Get Support & Tips for Parents of Teenagers
Adolescence is a tough time period for both teens and their parents. Huge physical and emotional changes emerge during these years with some teenagers experiencing mild mood swings while others exhibit more serious behavioral changes.
Dealing with teenagers is a definite challenge and busy parents are often at their wits’ end trying to keep up with the changes and how they affect their teen’s personality and the family dynamic.
Sign up today for the Parenting My Teen newsletter where you will find support for handling the many teenage changes you will encounter. Our range of topics is wide, including but not limited to:
- how to talk to your teen about sex
- help for parents of troubled teens
- how to talk about drugs and alcohol
- the college admission process
- dating & sexting
Sometimes it’s helpful and comforting just knowing that other parents dealing with teenagers are having the same struggles as you!
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Remember your teenage years? Many parents reminisce about make out parties or drinking their first beers behind the high school, almost as though these things are a rite of passage among the 12-18 year olds.
But teens today are growing up much faster and experiencing adult things much earlier in their lives, even earlier than you might have.
Consider these shocking statistics:
· 47% of high school students have experienced sexual intercourse
· 75% of high school students have consumed significant amounts of alcohol
· 50% of students have tried illegal drugs by the end of high school
· 50% of new HIV infections occur in teens
Statistics from http://sadd.org
These dangerous activities should not be considered rites of passage because they each carry their own sets of dangers. In addition to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancies parents must now worry about cyberbullying, sexting, powerful new illegal drugs, and predators stalking their unsuspecting victims online through the internet and social media sites.
Here are some tips to preventing your teen from becoming another statistic:
1. Talk honestly with your teen. Yes, kids hear stuff on the bus and from their other friends but who knows if the stories they hear are accurate. Ask your teen about what they’ve heard about these subjects and if they are aware of the very serious consequences. You will likely hear the question, “Did you do this at my age?” which makes parents falter. If your answer is, “Yes,” then answer honestly without glamorizing the behavior. Better to be honest and admit your mistakes than to be called a hypocrite when your teen discovers the truth.
2. Explain the consequences of these actions. Don’t sugar coat any of these dangers. Yes, you can die if you drink and drive or overdose on illegal drugs. HIV is not curable and will affect your future relationships. You might not go to college or achieve your dreams if you become a teen parent. Teens have a very difficult time understanding consequences and television and movies tend to glamorize alcohol and drug use. Even teen parents in the movies make life seem easy. What teens forget about is the number of teens killed in drunk driving accidents and teen mothers who kill their babies.
3. Stay up to date with your teens’ technology. Cell phones, personal computers and social media networks make it all too easy for your teen to get into trouble. Teens can easily send racy photos of themselves or others to a whole network of classmates without realizing this is considered distribution of child pornography in some states. Cyberbullying becomes anonymous and “harmless” when you text from the comfort of your home but the results to the victim can be devestating. And sexual predators know the teen lingo well enough to fool unsuspecting kids into meeting them for often dangerous rendezvous.
4. Talk about news stories involving teens. Sometimes talking about these topics is difficult because they’re abstract concepts. But suddenly a news story about teen pregnancy or drug overdoses puts a face to the problem and makes the problem much more real. Don’t just lecture to your child; ask how they feel about the story, if they know someone who’s been in that situation, or how they would handle a similar situation.
Today’s teens definitely feel more pressure than their parents, both academically and socially. They want to fit in more than ever yet succumbing to peer pressure to try these dangerous things can ultimately destroy their lives along with their family’s lives. Keeping the communication open can help your teen stay straight.
If you’re looking for great information on ways to fully understand your teen, you can get it right now…any time of the day, any day of the week Real Life Guidance to Understanding Your Teen is available for easy and instant download to your computer.
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Setting Boundaries For Your Text-Obsessed Teen. If you have a child between the ages of 12 – 19, you may have heard of teenage texting addiction.
One of the biggest problems that many adults seem to have with teens who love to text is the seemingly lack of boundaries as to what is appropriate and what is not. Teens find themselves being able to say or send messages that they would never dare to say in the real world. This creates a false sense of freedom and coupled with most teens already inherent lack of realization for consequences can make the entire situation very serious. It is crucial that if you are the parent or other significant adult in a texting teen’s life that you help them determine appropriate boundaries for their texting. When boundaries are put into place teens learn that the correct and appropriate significance of what text messaging is supposed to do-be a way to communicate. Here is what you need to know about setting boundaries for your text obsessed teen.
Set clear guidelines as to what content you will allow to be sent. Most adults are uncomfortable to discuss anything with a sexual content with their teen. Now is the not the time to be squeamish. Texting with a sexual content otherwise known as “sexting” has become a huge problem. You must clearly spell out for your teen that you will not condone this behavior. Let him or her know that whether they are the instigators of a sexual message or simply passing it on they are equally guilty. In addition let them know that there is no acceptance of sexually suggestive pictures being passed through their cell phones as well. Help your team have a clear understanding of the possible consequences that can range from losing their cell phone to possible legal actions if a sexting message or picture is traced back to them.
Help your teen understand the ramifications of this technology. Despite their seeming maturity many teens still lack a certain empathy. It is important to help you teen understand that reputation damaging or bullying text are hurtful. Many teens mistake the anonymity of texting as the freedom to be able to say anything. Let them know that once it is out there, there is not a way to pull it back. While you may think your parenting days of teaching empathy and compassion are over if you have a teen that is texting they may just be beginning.
Let your teen know that you may be checking their cell phone at any time. This simple fact may serve as a deterrent for bad behavior. Since most parents pay for the cell phone there is a certain right to check what kind of text is being sent. Your teen should understand that you reserve the right to take the phone out of their hand at any time to check their text log.
Set guidelines as to when texting can be done. If your teen is sitting through dinner texting, trying to do homework and text and cannot seem to separate themselves from their phone it is time to set some time limits on texting. If you are concerned about the amount of time that texting is taking up in your teens life contact your phone company for a detailed record. Some parents request that their teen’s phone be given to them during meals, homework time and even when their teen goes to bed (this prevents those all-night texting sessions). Studies show that teens who do not have 24/7 access to texting are much more likely to send appropriate texts.
Make sure that your teen knows the consequences for violating your texting rules. Teens should know exactly what behaviors will get their phones taken away or their texting turned off. Remember that having a phone is a privilege and the sooner your teen learns that the better prepared they will be for adulthood right around the corner.
Fight teenage texting addiction! Grab this instantly downloadable tool that presents a simple, effective, sure-fire, 100% guaranteed system for permanently reducing/eliminating your teen’s text habit.
Beverly Frank is a stay-at-home mom and writer. For more parenting tips, visit surfnetparents.com.
If you believe your teen should wait until they are married or an adult to have sex, how can you protect your child and teach them to abstain? When teens know the rules of their house and what you expect of them, more likely than not, they will abide by those rules. Whether we believe it or not, our children want and need our guidance and direction and will often follow our example.
If you believe your teen should wait to have sex, here are some things you can do to ensure that he or she does.
- Don’t allow your teen to be alone with another teen or young adult of the opposite sex, even if they claim to be “just friends”. Too many times, one thing leads to another and soon enough you’re teen is pregnant or has an STD, not to mention the emotional bondage that occurs when two people have sex.
- Allow group dating only and with friends who hold the same beliefs as you. And don’t just trust your teen to tell you their friends believe the same way you do; ask them yourself, get to know their parents and actually spend some time with your kids friends.
- Teach your child about the dangers of sex before marriage. One in 4 teen girls has an STD. That’s right, one in 4. Those STD’s don’t just spread by themselves. Teenagers are having sex and passing diseases around like it’s no big deal.
- Monitor their cell phone use. Teens today have more access than ever to each other and often engage in “sexting”. Sexting is using a cell phone’s text messaging system to have sexual conversations with members of the opposite (or same) sex. If a cell phone is equipped with a camera and photo sending and receiving, teens can also take photos of themselves nude and ‘text’ them to other people and vice versa.
- Monitor computer use. With today’s computer technology, our teens have more access than ever to their friends and other people. Know who your teen’s friends are on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Check the history of your computer often. If it’s wiped out, then be suspicious and question. Put monitoring software on your home computer as well as your teen’s laptop if applicable.
Don’t assume teen pregnancy or an STD won’t happen to your teenager. As parents, we must protect and teach our children if we want them to grow up healthy, happy and successful. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
If you’re teen is already having sex, is pregnant or has an STD and you’d like help dealing with it and guidance for you and your teen, click here.
You’ve probably heard some of the uproar about Adam Lambert’s performance on the American Music Awards recently. If not, here’s an article one of my friends and fellow work at home mom buddies wrote, which is where I first heard about it since I did not watch the awards show.
When I saw the video (which has since been removed due to copyright issues) I was appalled. I think it was a disgusting performance and very distasteful. I’m not an Adam Lambert fan at all, never was. I personally don’t care for his voice and all that screaming he does. That’s beside the point. The point is our teens and maybe even children saw it. What did it teach them?
I am not a perfect parent, and I’m not one of those parents who shelter my kids from the outside world. My kids go to the movies, watch TV, go to school dances, etc. But, there are some things that should be left in the bedroom and not plastered on a big screen, or small one for that matter.
Think about it. How uncomfortable do you feel if say some friends of yours happen to kiss in front of you? I don’t mean a little peck on the lips, I’m talking about a full out spit swapping, tonsil hockey, French kiss. I know I feel uncomfortable and want to leave the room. Why would I want to watch it on TV or in the movies? I have watched make-out sessions on TV and at the movies, and they can be quite uncomfortable, especially when they lead to more.
When my friend’s blog posted on Facebook, there was a big discussion going on about Adam Lambert’s performance, whether it was distasteful or not. Someone even went so far as to say it was art. And some may view it as a form of art, but it’s still not something I would want my kids to see.
There is so much stuff out there, and the regulations guiding what’s allowed and what’s not allowed to be shown on TV or in the movies, or heard in music are getting more and more tolerant. What used to be rated R back when I was a teen is now rated PG-13, and what was rated PG-13 is rated PG or even G.
Our children are so influenced by what they see in the media, it’s no wonder more and more teens are addicted to internet porn, “sexting”, and sex. As parents it’s up to us to protect them and teach them about sex. When your teen sees the kind of performance given by Adam Lambert, or sexual scenes in the movies and on TV, those images stick with them and that’s what they learn from.
Be proactive with your teen by teaching them and guiding them what you want them to learn. Don’t leave it up to the media or society.
Okay, that’s my rant for the day. What are your thoughts or comments on this subject?