Parenting My Teen

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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 www.rosecrance.org/teens-weed.

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.

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.

Talking To Teens About Todays Dangers

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen

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.

My Out Of Control Teen: A online parent-program for those who are struggling with their out-of-control teenagers. learn cut-to-the-chase parenting strategies that work immediately rather than months or years down the road.

How to Talk to Your Teen about Abusive Relationships

By: Mary Lutz Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Emotional Health

One of the common worries as parents of teens can be abusive relationships. This is a sensitive topic to approach with your teen, but well worth the effort. Even if you don’t suspect that your teen is in such a relationship, it’s important to speak to them about the possibilities and what they can do if they find themselves in an abusive relationship.

Be open and honest. The more open and honest we are as parents, the more positive connections we will form with our teens. Sit down with your teen in a quiet spot at a convenient time and ask them about their thoughts on the subject. Your teen may very well surprise you with their maturity and serious response to the matter.

Let your child know that you care about them and want them to know how to get help if they or someone they know is ever faced with this situation. By approaching your teen in an honest and caring way, you let them know you are on their side – something teenagers often struggle with.

Get involved. As our children grow it gets more difficult to remain a part of their lives. By regularly getting involved and being part of your child’s life, it will be easier to pick up on signals of an abusive relationship. Speak to your teen’s teachers and stay on top of their school activities. Know your teen’s friends and their parents. The closer you are to their “inner circle” the better your chances of staying in contact and knowing when to step in as a parent.

Another good way to stay connected with your teens is to make your home the “safe haven” for them and their friends. This doesn’t mean that rules don’t apply or that you will be more of a friend rather than a parent. But by providing a non-judgmental place for your teen and their friends to hang out, you get an inner view into their life and know the people they spend possibly large portions of time with.

Setting fair but firm boundaries will let everyone know that rules do apply, but that they are welcome in your house. By providing activities such as movie nights and lots of food as well as a little privacy for your teens and their friends, you provide a place they’ll want to come to.

Know when to take action. Abusive relationships are no laughing matter. A teen involved in this type of relationship is in real danger. If you do suspect that your teen or one of their friends is involved in such a relationship, it may be time to take action.

Speak to your child and their friends and other parents. Find out everything you can about the situation and act quickly. And although a teen in such a relationship may initially resist help or see the parent as the “bad” one, the main thing to focus on now is helping your teen remain safe.

If your teen has been involved in an abusive relationship, it may be wise to seek counseling. This is a trauma that may last with them for many years. By getting counseling early on you can start to help heal the wounds.

Honest Parenting: is truly helpful information that is easy to understand and absolutely works to help you build (or RE-build) a positive, pleasant, and productive relationship with your child or teen.