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Posts Tagged ‘parenting teenagers’

Keeping Your Active Teen Healthy Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Chances are, if you’ve got teenagers in the house, you’ve got at least one teenage athlete under your wing. Football, dance, soccer, cheerleading, lacrosse – whatever sport your teen has chosen to participate in, they’re probably going to go at it hammer and tongs, and it’s going to be up to you to help keep them healthy while they’re doing it. Read on for some things you can do to minimize the chance of injury to your active teenager.

Injuries to young athletes usually fall into one of two categories: acute or repetitive. Acute injuries include things like sprained ankles and ACL tears. Repetitive injuries result from overuse; tennis elbow is just one example. For acute injuries, immediate medical attention is imperative, because prompt, correct care is necessary to prevent permanent damage to the injured body part.

Repetitive injuries are a little trickier. First of all, you might find that your teen is quiet about nagging aches or pains; they may be under the impression that they just need to “play through it”. Pain, however, is the body’s signal that something is wrong, so watch your teen for signs that all is not well. Favoring one side of the body, a difference in movements, or hesitation before movement can all be signals that your child is in pain. Overuse injuries need to be seen by a sports medicine specialist, who can help your young athlete rehabilitate the injury site and get back on the field.

To help keep your teen from succumbing to an injury in the first place, encourage your child to cross train. An athlete that specializes too much can end up creating imbalances in the musculoskeletal system, and set your kid up for injury; cross training can help prevent this by developing a balanced body and strong core.

The final thing you should take a good look at is nutrition. We know that your teenager wants to live on burgers, pizza, and fries, but they need a balanced diet to promote proper growth and recovery. Lean proteins, fresh vegetables and fruit, and regular sources of calcium are absolutely vital to your young athlete. If you’re unsure what makes up a balanced diet for an active teen, consult your doctor or a registered dietician.

Your teenager gets so many things out of an active lifestyle. Make sure that an injury isn’t one of them.

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.

Tips for Parenting Teenagers Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Along with the countless joys that come with parenting, there are also significant hardships that can at times be very stressful and even heartbreaking. One of the most challenging child rearing periods is the teenage years. During this time, your child is going through so many changes both physically and emotionally, and they most likely will encounter many challenging obstacles as they make the transition from a child to a young adult. Some of the difficult feelings that your teenager may be coping with are angst, rebelliousness, heartbreak, or feeling like they are misunderstood or don’t fit in. Dealing with these feelings can often cause teenagers to become disrespectful or distant from their parents. If you are a parent of a teenager who is interested in learning about how to make their child’s transition into adulthood as smooth as possible, then you are going to want to read this blog as it offers useful parenting tips that can help you establish a more stable and loving relationship with your teenager.

Tip 1: Strive to create an environment of unconditional love and acceptance for your teenager. The teenage years are filled with insecurities and feelings of self-consciousness. For the most part, teenagers just want to feel like they fit in. While it will be difficult for parents to manage whether or not their teenagers feel accepted at school or in social environments among their peers, what they can do is build a loving and accepting atmosphere at home among family members where their teenagers can feel free to be themselves and know that they will always be loved no matter what. This will help create a strong foundation of solid self-worth for teenagers. So, even if they are having difficulties fitting in with their peers, they will know that they have a safe and caring environment to turn to in their homes.

Tip 2: Parents should reward their teenagers’ honesty. Seeing as many teenagers go through rebellious and experimental phases, it is likely that as a parent you will have to deal with your teenager engaging in some misconduct, which can include things like drug and alcohol use. If you find yourself in this type of situation, it is important to establish an open line of communication. You want your teenager to feel comfortable enough to talk to you if they are in trouble. This can prevent a bad situation from becoming worse. In order to help open the lines of communication, it is advisable to explain to teenagers that if they are in trouble, speaking honestly about the situation will lead to rewards and if they commit a wrongdoing but confess to it, then their punishment will be less severe. This parenting approach will help to open communication as well as to allow teenagers to see the positive remunerations of being honest. Moreover, parents should be honest with their teenagers too. If parents are open about their mistakes and are able to admit when they are wrong, then their teenagers will be much more likely to be open about their struggles.

Tip 3: Leave the past in the past. When parents bring up their teenagers’ past misdemeanors or wrongdoings to make a point, they are employing shame as a disciplining strategy. This is not a good way to create an environment of unconditional love and acceptance. In continuously reminding teenagers of their failures, parents are defining their teenagers not by who they are but by what they have done. It is important for parents to actively show their teenagers that they are forgiven for their mistakes so that their teenagers can learn from their lapses and not be filled with a sense of shame and low self-worth. In the act of forgiving their teenagers, parents will be communicating the message that the merit of the person is greater than the value of the offence.

Being a parent is without a doubt one of the most rewarding experiences an individual can have, but it is also one that will be filled with plenty of moments where you want to scream, cry, and bang your head against the wall. Being a parent to a teenager can be especially trying. As a result, keep the aforementioned tips in mind to the best of your ability and they will help guide you to a smoother passage through your child’s teenage years.

Conflict is Inevitable Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

image Conflict is InevitableWhat is your immediate response to conflict? Do you wish it didn’t exist or could be eliminated from life completely? Do you always back off and do nothing in a quest for and a belief in ‘anything for a quiet life’?

So if conflict is inevitable what are some of the keys to dealing with it effectively?

  1. Don’t attack the person, rather challenge the behaviour. A young person can cope with you saying they can do better, can turn that C grade into a B grade, that B into an A, but they can’t handle you saying how they’re no good, they’re stupid and they’re a failure. They will begin to believe it for themselves and fall into the classic self-fulfilling prophecies.
  2. Stick to the issue that is current. Don’t drag into the argument all the other times when you have felt let down.
  3. Remember the power of the tongue. The Bible likens it to the power of a rudder to steer a ship – a small thing but with huge impact. Your words could affect their lives [sounds dramatic but its true]
  4. Remember the power of sorry. The silliest statement to come out of Hollywood was, ‘Love means never having to say you’re sorry.’ On the contrary, love means always having to say you’re sorry.
  5. Recognise the ‘inner lawyer’ who always fights your corner. If you have set down family principles, or if there are group rules before the teenage years, these will be working for you during adolescence.
  6. Remember the power of forgiveness. We have all been forgiven at one time or other and know how good it feels to be restored.

Whatever your desires, unfortunately it is not good for you or the teenager to avoid conflict at all costs. You may want the quiet life but you could end up doing more harm than good. The consequences could be more negative and far reaching than dealing with the issue:

  • It may stop the relationship from deepening and developing.
  • It may stop them from facing problems and dealing with them in an effective way.
  • It may allow them to manipulate us through our giving-in.
  • It may damage your self-esteem as parents, or just as people.

Finally, experts used to talk in terms of “conflict resolution” – finding an end to conflict. They have changed their vocabulary to “conflict management” recognising that conflict isn’t about to go away so it is better to learn how to manage it and its effects.

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