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Posts Tagged ‘Communication’

Teenagers and STDs – The Ugly Truth Friday, May 28th, 2010

As a parent, you probably dread having “the talk” with your teen; if you’ve already gotten that awkward parenting item out of the way, have you talked with your teenager about STDs? If you haven’t – you should.

Much as you might want to stick your fingers in your ears and go “lalalalala”, the facts are standing right in front of you with their hands on their hips, tapping their foot and waiting for you to grow up and pay attention. Take your fingers out of your ears and listen up.

Every year, the Centers for Disease Control receive reports on 19 MILLION cases of sexually transmitted diseases each year. Nearly half – that’s about 9 million cases – occur in people between the ages of 15 and 24. Like it or not, if your teen is, or becomes, sexually active, they are at risk, and its up to you as the parent to give them the information they need to keep themselves healthy.

Untreated, an STD can lead to severe consequences – consequences that can last a lifetime. Consequences ranging from infertility to lifetime dysfunction can result from sexually transmitted diseases, and that’s from the ones that can be cured. Some STDs are incurable; even though treatment can improve quality of life, they will always be infected with the disease itself. Your teenager needs to understand this.

Abstinence is, and always will be, the best way to prevent catching an STD. Let your teen know that being sexually active is a big responsibility, and that it’s ok to choose NOT to be active at this time in his or her life. Most sexually active teens say that they wish they’d chosen to wait longer before taking that step; be sure that they can rely on your support in choosing that option. Let them know, too, that, if they’ve already been active, they can choose to stop having sex. Just because you’ve done it before doesn’t mean you have to continue.

However, don’t be blind to the fact that your teenager might already be sexually active, or may become that way. Teach them about safe sex practices; yes, it’s going to be awkward, but you’d rather have them embarrassed than infected with something like chlamydia or gonorrhea.

No matter what, be sure that your teenager understands that they can come to you, whatever their questions or concerns about this delicate subject, and that you’ll give them clear, honest answers to their questions. More than anything else, your teen needs to know that you love them, no matter what.

Keeping Your Teenager Busy Monday, May 17th, 2010

It turns out that the old adage “idle hands are the devil’s playground” really is true. If you want to keep your teenager out of trouble – keep them busy!

Teenagers need more in their lives than school, video games, and Facebook. They need activities that develop their sense of self, their sense of fair play, and engage their mind and body. They need to physically move and mentally exercise, and the chances are good that they’re not going to take the first step to get involved in anything. You’ll need to help them.

Now, we’re not suggesting that you schedule your child from sunup to sundown. Teens need activities, but they also need time to themselves, to do the things that they choose (within reason, of course). If you don’t give them room to choose, to make mistakes, they’ll never learn what they need to learn to be functional adults. Part of parenting a teen is walking that fine line between doing too much and not doing enough.

Watch your child, and find out what their natural inclinations are. Are they sports-oriented, or do they gravitate toward the arts? Sports minded children will probably gravitate toward soccer, lacrosse, basketball, softball, etc., while kids who enjoy the arts might find enjoyment in dance or creative movement, or acting classes.

Music classes are an excellent outlet for most children; Shinzo Suzuki’s outstanding philosophy on the teaching of music looks at music as something that every child can acquire and enjoy. Vocal or instrumental, any sort of musical endeavor will boost concentration, mathematic skills, and self-esteem.

Martial arts teach more than just self-defense. Respect for self and others, concentration, self-discipline and motivation are all instilled from a good sensei, and parents all of the the world have reported that surly, hard to handle children become transformed after their experiences in martial arts.

If you’re already the parent of a busy teen, good for you; instead of encouraging your child to get involved, you’re going to have to keep an eye out for fatigue. If your child begins to have trouble with academics, doesn’t get enough sleep, or seems to shortchange themselves on nutrition because they’re always on the run, you may find yourself having to make an executive decision. Again – walk that line between too little and too much.

Keeping your teenager engaged and busy can, while difficult, provide so many rewards for you and your child. Help your child choose his activities wisely, and watch him reap the benefits.

My Kid Seems to Hate Me – Now What? Monday, May 10th, 2010

Ah, the honeymoon days of childhood, when your child thinks that there’s nothing you can’t do and nothing you don’t know. You’re her biggest hero, and all is well with the world.

Then the teenage years arrive.

Now, your kid thinks that you’re dumber than dirt and grew up in the stone age. You can’t do anything right, you don’t know anything about anything, and the soil outside in the garden has more seeming worth in her eyes than you do. What happened, and what do you do now?

As strange as it may seem, you have seen this before. Remember the “terrible twos”, when every suggestion you made was met with a shouted “NO!”? Psychologically, this is pretty much the same thing; your child is exercising her independence of thought. This isn’t a bad thing, but it can be difficult to deal with.

Try and remember that this is a normal, integral part of growing up. At this point in their lives, teens are beginning the process of separating from their parents and family, and developing their own individuality. They’re not rejecting you, even though it appears that way. They’re striking out on the path of finding their own identities. They’re putting the bricks and mortar into the foundation of their “self”.

Even though it appears as though your children are rejecting you, whatever you do, don’t reject them in return. They need to internalize the fact that you love them, and you love the person they’re becoming, even if the growing pains are hard on you as well as them. Deep inside, your teen knows that he or she still needs you. They might die before admitting it aloud, but they know it just the same. Rejecting or abandoning them now will just teach them that they’re unlovable, and they’ll start building walls instead of foundations.

However – if you child gets truly nasty with you, don’t hesitate to correct that bad behavior. Just because they don’t agree with you – and that’s probably a given – they don’t have the right to treat you with disrespect, curse at you, or become antagonistic. Manners are manners, and they’ll need them later in life, just as they will a healthy self-respect. Remember Thumper’s Mom? “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”? Not a bad tenant to teach your child. They’ll thank you for that one later.

Whatever the teenager dishes out, do your best to weather the storms. Stay calm, and hold to the mantra that “this, too, shall pass”. It really will, and you’ll find that your teen has developed into someone you can be proud of.

Your Kids Don’t Need More Friends – They Need Parents! Saturday, May 8th, 2010

As a person, it’s natural to want those who are closest to you to like you. As a parent, that’s a feeling you need to get over. Your teenagers have plenty of friends. What they need are parents.

Teenagers are at the most difficult point in their lives. They’re not ready to strike out on their own, and yet everything in them is screaming for independence. They need rules, boundaries and limitations more than ever, and they’ll never fight them so hard as they will during the teenage years. It takes nerves of steel to be a teenager’s parent. Let’s take a closer look at why.

Teens are dealing with more social pressures forcing themselves into their barely formed sense of self than at any other time in their lives. They have an almost pathological need to be liked, to be popular, because therein lies the key to their sense of well being and worth; after all, if other people like me, I must be worth liking, correct? While this is natural for them, it isn’t the safest place to gain self-esteem. It’s not deep, and it’s based on the affirmations of people just as insecure as they are! These friendships are very important, yes, but without the guidance and, occasionally, restraint of a parent, they can lead into some very murky waters indeed. Teens need to make their own mistakes, but they shouldn’t have to lead to life-long consequences. It’s up to the parent to give them enough room to fail – and provide a safe place to fall when they do.

Your teens aren’t going to like you for doing this; not right now. They’re going to rail against the “unfair” restrictions and “strict” limitations you put on them. Remember – they’ve got friends. They need you to be strong and firm here, even if they don’t realize it. And – they don’t. They want more freedoms than they’re capable of handling at this impressionable age. It’s up to you to decide what the limit is, and then to hold the line.

Ultimately, when your teenager grows into a self-assured adult, they’ll realize that the limitations you placed on them “way back when” really were for their own good, and gave them a safe place to learn, to grow, and even to push back. You might even be surprised when they thank you for giving them that soft place to land when they fell.

And the best part? You can be friends with your adult children. After all – the hard work is done; at least until the grandchildren show up.

Being a Parent to a Teenager Friday, March 26th, 2010

While there are ups and downs to all the stages of parenting, the teenage years prove to be especially challenging. With all of the physical and emotional changes that occur during this period of tremendous growth, many teens experience feelings of confusion, loneliness, and even depression, which can cause their relationships with their parents or guardians to become strained. If you are the parent of a teenager who is finding it difficult to build a stable, mutually loving and respectful relationship with your child, then you are going to want to read this article at is provides useful parenting tips.
During your child’s teenage years, your teenager isn’t the only one going through a difficult transition. Having your son or daughter grow and mature from a child into a young adult is a complicated transition for you as the parent as well. You may be finding it difficult dealing with the idea that “your baby” is no longer a baby and that he or she is blossoming into a young man or woman. As your child becomes more adult-like and independent, you may be tempted to impede their growth by coddling them more, or on the flip side, imposing strict rules to restrict their autonomy. Of course, neither of these courses of action is recommended. What you want to do is try to find a happy medium where you allow your child certain liberties, but at the same time, let them know that with more independence comes more responsibility, and if they can’t handle these responsibilities, then there will be consequences.
A very important aspect of parenting a teenager is establishing open lines of communication. Rather than lecturing your teen or talking down to them, treat them more like an equal and launch your discussions as open dialogues where both you and your teenager are active listeners and participants. As you are talking, try not to come across like you are lecturing your teen. Even if you do not agree with what your teen has to say, it is important to allow their voice to be heard. Discuss the topics that you disagree about, tell them why you disagree without imposing your views as absolute. This will allow your teenager to learn better decision-making skills.
Setting aside a designated time a few times a week to talk with your teen is a great idea. Even if they would rather spend that time hanging out with their friends, you want your teen to know that you love them unconditionally and that you will always be there for them. With hectic work and social schedules, it can be easy for a child to feel like their parent doesn’t want to make time for them or that they are not a priority in their parent’s life. A parent who makes it known that they are available to their teen to talk and listen, even for just 15 uninterrupted minutes, is going to be on their way to building a stable and loving relationship with their child.
Another helpful parenting tip is to become aware of the behavioral patterns of teenagers today. Given the widespread use of the Internet and the power of the media, it is important for parents to pay attention to the content of what their teens are looking at and reading. Both the Internet and media can have a huge impact on the behavior and lifestyle choices that a teenager makes. As a result, parents should be mindful of what kinds of effects these outside influences are having on their child.

Communicating with your Teen Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Being a parent is probably the most fulfilling role a person will play in their life. However, it is also likely to be the most challenging role as well. Amidst all of its rewards, being a parent is exhausting, stressful, and taxing, especially when your child becomes a teenager. The teenage years represent the transitional period from childhood into young adulthood. Making this transition can be very difficult for teens as they struggle with fitting in with their peers, balancing responsibility and independence, and dealing with physical changes. As a parent to a teenager, it is important to keep in mind that your child is going through a challenging time. Establishing open lines of communication where your teenager feels comfortable talking with you about what is going on in their life is one of the most beneficial things that you can do. Of course, this is much easier said than done. If you are parent of a teenager who would like to learn how to communicate more effectively with your child, then you are going to want to read this article as it offers useful parenting communication tips.

Tip 1: To the best of your ability, try not to seem condescending or talk down to your teenager. They are growing up and becoming more adult-like so you want to honor that and treat them as such. If you treat them more like equals and show them that their opinions and points of view really matter, then they will be less likely to be resentful and avoid communicating with you.

Tip 2: Put yourself in your teenager’s shoes. When talking with your teenager, it is very helpful if you take a trip down memory lane and try to remember what it was like when you yourself were a teenager. Thinking about the negative emotions and feeling of self-doubt that you experienced will allow you to be more compassionate and gain a better understanding of what your teenager is going though.

Tip 3: Empathy, empathy, and more empathy. Coinciding with tip 2, showing empathy towards your teen will allow them to feel like their voice is being heard and that they are understood. Teenagers often feel lonely and like no one understands them, so if you can actively create an environment in which your teen feels unconditionally loved, then they will be much more open to communicating with you.

Tip 4: Opening up and talking about personal matters is never an easy thing to do and it takes courage at any age. Keep this in mind when having a discussion with your teen and reward them when they demonstrate this kind of bravery by listening emphatically and respectfully.

Tip 5: Never ignore your teenager’s feelings and emotions because they could be cries for help. You want to be in tune with your teen’s behavior so that if they are acting uncharacteristically sad or angry you can intervene early to discover what is bothering them. While they may not want to talk to you right away, merely reaching out to them and letting them know that you are there for them when they are ready to talk will do worlds of good, just be delicate in your approach as you don’t want to come across like you are interrogating them.

Communicating with your Teenager Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

There are countless delights that coincide with being a parent. Seeing your child succeed at something that was difficult for them or having them say “I love you” to you are just a couple of examples. But for all the joyful instances that parents will experience, they will undoubtedly undergo numerous hardships as well that will be both stressful and upsetting. One of the most difficult periods of child rearing is the teenage years. During this time, there are so many emotional and physical changes that are occurring which can present many obstacles for your child. As a teenager, your child may be feeling like they don’t fit in or that they are misunderstood. These types of feelings often times will lead to acts of rebellion or cause teenagers to be disrespectful of distant from their parents. If you are a parent of a teenager and are looking for some advice on how to make your child’s teenage years as happy and stress-free as possible, then you are going to want to read this article as it offers helpful parenting tips.
Open communication is a key component of establishing an amenable and loving relationship with your teenager. Invoking a more dictatorial parenting style in which you try to control your teenager’s behavior, may prove to be ineffective. This parenting approach may succeed with younger children, but if parents attempt to control the behavior of their teenagers, the teenagers are likely to fight back and engage in acts of rebellion. As teenagers, it is important for parents to remember that their children are just starting to become more independent and to develop their own personal thoughts and opinions about the world that they live in. As a result, it is not advisable for parents to make anything strictly forbidden from their teenagers. Rather, parents should seek to create open lines of communication and talk to their teenagers as if they were adults to try and discern why they are acting the way that they are.
An effective tactic that can help parents communicate better with their teenagers is to schedule specific times to sit down and converse with them. These pre-scheduled meetings can occur anywhere from once a week to everyday. Although, fitting in an hour or so of conversation with your teenager everyday may prove to be a difficult task what with trying to work around not only your own busy schedule but your teenager’s as well, which is likely to be full of club meetings, homework, and sports practice. Therefore, it is probably best to shoot for scheduling conversations between 1 and 3 times per week. During these conversations, it is important that the entire focus be on creating a stronger relationship between yourself and your teenager. This means no distractions i.e. cell phones, television, I-pods, computers etc.
If you decide to try this tactic, remember to listen to your teenager and really try to empathize with them. At times, teenagers can feel very lonely and like they are not respected. You were once a teenager too. Try to remember what it was like for you when you were your child’s age and try to see things from their points of view. This is not to say, however, that when your teenager commits a wrongdoing that you should go easy on them all the time. Instead, when this type of situation arises, talk to your teenager as an adult, explaining to them why their behavior was inappropriate and asking them why they acted the way that they did.
Parenting teenagers is by no means an easy feat, but if you heed the advice in this article and strive to establish open lines of communication, you can make your child’s teenage years much more tolerable for both you and your child.

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