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Archive for the ‘Guest Blogger’

Dream Her Very Own Dreams

By: Aurelia Category: Guest Blogger

I knew at the age of 16 that I was passionate about Jesus, and beauty and fashion, but could I turn that into a career. Maybe. My mom and dad thought it would be safer to be a counselor, and began encouraging me to pursue the education necessary to be a licensed counselor. For several years, I pursued the field of counseling one hundred percent. I went through many graduate school applications and grueling interviews. I was accepted to three different graduate school programs. I even took several classes in one particular program, only to realize more and more that it was not my calling or my passion.

Well known Christian author Max Lucado suggests in his work, The Cure for the Common Life that instead of asking our children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” a better question would be “How can I help you become what God has already designed you to be?” You see, God designed me for a special purpose, to be a specific thing, and he has done that for each individual on the face of this earth, so it is important that we are allowed to be what it is God designed for us to be.

God set his plan for each of us in motion the day that we were born. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We are all as Christians certain of that great plan, that story of our life.

We all have a story, and as we live our lives, we are living out our story. We must also allow our children to live their story. Lucado says STORY stands for:

S – our strengths, those things that we do well,
T – our topics, the things we are most interested in,
O – our optimal conditions, the conditions in which we do our best work, perform to the best of our ability,
R – our relationships, those with whom we share and learn from,
Y – and our yes moments, those primary outcomes that bring us the most joy.

We must allow our daughters to live out their very own story. A card I got recently as congratulations on the birth of my baby girl said this,

“She will dream her very own dreams, Maybe she will look like you, talk like you, smile like you … maybe she’ll sing, paint and dance like you, but she’ll dream her very own dreams.”

Dreams are important, they give us something to look forward to with anticipation. I know you had your own dreams, now allow your daughter to not only have hers, but to live them out. Be her biggest cheerleader and watch her win at this game we call life. Help her along the way with words of encouragement, many hugs and love and even some discipline if it is in order.

However, do not discourage your daughter from living out her dreams. God gave them to her and it is important that she follows His path for her life. You can be assured that if she is following God, that there are many plans in her heart, but the Lord is directing her steps.

Speaker/writer Alyssa Avant has a passion to turn the hearts of girls toward God. Alyssa combines her experience in the modeling industry and student ministry to reach out to girls who are pressured and confused by the messages of style, fashion, and beauty with her ministry Beauty by Design Ministries. She is married with three children.

Allowing Your Teen To Be Angry

By: Aurelia Category: Guest Blogger, Teen Education

guestblogger2.gifWhen children are 2, they get angry and they lay on the floor and kick and scream. While we don’t particularly like these tantrums, as parents we all share stories of the tantrums our children throw.

As adults we too get angry. Some of us go take a walk. Some of us find journaling helpful. Some of us yell at the person closest to us, later feeling badly and needing to apologize. Some of us engage in activities that are self harming such as over eating, drinking and worse.

Teens get angry too. I’ve had moms actually say to me, “I can’t believe he/she is so angry over “that”. “That” of course refers to something that mom does not believe the teen should be angry about. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen adults throw temper tantrums in what I think are the oddest of places. I’ve seen adults scream at retail employees. I’ve seen adults literally throw food in a restaurant. I’ve read about adults shooting guns at someone on a freeway. For me, these are not things that would push my buttons, but the reality is, we all get angry over different things. We all have different buttons that get pushed by various activities and we all have a different perspective on what’s just happened.

Teens are no different. I’ve seen my own kids get angry over unfairness in a classroom, over a friend saying or doing something they didn’t like, and yes, they even get angry at me and the decisions I make. Anger is ok. It’s how we handle the anger that makes us who we are, and as parents, we do have the right to tell our kids that certain behaviors when angry are not ok.

For example, it is not ok to slam doors, ever. I don’t care how angry you are, do not slam a door in my house. It is also never ok to hit another person. It does not matter how angry you are at that other person, you may never hit them. If you are feeling angry, take a walk, go swimming, hit a baseball, throw a basketball, kick a soccer ball. Work out the anger in a way that is not hurtful to another person or to yourself.

Both of my kids refuse to talk to me when they are angry. This is ok. I know that when they calm down and when the anger passes, they will come and tell me what had them so upset. Sometimes that might be the next day, or sometimes it might be the next week. It’s only when the anger is gone that you begin to see choices to solve whatever it is that brought on the anger in the first place. Anger can help lead you to decisions. Anger can help lead you to change.

Teenagers need to be allowed to feel anger. It helps them grow. It helps them learn how to have control. It’s hard to not yell or slam or a door. Having that control leads to increased self confidence in their own abilities. Being allowed to feel anger also helps teens learn to problem solve. This is something they will use forever. It’s a wonderful skill to learn.

Next time your teen is angry, smile and make a few suggestions on how to get rid of some of the steam, but do let them know that it’s quite ok to feel that way.

Article by:

Audrey Okaneko is mom to two girls. She can be reached at audreyoka@cox.net or visited at www.scrapping-made-simple.com

What Our Teens Need From Us©

By: Aurelia Category: Guest Blogger, Parenting A Teen

guestblogger2.gifDo you have teens? Do you know what they need from us? Here’s some points for you to consider.

•To listen and understand them. Specifically to understand how tough it is to be a teenager, and to not minimize all the stresses and pressures they are facing.

•To have genuine empathy based upon an accurate understanding and respect of what they are going through. Empathy means — what would it be like to be my teen in this situation, not what would it be like to be myself in this situation.

•To keep ourselves centered (we can’t be dependent on their behavior for us to be OK). We need to stay the grown up.

•To have some reserves left for them.  In a survey done of 1000 teenagers, their number one wish was that their parents weren’t so tired and stressed out (especially about work).  I don’t know what your life is like, but if there is anything you could cut out or make easier, do it so that there is more of you available. Ideas include cutting out some activities, using paper plates and crock pots so less of you is spent cooking and cleaning up. If financially feasible, pay for extra help such as gardening or cleaning or even consider selling your house and moving to a smaller place – so there is more of you available.

•Lots of encouragement, even if it’s just for little things, and small steps. They are a jumbled mess inside and are a “work in progress” even if they tell you otherwise. They need lots of encouragement.

•Help them practically navigate their world and decisions, remembering that their brain is under construction, and is not functioning at full capacity. Specifically, they need help thinking ahead, and problem solving solutions to their problems. This is only effective AFTER they feel listened to and understood.

•Be available when they open up.  It’s often at night.  Hang out near them; they will often open up when you are hanging out. If you can, stay up and sit nearby, and often they will just start talking.

•Take care of yourself. Get the support and help you need. If you don’t take care of yourself, then you will be overly wrapped up in what they are doing in order for you to feel like you are OK. You need to be “OK inside” despite their behavior.

•If you are married, take care of your marriage as best you can. Stresses in the marriage often are felt and expressed by teenagers.

•Find effective ways to deal with your emotions, especially anxiety, stress, and disappointments. All of us are vulnerable to reacting in ineffective ways when we are not able to handle our emotions.

•To get them outside help if they are struggling with depression, anxiety or have gone through some kind of trauma.  If your teen is dealing with any of these burdens, it is like having to handle the normal confusion of the teenage years with a 500 pound weight around their neck.

I hope these insights are helpful to you — hang in there — take care of yourself — get the encouragement and support that you need — you deserve it.

© Kim Fredrickson, M.S., Marriage and Family Therapist (CA MFC 22635) and Life, Parent, and Relationship Coach is the author of many popular CD’s and articles that will help you build Encouraging Relationships in your life. To learn more about Kim and sign up for more FREE Relationships Tips like these, check out her weekly Podcast, Encouragement for Your Soul at http://www.KimsPodcast.comwww.KimsPodcast.com  as well as visit http://www.EncouragingRelationships.com for more practical help with kids and teens.

NOTE: You’re welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint to Kim@EncouragingRelationships.com

Valentines Day Idea

By: Aurelia Category: Guest Blogger

Valentine’s Day is near, what are you planning to do for your love one? I know you’ve read somewhere from the internet that you should surprise your love one by making your date creative, be interesting, plan well, and have sense of humor when doing all the above.

But what many people want to know about Valentine’s Day tips are, what gifts should you choose? What ideas should you have to do for your surprises?

Here are 5 gifts tips for women to men:
1. Hi-tech gadgets and toys – this gift tips is suitable for 80% of men in the world! Get him some toys like Robo Sapien Robot, Paint Ball Kit, iPod. Pocket PC, Mp3 Players…etc

2. Car accessories – Is your men a car craz? Get a car magazine from your nearest bookstore and start looking for tips to shop for the best car accessories. This works only for men who are obsess with cars, so please do know your men.

3. Computer parts – Like men who love Hi-tech gadgets, there’re as high as 80% men who love computers, you can know when men start to lecture about their geek hobby in computers. Get ideas from computer magazine and shop for the perfect computer upgrades parts as a gift.

4. Clothes – Some men have special taste in clothes. Forget the tie, get your man a stylish shirt, I’m sure he has lots of ties to go with it.

5. Perfume – If your man owns more clothes than you do, giving perfume as a gift will be a good idea.

Here are 5 gifts tips for men to women:

1. Write personalized love letter or poem – There is no shortcut; spend some time creating words from the bottom of your heart. I’m sure you can do it if you REALLY love her so much. And please don’t copy from else where, dumb blonde may not be so dumb nowadays.

2. Flowers go with card, chocolates or jewelry – Some experts might say giving these may be showing you’re predictable. But no doubt women still love men giving them these gifts, every woman loves attention from men.

3. Romantic Dinner – If you want to become a romantic Romeo of Valentine’s Day, plan a romantic evening by having a dinner with your lady.

4. Lingerie – This works best only IF you’re very close with her. Don’t get your lady lingerie for knowing her 3 days. Also, giving only lingerie might looks like an invitation for sex, and this will disappoint her by thinking all you have in mind is SEX.

5. Best gift, combine all from the above – a love letter in a card with roses, and a romantic dinner. Remember to use your creativity as there’re many men out there might be doing the same. For example, give strawberries dipped in chocolates instead of just chocolates or choose the best bottle of red wine can be interesting to start your lovely evening.

Okay, enough for the gifts. How about some ideas for Valentine’s Day? How to keep a Valentine’s date interesting? Here’re some ideas for you to start one:

1. Prepare a romantic dinner yourself, I’m talking about D.I.Y. You can easily pickup any cookbook from your nearest bookstore or just purchase any e-cookbook online. Then pick the best 5 out from hundreds of recipes, from fine cuisines to exotic drinks.

2. Plan romantic activities, start from dinner to dance, then end the evening with a wonderful love affair. It can be done in your own house or just go out and have fun.

3. Do something special like in the movie, have a romantic picnic at the beach, on a boat, on a plane (if you’re rich enough), on a roof top, ride horses to your dinner date, use trained animal to pass your gifts.

I’m sure by now you already have tons of creative ideas in your mind. Don’t be afraid to try new things, it’s Valentine’s Day!

About the author:

Edwin Lim writes a Valentine’s Day Cookbook at www.webblogerz.com/valentinerecipes

Are You A Guilty Parent?

By: Aurelia Category: Guest Blogger, Parenting A Teen

guestblogger2.gifBy: Yana Berlin

Do you worry that you’re not spending enough time with your children? Is guilt getting in the way of your healthy parenting?

If so, it’s time to let go of this debilitating emotion – for your own sake as well as that of your children.

Many years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a very wise man. Well-known and respected in his community, this Hasidic Rabbi was no ordinary man. His long beard, old spectacles, and the large hat he wore created an aura of sacred authority about him. Even the most mischievous child would not dare to misbehave in his presence.

He did not speak much, but when he wanted to be heard he spoke in a soft, pleasant voice that always got his message across. As a rebellious teenager, I was constantly challenging adults and getting into worthless arguments and debates. In his presence, however, I walked on eggshells and kept my mouth shut.

Rabbi had 12 children. I visited his house often, and couldn’t help noticing how well behaved all the children were. The older siblings took care of the younger ones without resentment, yet they still managed to do all the things that other kids do. What amazed me most was how much they loved and respected their father.

Time passed and I moved away. I went from a rebellious teen to a wife and finally a mother. When my first child was born, I often thought of the Rabbi, his peaceful home and well-behaved kids. I often wished that I could see him again and get some of his sage parenting advice.

After the birth of my second child, the Power of Attraction manifested itself and I bumped into the Rabbi in an airport. He was rushing to get on a flight to New York and I was on my way to Brazil for vacation. We exchanged pleasantries and chatted briefly. I wanted to ask him about his secret recipe for successful parenting, but didn’t know how to bring up the subject. Knowing that he was in a hurry, I decided to postpone my question until another time.

He wished me well, gave his regards to my family and then handed me a small piece of paper. “I think you want to ask me something,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “I get home in two weeks. Please come and see me, I’ll be happy to help.” He tipped his hat, turned, and walked towards his gate. Looking down at the piece of paper, I saw it had his phone number written on it.

I spent the next two weeks anticipating our discussion. At 24 I was a mother of two, but still felt like a child myself. On the day of our meeting I sat across his desk from him, feeling a bit nervous. He looked at me and asked in a soothing voice, “What’s the question of the day?” I instantly felt myself relax. Rabbi had a unique way of making people feel special, and at that moment I knew that no one else mattered but me.

I told the Rabbi that working long working hours and having a hectic life while trying to raise two kids was wearing me down. I worried that I wasn’t spending enough time with my children, and I feared that I would not be a good mother.

He sat in silence for a few moments and then spoke in a voice that was almost a whisper. “First of all,” he said, “if you’re wondering whether you’re doing a good job, you probably are. It’s okay to question our actions as parents, and it’s okay to make mistakes. Remember that there are no perfect parents, only perfect children.”

He smiled and continued. “If I was to guess what is really going on inside of you, I would say guilt. As parents, we are easily swayed by guilt. However, it is a useless feeling that produces no good results. When we discipline our children and feel guilty, we are more likely to give in into their temptation, to make the wrong choices and not remain consistent with our original punishment. Instead of wallowing in your guilt and worrying about how you can be a better parent, take charge of your actions and your kids.”

“How do I do that?” I asked.

“Spend time with your children, separately,” he suggested. Seeing my confusion, he continued, “I have 12 children, and every other week one of them gets special time with me. I take one child and dedicate all of my energy, attention and love to him or her. This is a very precious time for me as well as the child, and I let nothing get in the way of our scheduled time with each other. One or two hours alone with each child produces a foundation on which we can both build.”

When I said that it sounded weird to have appointments with your own children, he replied, “Weird is when parents do not pay enough attention to their kids. Weird is when children get into trouble with drugs. Weird is when a child wants to leave home at 18 and never come back. Weird is many things, my dear, but spending one – on – one time with your children – even if it has to be written in your agenda – is not one of them.”

The Rabbi went on to mention the importance of sibling bonds, family dinners, spending holidays together, and consistently talking about the difference between right and wrong. When he finished, I thanked him and left his house with a newfound sense of peace. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel guilty. Somehow I knew that my children would be okay, and that I would not only survive the challenges of parenthood but would successfully conquer them.
Based on that conversation, I tried to live by these principles while parenting my children:

•Stay consistent.

•Spend time with each child one-on-one at least once a week.

•Constantly reiterate right from wrong.

•Focus on what’s important.

•Have family dinners nightly (even when my husband traveled and couldn’t make it to dinner, we still had them).

•Demonstrate the importance of family by being there for your parents/grandparents and other family members.

•Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty.

•Never try to make your children feel guilty.

My children are almost all adults, now, and I can proudly say that I did a good job of raising them.

Did I succeed in all aspects of the game? No, but I think I came pretty darn close. Did I feel guilty some of the time? Yes, but not most of the time. Did I pass the guilt to my children? Here’s where I think I failed the most.

Jewish guilt really works, and sometimes when I wanted them to play that extra hour of piano or study extra hard for that test, I passed the guilt torch to them. However, as adults they don’t wallow in guilt. When anyone (including me) even hints at a “guilting attempt,” they stand back and say, ”Don’t give me the guilt!”

As the Rabbi said, guilt is a useless feeling that produces no positive results. As parents, we need to continually question our actions and assess our progress while keeping in mind that there is no such a thing as a bad child.

By learning to let go of guilt, we do our children and ourselves a huge favor. And we become much parents in the process.

Yana Berlin is a proud mother of 4 wonderful children and a wife to a wonderful man that she adores.

Her oldest daughter is 20 and the youngest 15. As all of her friends began going through all sorts of changes with their bodies and mind, she took it upon herself to create this community of wonderful women who share the same goals, dreams, issues and fears. She feels that if women continue to help one another through exchange of information, nourishment and support, they will own the world.

Her goal is to connect women all over the world to communicate with each other so they can experience the same support and guidance that she receives from her girlfriends. Please Visit Yana’s site http://www.Fabulously40.com