Parenting My Teen

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Archive for 2012

Helping Teens To Become More Independent

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen

The great thing about teenagers is that they really want to be independent, so this part of your job is rather simple in that it’s something they really want. But it can be hard to know when to loosen the leash. However, like most things in life, with independence comes responsibility. It’s our job as parents to start giving our teenagers more independence and responsibility in little bites so that by the time they leave the nest they’re independent, responsible adults. If you start with the following as young teens, by the time they’re college age, they’ll be in more control of themselves and also be ready for leaving the nest.

Let Them Suffer Natural Consequences — Teenagers are old enough to take some responsibility for themselves including their schedule, what they wear, whether it is clean or not, and even if their teeth are brushed. It can be difficult to watch a teenager go out the door without a coat knowing it will be cold later. If Mom’s taxi or the bus leaves at a certain time and the teenager isn’t ready, he or she misses school, walks, or foots the cost for a cab. It’s concerning when your teenage son looks like he has not bathed in weeks, but sooner or later his peers will ensure that he does. You won’t even be able to get him out of the shower. It will only take a couple of times to suffer the natural consequence of the action, and then learn the right thing to do.

Let Them Get A Job — Even young teenagers can do various jobs from extra chores around the house, to babysitting, to lawn mowing to earn money for extras. It’s important that you define extras and make it clear that you’re not responsible for buying those extras whether it’s more than two movies a month, or shoes that cost more than 35 dollars. If you define what you will do, then they can better understand why it’s important to earn money. If they’re job age, let them get a job outside of school and home because this will make them feel independent when they get to put their very own check into their very own checking account. Then they’ll also learn by the responsibility of keeping track of that money. Make sure that money is for more than just pizza and games too. Make them responsible for a portion of their needs too.

Let Them Do Their Own Homework  — You’d be shocked at how many parents are still sitting down with their teenager and going over every single page of homework with them. This is a huge mistake. You won’t be with them at college, and they’ll be expected to do everything themselves. In fact, unless your teenager is getting into a lot of trouble at school, and extra supervision is in order due to a disability, it’s best if you stay out of this completely. You already went to school. It’s their turn. Help a bit if directly asked, but if you can direct them how to find the help elsewhere too. For instance the Khan Academy is a free online resource where you can watch videos of many different types of lectures, especially Math. Giving them the tools to work on their own is going to teach them to be responsible for their own learning.

Give Them Household Chores — Even if an older teen has a job outside the home, all children should have chores they do without expectation of payment just for the reason that they are part of the family. You do household chores without compensation. They should do. It will teach them how to be independent and respectful roommates someday. A good rule of thumb is that anything in their room or that is theirs should be cleaned, washed, and handled only by them for free. But also, common communal areas such as the kitchen, living room, bathroom, etc… should also be kept clean and organized by all members of the family. Have a weekly communal chore rotation so everyone gets to learn how to clean the toilet and take out the trash.

Additional Resource: Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen This toolkit offers parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen.

 

 

Raising Positive Teens

By: Aurelia Category: Family, Parenting A Teen, Teen Emotional Health

There is so much to be concerned about when raising children and ensuring that they enter into their teen years feeling great about themselves.   Will they be healthy, happy and well-adjusted? How much do the things done by parents affect them? Is it possible to keep things positive and raise positive children today?

Even if you feel like you’ve made some mistakes as a parent, don’t despair. There are definitely things you can do to raise positive children. Children are very resilient and learn quickly. Here are a few tips you can follow to raise children  that are optimistic and creative.

 Model positive reactions. The adage goes, “more things are caught than taught.” In other words, if you become angry and begin yelling when you’re stressed, children will mirror what you do. Conversely, if your teen(s) see you react positively no matter what the circumstances, they will believe this is the correct way to act in response to stressors and situations in life.

Use good, positive and uplifting words when speaking to them and others as well as when you speak about others. No one likes to be fussed at and made to feel bad about what someone says to or about them. Be sure to use positive words and your teen will likely follow suit.

More information on positive reactions listed here other Great Resources for Parenting of Teens

Keep a positive mindset. So, are you a glass half full or a glass half empty type of person? People with a half-full mindset will try to see the good in every person and situation. On the other hand, those who see the glass half empty will be more negative. If you do your best to try to find the silver lining in the rain clouds of life, your children may do the same.  Accentuate the positive. Try to think of things you can do to draw attention to the positive no matter what has happened. No, you don’t have to be like Sappy Susie who acts like nothing ever goes wrong, but it can greatly influence your children if you acknowledge the negative but focus on the positive.

Nurture your child’s self-esteem. You don’t want to offer praise that is undeserved, but when they do something that is worthy of praise, be sure they know it. Be careful not to use demeaning words when providing instruction. Children may not know what it means to be condescending, but they can recognize it when they hear it.

 Catch your teen being compassionate or courteous. This is similar to nurturing their self-esteem. When you see your teen displaying compassion, let them know how much you appreciate it. Praise them for taking their responsibilities seriously when they do their chores without being reminded.

Encourage your teens’s dreams. If your daughter dreams of being a ballerina and she’s a little bit heavy, don’t discourage her. Take her to the ballet and talk about how healthy ballerinas have to be. This may give her the confidence she needs to learn to take better care of herself. If your son wants to play baseball, let Dad take him to the ballpark and play ball with him in the backyard.

Laugh at yourself. Sometimes, even when things seem their worst, it helps to look at things and laugh. Obviously every situation won’t warrant laughter, but it may help to release stress and put things into perspective.

Every parent wants their children to be helpful, positive and compassionate. Following some of these tips will help you raise positive children by keeping it positive.

Grab Some great Free Resources Here

5 Ways To Protect Teens From Cyberbullying

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Emotional Health, Teen General Health

With the advent of social media, and the rise in high technology, everyone is connecting like never before. With social networking being the main way we communicate, post recipes, or share music, the dependency of technology is shaping our everyday lives. Although face-to-fact contact is, and always will be prevalent, kids are using social media and texting throughout their daily lives more and more. Unfortunately, the Internet can’t always filter out bad behavior or crime, and bullying can take place even when two people aren’t in the same room.</p>

Raising Awareness

President Obama made October National Cyber Security Awareness Month recently, shedding light on the rise of this growing concern. The Department of Homeland Security has tips for increasing cyber security, which include: setting strong passwords and not sharing them with anyone; installing updates on an operating system, browser and other critical software; and limiting the amount of personal online information and using privacy settings.</p>
<p>Government officials called for a partnership to secure U.S. interests in cyberspace, particularly critical infrastructure, according to FCW. In early October,  Keith Alexander, Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command and National Security Agency, called on agencies to collaborate with each other and the private sector to better share information for the sake of national security.

Lock It Up

Sensitive information is also a target for cyber bullies. Someone’s bank accounts, financial information, job information, and social security information may be on their computer, and this type of information needs to be protected. By helping protect a person’s identity, services like LifeLock provide a cyber safety net. When a thief obtains personal information, these security companies supply early notifications of threats to personal identity, helps cancel and replaces contents lost in a stolen handbag or wallet, scours the Internet for the illegal distribution of  private information, verifies changes of address or information forms and more.

Knowledge is Power

The Cyberbullying Research Center provides timely  information about the nature, extent, causes and consequences of cyberbullying among adolescents. Cyberbullying is defined as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.”

The site http://cyberbullying.us/ provides ways adolescents use and misuse technology and is meant to be a resource for parents and others who work with youths. The site also provides numerous resources to help people prevent and respond to cyberbullying incidents. Knowing what to look for and how to respond to this growing concern among teens will be the difference between continued struggle and a brighter future. Parents should take the time to educate themselves on this topic alone, and with their kids, regardless of if their children are being bullied.

Parents should also look into the CyberBully Hotline Program. Each school within a system is given its own unique number that students can call in or text to report bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, intimidation and information on potential harmful or violent acts by others. Messages received are immediately forwarded to a designated school official or officials and can appear on their mobile device, in their email in-box and within the secure  CyberBully Hotline website.

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Having frequent discussions about online child safety is very important and will help to ward of potential online dangers. If you want information on a good internet monitoring software that is easy to use, then check out the link below: http://www.parentingmyteen.com/pc_tattletale.HTML

How To Keep Kids Safe Online

By: Aurelia Category: Family, Parenting A Teen

(BPT) – If your teen is among the 93 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds using your family’s laptop, smartphone or tablet to surf the Internet, they are vulnerable to multiple cyber threats, many of which could be detrimental.

Moreover, teens do not realize the abundance of threats awaiting them, nor do they recognize a tweet or photo upload can impact not only their reputation and future, but their safety, as well. Microsoft’s research shows that 55 percent of teens say they give little or no thought to the consequences of posting something online.

And, according to a recent survey, 1 in 4 parents are overwhelmed by technology and just hope for the best.

‘As hackers continue plotting attacks, the increase in vulnerability among teens is likely, but parents may not realize they are actually the first line of defense in keeping their families safe online,’ says Linda McCarthy, cyber security expert, former senior director of Internet safety at Symantec and author of Own Your Space: Keep Yourself and Your Stuff Safe Online.

The increase in prospective cyber threats provides opportunities in the career field of cyber security. If your teen enjoys spending time online, it’s never too early to begin discussing the education required to enter this field.

Cyber security related fields are projected to grow more than 28 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. DeVry University, which has partnered with McCarthy to provide complimentary copies of the Own Your Space eBook to parents, teachers and teens, recognizes the growing need for professionals with the skills required to protect individuals and organizations from cyberattacks. By also partnering with technology leaders like Cisco and Microsoft, its students are provided with a mix of relevant theoretical and hands-on education.

For concerned parents and teachers, McCarthy offers the following advice to help protect teens online:

1.  Protect equipment. Install and update antivirus software, spyware protection and firewalls.

2.  Realize social networking sites are here to stay. Review your teen’s Facebook and Twitter profiles. Make sure they do not display personal information such as full names, addresses or school names.

3.  Boost password strength. Utilize a mixture of letters, numbers and characters. And most importantly, never share passwords with anyone.

Cyber security is a moving target, and as threats develop daily, it’s imperative for parents and teachers to educate teens about these dangers. ‘The goal is to inform and educate teens, not scare them about the dangers of sharing information online,’ says McCarthy. ‘By protecting your family’s devices and empowering teens with the information needed to recognize impending threats, cyber sabotage is avoidable.’

To download a complimentary copy of Linda McCarthy’s eBook, Own Your Space: Keep Yourself and Your Stuff Safe Online, visit DeVry.edu/OwnYourSpace.

Having frequent discussions about online child safety is very important and will help to ward of potential online dangers. If you want information on a good internet monitoring software that is easy to use, then check out the link below: http://www.parentingmyteen.com/pc_tattletale.HTML

Spending Time With Your Teens During the Holidays

By: Aurelia Category: Family, Parenting A Teen

As parents, it’s often hard enough to figure out how to spend quality time with your tween or teen in general, much less during the holiday season.  The holidays present a distinct challenge for families, and with blended families becoming more common, the challenges are different than ever before. Also, kids this age may find the holidays depressing and difficult, because they are leaving the magic of childhood holidays behind. It can be tough.  Finding some holiday activities that your teen enjoys can be a challenge but it is not impossible.

During this busy and sometimes emotional time of year, tweens and teens are sometimes torn between spending time with their friends and being with their families. Both types of relationships are important, but how can you find a balance?

Here are some tips for spending time with your tweens and teens this holiday season.

1. Host a Holiday Party

Hosting a holiday party for your kids’ friends can be a great way to spend some time with them. Of course, most kids this age don’t want you hanging out with them during the entire party, but the planning and decorating is something you and your kids can do together.

The quality time you spend with your tween or teen may not actually happen at the party, but there are plenty of opportunities surrounding the event for you to spend time together. You can plan a menu, grocery shop, decorate, buy or make favors, and plan activities together.

2. Family Getaway

A holiday getaway – especially if it’s to a cabin or ski lodge where there’s no cell phone reception – may be just the thing to connect with your budding young adults. Now that they are not really “into” Santa Claus and magical holiday secrets, an annual ski trip, snowboarding adventure, or fall foliage tour can be new traditions that foster family closeness.

3. Start New Traditions

As noted above, starting new traditions helps bring families together. Now you will need to shift to age-appropriate traditions, like the ski trip mentioned above or volunteering at a local homeless shelter. Other traditions might include delivering Christmas cards to nursing home residents, or holiday caroling around the neighborhood with a local group or church. These types of traditions help tweens and teens get the focus off of themselves for a while, too.

4. Participation

Now that your kids are old enough to participate in some more adult roles, see if you can get them to pitch in on a level that they will appreciate. For example, let your tween or teen pick out Halloween candy and give it out at the door, or encourage them to cook a special new dish for Thanksgiving or Chanukah.  

Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen This toolkit offers parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen.  For more cheap Christmas gifts for teenagers, stop by the Parenting My Teen eStore!