree.

Sometimes, strong emotions or the power imbalances that can be present in relationships are difficult to resolve and can only be addressed in a counselling situation.

Common causes of family conflict

It is well recognized that some of the stages a family goes through can cause conflict. These may include:

  • Learning to live as a new couple (new step-parents)
  • Birth of a baby (new siblings)
  • Birth of other children
  • A child going to school (changing schools)
  • A child becoming a young person (puberty)
  • A young person becoming an adult.

Each of these stages can create new and different stresses and potential conflict.

Changes in the family situation can also take a toll on the family and contribute to conflict.

This may include events such as:

  • Separation or divorce
  • Moving to a new house or country
  • Travelling long distances to work
  • Commuting interstate for work.
  • Change in financial circumstances.

All of these common events can impact a teen’s young emotional life as much as a parent will try to make the transistion seamless.

Agreeing to negotiate

Help Your Teens BigStockMomTeenConcern-300x207 How to Resolve Family Conflict with Teens Usually, our first angry impulse is to push the point that we are right and win the argument at any cost. Finding a peaceful resolution can be difficult, if not impossible, when both parties stubbornly stick to their guns. It helps if everyone decides as a family to try listening to each other and negotiating instead.

Suggestions include:

  • Work out if the issue is worth fighting over.
  • Try to separate the problem from the person.
  • Try to cool off first if you feel too angry to talk calmly.
  • Keep in mind that the idea is to resolve the conflict, not win the argument.
  • Remember that the other party isn’t obliged to always agree with you on everything.
  • Define the problem and stick to the topic.
  • Respect the other person’s point of view by paying attention and listening.
  • Talk clearly and reasonably.
  • Try to find points of common ground.
  • Agree to disagree (within reason with a teen).

Try to listen

Conflict can escalate when the people involved are too angry to listen to each other. Misunderstandings fuel arguments. Suggestions include:

  • Try to stay calm.
  • Try to put emotions aside.
  • Don’t interrupt the other person while they are speaking.
  • Actively listen to what they are saying and what they mean.
  • Check that you understand them by asking questions.
  • Communicate your side of the story clearly and honestly.
  • Resist the urge to bring up other unresolved but unrelated issues.

Work as a team

Once both parents and teen understand the views and feelings of the other, you hopefully can work out a solution together.

Suggestions include:

  • Come up with as many possible solutions as you can.
  • Be willing to compromise.
  • Make sure everyone clearly understands the chosen solution.
  • Once the solution is decided on, stick to it.
  • Write it down as a ‘contract’, if necessary.

Professional advice

There are services available to help family members work through difficult issues of conflict. Seek professional advice if you think you need some assistance. A local therapist through your insurance provider or a referral from a friend or family doctor could help get you started.

If your teen continues to cause contention and conflict in your home, it might be time to consider resources such as residential therapy to determine where their anger is stemming from.

Order the new best selling book on family conflict, Fault Lines.

Contact us for more information.

Source: BetterHealth

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How Instagram Could Be Damaging to Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 21, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens

Facebook Knew Instagram Could Be Damaging to Teens

Help Your Teens PexelGirlOnlineCellPhone-195x300 How Instagram Could Be Damaging to Teens The tech giant has studied how the app affects youth.

  • An article in The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook’s own documents found Instagram to be damaging to teens.
  • A 2017 survey, published by the U.K.’s Royal Society for Public Health, found Instagram to be “worst social media network for mental health.”
  • Seeing others “edited to perfection” can be challenging for teens who may struggle with self-esteem or are vulnerable to social approval.

When one of my daughters was about 13 years old, I took her to a Teen Vogue event at our local mall. Afterward, she started getting a Teen Vogue magazine in the mail each month. One Saturday morning she walked into the kitchen with a stack of them and asked, “Will you please take these away? I don’t think looking at pictures of perfect girls is good for me.”

This incident predates Instagram, the social media network owned by Facebook that enjoys 500 million+ active users daily and is used by 76 percent of U.S. teens. Whereas my daughter was troubled by perhaps a few dozen images in a magazine she might have leafed through once or twice a month, today’s teens are literally barraged with such images daily—some even spend hours a day using this app.

What brought the memory of my daughter back was a recent article in The Wall Street Journal titled, “Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show.” The article reports that “(f)or the past three years, Facebook has been conducting studies into how its photo-sharing app affects its millions of young users.” Facebook’s own researchers “found that Instagram is harmful for a sizable percentage of them, most notably teenage girls.”

By reviewing internal documents produced by Instagram (Facebook), The Wall Street Journal‘s reporters found these statements in a company slide presentation from 2019: “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls” and “Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression… This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.”

Perhaps the most disturbing revelation in the WSJ article was this:

“Among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13 percent of British users and 6 percent of American users traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram, one presentation showed.”

This News is Not New

To me, what’s most irritating about this revelation is that it’s old news. While writing my book a few years ago, I referenced a 2017 #StatusOfMind survey, published by the United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health, that predates and mirrors Facebook’s own findings. Surveying almost 1,500 teens and young adults, the study found Instagram (along with Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter) to be associated with high levels of depression, bullying, and FOMO, the “fear of missing out.”

Instagram, where personal photos or selfies (often carefully staged or touched up) rule, was discovered to be “the worst social media network for mental health and well-being.” A teen respondent to the survey wrote, “Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough, as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect.’”

“Instagram culture creates an environment that rewards perfection,” says Dr. Pamela Rutledge, Director of the Media Psychology Research Center. According to Rutledge:

“The trouble is, when people look, they forget that many of these images are not real and it creates unattainable expectations and beauty ideals. Our brains are wired to react as if virtual images were real. We are hardwired to compare ourselves to others. This had some evolutionary benefit as it was how people learned to navigate the social environment. It has little benefit on social media when we use it to judge ourselves against imaginary, often unattainable goals. This is particularly harmful to teens who already struggle with self-esteem and are vulnerable to social approval.”

Photoshop is So Five Minutes Ago

Today, a digitally perfect body or face is just a few clicks away, thanks to the ubiquity and ease of use of new “editing” apps. One of the most popular is “Facetune.” According to its own website, Facetune is the #1 self-editing app in the world, used by over 100 million worldwide. With this app, users can “(s)mooth skin, whiten teeth, swipe away blemishes, contour features, add makeup…” and more.

Facetune, which experienced a 20 percent increase in usage at the start of the pandemic, sees 1 million to 1.5 million retouched photos exported every single day. It is so widely used that the word itself is used interchangeably with “edit… in much the same way “Photoshop” was used by the generation before.

According to the study “Selfies-Living in the Era of Filtered Photographs,” a direct correlation exists between the proliferation of digitally manipulated selfies and body dysmorphic disorder, an under-diagnosed mental health condition causing sufferers to obsess over minor or imagined defects in their appearance.

Researchers at Boston University who conducted the study warn that Facetune and similar apps “are making us lose touch with reality because we expect to look perfectly primped and filtered in real life as well,” which can cause serious psychological harm.

What exacerbates the situation further is the Instagram (Facebook) algorithm. It feeds users more of what it thinks they like or have expressed interest in. In other words, if a teen looks at health, beauty, diet, or similar posts, they are likely to be bombarded with more of the same kinds of posts every time they open the app.

What Can Parents Do?

Help Your Teens BigFatherDaughterOnline2-300x198 How Instagram Could Be Damaging to Teens Don’t wait for your daughter (or son) to walk into the kitchen asking you to take Instagram away. Chances are that’s not going to happen because the app isn’t just feeding them images that might promote self-loathing—teens are also using it in a myriad of (and sometimes really awesome) ways. They might be communicating with friends, sharing life updates, learning about current events, sharing inspiring or funny images, or advocating for causes they care about.

There is even an ever-growing community of Instagram users with huge followings who are calling attention to touched-up content and unattainable images of beauty. One of my favorites is @beauty.false who has over 1.2M followers. If you have an Instagram-using teen, ask them if they have heard of or follow this or similar accounts.

Finally, if you need a checklist to help you address this problem, here’s a very short and easy-to-follow list:

  1. Spend a little time exploring Instagram yourself, but remember what you see has been curated specifically for you.
  2. Talk to your teen about Instagram.
  3. Listen (non-judgmentally) to what your teen has to say about Instagram.

By Diana Graber, founder of CyberCivics author of Raising Humans in a Digital World.

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Listening to Your Teen: Effective Tips and Relevant Importance

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 10, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Communication is Key with Your Teenager

Help Your Teens BigStockFatherSon2-300x201 Listening to Your Teen: Effective Tips and Relevant Importance The teenage years of a child are one of the most troublesome times for a parent. During these years, most teens pull away from their parents to assert their independence. In addition, it is also when they’re setting boundaries, throwing tantrums, and doing exciting new things.

This development stage is where teens begin creating decisions that have real and life-long consequences. These things include making new friends, choosing schools, selecting vitamins that are essential for men and women their age, and learning how to drive. But, unfortunately, they are also susceptible to harmful activities like drinking alcohol, partying, substance use, and experimenting with sex.

However, this is a vulnerable time since they aren’t good at regulating their emotions yet. Hence, they’re prone to making impulsive decisions and taking unnecessary risks. That is why having a healthy and trusting relationship between you and your child is crucial during their teenage years.

Importance of Listening to Your Teen

You can achieve a positive relationship with your teen by improving the communication between the two of you. Besides, good communication starts with you knowing when to talk and especially how to listen. Hence, good listening skills are fundamental for building a relationship with your teenager.

Listening is more than just hearing the words your teen is saying. But it is tuning in to their thoughts and feelings. In addition, taking the time to listen to your teen shows that you are respecting their thoughts and opinions. Then, this will help in building trust between the two of you. Moreover, listening will allow you to understand and learn what is happening with your teen’s life.

When you’re listening, it lets your teen be the one talking. Talking helps your child to think more clearly. Furthermore, this situation will allow them to express their feelings and thoughts without any correction or judgment. That is why listening is a vital skill that every parent must have.

Practical Tips for Listening to Your Teen

One of the parents’ main concerns is thinking of “what is the right response” when talking with their teen. However, parents need to understand that most of the time, listening to your child is more important than what you have to say.

The following are five (5) practical tips to ensure that you truly hear your teenager and make sure that they know it.

Create a Safe Environment

Help Your Teens PexelsMomDaughter-300x200 Listening to Your Teen: Effective Tips and Relevant Importance The first step you need is to create a safe environment for your teen to share their thoughts and feelings. It would help if you assured them that they could tell the truth and be honest in anything with you. Moreover, they should not fear any judgment, blame, or ridicule from you. However, it is most crucial that you stick to your promise and never break it.

Give Them Your Full Attention

When communicating with your teen, you must give all of your attention to them. By doing so, you will send a message that the most important thing right now is your teen. It also tells them that you are interested and available on what they’re saying, thinking, and feeling.

Turn off any appliances that may distract you from your child, including the television, radio, and speakers. Also, put down your phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices. Model the behavior that you would expect from your teen.

Don’t Interrupt Them

Listening to your teen means allowing them to talk without interruption. Avoid asking any questions or saying anything until they’re finished talking so that you wouldn’t break their train of thought. In addition, this will help you concentrate on what they are saying and identify if there are any hidden meanings with their words.

Display Positive Body Language

When communicating with your teen, displaying positive body language shows that you genuinely care about what they’re saying. You can do this by getting close when your teen is speaking, using eye contact to show that you are listening, nodding your head appropriately, and simply saying, “I see.”

When there is a pause, you can also ask them, “Then what happened?” or “And then?” Moreover, avoid sighing, eye-rolling, crossing your arms around your chest, and looking into the distance or over your shoulder.

Restate in Your Own Words What You Heard Them Say

Restating what your teen says is a crucial act of proving that you are paying attention to them. In addition, it tells them that you are trying to understand their story. Moreover, it assures your teen that you’re truly hearing them. Furthermore, if you restate their story incorrectly, it gives them the chance to re-explain it and avoid any misunderstanding between you two.

The Bottom Line

Staying close and having an open relationship with your teen may not be as easy when they were a child. Some teens are open books with their friends but mute as fish with their parents. If you want to find out what’s going on with your teen, learn how to communicate with them properly.

However, interrogating and grilling your teen is not the right way of achieving open communication with them, but an earnest back-and-forth conversation is. Good communication with your teen starts with good listening. Moreover, good communication with your teen is the core of having a healthy and nourishing relationship with them.

 

 

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Why Is My Teen Stealing

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 07, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Does Your Teen Steal or Shoplift?

Help Your Teens TeenStealing-225x300 Why Is My Teen Stealing It’s probably more common than parents realize.

Why do teens steal?

There are almost as many reasons teens steal as there are things for teens to steal. One of the biggest reasons teens steal is peer pressure. Often, teens will steal items as a means of proving’ that they are “cool enough” to hang out with a certain group.

This is especially dangerous because if your teen can be convinced to break the law for petty theft, there is a strong possibility he or she can be convinced to try other, more dangerous behaviors, like drinking or drugs. It is because of this that it is imperative you correct this behavior before it escalates to something beyond your control.

Another common reason teens steal is because they want an item their peers have but they cannot afford to purchase. Teens are very peer influenced, and may feel that if they don’t have the ‘it’ sneakers or mp3 player, they’ll be considered less cool than the kids who do.

If your teen cannot afford these items, they may be so desperate to fit in that they simply steal the item. They may also steal money from you or a sibling to buy such an item. If you notice your teen has new electronics or accessories that you know you did not buy them, and your teen does not have a job or source of money, you may want to address whereabouts they came up with these items.

Teens may also steal simply for a thrill. Teens who steal for the ‘rush’ or the adrenaline boost are often simply bored and/ or testing the limits of authority. They may not even need or want the item they’re stealing! In cases like these, teens can act alone or as part of a group.

Help Your Teens Shoplifting Why Is My Teen Stealing Often, friends accompanying teens who shoplift will act as a ‘lookout’ for their friend who is committing the theft.

Unfortunately, even if the lookout doesn’t actually steal anything, the can be prosecuted right along with the actual teen committing the crime, so its important that you make sure your teen is not aiding his or her friends who are shoplifting.

Yet another reason teens steal is for attention. If your teen feels neglected at home, or is jealous of the attention a sibling is getting, he or she may steal in the hopes that he or she is caught and the focus of your attention is diverted to them. If you suspect your teen is stealing or acting out to gain your attention, it is important that you address the problem before it garners more than just your attention, and becomes part of their criminal record.

Though unconventional, this is your teen’s way of asking for your help- don’t let them down!

If parents take the proper measures, in most cases the stealing stops as the child grows older. Child and adolescent psychiatrists recommend that when parents find out their child has stolen, they:

  • tell the child that stealing is wrong
  • help the youngster to pay for or return the stolen object
  • make sure that the child does not benefit from the theft in any way
  • avoid lecturing, predicting future bad behavior, or saying that they now consider the child to be a thief or a bad person
  • make clear that this behavior is totally unacceptable within the family tradition and the community

In treating a child who steals persistently, a mental health provider will evaluate the underlying reasons for the child’s need to steal, and develop a plan of treatment. Important parts of treatment can be helping the child form trusting relationships and helping the family to direct the child toward a healthier path of development.

If your teen is facing legal consequences or you realize they are taking things that don’t belong to them, reach out for help.  If they refuse to attend or you have exhausted your local resources, please contact us for more information on residential therapy.

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How to Raise Teens In an Entitlement Generation

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 07, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Raising Responsible Teens in an Entitlement Generation

Help Your Teens EntitledTeen-300x199 How to Raise Teens In an Entitlement Generation

Raising teenagers is not easy especially when they are expected everything handed to them. It seems we live in an entitlement generation.

It’s not uncommon to hear parents of teenagers bemoaning the lack of responsibility and maturity that their children exhibit. As kids get older and enter into the teenage years, it becomes more apparent that they’re actually approaching adulthood, whether they’re prepared for it or not.

Instilling a sense of responsibility in a teenager can be a very challenging prospect, but it can also help them to avoid succumbing to peer pressure or failing to learn important life skills as they grow into productive, capable adults.

Let Them Experience Natural Consequences

It’s normal to want to limit your teen’s exposure to disappointment, failure and hurt as she grows into an adult. However, shielding her from the natural consequences of her more irresponsible behavior will only make it more difficult for her to connect her choices to those consequences. While you certainly shouldn’t allow your child to behave recklessly or take dangerous risks without intervening, you also should think twice before stepping in to protect her from the inconvenience or even disappointment of making an irresponsible choice.

For instance, nagging and cajoling your teen to collect her laundry or pay her cell phone bill will probably only make her more likely to resist in an attempt to test boundaries and assert her independence. Allowing her phone to be shut off or her clothes to go unwashed as a result of her choice not to manage those tasks, however, can help her to understand the importance of managing her responsibilities.

Model Responsible Behavior

While a teenager may not show many signs of listening to what you say, you can be certain that she’s watching the things that you do. Demanding her to behave responsibly while allowing her to see you making decidedly irresponsible choices is not only ineffective, it can also be downright offensive to kids.

Taking a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to parenting doesn’t usually help your children gain the skills or learn the lessons that they need to learn, so be sure that you’re practicing what you preach when it comes to accepting responsibility and behaving accordingly.

Minimize Large, No-Strings-Attached Purchases

It’s become something of a rite of passage for teenagers to receive vehicles and other pricey objects as they come of age, but simply presenting them with such items without requiring that they take ownership for care and maintenance of them, or make any financial investment of their own, can cause your teen to feel as if she’s entitled to such grand gestures.

Helping your teen to purchase a car but insisting that she make part of the payments, purchasing a car outright but requiring her to pay for the insurance, and making sure that she alone is responsible for the care and upkeep of her things can help her learn more about how to be responsible and that she has to earn the things she wants rather than them just being given to her.

Help Your Teens parent-talking-to-teen-300x184 How to Raise Teens In an Entitlement Generation Maintain an Open Line of Communication

When your teen knows that she can approach you with her problems, concerns or questions, she may be more likely to do just that. Part of being responsible is learning how to admit when you need help, and learning from the experiences she has along the way. Make sure that your child knows she can come to you when she’s feeling pressured or anxious so that she’ll be more likely to address her problems than to seek an irresponsible, escapist solution that could have far-reaching implications.

Make a Chore List

If your teen wasn’t responsible for keeping track of and completing a list of chores as a child, instituting a policy of doing just that after she reaches adolescence can be a struggle. Still, she needs to understand that there are tasks in life that must be completed, even if they’re distasteful or less than thrilling. Giving your teen a list of chores and some real-life, practical consequences that accompany her failure to complete them are two ways of helping her to gain responsibility through experience and consequences.

Help Your Teens FamilyDinner How to Raise Teens In an Entitlement Generation Eat Dinner as a Family

In today’s busy world, sitting down to family dinners can seem like a major inconvenience. Studies at Emory University, The National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and a white paper study by Dr. William J. Dougherty all show, however, that kids and teens that regularly share meals with their families have lower rates of obesity, higher academic performance, are less likely to develop or struggle with eating disorders, have higher self-esteem, and have lowered risks of depression, substance abuse and teen pregnancy than their peers whose families don’t share meals together. Preparing and sharing dinner as a family unit can help your child make more responsible choices and be more capable, productive and successful in adulthood.

Read more to help them learn about financial literacy.

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Why Does My Smart Teen Skip School

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 04, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Smart Teens Skipping Classes

Is your teen skipping classes or not attending school at all?
Help Your Teens TeenTruancy2-300x206 Why Does My Smart Teen Skip School

Do you have a smart teen making not good choices? 

Truancy is a term used to describe any intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. Children in America today lose over five million days of their education each year through truancy.

Often times they do this without the knowledge of their parents or school officials. In common usage the term typically refers to absences caused by students of their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate “excused” absences, such as ones related to a medical condition. It may also refer to students who attend school but do not go to classes.

Because of this confusion many schools have their own definitions, and as such the exact meaning of the term itself will differ from school to school and district to district. In order to avoid or diminish confusion, many schools explicitly define the term and their particular usage thereof in the school’s handbook of policies and procedures. In many instances truancy is the term referring to an absence associated with the most brazen student irresponsibility and results in the greatest consequences.

Many educators view truancy as something much more far reaching than the immediate consequence that missed schooling has on a student’s education. Truancy may indicate more deeply embedded problems with the student, the education they are receiving, or both.

Because of its traditional association with juvenile delinquency, truancy in some schools may result in an ineligibility to graduate or to receive credit for class attended, until the time lost to truancy is made up through a combination of detention, fines, or summer school.

This can be especially troubling for a child, as failing school can lead to social impairment if the child is held back, economic impact if the child drops out or cannot continue his or her education, and emotional impact as the cycle of failure diminishes the adolescent’s self-esteem.

What causes truancy?

The reason a student misses school will for different depending on the age and circumstances of each student. Sometimes a student will skip school because they feel unsafe at school or on their way to or from school. Other students may miss school because of family issues, financial demands, substance abuse, or mental health problems.

Factors contributing to truancy commonly stem from three core areas: school, family and community. Innate student characteristics and their experiences within all these areas will have a heavy impact on truancy rates.

Bad Influences

Help Your Teens BigstockTeenDrugUse2-300x199 Why Does My Smart Teen Skip School One of the common causes of truancy and disruptive behavior in children is the influence of friends and peers.

Many times these peers are seen encouraging truancy as a status-seeking activity or as a way of joining in or blending in.

The child’s natural instinct to want to be a part of a larger crowd or group dynamic will take over, even if they are taught better habits. Often times this same dynamic is prevalent in the face of any resistance the child may put forth, prompting teasing or goading the child into truanting.

School

What is classed as truancy can depend largely on the school’s attitude to the ‘truant’ or their problems. Relationships with teachers, seen as lacking respect/fairness, play a large factor in truancy rates among children. Often times this inability to get along with teachers and/or students will result in disciplinary problems which may lead to suspension, or expulsion.

Of course, being away from the school either voluntarily or at the school’s demand can have an adverse affect on the student’s academic performance, resulting in not being able to keep up with school work, getting poor grades, or even failing. A school may also be remiss in not notifying parents/guardians of absences.

This feeds into the larger school category as a whole, encompassing not only relationships with teachers and issues of fair treatment but also the content and delivery of the curriculum, seen as lacking in relevance and stimulus.

At this point the factors coming together are often times consolidated into the “standard” excuse from children regarding school and truancy, namely that they don’t like school in general or that they don’t like the particular school they are attending.

Compounding the problem is the ease with which some pupils slip away unnoticed and how their school systems do not have in place a method to deter them. For example inconsistent and ineffective school attendance policies, in conjunction with poor record keeping, may cause a school to inadequately identify a child’s special education needs.

Help Your Teens bullying_20120929090829_320_240-300x225 Why Does My Smart Teen Skip School Bullying

Closely related to the issue of a child’s relationship with school is the matter of bullying. Bullying is a prime component in the making of an unsafe school environment; if a child does not feel safe at school, or on the way to/from school, they are much more likely to become truant.

Bullying occurs for many reasons and it goes beyond the one isolated instance of harassment either because of teachers’ inability to control, or problems arising from the child’s own personality or learning abilities. A parent might say they’re keeping their child off school because they’re being bullied. The school might call it truancy.

Personal Matters

Individual (personal) factors related to child truancy include: lack of self-esteem/social skills/confidence; poor peer relations; lack of academic ability; special needs; and lack of concentration/self-management skills.

Professionals have identified that many chronically truant children had a job, had a family to support, or had trouble managing both school and work, thus forcing them to make a choice between personal life and school.

For sure when a child gets married, gets pregnant and/or becomes a parent the risk of truancy increases. Often times the risky behaviors are further instigated if the child develops or has already developed an alcohol or drug problem.

Family factors that contribute to truancy in students are innately personal in nature. Parentally condoned absence is especially influential, as it reinforces the lack of consequences for irresponsible/unwanted behavior on the part of the child.

Parental attitudes to education are crucial to schools success in keeping children in school; often times a parent’s condonation of truancy (albeit overt or tacit) is construed as the parent’s not valuing education.

It is worth noting that many parents indiscriminately sanction an absence by sending a note or making a call. Schools should be able to enlist the support of parents when it comes to tackling truancy.

When a parent doesn’t value education, wants their child to help them out at home or believes their child has good reasons for staying away, the task is altogether more challenging.

Many educators point to the prevalence of so-called ‘tourist truants’: like children who stay two weeks in the French Alps missing vital parts of their school curriculum. These kinds of trips give as negative a message to a child as a note for a fortnight off school for a mild cold.

Many schools will only exceptionally agree to a child missing more than 10 school days for a family holiday or other reason during one year. Some schools may refuse to authorize any absence for holidays.

Does it matter?

Children who play truant from school very often select the classes they want to miss. Usually the subjects they skip are ones the student finds difficult or boring, possibly a clash with the teacher is to blame.

One common pattern is for truants to attend school for morning and afternoon head counts, but somehow sneak out during most of the day. Missing lessons is bad news for any young person and truancy is likely to have a negative impact on their overall education and job prospects.

Children who constantly turn up late for lessons are disruptive to other students and the school’s learning environment, and truanting has a negative effect on school morale. It should also be noted that children who are truanting could be in physical danger or at risk from being drawn into criminal activity.

Help Your Teens Gavel-300x256 Why Does My Smart Teen Skip School When The Law Gets Involved

Truancy, known simply as skipping school in some areas, is defined by all states as unexcused absences from school without the knowledge of a parent or guardian.

The fact is, juveniles who are school-aged are required by all states to attend school, whether that school is public, private, parochial, or some other educational forum.

Truancy is, therefore, a status offense as it only applies to people of a certain age. The school age of a juvenile varies from state to state, with most states requiring attendance either from age six to age 17 or from age five to 18. There are a number of exceptions, such as Pennsylvania, which denotes school age as between eight and 17 and Illinois which denotes school age as between seven and 16.

Most local education authorities employ education welfare officers (EWOs), sometimes called education social workers, to monitor attendance and help parents fulfill their responsibilities under the law.

Welfare officers often visit families whose children fail to attend school regularly. These visits are the start of a process which may, in the worst cases, end with the family being taken to court. Parents and care givers have a duty in law to ensure their registered school age children are educated.

The local education authority may institute legal proceedings against parents whose children do not regularly attend school (unless the parents can prove they’re being successfully educated at home).

Is your teen unmotivated? Underachieving? Learn more.

Is your teen missing or skipping many of their classes?  Have you tried to talked with them and they are shutting you down? Maybe exhausted your local resources or tried having them speak with your friends or relatives? Have they been suspended or expelled?

If your teen is on the verge of suspension or expulsion and you have reached your wit’s end, please contact us for more information on residential therapy.

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Will Teen Help Programs Help Cellphone Addiction

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 03, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Can Teen Help Programs Help Cellphone Addiction?

Teen Cellphone and Internet Addiction

Help Your Teens BigstockMomTeenonCell-300x199 Will Teen Help Programs Help Cellphone Addiction In today’s society, the internet can be a valuable asset and educational tool, as well as a dangerous attraction and lethal weapon.

Many teens are turning to social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to make friends, mingle and more.

An unfortunate reality is that potential predators can also sign up and chat with your kids.

Social networking are many teens’ ways of communication which can be entertaining and fun; yet, if they are not careful, it can also be unsafe.

Teen Internet Addiction Warning Signs:

  • Your teen may suffer from anxiety. They may use the internet to distract themselves from worries and fears. An anxiety disorder like obsessive-compulsive disorder may also contribute to excessive email checking and compulsive internet use.
  • They are depressed. The Internet can be an escape from feelings of depression, but too much time online can make things worse. Internet addiction further contributes to stress, isolation, and loneliness.
  • They have any other addictions. Many internet addicts suffer from other addictions, such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, and sex.
  • They lack social support. Internet addicts often use social networking sites, instant messaging, or online gaming as a safe way of establishing new relationships and more confidently relating to others.
  • They are an unhappy teenager. They might be wondering where they fit in and the internet could feel more comfortable than real life.
  • They are less mobile or socially active than they once were. Some are withdrawing from activies (sports and family events) as well as isolating themselves.
  • They are stressed. While some people use the internet to relieve stress, it can have a counterproductive effect. The longer you spend online, the higher your stress levels will be.

An educated parent is better equipped to help limit potential danger of internet predators and online identity theft, as well as helping them develop a healthy relationship with technology.

Is cellphone addiction real? YES!

Help Your Teens PexelTeenCell5-300x205 Will Teen Help Programs Help Cellphone 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 completely immersed in their screens without considering their emotional or physical health.

Have you tried:

  • Phone contracts
  • Removing their devices
  • Local therapy
  • Digital detox plans

But find your teen still falling back into their old obsessive patterns?

At P.U.R.E.™ we promote parent awareness to help you, as parents, understand that it’s not about removing the devices as much as it’s about helping your teen learn more about the risks behind the screen. In addition to the consequences of what they post and the impact it can have on their future.

These are only some of the concerns, while the most important issue is your child’s mental wellness. If you feel that it has now taken over their lives – and yours, it might be time to consider outside help.

Quality residential therapy can help students to detox from their screen addiction and learn how to self-regulate, as they participate in individual and group therapy. They will eventually have a healthy relationship with devices. The fact is, technology is only growing – it’s not going away.

P.U.R.E.™ invites you to fill out a free consultation form for more information on finding the appropriate help for your teen.

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Anxiety Relief for Teens: Essential CBT Skills and Mindfulness Practices to Overcome Anxiety and Stress

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 02, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book, Mental Health, Parenting Books, Parenting Teens

Anxiety Relief for Teens: Essential CBT Skills and Mindfulness Practices to Overcome Anxiety and Stress

By Regine Galanti, PhD

Help Your Teens BookAnxietyRelief-194x300 Anxiety Relief for Teens: Essential CBT Skills and Mindfulness Practices to Overcome Anxiety and Stress Is anxiety disrupting your life? With proven CBT-based skills and mindfulness techniques, this book can be your guide out of the spiraling stress of anxiety and get you back on track to living a happy and healthy life.

Getting good grades, keeping up with social media, maintaining friendships… you have a lot on your plate and it’s more difficult when you add anxiety to the mix. You may even be avoiding situations, events, or people that could trigger your anxiety. So, how do you stop yourself from missing out on life?

With Anxiety Relief for Teens, Dr. Regine Galanti teaches you how CBT-based skills and mindfulness techniques can help you manage your anxiety and reverse negative patterns. Through simple and effective exercises that help you change your thoughts, behaviors, and physical reactions, this helpful guide gives you the tools you need to navigate all of life’s challenges.

Anxiety Relief for Teens features:

  Quizzes and self-assessments to better understand your anxiety and emotions and discover their respective triggers.
  30+ CBT-based tools to manage your anxiety along with practical strategies for dealing with challenging emotions such as anger and sadness.
  30+ mindfulness practices to cope with your anxiety in the present moment through visualizations, breathing, meditation, and other exercises.

Take a peek inside the book:

Help Your Teens BookAnxietyInside-1024x637 Anxiety Relief for Teens: Essential CBT Skills and Mindfulness Practices to Overcome Anxiety and Stress

About the author:

Regine Galanti, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and the founder of Long Island Behavioral Psychology in Long Island, New York, where she brings warmth, sensitivity, and a tailored problem-solving approach to her practice. She specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and has expertise in obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, parenting, and behavior problems.

She applies short-term, evidence-based strategies to help young people change their thoughts and behaviors. Specifically, she uses exposure and related behavioral therapy techniques to help those living with anxiety face their fears so they can live happier, healthier lives.

Order on Amazon today.

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To get help, CLICK HERE or call us at 954-260-0805
P.U.R.E. does not provide legal advice and does not have an attorney on staff.
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