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Teen Help

Smart Teens Stuck from Anxiety

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 26, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Help

Is your teen struggling with anxiety?

It’s no secret, 2020 has been tough to get through. The pressures that the ongoing pandemic have placed on all of us have been challenging, especially for students who have had to adapt to online learning overnight. If you’re a student in this strange time, it can be extremely difficult to find the motivation to get up and tune in to class while the world is in a moment of crisis.

While the pandemic continues, it’s important to prioritize your mental health in tandem with your daily tasks. And even when school does return to an in-person setting, you want to maintain a robust practice of keeping your psychological and emotional wellbeing in check.

So how can you stay on top of your anxiety when studies are too demanding or overwhelming? We’ve got some tips to help you get through this difficult time with a list of activities and practices to check in with yourself.

Here’s some ways students can mitigate the effects of anxiety:

1. Normalize Checking in with Yourself

A lot of us who suffer from anxiety don’t know to recognize the telltale signs before it’s too late. The only time you seem to realize you’re in an anxious situation is when you’re in a state of panic about sending in an assignment just seconds before it’s due. Luckily, you can plan ahead to check in with yourself.

Find a regular time to formally ask yourself how you’re feeling. It could be every Friday, or it could be every time you have to study for a test. Depending on how frequently you experience the effects of anxiety, you may need to set a soothing alarm to check in with yourself every hour. That’s completely okay.

When checking in with yourself, it’s also helpful to make a list of all the symptoms you experience when you feel anxiety. Is it a headache? Stomach cramps? A fast heart rate? Whatever you feel that makes you uncomfortable or prevents you from thinking clearly, jot down the symptoms so you can recognize them early on. When you start to feel anxiety coming on and have a heightened awareness of what’s to come, you can excuse yourself from the situation until you’ve had a chance to think things through.

Let’s say you need to communicate with a teacher about your last essay grade. You did poorly and you want to know how to get better, but this particular instructor can be a bit intimidating. Having a list of your symptoms readily available can help you observe them, alerting you to take a step back. If you know one of your symptoms is a fast heart rate, you can slow it down with some deep breathing or by drinking a tall glass of water. Once you are more in control of your emotions, you can take care you’re your tasks while feeling comfortable.

2. Phone a Friend

One of the hardest hitting aspects of quarantine is that you don’t have your friends around to talk with, hang out, or vent about what’s going on in your life. Though we’re all quarantining separately, you’re not alone in your struggle to seek out a sense of peace and calm in your life.

Anxiety has the ability to trap you in your own mind and body when you’re in a downward spiral. When you notice that you’re getting caught in your head, it can help contact a friend for guidance and to get you out of your head.

Enjoying the company of a companion will get you to think externally, helping your brain produce endorphins to relieve pain and stress and boost your happiness. After speaking to a friend or a loved one, you’ll find that you feel lighter and can tackle your work with more energy and resilience.

When it comes to receiving specific help on school issues though, developing a personal relationship with mentors can also be helpful. While teachers and your parents might be preoccupied with their own COVID-related stressors, you may want to turn to other students in your school who have already taken the classes you’ve taken or experts who can help you with what you’re going through.

Studies have shown that the benefits of tutoring extend well beyond achieving good grades! Tutors can help you with time management, relating your studies to your personal interests, and take the pressure off of speaking with a teacher or professor. Mentors can also provide you with personalized study strategies as well as good coping skills. 

3. Live in the Moment

Anxiety is often caused by worrying about a future situation. Whether it’s the outcome of a job interview or the results of an exam, your mind is caught up in a situation that hasn’t really happened yet, and it can take away from your productivity in the moment.

When teens get trapped by the worst-case scenario, it can lead to panicked decision-making and further their anxiety about doing a good job on their assignment. This is why it’s important to plan ahead for situations that can put you in an anxious state of mind, so you be more present and level-headed.

One way to live in the moment and stay focused on the present is, ironically, by planning ahead. You can configure your schedule to anticipate anxiety-inducing activities that will affect your well-being and your work. Simply extend the amount of time a given activity will take to include a moment of calm before and after the event.

If you have a Zoom call scheduled at 3:00, add to your agenda that you’ll need to start doing breathing exercises at 2:30 and then again at 4:00. When you do this, you’re planning on smoothing out your emotions and cushioning stressful events. This can prevent you from spiraling out unexpectedly by giving your body the physical preparation to better handle stress.

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Post is contributed by a guest writer.

If your teen is struggling with stress, anxiety and even causing depression — if you’ve exhausted your local resources, contact us to learn more about how teen help programs might be able to help.

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How to Help Your Depressed Teen

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 22, 2020  /   Posted in Teen Help

The Rise of Teen Depression

The number of teenagers suffering from depression has increased dramatically over the last couple of years, and as a parent, it can be difficult to know the best way to deal with it. You want what is best for your teen, but figuring out how to help them through their mental illness can be tricky. Here are five steps you can take to help your teen through their depression.

Start a Weekly Outing

Traditions can be comforting to everyone. One of the symptoms of depression can be hiding away from the world, so providing a day where you go out as a family will provide relief from that. Your teen may be reluctant at first, but over time it could become something they look forward to. It’s important for those suffering to get out into the world and take a breath of fresh air, so scheduling a Sunday walk each week, or a trip to the park every Wednesday afternoon, is a great way of making sure your teen is getting outside. It also means you get to spend more quality time with them, which can open the door for them to open up to you more.

A Little More Conversation

Talking to your teen more can be easier said than done. If they are depressed, they may hide away in their bedroom and refuse to speak more than a few words each time you see them. Talking to them, however, is a great way of making room for more conversation. Tell them about your friend’s funny mishap, tell them about the adorable dog you saw, or remind them about their auntie who has been asking after them. Importantly, talk openly about depression, rather than having it hang over your heads like an invisible cloud that you can feel but not see. Your teen may not give much of a response at first, but it’ll mean that when they are ready, they will know you are someone they can come to.

Find a Herbal Remedy

For many, the idea of your child being on SSRI’s can be scary – what if they don’t work? What if it makes it worse? There’s even the worrying symptom of suicidal thoughts in the first two weeks, which is a terrifying thought. Antidepressants are certainly necessary for some and may be for your teen (your doctor will know if they are needed), but there are milder and safer alternatives to work with either alongside them or instead of. There are plenty to choose from, with remedies such as CBD being used as an alternative to antidepressants, with great results. There are many places to buy CBD in many forms, ranging from CBD oil to CBD gel and more. If your teen’s depression has formed as a result of a sporting injury, then the CBD gel will work to minimize the pain with long-lasting results. With minimal pain, they can start to build the strength back up to be ready to play sports once again, helping them combat their depression.

If strong medication is something you are worried about, consider something more natural for your teen.

Schedule a Counselling Session

While talking to your teen is highly beneficial, having them see a professional can be crucial on their road to recovery. It provides them with a person who they can confide in completely without fear of being judged. Talking through their struggles is certainly a step in the right direction, as it can help them work through their depression and understand why they feel the way they do.

Provide Physical Contact

It is said that we need twelve hugs a day for optimal health. Just because your child is no longer eight years old and snuggled up with you on the sofa doesn’t mean they no longer need physical attention. A hug when they get home from school or a gentle squeeze of the shoulder are small habits you can introduce to make sure they know how much you love them.

As a parent, having a teen suffering from depression can be a scary and confusing time for both of you, but making sure you are a steady and reliable figure in their lives will only help them on their road to recovery.

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Contributed by a guest writer.

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What Parents Can Learn From Paris Hilton’s Experiences in Residential Therapy

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 16, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Help

Paris Hilton has a message, and parents should listen.

Some may question the messenger, but the message is clear. If you’re considering residential therapy, take the time to research what is best for your child.

It has been an extremely stressful time during the pandemic, especially for parents of teenagers. If you were struggling with your child prior to COVID-19, chances are this new normal has only compounded behavioral issues.

Parenting at your wit’s end

No one is immune to having difficulties with their kids, from celebrities to average people. If you are dealing with an out-of-control teen, you can feel like a hostage in your own home.

In the recent documentary, This Is Paris, Paris Hilton reveals that at age 15 her parents reached their wit’s end. After being shipped off to a series of wilderness programs, she landed in a program that she claims was emotionally and physically harmful.

It’s hard to blame Paris’ parents, because I was once that mother. Two decades ago, I sent my daughter to a residential therapy program that claimed they would help my daughter, but it was very similar to Hilton’s experience.

This was after I hired an educational consultant that attempted to sell me the wilderness programs too. Fortunately for our family, we didn’t buy into the wilderness shuffle. I believed that my daughter was struggling enough, emotionally, that breaking her down in the woods wouldn’t resolve or help her problems. Unfortunately for us, we landed in an abusive program too (which is now closed down).

The teen help industry

Today teens are experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, suicide ideationself-harminternet addition, vaping, marijuana use, drinking, and other risky behavior at an alarming rate. With high school students, a 2019 CDC Youth Risk Behavior Behavioral Survey shares concerns of prescription Opioid misuse, binge drinking and other substance abuse.

The fact is, there are young people that need quality teen help and sometimes it means attending a therapeutic boarding school.

When my daughter was out-of-control, we exhausted our local resources. After going through five different therapists, outpatient therapy, and a short stay in-patient locally, I finally sent her to a relative’s to stay. That lasted less than two weeks before we made the major decision of residential therapy.

The teen help industry is a big business. No one realizes this until you need it. Why would you?

Learning from our experiences

After all the darkness, and sharing our story online in 2001, I’ve since educated thousands of parents about searching for quality residential treatment centers. Questions to ask schools and programs and helpful tips in researching facilities is some of the valuable information I offer for parents in crisis.

Although there are many that would like to see all programs shut down, we can’t ignore the fact many children and families need help. This is why it’s important that parents learn how to do their homework so they don’t end up in facilities like my daughter and Paris Hilton did.

Does your teen need residential therapy?

As I share with all parents, only you can answer that.

Here are some questions to consider:

1Have 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 a 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 other times 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 a hostage in your home by their behavior? Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells? Being careful about what you say or how you act for fear they may become explosive? Again, this is a red flag that it may be time for residential therapy.

Originally posted on Psychology Today by Sue Scheff.

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Disrespectful, Rebellious and Defiant Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 11, 2020  /   Posted in Teen Help

Disrespectful, Rebellious and Defiant Teens

We live in a culture where sadly teens seem to believe it is their way or no way.  A common theme we hear is the disrespect of authority that a teenager has – especially towards their parents.

When we think of generations prior, we would never consider defying our mother or father.  If they told us to be home by 10:00 pm, we were — no questions asked.  We wouldn’t dream of talking back, if we did, expect that bar of soap.

Today our children know they have the ability to threaten us with many things, including calling the authorities on us.  Frightening isn’t is?  It is almost like parenting or disciplining our children (teens especially) is challenge for fear of consequences.

So how do you handle a teen that is being disrespectful, rebellious and defiant?

During the tumultuous teenage years, these are 10 of ways to avoid fighting with your child.

  1. Establish Rational Boundaries – During adolescence, your teen is revisiting the same mindset of early toddlerhood that leaves her looking for ways to test boundaries as a means of asserting her independence from you. Making sure that she knows some boundaries cannot be challenged lays a foundation for calm, rational interaction. Just be sure before you make those rules that you understand your teen’s need for a reasonable amount of independence, and avoid overly harsh authoritarian rules that leave no room for such expression.
  2. Shift Your Perspective – As an adult parent of a teenager, it can be difficult to remember your own battles during the tender years leading up to adulthood. Before flying off of the proverbial handle, try to remember how you felt as a teen, so that you can see things from your own teenager’s perspective.
  3. Refuse to Escalate the Situation – When you’re standing face to face with a raging, screaming teen that pays no heed to the feelings of anyone around her as she expresses her frustration, it’s easy to fall into the trap of shouting right back at her. By maintaining your composure and refusing to let the situation escalate into a full-on altercation, you’re effectively maintaining control of the confrontation without adding fuel to the fire.
  4. ParentsTalkingTeensPractice Good Listening Skills – Sometimes a teen feels as if he’s not being truly heard and in response will lash out with anger, when all he really wants is to know that his viewpoints and opinions are being listened to. Taking the time to ask your child how he feels and actually listening to the answer he gives can diffuse many arguments before they start.
  5. Create a “No Judgment” Zone for Tricky Discussions – Teenagers face a variety of difficult choices and situations, and those who feel as if they have nowhere to turn for advice due to a fear of parental judgment or punishment can internalize that stress, leading to nasty arguments borne of frustration. Making sure that your child knows she can safely approach you with difficult questions can eliminate that frustration, making for a more peaceful environment within your home.
  6. Know When to Compromise – As a parent, it’s often difficult to admit when you’re being unreasonable and concede an argument, or at least to make compromises when you’ve reached an impasse. Mastering the art of a sane compromise with your teen, however, is the key to keeping a tense discussion from escalating.
  7. Understand When to Walk Away – When you can’t hold on to your temper, it’s okay to walk away. If you ascribe to a philosophy of walking away to let your temper cool, though, it’s essential that you afford your teenager the same respect. Resist the temptation to follow her in order to continue a diatribe; it’ll only lead to an even nastier confrontation.
  8. angry-teen-girlActively Avoid Triggers – There are some subjects that bring out a passionate reaction in everyone, and those triggers differ from one person to the next. Your teenager is no different, and you know the things that will upset her before you discuss them. Avoid the subjects you know will upset your child, especially if there’s no real reason for discussing them.
  9. Refuse to Reward the Silent Treatment – The silent treatment is infuriating for anyone, but it’s important that you not reward that behavior from your teen. Attempting to draw him out with false cheerfulness or prodding him to talk will only blow up in your face, so let him stew without interference for a while.
  10. Avoid Drawing Comparisons – Telling your teenager that you never acted the way he does, or illustrating just how much more tolerant of a parent you are because you don’t punish him the way you would have been punished for behaving in such a manner serves absolutely no productive purpose. Remember that your teen is trying to establish himself as a separate entity from you; drawing comparisons, even when you’re just looking for common ground, can ultimately be counterproductive. 

FamilyDiscussionMaking a concerted effort to foster an open, honest relationship with your teen can make it easier to avoid the worst arguments, but the occasional disagreement is pretty much par for the course. Rather than dwelling on an argument after it happens, try to think about how you could have handled it differently so that you can apply that knowledge the next time negotiations become tense.

If you have tried many ways to have a peaceful home and your teenager is continually causing tension, creating contention among the family – please seek help immediately.  If they refuse to get help, or you have exhausted your local resources, consider residential therapy.

Many families have had tremendous success since when you remove the child from the environment they are better able to focus on where all the negative feelings and behavior are stemming from. Contact us for more information.

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Help for Teens Over 18 Years Old: Young Adults That Are Still Kids

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 03, 2020  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Helping Your Young Adult Teen

Arging“My 18 year old is out of control and I am at my wits end!  What can I do?” – Anonymous Parent.

18 and 19 year old teens can be the most difficult to address simply because they are considered adults and cannot be forced to get help.

As parents, we have limited to no control.  Practicing “tough love” is easier said than done, many parents cannot let their child reach rock bottom – as parent’s, we see our child suffering – whether it is needing groceries or a roof over their head and it is hard to shut the door on them.  In many situations, a young 18 year old is still in high school and you still feel responsible.

I think this is one of the most important reasons that if you are a parent of a 16-17 year old that is out of control, struggling, defiant, using drugs and alcohol, or other negative behavior –  it is time to look for intervention NOW.

It may not be a residential therapy but at least start with local resources such as therapists that specialize with adolescents and hopefully offer support groups.

It’s unfortunate that in most cases the local therapy is very limited how it can help your teen.  The one hour once a week or even twice, is usually not enough to make permanent changes.  In many cases getting your defiant teen to attend sessions can sometimes cause more friction and frustrations than is already happening.

This might the time to consider outside help such as a Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center.  However parents with the 18-19 year olds have usually missed their opportunity.  They were hoping and praying that at 16 and 17 things would change, but unfortunately, the negative behavior usually escalates.  Don’t get stuck in the blame game – move forward and try to go on to the next steps for young adults.

Since 2001 I have heard from thousands of parents –  most are hoping to get their child through high school and some will be satisfied with a GED. It is truly a sad society of today’s teens when many believe they can simply drop out of school.

SadTeenStarting as early as 14 years old, many teens are thinking this way and we need to be sure they know the consequences of not getting an education. Education in today’s world should be our children’s priority (as well as being kind and caring to others) however with today’s peer pressure and entitlement issues, it seems to have drifted from education to defiance (entitlement) – and not being responsible or accountable.

I think there are many parents that debate whether they should take that desperate measure of residential therapy, it’s a major emotional and financial decision – but in the long run – you need to look at these parents that have 18 and 19 year olds that don’t have that opportunity anymore, the choice will become more clear.

While you have this option, and it is a major decision that needs to be handled with the utmost reality of what will happen if things don’t change.  The closer they are to 18 – the more serious issues can become legally.  If a 17+ year old gets in trouble with the law, in many states they will be tried as an adult.  This can be scary since most of these kids are good kids making very bad choices and don’t deserve to get caught up the system.  As a parent I believe it is our responsible not to be selfish and be open to sending the outside of the home.

It is important not to view this as a failure as a parent, but as a responsible parent that is willing to sacrifice your personal feelings to get your child the help they need.  Keep in mind – this is a very short part of their life that will give them many years of a healthy one.

There are young adults at that are willing to get help or will attend life skills programs when the parents will give them no other options.  Especially if they are facing trouble with the law or homelessness.

If you are interested in young adult programs, please contact us for more information.

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Good Kids Making Bad Choices: Is It Spoiled Rotten Brat Syndrome?

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 28, 2020  /   Posted in Teen Help

Teen Entitlement: Spoiled Rotten Brat Syndrome

How many parents can relate to having a good kid that makes bad choices?

The conversation of mental health is one that continues in our country.  The behavior of today’s teens with our society in a me, me, me direction, is driving families to feel like they are being held hostage in their own home by a teenager they barely know anymore.

As someone that works with parents of struggling teenagers, I am faced on a weekly basis with families that are at their wit’s end.  They have exhausted all their local resources, the therapy sessions are going nowhere (if you can get your child to attend), the school has usually reached their limit with the student, and in some cases the local authorities are now involved.

Some of these homes consist of only one parent or both parents are working leaving less supervision and guidance at home.  Gone are the days when kids came home to at least one parent.  Is this part of the problem of today’s society?  I am not convinced of that.  In my opinion it could be one of the excuses.

Kids today lack the respect that generations prior were born and raised with.  No more are the days when a parent told a child to be home at 10:00 pm and they were actually home at 10:00 pm without question.  Today the teen will argue that every other kid has a curfew of 2:00 am and that is when he/she will be home whether we like it or not.

Yes, that is the way many parents are living today – at the mercy of their teenager.  I am sure some of you are recognizing your child here.

When a teen has escalated to a point that they are now controlling your home, failing in school, using drugs, hanging with the less than desirable peer group (which by the way they have become themselves), and you have determined this is more than typical teenage behavior – it may be time to seek residential therapy.  These are typically good kids making bad choices.  Some may label them spoiled rotten brat syndrome.

They are used to getting their own way and simply don’t want that to change. From the time they were little, parents have cuddled them with their every need and want.  Why should that change? If they want to go to a party until 3:00 am they believe they should be able to.  If they want to be connected to video games for fifteen hours a day, they believe that is their right to be able to. The biggest and worst decision is when a teen believes they should drop out of high school and get their GED – and in some states (at a certain age) they are allowed to – they do have that right. It is frustrating to watch your once good teen make these bad decisions.  Yes, teens believe they have rights – and parents have become (in a way) prisoner to these demands.  (It’s just an expression).

Residential therapy is sometimes mistaken for mental illness.  Though there are residential treatment centers that help the mentally challenged, I am discussing residential therapy that is aimed at building a child back up to making the better choices, teaching them self-respect and respect for others, continuing their education (underachievers) and offering enrichment programs.

EntitledTeenMany of these teens are spoiled brats.  The problem; entitlement issues.  Many parents today are guilty of over-indulging our kids and the results are coming back to us during the puberty years – in spades. The sweet angel of a toddler we once had is now a troubled teenager that is driving us mad.  We literally don’t recognize the person they have turned into.

From sneaking out of the house, to dropping out of their favorite sport – that once happy-go-lucky child has gone missing.   It is a parent’s responsibility to find them again.  It is not about shipping them off, it is about giving them a second chance at a bright future.  Sometimes that does involve removing them from their comfort zone; their environment.

Researching for residential therapy can be daunting.  The sticker shock of the price to get your child help can leave you feeling completely helpless and hopeless.

Don’t allow this to happen.  Yes, residential therapy can be costly, however there are some that accept insurances and there are others that work with parents in accordance to their income.  You need to do your homework, there is help out there.  Don’t be a parent in denial, be proactive – it is our responsibility as a parent to get our child the help they may need.

Read more – 5 Signs your teen is an entitled teenager.

Do you need help getting started? Contact us for more information.

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Tips For Starting A Conversation With Your Teenager

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 28, 2020  /   Posted in Teen Help

10 Ways to Start A Conversation With Your Teen

DadSonChatLet’s face it, we all know that raising teens today is not easy and experts all agree, communication is key to having a good relationship.  However sometimes simply talking to a teenager is not so easy.  They can be very challenging when they turn us off.

Here are some ideas for ways to get teens talking:

  1. Create a topic jar. A topic jar is a jar that you fill with different pieces of paper containing conversation topics. Each night at dinner a different person gets to choose a slip of paper from the jar and read it aloud. The reader gets to start the conversation. For example, the slip of paper could say, “Tell about something that surprised you today”.  Don’t forget to add in topics about digital lives.  “Any new apps, websites, videos, virtual friends….”  Be as interested in their online lives as you are in their offline ones.  Remember, statistics show that kids today spend at least 8 hours a day digitally connected.  This includes cell phones and computers.
  2. Ask open-ended questions. By asking questions that cannot be answered with only a yes or no, you are opening the door for your teenager to say more than a couple of words in reply to you. Try to avoid grilling her and stay away from asking questions like, “How was your day?” Her answer will most likely be a one word answer to these type of questions. Instead, say something like, “Tell me about your day.”
  3. MomDaughterChattingTalk about topics she likes. Often teens feel like they are misunderstood by their parents. Instead of trying to get her involved in whatever you want to talk about, try talking about something that you know she likes. If she is an avid tennis player, discussing the French Open is a great way to start a conversation.
  4. Schedule some one on one time with her. Take her out to her favorite restaurant with just the two of you. If that is too expensive, just go for dessert and linger over coffee. Do something that she enjoys, like going to a shopping (even if it is window shopping) or a tennis match. Sharing these moments with her will give her the opportunity to talk to you while you are both relaxed and alone.
  5. Listen more than you speak. Every minute of your time together with her doesn’t have to be filled with idle chit chat. If you are trying to get someone to talk, leaving some silence will give them the opportunity to fill that silence with conversation.
  6. Be patient with your teen. If she is going through a rough time with her boyfriend or her other friends at school it may be difficult for her to talk about. Give her opportunities to broach the subject with you, but don’t try to force her to talk to you. That will only result in her becoming more stubborn and closed off.
  7. Put yourself in her shoes. Teenagers think that their parents and caregivers don’t understand them. Try to resist saying things like, “I understand what you are going through because I was a teenager once too you know”. Every generation has their own obstacles to overcome, and you can’t know what she is going through until she tells you. Really try to imagine how you would feel if you were in her shoes going through what she is going through.  Keep in mind, we didn’t have technology or social media to deal with. It is their world today.
  8. Don’t try to fix her. Parents and caregivers often try to fix a situation before they even understand it. Everyone is busy, but make time to hear her out. Don’t jump in and offer advice until it’s asked for. The only thing you should be doing while she is talking is nodding and saying the occasional, “hmm” or “I see” to indicate you are actively listening. This part is very difficult, but she needs to feel heard. Imagine how it would feel if you were sharing one of your problems and the person kept interrupting you to offer advice. Would you enjoy that?
  9. Try to be her soft place to fall, not a road block. Teenagers are faced with a lot of peer pressure. Amazingly enough, teens will come to the right decision most of the time if given the chance. Comfort her if she’s had a fight with a friend or if she breaks up with her boyfriend, but don’t condemn the boyfriend or friend. Anything negative that you say now will come back to haunt you when she gets back together with her boyfriend or the next time that her friend comes over to spend the night.
  10. Only offer your opinion when she asks for it. If you are lucky enough to get your teen talking, don’t interrupt with your opinions. Telling her what you would do isn’t going to help because she will remind you that you and she are nothing alike. Teens are trying to break away and prove their individuality. If she asks for your advice, start by asking her what she has considered so far. This will give you an idea of where her head is and you can act accordingly. Avoid lectures at all costs.

Keep in mind, having conversations before you reach a point of confrontation makes for a happier household.  Studies have proven that families that have frequent meals together can reduce risky behavior in teens, it doesn’t have to be every day, but try to have them as often as possible.

If you feel your teen is shutting you out completely and you have exhausted all your resources, seek help from outside sources such as possible a friend or family member they respect.  You may have to then reach out to an adolescent therapist.  If you are still struggling, please contact us for information on residential therapy.  Sometimes removing them from their environment can help them reflect on what they are having difficulties with.

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Teen Driving: Dangers of Distracting Driving

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 21, 2020  /   Posted in Teen Help

Motor Vehicle Safety: Teens and The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Credit: Pexels

New Teen Driver

Becoming a new driver is one of the most exciting and liberating experiences in life. With a driver’s license comes the freedom of being independently mobile; however, there’s more to driving than the ability to slide behind the wheel of a car and take yourself where you want to go. Driving also brings a lot of responsibility that if ignored can result in injury or even death.

As a driver, you’re responsible for being alert and free of distractions, but there are many things that can divert your attention and create a dangerous situation for you and for others on the road. Distracted driving is a very serious threat: According to the CDC, it results in more than 1,000 crash-related injuries and an average of nine deaths a day. It is especially a concern for teens, as drivers who are most likely to be involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents are those who are younger than 20 years old.

Forms of Distracted Driving

The phrase “distracted driving” may seem self-explanatory, but there are actually several different types of distraction that commonly affect drivers. Drivers are most affected by manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. Manual distractions are those that cause drivers to remove their hands or feet from the steering wheel or pedals. When a distraction causes a person to look away from the road and the cars around them, it is called a visual distraction. Anything that causes a driver’s thoughts to focus on something other than the act of driving is called a cognitive distraction.

Driving Distractions and Teens

As a teen driver, you lack experience driving and reacting in certain situations. Teen drivers are typically considered to be less focused, less likely to use their seat belts, and more reckless and likely to speed. Because of these factors, the risk of being involved in an injury or fatal accident is higher when you’re distracted. Although people of all ages can be distracted, certain distractions are widely associated with younger drivers.

Credit: Pexels

Texting

Texting is a distraction that covers all three categories: It requires your brain, eyes, and hands. Studies have shown that teens are more likely to not only drive while texting but to hold longer conversations while doing so.

Passengers

Driving with other people in the car can be a major distraction, particularly when your passengers are friends of the same age. Passengers can draw you into conversations and even arguments. Rowdy behavior and pressure from peers can also come with having multiple passengers in your car. Friends can potentially pressure you into driving faster or encourage you to take dangerous risks. The risk of getting in an accident increases with each additional passenger in the vehicle.

Cell Phones and Apps

Texting isn’t the only capability of your phone that can be distracting. Almost everyone has a range of apps that they frequently use, and any of these can take your attention off of the task of driving. Whether you’re using social media apps, listening to podcasts, or playing games, you’re putting yourself at greater risk of an accident.

Preventing Distractions

Putting on makeup, eating, and drinking should be done before you get in the car. Adjust the mirrors, pick out what you’re going to listen to, and set up your GPS before you put the car in drive. Another good rule to follow is to pull over if a distraction pops up that will take your eyes, hands, or attention away from driving. Put your cell phone on vibrate and put it in a location that is out of sight: This will force you to pull over if you’re tempted to check your messages or make a call. And avoid driving with passengers, or at least limit the number of friends that are allowed to ride with you.

This article written by Jonathan Rosenfeld is lifted from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers.

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Is Your Teenager A Screenager?

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 19, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Help

Teen Internet Addiction: Majority of Teens Want Help Finding Digital Balance

Is your teenager constantly glaring at their screen? Are they part of the screenager generation?

Did you know that according to new studies teens are frustrated by their own obsession with their smartphones?

How can parents help them find their digital balance?

Smartphone addiction has become an increasing concern for many parents, especially with the start of school just around the corner, and many students getting smartphones.

Seventy-two percent of teens felt pressured to respond immediately to texts, notifications and social media messaging. A 2018 Pew Research report found that 95 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds had their own smartphones or had access to one, and 45 percent said they were online “almost constantly.”

So what can parents do to help prevent their teenagers from becoming screenagers?

  1. Start with a contract. The first step is to set boundaries, and what better way to do this than to put the rules in writing. Draw up a Cell Phone Contract, or a Family Agreement, with your young user. Family agreements can include rules about when and how the phone may be used, and detail consequences for breaking the rules. You can find numerous examples of cell phone contracts or family agreements online. Almost all of them focus on the same key items, such as sharing passwords with parents, limiting use of the device to certain times of the day and in certain places, promising not to use the device for inappropriate photos or bullying, and so on.
  2. Set limits and monitor use. Consider creating “no phone zones” in your home, like the dining room table, and making sure your teen is putting the phone away at certain points of the day. Also, take advantage of parental controls to set limits on your child’s smartphone use, and monitor it. Set monthly limits on texts and mobile purchases; and restrict texting, data usage and outbound calling during specified times of the day. There are also monitoring services that let you view your child’s texts, call logs, phone location and more.
  3. Create daily and weekly offline time. Most teens admit to having FOMO, or fear of missing out, on something, and the need to respond quickly when they receive messages and notifications. That constant potential feedback loop can lead to obsessive behaviors that disturb the course of daily activities. Researchers say creating daily and weekly offline time as part of the family routine can be helpful.
  4. Be cyber aware. Being constantly connected brings increased risk of theft, fraud and abuse. Educate your young user on internet safety tips. Stress the importance of never sharing their personal or family information online and never engaging with strangers online.
  5. Be a role model. As parents, we should consider our smartphone habits as well. The 2015 Pew survey found that 46 percent of American adults  believed they could not live without their smartphones. If we expect our kids to limit their time on their smartphones, then we too need to practice what we preach.


Contract by The Exhausted Mom.

Read more about why teens are frustrated about digital addiction.

If you believe your teen is struggling with internet addiction that is now interfering with their life, and you have exhausted your local resources, please contact us.

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States with Most At-Risk Teens During COVID

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 15, 2020  /   Posted in Teen Help

States with the Most At-Risk Teens for 2020 (During COVID)

COVID has no doubt, brought more challenges for parents of teenagers. Many are having difficulties with social distancing and online schooling.

Growing up can be hard. Without a stable home, positive role models and tools for success, many young Americans fall behind their peers and experience a rocky transition to adulthood. Today, about one in nine individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither working nor attending school. Others suffer from poor health conditions that hinder their ability to develop physically or socially.

Such issues not only affect young people later in life, but they also prove harmful to society as a whole. For instance, more than 70 percent of young adults today are ineligible to join the U.S. military because they fail academic, moral or health qualifications.

Research shows that when youth grow up in environments with economic problems and a lack of role models, they’re more at risk for poverty, early pregnancy and violence, especially in adulthood. The environment is even more difficult for these young Americans in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the job market, caused schools to be held online and kept people far more isolated than usual. The pandemic is also a cause of severe stress, and some youth may not have anyone to turn to for support.

With about one in nine young Americans today neither working nor in school, exposing them to greater risk of poverty and violence, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2020’s States with the Most At-Risk Youth, as well as accompanying videos.

To determine where young Americans are not faring as well as others in their age group, especially in a year made extremely stressful by the COVID-19 pandemic, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 16 key indicators of youth risk. The data set ranges from share of disconnected youth to labor force participation rate among youth to youth poverty rate.

States with Most At-Risk Youth States with Least At-Risk Youth
1. Louisiana 42. Virginia
2. District of Columbia 43. Iowa
3. Arkansas 44. Kansas
4. Alaska 45. Rhode Island
5. Mississippi 46. North Dakota
6. New Mexico 47. Minnesota
7. Alabama 48. New Hampshire
8. Nevada 49. Massachusetts
9. West Virginia 50. New Jersey
10. Oregon 51. Utah

Key Stats

  • Louisiana has the highest share of disconnected youth, 20.00 percent, which is 2.9 times higher than in North Dakota, the lowest at 7.00 percent.
  • New Mexico has the highest share of youth without a high school diploma, 17.30 percent, which is 2.4 times higher than in Hawaii, the lowest at 7.20 percent.
  • Mississippi has the highest share of overweight or obese youth, 56.01 percent, which is 1.7 times higher than in Idaho, the lowest at 32.97 percent.
  • Vermont has the highest share of youth using drugs in the past month, 38.41 percent, which is 2.3 times higher than in Utah, the lowest at 16.42 percent.
  • Nevada has the highest share of homeless youth, 0.52 percent, which is 26 times higher than in Mississippi, the lowest at 0.02 percent.

Have you exhausted your local resources? Therapy doesn’t work? Considering residential treatment? Learn more about quality help. Contact us today to find out if therapeutic boarding schools can help your teen.

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