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Teen Help Blog

Life Skills for Teens: How to Cook, Clean, Manage Money, Fix Your Car, Perform First Aid, and Just About Everything in Between

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 01, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book, Parenting Books, Parenting Teens

Life Skills for Teens: How to Cook, Clean, Manage Money, Fix Your Car, Perform First Aid, and Just About Everything in Between

By Karen Harris

Help Your Teens BookLifeSkills-194x300 Life Skills for Teens: How to Cook, Clean, Manage Money, Fix Your Car, Perform First Aid, and Just About Everything in Between Congratulations, you are a teenager! The big question is, now what?!

The teenage years are an exciting yet ever-changing period of your life. New challenges and tasks seem to pop up almost daily—not to mention all the transitions your body is going through.

As you get older and take on more responsibilities, you have probably wondered how to do many of the adult tasks your parents or older siblings seem to breeze through daily.

Everyday challenges like how to tell if the chicken in the fridge has gone bad to how to get rid of dandruff has likely crossed your mind. As you learn and experience new things, questions about basic life skills will arise. LIFE SKILLS FOR TEENS is here to help you solve the daily problems adults take for granted.

While the internet provides a wealth of knowledge, it can be overwhelming to navigate at times. I mean, which of the thirteen articles about budgeting and saving money is actually accurate? And yes, you can ask your parents or other trusted adults in your life to teach you specific skills, but sometimes you just want to figure it out on your own. That’s where this guide comes into play.

Dive in and start learning life skills for teens! Order yours now.

Learn more about young adult life skills for teens 17-25 and programs designed to help your young adult thrive.

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The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 22, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book, Teen Depression, Troubled Teens

Teen Depression, Anxiety and Stress

Help Your Teens PexelsTeenAnxiety-202x300 The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated The mental health crisis with young people is extremely concerning. With almost a year of remote learning, students have become more withdrawn, isolated and dependent upon their electronics.

We have seen a rise in youth depression, stress and anxiety which is causing parents to experience behaviors such as defiance, self-harm, eating disorders, hyenine issues and possibly suicide ideation.

Is your teen struggling emotionally?

Considered our featured teen book:

The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated

By Katie Hurley, LCSW

Don’t face depression alone―advanced tools for teens.

You can feel better and The Depression Workbook for Teens is going to help you do it. Drawing on the most effective and up-to-date techniques―including cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness―this depression workbook is filled with helpful exercises designed specifically for teens that will help you conquer depression. Develop the skills you need to manage your emotional well-being and bring happiness back into your life.

Get information all about depression―its symptoms, causes, and risk factors―so you can identify the differences between normal stress and depression. There is a light at the end of the tunnel―The Depression Workbook for Teens will show you the way.

Help Your Teens DepressionWorkbook The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated The Depression Workbook for Teens includes:

  • Just for teens―Tackle your depression head-on using a depression workbook filled with strategies written with your unique needs (and time constraints) in mind.
  • Useful tools―With quizzes, journaling prompts, conversation starters, and more, you’ll discover simple skill-building exercises to improve your mood and build your self-esteem.
  • Practical problem solving―Find ways to work through the challenges you’re facing―including fighting with your parents, getting up in the morning, struggling with homework, and more.

The Depression Workbook for Teens gives you the helping hand you need to get through this difficult time.

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

About Katie Hurley: Katie is a child and adolescent psychotherapist, parenting expert, and writer. Hurley is the author of No More Mean Girls and The Happy Kid Handbook. Her work can be found in The Washington Post, PBS Parents, US News and World Report, and Psychology Today.

During this time of uncertainty, The Depression Workbook has been a tremendous asset to many young people. Studies are revealing the impact COVID is having on mental health with our young people.

Have you exhausted your local resources?

Therapy isn’t working? Contact us to learn more about residential therapy for your teenager.

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Helping Students: How to Restore Academic Performance

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 22, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Help

Helping Your Teen Restore Academic Performance

Do you have a smart teen not performing up to their potential?

Help Your Teens PexelsStudentsAcademics-300x198 Helping Students: How to Restore Academic Performance In every education system in any country, all stakeholders expect students to perform well. It is a sign of progress and instills hope for a better future generation. If the result is negative, it creates a great concern to the current stakeholders about the future. 

 These concerns seem to have become real in the current society because educational institutions are continually recording poor performance among students. There is a rush from curriculum developers, parents, teachers, government, and other partakers in the education department to help restore performance.  

Diagnosing the problem

 Students cannot be helped if the root cause of the problem is not yet diagnosed. To the student, the underperformance has several negative effects, which can range from mild to severe. The student develops low self-esteem and may distance themselves from their peers. 

 According to societies, governments, educators, and parents, performance is measured by grades level. A student is labeled a performer when they continually score high grades and a lot of hope is vested in them. A student who gets poor grades has been labeled an underperformer and they are seen as failures and an embarrassment to both the teacher and the parent. The situation is even worse when a super performer suddenly begins to underperform. 

12 Angry Men essay examples

There are several lessons a student can learn from the 1957 American movie 12 Angry Men. The main lesson is to trust your instincts no matter the cause the majority have taken. The film has been resourceful in the education sector in teaching and study of various courses. If you want to write an essay about the 12 angry men, you must read the Twelve Angry Men essay samples on WritingBros for inspiration. Most college students have written attractive essays after reading a free essay example. 

 Causes of student underperformance

 To help students restore performance, there is a need to address its causes. According to research, causes for underperformance can be classified as student factors, teacher, family, and external factors. Looking into student factors, a student could be sick for a long period, they could be undisciplined or demotivated. They could also have low intelligence, have attention deficit, have a disability, or psychiatric problems. 

 The parent could be poor, a drug addict, harsh, or unsupportive. Teachers might be demotivated due to poor pay, overworked, or bear too much pressure from the government, parents, and teachers. External factors could be commuting challenges, pandemics, toxic peers, political, etc.

Restoring performance

Help Your Teens PexelsStudentsClassroom-300x199 Helping Students: How to Restore Academic Performance Every student is unique with unique learning abilities. Some are fast learners, others average or slow learners. When creating strategies to help them, the stakeholders need to consider these three groups of learners. Help can be availed both at the individual level and group level. 

If you plan to write an essay about the 12 Angry Men, your first plan will be to know the topic that will best fit your essay and watch the film. It will help to know the characters and the role they play in the film. Next, search other resources and check what others have written on the subject. There are good resources for your 12 Angry Men essay on EduZaurus that you will find very helpful for your essay. Check the lessons you can learn from the resources and how they apply to your essay. 

 Using the available resources

 The first point is to look at the available resources and use them as the first remedy for help. These are resources that a student can readily access at school, online, or at home. Academic advisors are an important resource in the path to performance restoration. 

 They can engage students at the individual or group level and discuss with them the current class schedules. Although class lessons are planned at the state or national level, individual schools can customize them to fit their specific student needs. They can spread in a way that students and teachers get more breaks to relax. 

 Academic advisors can help students discuss their career paths and know where to put more effort guided by their goals. The learning center resources is another important resource. Students can be helped meet a study plan consultant, get academic coaching, and get customized learning materials. 

 Peer support

 A student could be demotivated due to previous poor performance experiences and develop low self-esteem. They might think they are an isolated case but when they are brought into a group of their peers, they will realize they are not a special case. 

 This is a strategy that works well when it’s done with students within the same college because they are not strangers to each other. It brings together classmates or schoolmates to discuss course issues, brainstorm together, learn from each other, and encourage one another. It can help deal with stress, poor self-esteem, low motivation and build each other to start all again. Peer support encourages networking and establishes long-term friendships in the professional field. 

 Customized individual help

 Some students are slow learners and can lag during lessons. In the long term, it will affect performance. Such students require extra support from both the teacher and parent to help them come to the same level as fast learners. That means customized tuition, extra coaching, and the use of resources. 

 Special lessons

 These are not lessons for students with special needs, but they are lessons beyond the normal teaching hours. If teaching starts at 8 am and closes at 3 pm, teachers can fix it an hour before the start of lessons or an hour after. 

 Sometimes the syllabus is long and it becomes difficult for teachers to cover an entire syllabus within an academic year. To the examining body, they assume the whole syllabus was covered and set exams based on that. The results will tell because students will perform poorly. 

 The special lessons will help in two ways – the teacher will recover lost syllabus hours and they will pull the slow student to a level at per or close to fast learners. The hours might not be used to recover lost lessons but also for mentoring, tutoring, or giving homework help to students. 

 Conclusion

 Most students might underperform due to various factors such as student, teacher, parent, or external factors but there are available strategies to help them restore performance. These are strategies that educators can successfully implement and obtain positive results. Peer support, tutoring, mentoring, and smaller learning communities are some of the workable strategies. Behavior monitoring and support, exposure to learning, and caring for student health are also strategies that can boost performance. 

 Author’s Bio
Joshua Robinson provides online training to college students to help them crack entrance exams and get a seat in their favorite colleges. He assists them with exam coaching, essay and personal statement writing and interview preparation. His free time is for cycling, yoga and reading mythological fiction. 

 

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Tips for Talking to Your Teen

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 05, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

How to Talk to Your Teenager

By Liz Farrell

Help Your Teens PexelsMomDaughter-300x200 Tips for Talking to Your Teen I used to think the toddler years were hard until we had teenagers. Toddler years are taxing physically, but the teen years can be challenging in a different way. Teens are finally back in school, in person, and life for them is returning to normal. My daughter attended her first high school football game, and it almost brought tears to my eyes to see the student section where there were cheers, smiles, and laughter for hours. This return to normal also has shed light on just how complicated our teens and their lives can be. They are balancing school, extracurriculars, family, and a social schedule much different from the last 18 months, and with continued concerns about Covid and social media, it’s a whole new realm.

Our teens need us now more than ever, but how do we strengthen a relationship when most days it feels like we are the last ones they want to talk to or be with? Communication is the key to your relationship, and although this is a daily work in progress at our house, here are some helpful tips:

TIMING

Finding time to connect with your teens can be challenging, especially if it seems like they are always in their room with the door closed. It can be an adjustment for parents who may have been the go-to for stories about their day, friend problems, or homework questions to have that role suddenly shift to their friend group. This is normal, albeit difficult.

Try to carve out time when you notice they are open to talking. We have found that to be in the car, because we spend a lot of time there. If we are both in the front seat it also helps with those difficult conversations when they don’t have to make eye contact.

Timing is also about being available, and often it is not on our time schedule. I have learned that when one of my teens wants to talk or tell me something, I should drop everything and become available because the opportunity may not come again.

Ideally, you also want to time tough conversations when both you and your teens are calm. Try not to get emotional or stoop to their level if they are being rude or passive aggressive. I have a mantra I repeat in my head during those moments, Do not engage. This is a reminder to stay calm and try to model good communication skills. This doesn’t always happen, but it is a good goal.

LISTEN

It can be our first inclination to want to share all our advice and wisdom with our teens. This can be helpful especially in demonstrating we weren’t perfect and made mistakes, but the most powerful tool for this age group is to listen more than we talk. Listen with understanding and without judgment, and try to stay open and interested.

Another trap parents fall into after listening is we to try to solve their problems. Try to resist that urge. Give them the opportunity to solve their own problem or help them come up with ideas, and to understand some of their decisions will have consequences. We do them a huge disservice when we are constantly trying to save or rescue them from their decisions or mistakes. As painful as this can be to watch, it is part of growing up and how they learn to survive as adults in the world.

TRUST

The key to good communication is trust, which goes both ways. This is especially true when building bonds with our teens. We recently learned our daughter lied to us about her plans, and when confronted and asked why, she said she didn’t think we would let her go. We shared that she didn’t give us a chance, and we would always prefer having an open dialogue as opposed to sneaking around.

There will be a lot of things we would rather our teens not do, so establishing trust and open communication is so important. Teens want to be taken seriously, so look for ways to show that you trust them. One way is by asking for a favor or letting them do something, which shows you rely on them and trust them to do it.

I fully acknowledge these tips are much easier to write than to implement, but don’t give up — you can do this! Parenting teens is hard, so having a good, trusting relationship is more important than ever. Take a deep breath, and put yourselves in their shoes. They aren’t perfect, and they will make mistakes; our job is to help guide them and to constantly reassure them that we will be there for them through their triumphs and their stumbles.

Printed with permission by Liz Farrell. Originally published on Marina Times.

Checked out our featured book for helping understand today’s teenagers.

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Communicating with Your Teen: Tips for Building a Healthier Relationship

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 05, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens

Communicating with Your Teen and Developing a Healthier Relationship with Them

By Liz Farrell

Help Your Teens PexelsMomDaughter-300x200 Communicating with Your Teen: Tips for Building a Healthier Relationship I used to think the toddler years were hard until we had teenagers. Toddler years are taxing physically, but the teen years can be challenging in a different way. Teens are finally back in school, in person, and life for them is returning to normal. My daughter attended her first high school football game, and it almost brought tears to my eyes to see the student section where there were cheers, smiles, and laughter for hours. This return to normal also has shed light on just how complicated our teens and their lives can be. They are balancing school, extracurriculars, family, and a social schedule much different from the last 18 months, and with continued concerns about Covid and social media, it’s a whole new realm.

Our teens need us now more than ever, but how do we strengthen a relationship when most days it feels like we are the last ones they want to talk to or be with? Communication is the key to your relationship, and although this is a daily work in progress at our house, here are some helpful tips:

TIMING

Finding time to connect with your teens can be challenging, especially if it seems like they are always in their room with the door closed. It can be an adjustment for parents who may have been the go-to for stories about their day, friend problems, or homework questions to have that role suddenly shift to their friend group. This is normal, albeit difficult.

Try to carve out time when you notice they are open to talking. We have found that to be in the car, because we spend a lot of time there. If we are both in the front seat it also helps with those difficult conversations when they don’t have to make eye contact.

Timing is also about being available, and often it is not on our time schedule. I have learned that when one of my teens wants to talk or tell me something, I should drop everything and become available because the opportunity may not come again.

Ideally, you also want to time tough conversations when both you and your teens are calm. Try not to get emotional or stoop to their level if they are being rude or passive aggressive. I have a mantra I repeat in my head during those moments, Do not engage. This is a reminder to stay calm and try to model good communication skills. This doesn’t always happen, but it is a good goal.

LISTEN

It can be our first inclination to want to share all our advice and wisdom with our teens. This can be helpful especially in demonstrating we weren’t perfect and made mistakes, but the most powerful tool for this age group is to listen more than we talk. Listen with understanding and without judgment, and try to stay open and interested.

Another trap parents fall into after listening is we to try to solve their problems. Try to resist that urge. Give them the opportunity to solve their own problem or help them come up with ideas, and to understand some of their decisions will have consequences. We do them a huge disservice when we are constantly trying to save or rescue them from their decisions or mistakes. As painful as this can be to watch, it is part of growing up and how they learn to survive as adults in the world.

TRUST

The key to good communication is trust, which goes both ways. This is especially true when building bonds with our teens. We recently learned our daughter lied to us about her plans, and when confronted and asked why, she said she didn’t think we would let her go. We shared that she didn’t give us a chance, and we would always prefer having an open dialogue as opposed to sneaking around.

There will be a lot of things we would rather our teens not do, so establishing trust and open communication is so important. Teens want to be taken seriously, so look for ways to show that you trust them. One way is by asking for a favor or letting them do something, which shows you rely on them and trust them to do it.

I fully acknowledge these tips are much easier to write than to implement, but don’t give up — you can do this! Parenting teens is hard, so having a good, trusting relationship is more important than ever. Take a deep breath, and put yourselves in their shoes. They aren’t perfect, and they will make mistakes; our job is to help guide them and to constantly reassure them that we will be there for them through their triumphs and their stumbles.

Printed with permission by Liz Farrell. Originally published on Marina Times.

Checked out our featured book for helping understand today’s teenagers.

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Why Does My Smart Teen Skip School

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 02, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Smart Teens Skipping Classes

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

Do you have a smart teen making not good choices? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

What causes truancy?

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

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

Bad Influences

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

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

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

School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does it matter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is your teen unmotivated? Underachieving? Learn more.

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

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

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The Impact Adoption Can Have On Your Teen’s Mental Health

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 27, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Mental Health, Teen Help

Adoption and Your Teen’s Mental Health

Help Your Teens UnSplashSadTeen-198x300 The Impact Adoption Can Have On Your Teen's Mental Health The impact adoption can have on your teen’s mental health is huge. Even teens adopted by the right family with the best conditions for healthy development will still go through some form of personality changes and/or behaviors because of the transition.

You need to understand their transition and be willing to work with your teen’s individual needs. Adopting a teenager can be difficult because it is hard for them to trust, so it is important the entire family understands how they feel.

The transition to adopting a teenager might make the teen feel like an outsider because they don’t fit in with their parents, siblings, or even themselves (because teenagers try to fit in but can’t). It is important that teens are loved unconditionally and that parents should not expect too much from them until they have settled into the new family.

Learn all that you can

Since your teen is well past childhood, they will have had more than a decade of life experience under their belt. They will have their likes and dislikes, things that annoy them, and certain preferences like food choices. They will also have an entire history in regards to previous homes they might have lived, potential medical concerns, and education experience.

It’s best to try and learn everything you can about your teenager, with respect to their privacy. They are coming into the family as an outsider, so things will feel awkward at first. You should try to get to know as much as you can about your teen prior to adoption and onwards.

It helps to get acquainted with important documents like medical files and vaccination records. You should also see if you can get your teen’s adoption records. Those files will give a great insight into your teen’s original birth parents and where your teen was born.

Respect boundaries

Your teen may seem standoffish or unwilling to work with you, but they are just testing the boundaries in order to see how much trust they can put in their new parents.

During this period, it is important that parents understand when the teen needs space and when they’re just hiding in their room because they don’t know how to deal with the change. Adoption creates a whirlwind of change in addition to the crazy hormonal changes. Their mental health might struggle due to all their changes, but it’s important to not intrude on your teen’s life constantly. You need to build up trust and let them gradually open up to you if anything’s wrong.

Parents should be wary about giving too much freedom to their adopted teenagers, though. Teens still need stability and structure more than pure freedom at this point in their lives.

Don’t force them to fit in

It is also important that parents do not put too much pressure on their teens to fit in or be part of the family right away.

Trying to force your teen into their new family unit may increase their desire for independence, act defiantly, and make it harder to adjust to new feelings about themselves. This could also lead to an emotional imbalance, which can lead to a wide range of behaviors such as cutting, depression, self-harm, suicide, etc.

Parents need to understand this desire for independence is something teens work through on their own and is not resolved overnight but slowly over time. It can take years before the teen adjusts completely, especially if they’ve experienced trauma in the past.

Overall, adopting a teenager has its ups and downs, just like parenting any other child, but you can help your teen adjust to their new family over time.

It’s not easy, though. However, as a parent to an adopted teen, you owe it to them to help them get assimilated into the family for the sake of your teen’s mental health and the wellbeing of your family.

Read more about a one parent’s experience, The Ballad of an Adopted Child.

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Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 25, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book

Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen: The Essential Conversations You Need to Have with Your Kids Before They Start High School

An excellent guide for helping teens navigate the challenging times we are all facing today.

By Michelle Icard

Help Your Teens Book14 Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen

Order on Amazon

Trying to convince a middle schooler to listen to you can be exasperating. Indeed, it can feel like the best option is not to talk! But keeping kids safe—and prepared for all the times when you can’t be the angel on their shoulder—is about having the right conversations at the right time.

From a brain growth and emotional readiness perspective, there is no better time for this than their tween years, right up to when they enter high school.

Distilling Michelle Icard’s decades of experience working with families, Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen focuses on big, thorny topics such as friendship, sexuality, impulsivity, and technology, as well as unexpected conversations about creativity, hygiene, money, privilege, and contributing to the family. Icard outlines a simple, memorable, and family-tested formula for the best approach to these essential talks, the BRIEF Model:

Begin peacefully
Relate to your child
Interview to collect information
Echo what you’re hearing, and give
Feedback

With wit and compassion, she also helps you get over the most common hurdles in talking to tweens, including:

• What phrases invite connection and which irritate kids or scare them off
• The best places, times, and situations in which to initiate talks
• How to keep kids interested, open, and engaged in conversation
• How to exit these chats in a way that keeps kids wanting more

Help Your Teens canstockphoto6831044-e1385335610192-300x200 Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen Like a Rosetta Stone for your tween’s confounding language, Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen is an essential communication guide to helping your child through the emotional, physical, and social challenges ahead and, ultimately, toward teenage success.

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Check out our Library of Parenting Books for teens, parents and more.

Also tips for starting conversations with your teen.

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Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help

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

Understanding Teen Dating Violence

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

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

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

Red Flags & Warning Signs 

Emotional Abuse 

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

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

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

Financial Abuse

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

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

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

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

Physical Violence

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

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

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

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

Sexual Violence

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

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

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

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

Stalking 

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

Some red flags of stalking include: 

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

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

What Parents Can Do 

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

Guest contributor.

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Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them

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

Family Conflict: Finding Resolutions

Real solutions to a hidden epidemic: family estrangement.

By Karl Pillemer, Ph.D.

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

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

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

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

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

Order on Amazon.

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

Contact us today for more information on therapeutic boarding schools.

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