Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

Month: September 2010 (page 1 of 2)

Rain, rain on my teenager’s head

Today, it’s pouring rain in South Florida as a tropical depression threatens our area. I begged my kids to take umbrellas with them to school. Their response: Nerd alert!

Apparently, if you are a teen, it’s much cooler to get drenched than to use an umbrella. Who wouldn’t want their hair to look like wet spaghetti?  My daughter refused to even put an umbrella in her backpack. (Should some fellow high schooler spot it, she’d be doomed)

 My son took the umbrella reluctantly when I stuck it in his hand at morning drop off. I watched him walk away with the umbrella closed as he ran to class.

In the corner of my garage, I still have the cute animal umbrellas they would jump at the chance to use, sometimes even when it wasn’t raining. Now, those umbrellas are taunting me…reminders of a time when cute triumphed over cool. When my teens arrive home today, soaking wet and freezing, I’m wondering whether umbrellas will have regained some of their coolness.

I’m really not counting on it.

Rain, rain on my teenager’s head

Today, it’s pouring rain in South Florida as a tropical depression threatens our area. I begged my kids to take umbrellas with them to school. Their response: Nerd alert!

Apparently, if you are a teen, it’s much cooler to get drenched than to use an umbrella. Who wouldn’t want their hair to look like wet spaghetti?  My daughter refused to even put an umbrella in her backpack. (Should some fellow high schooler spot it, she’d be doomed)

 My son took the umbrella reluctantly when I stuck it in his hand at morning drop off. I watched him walk away with the umbrella closed as he ran to class.

In the corner of my garage, I still have the cute animal umbrellas they would jump at the chance to use, sometimes even when it wasn’t raining. Now, those umbrellas are taunting me…reminders of a time when cute triumphed over cool. When my teens arrive home today, soaking wet and freezing, I’m wondering whether umbrellas will have regained some of their coolness.

I’m really not counting on it.

Letter to Teens from a Middle School Teacher

An interesting email landed in my Inbox at work. It included a letter from a middle school teacher to his 13-year-old students. 

Dear  Students:

When you communicate with me and any of the faculty at the school via email, you are expected to produce a letter that you are proud of. You are well mannered, well educated 7th grade women. You should be proud of how you represent yourselves, and that includes how you speak and write.

 If you don’t use a greeting (“Dear Mr. X”) or a complimentary close (“Yours truly”, “Sincerely”, “Your student”, “Enjoy your day”….) you are not giving your best effort. If you choose NOT to proofread, you are doing yourself a disservice. You could be sending someone a letter that reflects badly on you because it is rife with misspellings, bad grammar, capitalization errors and sentences that don’t make sense. I suggest that before you click “send”, you should click the F7 key, and read it aloud to yourself or have a parent look at it.

 If you take the time to represent yourself properly with your email, I will respond to it.

Sincerely,

Mr. X

The students’ likely reaction: He’s so mean! My reaction: Way to go teacher!

I love that this teacher wants to help his students create good writing habits before they hit high school. Why not give them an advantage when applying to colleges, job hunting or asking someone via email for a recommendation.

I’m  sure some parents will complain that Mr. X is being too darn nit picky, particularly if he doesn’t respond to their child’s email. Not me.

What do you think about this teacher’s letter?  It his point valid or is he snarky and ridiculous?

FYI: Here’s a link to a website that can help your teen with grammar.

Letter to Teens from a Middle School Teacher

An interesting email landed in my Inbox at work. It included a letter from a middle school teacher to his 13-year-old students. 

Dear  Students:

When you communicate with me and any of the faculty at the school via email, you are expected to produce a letter that you are proud of. You are well mannered, well educated 7th grade women. You should be proud of how you represent yourselves, and that includes how you speak and write.

 If you don’t use a greeting (“Dear Mr. X”) or a complimentary close (“Yours truly”, “Sincerely”, “Your student”, “Enjoy your day”….) you are not giving your best effort. If you choose NOT to proofread, you are doing yourself a disservice. You could be sending someone a letter that reflects badly on you because it is rife with misspellings, bad grammar, capitalization errors and sentences that don’t make sense. I suggest that before you click “send”, you should click the F7 key, and read it aloud to yourself or have a parent look at it.

 If you take the time to represent yourself properly with your email, I will respond to it.

Sincerely,

Mr. X

The students’ likely reaction: He’s so mean! My reaction: Way to go teacher!

I love that this teacher wants to help his students create good writing habits before they hit high school. Why not give them an advantage when applying to colleges, job hunting or asking someone via email for a recommendation.

I’m  sure some parents will complain that Mr. X is being too darn nit picky, particularly if he doesn’t respond to their child’s email. Not me.

What do you think about this teacher’s letter?  It his point valid or is he snarky and ridiculous?

FYI: Here’s a link to a website that can help your teen with grammar.

Don’t touch that dial

Today, it hit me….I no longer have control over my car stereo. From the minute my teens get in the car, they are changing stations, cranking up the tunes, adjusting the fader and shoving CDs in and out of the player. Do they grow out of this stage? Will I one day reclaim my control over the dial?

Even more bothersome to me is what’s playing on my speakers. I’m no prude but have you heard some of the lyrics in today’s music? Sometimes, I don’t even realize how raunchy they are until I hear the words coming out of my kids’ mouths.  

Just the other day, a song came on radio that I’ve heard a dozen times. My kids and their friends were belting out ALL the lyrics.  They were completely different from what I was singing (a sign of old age?) Still, I wondered if any of them had a clue what the song really was about. What mother wouldn’t just adore her 14-year-old daughter singing along with Katy Perry:  “Let’s go all the way tonight.” Of course, my son sings along with Eminen, who uses the f-word at least twice in Love the Way You Lie.

Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, says parents should ask our children why they like a certain song or album and what they think the artist is saying.

Here’s a scary fact: Teens whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, according to a study by Rand Corp. in Pittsburgh. Are these songs an instruction manual?

I like that my teens are on the cutting edge of music, exposing me to new groups and sounds. But I’ve decided to put up more of a fight for control my radio dial. Does that make me a good parent, or an old lady?

Facing a coach’s rejection

 

Has your child ever headed out for football tryouts, convinced he’s the next Peyton Manning, only to get cut from the school team?

Every fall, the hopeful warriors of tryout season head to the fields, gyms and tracks across the country to face the possibility of a coach’s rejection.

Unlike grades, team cuts are quick and final. That can be devastating for a teen facing such blunt rejection for the first time. What do you say to your kid when he or she slumps into your car and gives you the bad news? I’ve been there, trying to figure out the right words and not really knowing what they are. 

“Allow the kid to talk and find out where they’re at emotionally,” says John Murray, a sports psychologist in Palm Beach. “If it’s a serious problem, find out from the coaches what to do next time.”

If you’re considering lashing out at the coach, don’t, says Murray in an article in the Chicago Tribune. Rather than retaliate, he advises having your kid ask what he would need to do to be considered next time.

Murray’s other tips:

Be realistic — before tryouts, make sure your kid is going into it well aware of the possibility of not making the team.

Be a parent — Sports may teach toughness, but a child should still feel accepted at home.

Keep a cool head — before you call the coach, wait a few days and ask for objective feedback.

Keep it up: Encourage your child to use the season to build strength and skills with other teams or sports.

Have a backup plan: Talk about alternative activities or sports.

Teen texting, could it help writing skills?

My father in law was kind enough to put my son on his cell phone plan — until he got the bill for the 5,000 text messages my son had sent and received. Most adults are crazy, crazy, crazy over how much teens text. Have you ever been to a teen party and seen all the texting that goes on? No one talks to each other in person anymore!

Yesterday, my friend Heidi Wilson, a newspaper copy editor extraordinaire and mother of two teens, told me she thinks teen texting is a good thing. “At least they’re writing,” she said. Of course, I pointed out that they are writing instead of talking and that they are writing in weird lingo. She argued that they are creating their own version of short hand, something secretaries went to school to learn years ago. “It’s kind of genius,” she said.

She’s got me there.

But have you ever looked over your kids writing assignments? I have and let me tell you, my son’s English paper was full of text talk. U must b kidding!

Us cool moms and dads who think we are hip because we’re texting, don’t even come close to how often teens are doing it. A new Pew study out today shows  teens ages 12-17 send and receive, on average, five times more texts per day than adult texters.

I admit, they do seem to have created their own lingo and it’s amazing how they understand what they are writing to each other. Did you know that 511 means way too much information or that LOTI means laughing on the inside? Click here if you want a guide to deciphering text lingo.

What do you think, is it genius? Is texting ruining communication and the English language, or are adults just bitter because we can’t figure teen shorthand out?

Teen texting, could it help writing skills?

My father in law was kind enough to put my son on his cell phone plan — until he got the bill for the 5,000 text messages my son had sent and received. Most adults are crazy, crazy, crazy over how much teens text. Have you ever been to a teen party and seen all the texting that goes on? No one talks to each other in person anymore!

Yesterday, my friend Heidi Wilson, a newspaper copy editor extraordinaire and mother of two teens, told me she thinks teen texting is a good thing. “At least they’re writing,” she said. Of course, I pointed out that they are writing instead of talking and that they are writing in weird lingo. She argued that they are creating their own version of short hand, something secretaries went to school to learn years ago. “It’s kind of genius,” she said.

She’s got me there.

But have you ever looked over your kids writing assignments? I have and let me tell you, my son’s English paper was full of text talk. U must b kidding!

Us cool moms and dads who think we are hip because we’re texting, don’t even come close to how often teens are doing it. A new Pew study out today shows  teens ages 12-17 send and receive, on average, five times more texts per day than adult texters.

I admit, they do seem to have created their own lingo and it’s amazing how they understand what they are writing to each other. Did you know that 511 means way too much information or that LOTI means laughing on the inside? Click here if you want a guide to deciphering text lingo.

What do you think, is it genius? Is texting ruining communication and the English language, or are adults just bitter because we can’t figure teen shorthand out?

Don’t underestimate the power of teens to make someone famous

A few weeks ago, some kids were over my house cracking up at a video they were watching on You Tube. They called me over to the computer to watch it. Frankly, I was just thrilled to be considered cool enough to take a peek.

The video was a TV news interview at a crime scene with the brother of the victim. It’s called “Woman Wakes Up to Find an Intruder in her Bed.” Now, the guy in this video, Antoine Dodson, goes off on a rant directed at the intruder. He doesn’t mean to be as hilarious as he comes across. The kids think it’s an absolute riot.

A few days ago, I’m watching the Today Show, and guess what? This snippet of the newscast has been set to music and now this new video called the Bed Intruder Song has received the most hits — ever. It is ahead of Lady Gaga on the iTunes chart. This guy from the crime scene has become a star.

That’s the power of teens. They are avid You Tube watchers and have the influence to rocket anyone to stardom. Look at what they did for Justin Bieber?

My daughter has explained to me that there are teens who are considered You Tube famous. This guy, Shane Dawson, now YouTube famous for his PG-13 comedy, has managed to get Hot Topic to sell his t-shirts. And course there’s Fred, a kid with a squeaky weird voice who grabbed his mom’s video camera, made some funny videos that have gotten more than 45 million hits.

I kind of worry though, is this kind of power a good thing? Are these teens developing an obsession with fame? Do they think that all it takes is a video camera and an attitude? I think they do. They really don’t understand that enduring fame requires talent and hard work, at least not when you can get millions of hits from ranting at a crime scene or talking in a weird voice.

What do you think about this new power that teens hold to create viral popularity —  good or bad?

You can hear your mom…right son?

How many times a day do you say something to your child, only to have them appear totally oblivious to the fact that words are coming out of your mouth? Ten times a day?

Well, your kid may have a valid excuse — or not. It turns out one in every five teenagers in the  United States has a slight hearing loss. The proportion of teens with slight hearing loss has jumped 30 percent in the past 15 years. I know what you’re thinking. It must be because of that LOUD music they listen to. You’re right, sort of.

There’s some speculation the hearing loss is tied to the increased use of headsets on iPods and other personal music devices, says a new report by The Journal of the American Medical Association. Males are more likely than females to suffer hearing loss, as are teens living below the poverty line.  Unlike other types of hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented.

“We need teenagers to get the message to turn down the volume in their MP3 players and other electronic devices because there are no early warning signs,” says Dr. John House.

He recommends getting your teen’s hearing tested if you suspect something’s up.

Here are a few additional suggestions:

  • Encourage your child to turn down the volume and take frequent breaks when listening to his iPod.
  •  Consider purchasing noise-reducing ear buds to drown out background noise that otherwise can lead teens to boost the volume on their music players. Also, opt for headphones that cover the ear rather than the earbud-style earphones that come with many players.
  • At concerts or performances, tell your teen to move away from on-stage monitors or amplifiers so they are not directly in front of the speaker.
  • Apple offers an app that lets people set an upper limit on noise

 

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