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Parenting Teens

Teen Talk: Learning Teenage Love Language

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 23, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Discovering the Love Language of a Teenage Child

Teen Talk

Help Your Teens PexelTeenLanguage-300x203 Teen Talk: Learning Teenage Love Language Although teens need parents to express love with all five love languages, a
teenage child usually has a primary love language they prefer.

What is a Love Language?

The idea of “love languages” – the way that people “speak” or “express”
love to others and how they prefer love to be expressed to them. People need all
five love languages, but that everyone has preferences about the love languages
they like the most.

The love languages are divided into five basic categories:

● Words of Affirmation
● Quality Time
● Acts of Service
● Receiving Gifts
● Physical Touch

How to Discover the Love Language of a Teenage Child

Parents of teens who pinned their child’s primary love languages when the
child was younger will be happy to know that the love languages stay fairly
constant. Although the love language is still the same, parents may need to “speak
the language” slightly differently during the teen years.

For parents of teens who have not yet determined their child’s love
language, there are several ways to discover the primary love language of a
teenage child. Some websites offer free online quizzes for teenagers. Parents can
send a teenage child an e-mail with a link to a quiz that will reveal a teen’s
preferences for receiving love.

Parents can also casually observe a teen notice how a teen expresses love.
People often express love in a way they like to receive love. So if a teenager often
gives compliments to others or appreciates others with words, it’s a good clue that
the teen values words of affirmation as a preferred love language.

Examples of Applying the Love Languages for Parents
of Teens

Help Your Teens BigStockFatherSon2-300x201 Teen Talk: Learning Teenage Love Language Due to developmental changes in teens, parents may find that what worked
to express love to their child before the teen years may not work as well once their
children become adolescents. Parents may need to change their expression of the
love language of physical touch.

Although a child may have enjoyed and accepted hugs and kisses before
adolescence, teens may more appreciate high fives, elbows, and roughhousing.
Parents of teens can use the ideas below to better understand the expressions
of love that fit into the categories of the love languages, but parents should also
remember that teens are individuals and should take note of personal preferences
by their own children.

Words of Affirmation – “Thanks for mowing the grass.”, “Did you
know I love you no matter what?”, “I notice you’ve been working hard on that
school project”. Teens who appreciate words of affirmation usually like cards, e-
mails, or even a simple sticky note tucked in a backpack or planted in a bathroom
mirror.
Quality Time – Parents can set up a certain time each week to spend
quality time with a teenage child. Parents can also plop next to a teen who’s
watching television alone and simply “hang out” or be there. Family meals
or cooking dinner together are another way to spend quality time with a teen
throughout the week.
Acts of Service – A teenager who receives love through acts of service
will appreciate even the smallest of tasks. Even if a teen never makes her bed, it
will most likely be noticed and appreciated if a parent makes the bed for the teen.

Other small acts of service include serving a teen a simple breakfast in bed once a
month on a school day, assisting a bit when a teen cleans her room, washing a
teen’s car every once in a while.

Receiving Gifts – Gifts should be personal and reflect a teen’s
interests and needs. Extreme gifts aren’t necessary. Gifts can be small and
sometimes hand-made including an iTunes gift card for $5, a hand-made
personalized bookmark, a box of homemade favorite cookies, a photograph of a
special memory.
Physical Touch – Although some teens do still enjoy hugs and kisses
from parents, others don’t feel comfortable with such affection from parents. A pat
on the back, a touch on the shoulder, or a soft pat to the face may be more accepted
by teens. Games such as arm wrestling or a playful game of rough basketball are
other ideas for giving teens physical touch.

Parents of teens should also note that although a teenage child will have his
favorite love languages, teens still need a little of all of the love languages. Parents
should try to fit in a little bit of physical touch, acts of service, words of
affirmation, gifts, and quality time with teen daughters and sons on a routine
basis.

About the author: John J. Gregg is an experienced essay writer
where he provides students with an opportunity to get high grades.
Besides, He is fond of reading and playing the guitar. By the way, John dreams of
traveling a lot and visiting as many countries as possible.

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Parenting Teens: Signs of Emotional Intelligence

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 21, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Learn more about understanding teenage feelings

Help Your Teens UnSplashSadGirl-300x236 Parenting Teens: Signs of Emotional Intelligence There is a rough idea that managing and understanding emotions increase the human chances of success. So here are some of the science of emotional intelligence.

Thinking about feelings

Emotional intelligence starts with social and self-awareness, which is roughly the ability to recognize human emotions in oneself and others. Awareness begins with reflection, which leads to someone asking themselves about their emotional strengths and weaknesses.

For example, medical students use nursing assignment help to find their weaknesses when performing emotional resilience tasks. People also go a long way into asking how their mood affects their decision-making and thoughts. Having questions like those may generate valuable insights that can get utilized to someone’s advantage.

Pausing

It entails taking a moment to halt, and I think well before speaking or acting. The deed can assist you from embarrassing yourself or giving out comments quickly. It, therefore, helps you not to make a permanent decision while you have a temporary emotion.

 Striving to control thoughts

A slight moment may not give you enough room to control your emotions, but you can control how you react to such feelings, and that can get done by focusing only on your thoughts. If you strive to maintain your thoughts, you can resist being coming to a Messenger or a slave to your feelings and emotions, and that can allow you to live in harmony with yourself along with your values and goals.

Benefiting from criticism

Help Your Teens UnSplashHand-300x200 Parenting Teens: Signs of Emotional Intelligence There is no single person that enjoys getting negative feedback. But, on the other hand, criticism is a Golden chance for learning even if you don’t get it in the best way possible. It will also allow you to see how others think. So, instead of feeling bad when you get negative feedback, hold your emotions and ask yourself how you can make it better.

 Showing authenticity

To be authentic does not mean that you share everything concerning yourself with everyone. It means speaking out what you mean and telling whatever you say while sticking to your principles and values above anything else. Not everyone will come around to accept or appreciate your thoughts or feelings, but the people who matter will do it.

 Demonstrating empathy

Showing empathy includes understanding the feelings and thoughts of other people and understanding that can help find more that you have a deeper connection with other people. Instead of labeling and judging other people, you will work hard to see how they view things through their eyes. Of course, to be empathetic does not mean that you agree with other people’s points of view or perception. Still, understanding how they see things allows you to be more connected and build stronger relationships.

Praising others

All human beings are grateful for appreciation and acknowledgment. When you praise other people, you will satisfy their craving, and in the process, you will find yourself building trust. It all begins with focusing on the good that you see in others. Afterward, if you share what you appreciate in them, you’ll inspire them to become the best version that they can be.

Giving positive feedback

When you give negative feedback to people, they will get their feelings hurt and after you realize this, try reframing criticism as a constructive type of feedback so that the recipient can see it as a helpful thought instead of a harmful one.

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Teen Life Skills

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 01, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Help

Helping Your Teens Hone Useful Skills for the Future

Help Your Teens UnSplashTeens-300x201 Teen Life Skills Every parent wants to see their teens succeed in life. That’s the biggest job of parenting, after all – raising someone who can eventually go out on their own and do good things in the world.

Sometimes, it can feel like teaching them how to be a good person is easier than teaching them how to be successful in a career.

You don’t have to come up with any grand schemes or techniques when it comes to helping your teen succeed. They might already have certain skills that can help them in the future. It’s just a matter of honing those skills and discovering their true passions.

How can you help your teenager do that? Why is it so important for them to become self-sufficient in the first place? Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of useful skills and how they can positively impact your teens’ future.

Why Self-Sufficiency is Important

When you turn in a resume for a job, there are two different skill sets a potential employer will look at – hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills include specific talents and strengths as they pertain to a job, like computer skills, management skills, or marketing skills.

Soft skills have become more important in recent years as employers are looking for well-rounded individuals. Soft skills include things like:

  • Strong communication
  • Ethics
  • Adaptability
  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving

Soft skills can help your teens to become more self-sufficient and emotionally intelligent. Those are incredible tools and characteristics to have in the working world. Almost anyone can learn a hard skill, but soft skills require time to build and grow. Some people naturally have more of them than others, but honing in on them will make it easier for your teenager to “leave the nest,” understand what others are thinking and feeling, and use their instincts to get a job done.

If you’re concerned that your teen doesn’t have many soft skills, they can be taught. Most people do have them but may not show them often. Find ways to encourage your teen to express themselves more frequently. Doing so can show them how important those skills are and how far they will get them.

Practical Skills Your Teen Should Know

Help Your Teens PexelsCookig-300x203 Teen Life Skills Encouraging your teen to develop their soft skills doesn’t mean the hard skills should be ignored! There are some practical things every teenager should know – not just for career success, but when it comes to self-sufficiency and being able to take care of themselves. Useful skills for the future aren’t just about work. Teaching your teens life skills will boost their confidence, reduce stress levels, help them set goals, and motivate them to learn more.

Start with some basic life skills you’re most comfortable with. Maybe you’re handy with car repairs. Teaching your teen some DIY car maintenance solutions like how to change their oil or fix a flat tire can go a long way.

Do you like to be in the kitchen? Cooking is an incredible skill that your teen can either use in their personal or professional life if they want to pursue it as a career.

Ask your teen what they’re interested in, too. Maybe they’ve always watched you doing things around the house or using your own skills for something and they want to try it for themselves. Life skills are about learning and taking on new challenges. Whatever you teach your teen  – whether it’s career-focused or not, make sure it’s something they will be able to utilize on their own for a lifetime.

Harnessing Your Teens’ Strengths

Teenagers (and adults) should always be willing to learn and grow. No matter how old you are, lifelong learning will teach you the skills needed to succeed and thrive in every area of your life. But, that doesn’t mean skills should ever be forced – especially as a teenager.

If you’re having a hard time helping your teen hone useful skills for the future, consider the things they already enjoy doing. How can their current strengths, hobbies, and interests better their future? Could they fuel a career? You might be surprised at how certain things your teens enjoy could actually help them become successful.

For example, if it seems like your teenager spends a lot of their time playing video games, you might assume they’re just being lazy. But, gaming skills can be extremely helpful in the real world. Video games can help with:

  • Collaboration
  • Problem-solving
  • Social skills
  • Strategic planning
  • Leadership
  • Conflict resolution

Talk to your teen about the things they enjoy most when they’re playing video games, and help them to focus on those specific skills. The same rings true for any hobby or passion they might have.

Whether they’re into sports, music, art, animals, or spending time with people, there are strengths to be found everywhere. Sometimes, it just takes a little encouragement and digging to find them. As a parent, offer that encouragement consistently and freely, and you’ll be able to stand by proudly as your teen steps into a successful future.

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How to Give Your Teen Effective Advice

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 25, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Help

Tips to Giving Your Effective Advice

Helping them to be good listeners

Help Your Teens PexelParentTeenAnnoyed-300x207 How to Give Your Teen Effective Advice When parents give advice to their kids and teenagers, many moms and dads can be confused and not understand why kids can struggle to be receptive and take on advice. The best way to understand where this natural tendency to be averse to (sound) advice as a kid stems from is to think about it from your point of view.

Take the exact advice you are giving to your kids and imagine your partner giving it to you if you were frustrated or had a little bit of pent-up animosity inside you.

Chances are, you would probably feel a little bit frustrated and maybe even angry. The transaction of giving advice and accepting it can be difficult on both sides, and it is important to understand why. There are ways to make this interaction less of a fight and more of a productive exchange.

Funnily enough, things actually get even harder when we as parents offer unsolicited advice to our kids. Although you might think that you could live their life so much better than them, doing this will actually interfere with their growth patterns and need for autonomy as they develop. Kids need to make their own decisions and listen to their own intuition in a somewhat guided, but still independent, manner.

This is arguably the most difficult part of parenting because it involves the art of letting go. Libby Whitely, a parenting blogger at Draftbeyond and Lastminutewriting, commented,

“This part of parenting goes against the natural basic instinct of protecting our children from harm that runs through all species on earth.”

We are going to run through a few different helpful tips and tricks which will allow you to take a step back from certain difficult situations and breathe. As parents, we can use all the help we can get, can’t we?

  1. Stick with Stories, Not Instruction

Help Your Teens PexelTalkingtoTeen-300x201 How to Give Your Teen Effective Advice Something that I found worked well for me in raising my three little rascals was using personal stories and relatable tales instead of just telling them point blank ‘do this, do that’. I have found that they are a lot more likely to head in the direction of my advice if I employ this tactic rather than just laying out the law and expecting it to be followed to a T.

Casual conversing feels more like a level playing field for your growing munchkins, and less like they are being ‘told what to do’. What greater use of your stories from childhood than to use them to help your own kids. 

  1. Try Answering a Question with a Question Back

The one thing that many parents do not consider, or underestimate is that kids will already know what they are planning to do before they ask for advice. Though this is not true for everyone, a vast majority of children who ask their parents for advice already have a vague idea of what they want to do. It is important to give advice, but stay on the side-lines by answering back with a question to help guide their own decision making.

  1. Be Patient, Wait for Them

Often times it can be easy to rush your kids straight to a solution when you think you have all the answers. This process is super unhelpful for them and will not be beneficial for their decision-making skills in the long run. Yasmin Farley, a psychology writer at Writinity and Researchpapersuk, noted that,

“The best thing to do is to lead them slowly and guide them gently, but ensure they get to the end point on their own. Independent decision making is crucial for growing teens.”

  1. Try to Steer Away From “I told you so”

As a parent it is so difficult to hold your tongue when something that you warned your child about turns out exactly the way you said it would; trust me, I know. The best bet in these situations is to keep your mouth closed, because “I told you so’s” can be hurtful and damaging for a child’s self esteem and growing mind and body. 

No parent is perfect, no matter how hard we try. However, using some simple tips and tricks like these ones along the way can definitely help you out and assist you in building your teen up to be a great adult.

Contributor: Ashley Halsey is an online blogger and content writer at Dissertation writing services UK and GumEssays who has been involved in many projects throughout the country. She has three rambunctious teenagers who keep her life interesting as she travels around the country attending psychology and parenting courses. 

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Tips For Starting A Conversation With Your Teenager

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 21, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

10 Ways to Start A Conversation With Your Teen

Help Your Teens DadSonChat-300x200 Tips For Starting A Conversation With Your Teenager Let’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. Help Your Teens MomDaughterChatting-300x200 Tips For Starting A Conversation With Your Teenager Talk 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.

Bonus tip: Order Fourteen Talks By Age Fourteen: The Essential Conversations You Need to Have With Your Kids Before High School.

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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Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 10, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book, Teen Help

Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy 

By David Sheff

A myth-shattering look at drug abuse and addiction treatment, based on cutting-edge research

Help Your Teens bookCLEAN-197x300 Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Addiction is a preventable, treatable disease, not a moral failing. As with other illnesses, the approaches most likely to work are based on science — not on faith, tradition, contrition, or wishful thinking. 

These facts are the foundation of Clean. The existing addiction treatments, including Twelve Step programs and rehabs, have helped some, but they have failed to help many more.

To discover why, David Sheff spent time with scores of scientists, doctors, counselors, and addicts and their families, and explored the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine. In Clean, he reveals how addiction really works, and how we can combat it.

Order Clean today.

15 Warning signs your teen might be using drugs.

Also read David Sheff’s NYT’s best seller, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction

When parents question their parenting?

Help Your Teens beautiful-boy-200x300 Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted David Sheff’s journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery.

Before Nic became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets.

David Sheff traces the first warning signs: the denial, the three a.m. phone calls—is it Nic? the police? the hospital? His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every treatment that might save his son. And he refused to give up on Nic.

Order Beautiful Boy today.

*****************

Both books are a must read for any parent with a child that you suspect is making bad choices. No matter how smart or talented they are, or if you believe it’s just a phase — don’t be a parent in denial. Be proactive. You could be saving their life.

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Parenting The New Teen In The Age Of Anxiety

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 31, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Book, Teen Help

Parenting the New Teen in the Age of Anxiety: A Complete Guide to Your Child’s Stressed, Depressed, Expanded, Amazing Adolescence

Help Your Teens bigstock-Teenage-Girl-Victim-Of-Bullyin-120053000-300x200 Parenting The New Teen In The Age Of Anxiety

By Dr. John Duffy

Parenting is more difficult and complicated than it has ever been. Our kids today are psychologically and emotionally burdened by social media, unreasonable academic and social stressors, and an unprecedented stream of information.

They are exposed to the harshest elements of the world much too soon. The upside is that they have this thoughtful, compassionate worldview and sense of justice that we may have lacked. The downside is that our kids are in an undue degree of psychic pain. They suffer far more anxiety, depression, attention issues, and suicidal ideation than any generation preceding them.

More than ever, our kids need us to help them make sense of, and integrate, all they take in, starting at a very early age. To do that, we must know and truly understand their world.

This book is a complete guide to all of the issues that your child, teen and young adult will face.

So when your kid is overwhelmed (and your kid is going to feel overwhelmed), when you kid is exposed to too much (and your kid will be exposed to too much), she will know: I have mom and/or dad, and they are my constant, they are my solid. I can go to them and they are going to hear me out, without judgment. I know that. I know that I can talk to them and they are going to be there for me unequivocally. In their complicated world, with all of this stimuli, with all of this identity traffic, kids need some compass. They need you to be that compass.

Help Your Teens BookParentingAnxiety Parenting The New Teen In The Age Of Anxiety Inside Parenting Inside the New Teen In the Age of Anxiety:

Learn about the “New Teen” and how to adjust your parenting approach. Kids are growing up with nearly unlimited access to social media and the internet, and unprecedented academic, social, and familial stressors. Starting as early as eight years old, children are exposed to information, thought, and emotion that they are developmentally unprepared to process. As a result, saving the typical “teen parenting” strategies for thirteen-year-olds is now years too late.

Urgent advice for parents of teens. Dr. John Duffy’s parenting book is a new and necessary guide that addresses this hidden phenomenon of the changing teenage brain. Dr. Duffy, a nationally recognized expert in parenting for nearly twenty-five years, offers this book as a guide for parents raising children who are growing up quickly and dealing with unresolved adolescent issues that can lead to anxiety and depression.

Unprecedented psychological suffering among our young and why it is occurring. A shift has taken place in how and when children develop. Because of the exposure they face, kids are emotionally overwhelmed at a young age, often continuing to search for a sense of self well into their twenties. Paradoxically, Dr. Duffy recognizes the good that comes with these challenges, such as the sense of justice instilled in teenagers starting at a young age.

Readers of this book will:

  • Sort through the overwhelming circumstances of today’s teens and better understand the changing landscape of adolescence
  • Come away with a revised, conscious parenting plan more suited to addressing the current needs of the New Teen
  • Discover the joy in parenting again by reclaiming the role of your teen’s ally, guide, and consultant

Order today on Amazon.

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Should I Read My Teen’s Text Messages?

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 19, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article

When should parents snoop rather than monitor their teen’s online behavior?

Help Your Teens PexelTeenGirlOnline-300x232 Should I Read My Teen's Text Messages? This has been a debate for years and the answer comes back to when safety trumps privacy.

Especially now as technology is in the hands of every teens and many tweens, as well as COVID has locked us online more than ever — parents need to be in tune with how are teens are dealing with peer pressure, friendships and most of all, digital school life.

Teenagers earn their trust with their parents. Respecting each others privacy should always be priority, however if you fear your teenager is heading down a dark path, and is not willing to talk to you or a third party (therapist, guidance counselor, relative or adult friend), you may have to cross the line of trust.

Warning signs it might be time to investigate:

  • Is your teen becoming very secretive? Sure, teens do like their privacy, however if you have a “gut feeling” something is deeper than a secret, you may have to cross that line. There is nothing stronger than a parents intuition.
  • Is your teen becoming withdrawn? Again, teens will develop some attitudes of not wanting to be with adults, however when it becomes extreme, it may be time to cross that line. The pandemic has caused a rise in stress, anxiety and defiance in many teenagers. Parents are struggling to keep up with the challenging behavioral changes.
  • Is your teen changing peer groups? Are they hanging with a less than desirable group of friends, even virtually? Have they started joining risky chatrooms? Possibly meeting strangers? Sneaking out?
  • Is your teens eating habits changing? Eating more or less? Binging? Especially during this pandemic, families need to try to have meal times several times a week.
  • Is their sleeping patterns changing? Is your teen sleeping a lot? Bloodshot eyes? Do you suspect drug use?
  • Is your teen sneaking out? Becoming extremely defiant? Not respecting your boundaries or house rules?
  • Overall, is your teen slowly becoming a child you don’t recognize?
  • Are you snooping or are you legitimately monitoring your teens?

Should you read your teen’s diary? Scroll through their text messages or even befriend them on their social networking sites? That is a personal question only you can answer.

Remember writing can be very healthy for teens (and adults for that matter), so if your teen isn’t giving you any valid reasons to “invade their privacy” – respect it.

When safety trumps privacy –is the time to pry – but every day you should be monitoring your child’s online activity – it’s called parenting.

The latest trend with online behavior that have many parents concerned, is their teen’s that are meeting unsavory people online and attempting to meet-up offline. Or their teen is spending an enormous amount of time on sexual sites (porn) or possibly engaging in sexual activities online (such as sending sext messages) to people they don’t know.

This is exactly when safety trumps privacy. If you’ve exhausted your local resources and the behavior is not ending, it might be time to consider the next step. Residential therapy can be an option to steer your teen down a healthy path.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

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Preventing Risky Behavior in Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 05, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article

Navigating Emotional Maturity to Prevent Risky Behavior in Teens

Let’s face it, teenagers have it rough. They’re taking on new responsibilities, struggling with physical and emotional transitions, and just trying to get their lives figured out. But with all these new challenges, teens might find themselves unprepared to shoulder the emotional burden of being an adult.

Help Your Teens bigstock-146083106-300x200 Preventing Risky Behavior in Teens Taking more difficult and time-consuming classes in school, learning how to navigate peer pressure with real consequences, and entering the job market in the midst of a pandemic can take a toll on your mental wellbeing. Facing this kind of pressure, teens are prone to depression or engaging in risky, anxiety-driven behavior.

If teens don’t have the skills to process their emotions in a mature and level-headed manner, they might bottle up their emotions, become more aggressive, or even shut down. Luckily, there are several ways to help your teen develop emotional maturity to prevent risky behavior.

Here are four pieces of advice to get them started:

1. Don’t Get Lost in the Worst-Case Scenario

One of the most common ways that teens can get lost in a downward emotional spiral is from anxiety about the future. When they have to grapple with the uncertainty of college applications, finding their place in the world, or even how other people will react to bad news, they might buckle under all this built-up pressure. This often occurs when teens don’t have a strong sense of their own identity and self-worth. They start to think that every outcome is going to be the worst-case scenario. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

You can warn your teen about the dangers of overthinking and why it happens. When they understand where their fears are coming from and how often it happens to others, your child might better understand that their anxiety is really being driven by their imagination. Though it’s important to anticipate negative consequences, they should know that it’s usually always worse in their minds.

For example, if your teenager feels like they’re not going to do well on an exam, they might start to stack up all the negative outcomes until the end of time! The failed test leads to a bad grade, which leads to poor college applications, which leads to not getting into college, which leads to never getting a job, which leads to … etc. But if you talk to your teen about humanizing their fears, knowing that everyone fails sometimes, it can show your teen how to adapt to situations. Because your teen is worried about this exam, you might tell them that if they study hard, it’s more likely they’ll do better, but also that their teachers are there to help them if they can’t get the material down.

You can help your teen avoid the risky behaviors that come with anxiety-driven decisions by practicing mental checks. If you notice your teen is starting to spiral, you can point this out and work through the problems together. Once you have a good understanding of the telltale signs of an anxious meltdown, you can remind your teen that they’re getting into an unnecessary headspace. Soon, your teen will be able to recognize these symptoms on their own and learn to self-regulate; now they’re not putting so much importance on the future, but focusing on the present moment with a level-head.

2. Leave Pettiness to Others, It’s not for You

Pettiness is a signature of childish behavior. Talking back, getting the last word, or exhibiting passive aggressive behavior when they don’t want to outright say what’s on their mind. Nobody likes this kind of attitude and it can really dampen your teen’s reputation among their friends and future peers.

You can help root out this behavior by pointing out how hurtful this behavior can be. Not only is it frustrating for the people on the receiving end of the stick, but it will also hurt your child’s ability to effectively be heard. You want your teen to be able to get over the small stuff and the pettiness of others, so it’s important to point out exactly what it looks like and when it occurs.

Managing pettiness is especially important to do when you’re not both in an argument so that your teen can anticipate the emotions that bring about pettiness. Sure, they might think it’s satisfying to get in that little jab in the moment, but they should understand it’s hurtful to everyone in the long run. It might even get your teen into more immediate trouble if they snap at someone dangerous or in a position of power. You can point out that if your teen really wants to win an argument, they can do it by exhibiting well thought out reasoning, calmness, and superior decision making.

One practice that might help your teen leave pettiness at the door is deep breathing and meditation. When your teen recognizes that urge to get back at someone, they can mentally address the situation, and take three calming breaths. On a physical level, this slows down their heart rate and establishes a more serene mindset, the trademark of an emotionally mature adult.

When they’ve let the moment pass, they’ll be able to respond with something genuinely considered. This will achieve one of two satisfying results for your teen in lieu of a petty comment: 1) they’ll be able to communicate their feelings and solutions to the issue at hand with a mature attitude, resulting in a collaboration with their adversaries, or 2) they’ll be able to communicate their feelings and solutions to the issue at hand with a mature attitude, while their adversaries are left to their own petty squabbles.

3.Be Mindful of Others

Teens that are trying to balance college applications heavy duty classes and struggling to figure out their identity are practically treading water. They’re taking on so much that sometimes they can’t help but only think of themselves and their own wellbeing. As a parent, it takes a lot of patience to deal with their self-centered nature, but understand that it’s a survival tactic that’s going to take some mending.

Help Your Teens BigstockFrustratedParents-300x199 Preventing Risky Behavior in Teens If your teen shows signs of a short temper or rude behavior, it could mean that your child is having difficult with their tasks or their own self-worth.

This is a common cause of teens trying to amplify their own importance or freaking out about the consequences of their responsibilities. To treat this behavior, you can help your teen become more mindful by demonstrating mindfulness.

When you show that you care about what’s going on in their lives, it could help them let their guard down and open up. It’s a perfect opportunity for you to also share what you’re going through and how teamwork can be a solution for what they’re going through. This can help them understand that it’s important to check in with others and reflect on how they impact their friends and family.

You can also help your teen become more mindful by encouraging them to actively engage in helping others. Volunteer opportunities are a great way to consistently keep others in mind while supporting the community.

If your teen is already stacked with a busy schedule, they could do something as simple as checking in with their friends once a week to share what’s going on in each other’s life. Sometimes, we’re so focused on what we’re doing individually, that we forget to hold space for talking about others. If your child is able to invest in their friend group and address how they impact or help one another, they’re more likely to be normalize collective care. When your teen starts to exhibit risky behavior, they’ll have others to help them out as a result of being mindful in the first place.

4. Take Responsibility for Your Actions

This is the big one. Taking responsibility can be difficult for teens because it involves admitting fault sometimes. That can be really difficult for teens who are trying to look out for their self-image and present their lives as idyllic. But not taking responsibility is the work of a child, not an adult. Adults know when to take credit for their achievements and drawbacks. Whether it’s taking a promotion at work for their efforts or learning from when they’ve missed an assignment or forgotten to do a chore, people with mature emotions own their actions.

Help Your Teens BigstockSadTeen-300x199 Preventing Risky Behavior in Teens As we’ve stated before, challenges are learning opportunities, and the same thing can be said for making mistakes. You can point out to your teen that it’s actually a sign of strength and maturity to admit your mistakes and learn from them.

When you own your actions, not only are you demonstrating security in who you are, but you’re also taking note of what lead to the circumstances in the first place.

For example, if your teen chose to hang out with their friends instead of working on a paper for school and they receive a bad grade, it can be looked at as a learning opportunity.

The next time your child has to choose between spending time with friends or completing an important task for school, you could teach them to say something like, “I’m sorry I can’t hang out this weekend. I didn’t take my last assignment seriously and I want to do better on this next one.Could we can hang out on Monday?”

This can be appealing to your teens for two reasons:

1) they are learning to set priorities and won’t have to be stressed later, and 2) they’ll be acting as a role model for their friends.

When your teen exercises responsibility, they’re showing others that they’re reliable, smart, and mature. Kids don’t often think of responsibility as an attractive quality, but you can show them how it exhibits problem-solving and honesty, qualities that their peers will admire and respect.

Taking responsibility also reduces risky teen behavior by eliminating risky situations in the first place. If your teen understands how to assign importance to their tasks and look at their mistakes as opportunities to grow, they could greatly reduce anxiety and feelings of shame or avoidance in their lives.

You can help your teenager develop responsibility by getting them started with a chore chart, talking over their obligations together and establishing what responsibility means, and recognizing the feelings that accompany discomfort around responsibility.

Author Bio:

Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com, ghostwriter at WriteItGreat.com, and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.

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5 Ways To Teach Your Teenager About Budgeting

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 04, 2020  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

5 Ways to Teach Your Teenager about Budgeting

Help Your Teens PixabayTeenMoney-182x300 5 Ways To Teach Your Teenager About Budgeting

Credit: Pixabay, Luxstorm

It has never been more critical for parents to teach teenagers the value of money and the skill of budgeting. Since the habits, they learn at home are likely to continue into later life, teaching teenagers how to budget is one of the best ways to ensure they turn into financially responsible adults.

1. Encourage them to Track Incomings and Outgoings

Whether your teen is receiving money from an allowance or wages from a job, they must understand where their money goes. Sitting down with a teenager and creating a tailored budget is one of the best ways to help them stay on top of their finances.

This can be done by taking the total amount of their monthly income then noting down what they usually spend their money on. Once these two figures have been appropriately aligned, the next step is to decide a set amount to be saved each month. Having this written down, or noted in a budgeting app such as mint should help a teenager to visualize their spending habits in context. As Bank of America describes, this should help a teen learn that their spending should not exceed their income and if it does, their parents should sit down with them to decide the areas to cut back spending.

2. Teach them about Loans and Credit Cards

Teaching a teenager, the ins and outs of loans and credit cards will ensure they continue to make informed financial decisions as adults. While it is more likely a teen will be considering a student loan rather than, for example, a Cash Lady payday loan, it is essential they know the principles of interest and repayment plans.

3. Show them the Value of Money

For the majority of modern teenagers, social media is likely to take up a good chunk of their day. For the most part, this is only a problem if they have an addiction, but a new phenomenon is arising due to the presence of influencers. As a social medium act as a form of a social group, if the influencers that your child follows live a much more exuberant life, it can alter their perception of the value of money. It’s important to let them know the value of money by teaching them about general running costs and putting brand prices in perspective with the amount of money that one actually needs to spend on living. 

Help Your Teens PexelsMoney-300x198 5 Ways To Teach Your Teenager About Budgeting

Credit: Pexels

4. Emphasize the Importance of Saving

As stated in point 1, a teenager’s budget should be split into two sections, save and spend. It is recommended to aim for about 60/70% spending, and the rest should be saved. Encouraging a teenager to put this into a bank account brings two distinctive benefits. Firstly, it ensures that once the month it is up, they can’t easily access the money if a whim to spend comes their way. Secondly, the money will grow with interest.

For parents whose teenagers struggle to save, try incentivizing them with a specific goal such as a car, since picturing the goal makes dedication much easier.  

5. Be Their Role Model

Lastly, it is always worth remembering that the way parents act impacts what their children perceive to be appropriate behavior, so show them the correct way to budget as well as teaching them how to do it on paper.

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