Parenting My Teen

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Helping Your Teen Succeed in High School

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Education, Teen Must Read Articles

You know your teen can handle the work, you know your teen knows what to do, yet you watch your teen fall short of meeting a certain educational goal. Many parents have witnessed this over the course of parenting their teens and many parents find it hard to endure a teen whom they feel isn’t trying their hardest. If you observe your teen refusing to do homework or making more out of an assignment than there really is, this is often a way of expressing their confusion, frustrations and at times, anger.

Under-achievement in teens can be caused by many things:

Emotional discomfort. A teen who has experienced a life changing event (addition to the family, a family loss, divorce…etc) is very likely to go through a period of educational underachievement.

High parental expectations. Many times parents put too much pressure on their teen to make a certain grade, excel in a certain subject or sport or perhaps pick a certain career path and this can have a negative impact on the teen. If the academic pressures on your teen are too strong, your teen may feel the need to rebel.

Undiagnosed learning disabilities – there are time where a mild learning disabilities is missed in lower level schooling or there could be a physical hindrance such as poor eyesight or hearing difficulty.

Peer pressure. Pure and simple, there is good peer pressure and there is negative peer pressure. Many teens feel that the smarter they are, that some of their friends won’t like them. They may feel the need to perform at a certain level to feel accepted into a certain clique of friends.

If you notice your teen becoming an underachiever, first check in with your teen to see if there is something that you can do to help. Communicate with your teen about how he or she is feeling about school overall and ask them if there are any problems.

You can then speak with your child’s teacher at school to see if there are areas where extra help would be beneficial. Many schools offer free tutoring services. There are many times that an underachieving teen has hit a downward spiral because they are disorganized and find it hard to keep up with the schoolwork and other activities they are involved in.

While it may be hard for some parents to digest, not all children are academically inclined. Even if your child isn’t a scholar, that doesn’t mean that they can’t excel in many other areas. If you tune into your child, you can help them find out exactly what they are good at and passionate about. Letting your child know that doing their best is good enough and if their best IS a C then that is OK will go a long way with your child. It will encourage your child to try their very best and it will alleviate some of the pressures that they feel which may cause your child to rebel or shut down completely.

Many teens that are underachieving will see that it will affect their self esteem in a negative way. If you teen has low self esteem, offering them emotional and comfort will help them greatly. The best way to let your child know that you love them is to shower them with acceptance. Make sure that no matter what grades your child brings home, that doesn’t mean that you love him or her any less.

Help your teen manage his/her schedule better. Make sure that they have everything they need to stay as organized as possible. Help them to set goals for themselves as it pertains to school (grades, study habits..etc). You can even suggest that your teen start up a study group and offer to host it at your home.

The key here is to try everything that you can and to find out why your teen is not living up to their potential in school. If after working on this and tackling it from many angles, you feel your teen isn’t making any process, you may then want to consult a professional to see if there are some other issues causing the problems. You can seek professional support from a school counselor, doctor, therapist or clergy.

As a proactive parent we must seek resources to help our child take an interest in learning, growing and becoming independent. Being an informed parent is one of the 1st steps to ensuring your child has a brighter future.

Struggling To Help Your Teen In High School? Get help now. The Real Life Guidance to Helping Your Teen In High School report is available for easy and instant download to your computer.


Teenagers want parents to be involved in their lives

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

(BPT) – Today’s changing social environment and confusing messages about drugs and alcohol may be making it even more difficult for teenagers to get their bearings as they move toward adulthood. That is why it is more important than ever for parents to know what is going on in their kids’ lives and have the skills to respond to their teens appropriately.

Specifically, as drugs and alcohol are becoming more accessible and more states are legalizing marijuana, many teens may believe that the use of marijuana or other substances is now okay. Parents should know that legalization of marijuana does not mean it is harmless, and increased availability of other substances does not make them less harmful, either. Marijuana and other substances can cause permanent damage to the teenage brain, and teens can become addicted more quickly than adults.

This is a time when parents need to become involved in their teens’ lives and help them navigate these complex issues. While many parents may think of their teens as grown-ups and able to fully take care of themselves, teenagers have said that this is a time when they need their parents the most. Asking questions and being involved shows teenagers that their parents care.

“Even though teens may sometimes indicate otherwise, through my experience as a psychiatrist to teenagers, I have found that most of them want their parents involved in their lives to provide guidance and support,” says Dr. Thomas Wright, chief medical officer at Rosecrance, one of the country’s leading teen substance abuse treatment centers. “Teens want their parents to actively parent them and provide them guidance they need, including direction around substances.”

Studies have shown that parents who play an active role in the lives of their teens can positively impact their children’s behavior and influence them to cease or abstain from ever using substances. In contrast, research shows that teens whose parents expect them to engage in risky behaviors such as drinking and using drugs are more likely to do so.

“It is critical that parents understand their role and take conscious measures to support their teens in living a healthy and happy life,” Wright says. “Parents should ask what their teens are doing, address the pressures they are facing, act immediately when they suspect their teen is in trouble, and advocate for help if their teen needs it to help them live a healthy life.”

Starting a conversation with a teen about substances can be daunting. It can be even more overwhelming for a parent when their teenage child approaches them with questions before they have had a chance to prepare. For a helpful guide to talking with a teenager about marijuana visit

Be sure to check out Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen to grab some additional parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen.

Teen Anxiety and How to Help

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

Teen anxietyWhat is teen Anxiety  – Teen anxiety occurs when a teenagers feel unsure of  themselves or the events that  have taken place in their lives. Anxiety is an unsettled, restless state of mind. The teen experiences emotional distress (sometimes combined with overwhelming feelings of disappointment) on a day to day basis. Everything seems to be out of control.

Why teens experience anxiety?  The teenage years are times of high stress, hard decisions and strong emotions. Teen anxiety can come about through many events in the teen’s life such as a broken relationship, a parental divorce or academic pressure in school. These issues are real and are very much a part of their lives. Teenagers are easily influenced by people and events around them. Moreover, they are living in a fast-paced, constantly changing world. Technology produces everything faster and better even before everyone has adapted to the old products. Everything – from cell phones to i-pods – conveys the message that everything has to be accomplished fast, practically without thought or meaning. As well, teens are heavily influenced by the media which promotes the idea of always being Number One. The images result in a lot of pressure on teens because these standards are unrealistic and are usually not attainable.

Parents can tell if their teen has anxiety if they show signs of…

· Inability to follow through with a  usual routine whether it is school or work related

· Compulsive actions

· Repetitive behavior

· Agitated behavior

· Disturbed sleep patterns

What can parents do to prevent overwhelming anxiety in their teens?

A certain amount of teen anxiety is normal and it is possible for the average adolescent  to cope with his or her anxiety. Parents play an important role in helping them do so. One task for parents is to identify when symptoms become unmanageable and to arrange for professional assessment and treatment if necessary. When a teen’s anxiety interferes with his or her ability to function well in school, at home or with peers, then a consultation with a mental health professional can prove invaluable. Similarly, when a teen shares that anxiety is making him think of dying, professional treatment is best.

The majority of teens are dealing with less intense types of anxiety. They’ll be able to get by with a little help from their friends and family. Parents can help with their teen’s anxiety by listening to them. Teens do not want to be lectured by their parents who criticize everything they do. Teens need someone who they can talk to and vent their frustrations to. Teens need to feel that they are not being judged and whatever they say will be accepted. They need to feel they can trust their parents and that they are loved and cared for. Sometimes parents can guide teens toward activities that provide stress relief such as sports, drama clubs, volunteer work, and even part-time jobs. Parents can also encourage downtime, family fun (board games, outings, hobbies) and even cooking!

A short vacation or even a few hours out of the house for some one-on-one quality time can often work wonders with an adolescent. Parents can even play some relaxing music in the house to help set a calm mood. Of course, reducing family stress (no yelling, fighting, marital battles, etc.) will also help reduce teen anxiety. If parents are experiencing stress of their own, they shouldn’t share it with their teens but rather with other supportive adults.  Teens who effectively navigate the stresses of adolescence, on their own or with parental and/or professional support, are in a good position to handle the stresses and anxieties of adult life. It’s important for parents to refrain from rescuing their teen from every difficulty because this prevents the youngster from learning how to handle and overcome excessive stress. Providing guidance while trusting one’s child to be able to handle life is the healthiest approach for parents to take. The teen will be encouraged by the vote of confidence!

Be sure to check out Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen to grab some additional parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen.

Responsible Smartphone Use for Teenagers

By: Aurelia Category: Family, Parenting A Teen

Teaching teens how to responsibly use their smartphone technology has become a necessary part of parenting. According to the Pew Research Internet Project Teens and Technology 2013 survey, most teens in the United States own cell phones–and that almost half of these are smartphones. Furthermore, 95 percent of teens are active online, while 25 percent of teens use their smartphones to regularly access the internet.

Teaching teens about responsible smartphone use is equally applicable to other kinds of technology. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, as the skills used for responsible smartphone use apply to any ways that a teen may behave online.

While there are several kinds of behavior to address when talking with teens about responsible smartphone use, below are a few specific tips to help keep adolescents safe when accessing the internet.

Talk At Length About Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a teen issue with far-reaching and often serious consequences. Teens participate in cyberbullying when they send harassing messages via text, email, social media, or anywhere online. These messages can include rumors about the individual being bullied as well as images or video with the intent to humiliate.

It is essential to talk with teens about the signs of cyberbullying as well as the behavior they can engage in that would harass their peers. Adolescents need to know that parents will not allow them to use their smartphones to harass others via text, email, or social media and need to know when their kids receive threatening or uncomfortable messages from others. Parents can also encourage teens to help others who experience cyberbullying.

Address the Porn Issue

A smartphone provides open and unmitigated access to everything online. Many sources of information are helpful, but many more are harmful. Parents can tackle this issue head-on by being upfront with their teens about cell phone monitoring, if this is determined to be necesarry, as well as being aware of the dangers that accompany viewing pornographic material.

No Texting and Driving

The statistics regarding teen texting and driving are sobering. Texting while driving increases the risk of a car crash by almost 25 percent and account for as many as eleven teen deaths every day. Even though the risks are great, almost half the teens surveyed admitted to participating in texting and driving.

Adolescents need to know from parents – through open communication and modeling – that texting while driving is off-limits. There is no situation that cannot wait until teens are out of the car before they text.

Set Up Monitoring

Smartphone monitoring programs are a smart and convenient way for parents to keep track of what their kids are accessing online, whether the activity is with a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. With this valuable information, parents can open discussions about their teens’ online behavior, correcting and redirecting when appropriate, and – most importantly – help keep their kids safe.

Creating a Contract for Smartphone Use

A smartphone contract is an excellent idea for parents to open communication with their teens, as well as setting boundaries and expectations for responsible smartphone use. A smartphone contract between parents and teens are simple to customize, and can incorporate a wide range of expectations.

  • Basic Manners – Spell out when teens are allowed to text or access the internet and when the phone needs to be turned off. For example, the contract should state that the teen is to turn the smartphone off during dinner with the family.


  • Safety and Privacy – Teens need to alert parents when receiving suspicious or alarming messages and agree to not give out any personal information. It is also a good idea for teens to avoid meeting anyone they have encountered online.


  • Calling and Texting – These limits can spell out how many texts, minutes, or data is included in the teen’s phone plan each month, as well as directions for not sending any harassing or hurtful texts to others.


  • Monitoring – Incorporating monitoring software can be treated as a fact, as it helps parents keep their children safe. If a teen strongly objects, parents can thoughtfully listen and then invite the teen to not have a smartphone at all.

Parents also need to include any consequences from breaking the rules of responsible smartphone use, including the need for teens to do well in school and participate in chores around the house. These possible consequences can help teens stay focused on using their smartphones responsibly.


Amy Williams is a journalist and former social worker, specializing in teen behavioral health. She believes that, in our digital age, it’s time for parents and educators to make sure parents and students alike are educated about technology and social media use, hoping to inform others through her writing. You can follow her on Twitter.

Tips On Communicating With Your Teen

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

All at once you may discover that you are at a loss for words when it comes to talking to your teen. Just a few years prior, they wanted a bedtime story or a comforting hug to feel that everything was alright. Well, they may decline the former, but the latter is still appreciated even if they say it is not. You just have to time it better during the teenage years.

But, that won’t get you out of the doghouse with your teen all the time. You will have to learn their language too. We’ll get into that in a second. First, here are some tips on how to simply talk to them.


Listen Actively

This is the number one way to communicate with them. Think about husbands and wives for a second. Wives can always tell when their husbands are not paying attention. It could be the glazing over of the eyes or even the fact that you are not looking at the person directly.

The same applies to you and a conversation with your teen. Conversations are going to get few and far between as they grow more independent of you. Treat each one as precious. Here’s how.

Make eye contact – Look your child in the face as they talk to you. What they have to say may not be earth-shattering but it is important to them.

Stop what you are doing – Conversations don’t always happen at convenient times. But, if you are reading the paper or watching a television show, put it down or turn off the set for a few moments and give them your undivided attention.

Resist the urge to form a response in your head – We’ve all done it before. As soon as the person who is talking to us begins speaking we feel we have the gist of what they are saying. So, we stop listening and concentrate on what we will say when they are finished. A telltale sign is that you begin to nod your head as if in agreement even if they are saying something that to them doesn’t deserve a nod.

Communicate what you heard – Sometimes what we hear is not exactly what is being said. When your teen finishes speaking, simply repeat back to them what you heard them say so that there is no miscommunication from the start.


Non-Verbal Communication

What you don’t say is just as important as what you do say. Kids and teenagers are quite astute. They can pick up on your emotional state from how you act. Use your non-verbal skills to put a positive spin on your talks with them.

Use open non-verbal gestures – When you sit and talk with your teen, keep your arms at your sides or on the arm of the chair. Avoid crossing your legs. Open gestures convey a willingness to listen. Also, try to avoid placing your hands on your hips if you are frustrated or pointing fingers at your teen.

Be mindful of your facial expression – It is easy to screw up your face when your teen says something that you don’t like. That sends the message to them that you have stopped listening to what they are saying or that they are not getting through to you. For example, if you were telling a friend that you were having plastic surgery and they frowned at you or furrowed their eyebrows, wouldn’t you stop talking? A disapproving look is just like saying “I don’t approve” with your mouth. Instead, try to smile when appropriate or keep your expression neutral. Resist the urge to roll your eyes also.

Make body contact – Teens are not averse to having their parents hug or touch them (except when friends are around). Sitting away from them can signify that you are standoffish about what they are saying. Sit next to them so that they know they have your attention and that you care. It provides security even though they may act like they don’t need it.

Keep a positive tone – When your voice drops an octave or two, kids get worried. Either it means that you are mad or not in the mood to talk. Use it sparingly though. Too much happiness in your voice can sound phony to them.

Mind the noises – This is a funny but serious one. Have you ever sucked your teeth or sighed heavily when your teen says that they want to talk. Before they even open their mouth they may turn and leave after a long sigh. Unconsciously, you could be pushing them away from you and towards the advice of their friends.

Be sure to check out Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen to grab some additional parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen so that you can stay close as a family.