Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

Month: August 2011

Did your teen not want you to take them to school the first day?

The 2011-12 school year has officially begun in South Florida. This year,
instead of me taking my daughter to school. Olivia decided she wanted to go
on the first day with one of her best friends since elementary school, Jared.

Normally, my feelings would’ve been hurt but as she explained, “Mom I didn’t get to
orientation since we were on vacation. It’s better if I go with someone on my team
so I know where to go.” I understood and I’m sure she also didn’t want to feel
left out. In addition, I love Jared. He’s a great kid and his mom is one of my
best friends, too; not to mention, they will be carpooling every morning to
school anyway. (Please keep in mind, Olivia doesn’t mind me taking her to school
every other day or picking her up, it’s just the first day of school.)

I asked her if next year (her first year in high school) I would be able to take her
her and she said she wants to go with her best friend Jared again. I said,
“Why doesn’t Jared say he rather go with you, and I take you both to
school?” She said, “Because he doesn’t care and I do?”

So, now I’m thinking, is it a teen girl thing? Is it my daughter? Or is it that Jared
and teen boys just don’t care about those things like girls do?

I ask you, do you care if your teen doesn’t/didn’t want you to take them
to school on the first day? Do you make a stink and say you are taking them? Maybe
you’re like me, choose your battles and say, “Ok”. Just know that even though
you don’t take them to school on the first day, at the end of the day….they
will still need you.

Using technolgoy to keep up with your teens

I realize I’m so last year. I’ve finally mastered this texting thing…OMG I’ve even got some of the text terms down… and now here comes all kinds of new Apps and technology to communicate with your teen.

From her law office, Eden Rose, a legal administrator at Buckingham Doolittle & Burroughs, uses her iPhone to access the iCam on her daughter’s laptop. “It helps me know she actually is studying when she says she is.” Rose also uses a smartphone to send her daughter afternoon reminders to take her medication or check email alerts from new websites her daughter has visited. She uses Google Latitude to track her daughter’s location. “It’s been a big help to me. If she’s supposed to go to a friend’s house, I know that’s where she is.”

Monica Vila, founder of TheOnlineMom.com, creates video messages for her teen daughter to watch on the family computer when she arrives home. “I might say, check Aunt Judy’s Facebook, she left a really funny post. Then I’ll blow a kiss. It’s simple and it’s a different quality communication than a text message.”

Myriad new smartphone apps are rolling out that use location-based technology. For example, the new app I’m OK, in the iTunes store, is kind of a private Foursquare for parents to ensure that their children are safe “without the nagging.” Family members check in from the library or Starbucks and let Mom or Dad know what they’re doing and that they are OK — then it rewards the child for doing so. They can even upload photos of the book they checked out.

Another cool tool: Honeywell’s Total Connect 2.0, is set up to take a short 10-second video of your child disarming the alarm and entering your home. It then sends the clip as an email. Honeywell also has created a smartphone App that will send the video to your cellphone. (You can also have a camera set on the liquor cabinent)

More parents also are using Global Positioning System tracking devices on kids’ cellphones and in their cars. My son’s friend recently showed me his cellphone and told me his mother had a locator on it. This was after an incident a few days earlier when he had turned off the ringer on his cellphone during the school day and forgot to turn it back on. After school, he came home with my son. I later learned his mother was frantic when hours went by and he hadn’t arrived home.

Sprint is just one of the wireless carriers that offer the Family Locator service (also available as an app). It shows the phone’s GPS position on an interactive map with street addresses and landmarks. The service is password-protected, so only authorized parents and guardians can locate children from their Web-enabled phone or a computer. A creative variation of the iPhone app uses the location features of the phone and a system of mutually agreed upon check-in times. When a check-in time comes, the app alerts your child on his phone that he needs to check in with you. The child has the option of calling and talking to you or sending a message that includes his coordinates.

Beyond monitoring whereabouts, parents are going online at work to check their kids’ grades, now posted in online grade books in most counties. And they’re looking over homework and giving feedback through document-sharing sites such as Google Docs.

Peggy Sapp, president of Informed Families, made a great point about technology to monitor kids. The key, she said, is knowing what to do with the information you learn. Her advice: Make the rules, post them and discuss the consequences of breaking them.

Readers, are you using any cool tech tools to communicate with or monitor your teens?

 

Using technolgoy to keep up with your teens

I realize I’m so last year. I’ve finally mastered this texting thing…OMG I’ve even got some of the text terms down… and now here comes all kinds of new Apps and technology to communicate with your teen.

From her law office, Eden Rose, a legal administrator at Buckingham Doolittle & Burroughs, uses her iPhone to access the iCam on her daughter’s laptop. “It helps me know she actually is studying when she says she is.” Rose also uses a smartphone to send her daughter afternoon reminders to take her medication or check email alerts from new websites her daughter has visited. She uses Google Latitude to track her daughter’s location. “It’s been a big help to me. If she’s supposed to go to a friend’s house, I know that’s where she is.”

Monica Vila, founder of TheOnlineMom.com, creates video messages for her teen daughter to watch on the family computer when she arrives home. “I might say, check Aunt Judy’s Facebook, she left a really funny post. Then I’ll blow a kiss. It’s simple and it’s a different quality communication than a text message.”

Myriad new smartphone apps are rolling out that use location-based technology. For example, the new app I’m OK, in the iTunes store, is kind of a private Foursquare for parents to ensure that their children are safe “without the nagging.” Family members check in from the library or Starbucks and let Mom or Dad know what they’re doing and that they are OK — then it rewards the child for doing so. They can even upload photos of the book they checked out.

Another cool tool: Honeywell’s Total Connect 2.0, is set up to take a short 10-second video of your child disarming the alarm and entering your home. It then sends the clip as an email. Honeywell also has created a smartphone App that will send the video to your cellphone. (You can also have a camera set on the liquor cabinent)

More parents also are using Global Positioning System tracking devices on kids’ cellphones and in their cars. My son’s friend recently showed me his cellphone and told me his mother had a locator on it. This was after an incident a few days earlier when he had turned off the ringer on his cellphone during the school day and forgot to turn it back on. After school, he came home with my son. I later learned his mother was frantic when hours went by and he hadn’t arrived home.

Sprint is just one of the wireless carriers that offer the Family Locator service (also available as an app). It shows the phone’s GPS position on an interactive map with street addresses and landmarks. The service is password-protected, so only authorized parents and guardians can locate children from their Web-enabled phone or a computer.A creative variation of the iPhone app uses the location features of the phone and a system of mutually agreed upon check-in times. When a check-in time comes, the app alerts your child on his phone that he needs to check in with you. The child has the option of calling and talking to you or sending a message that includes his coordinates.

Beyond monitoring whereabouts, parents are going online at work to check their kids’ grades, now posted in online grade books in most counties. And they’re looking over homework and giving feedback through document-sharing sites such as Google Docs.

Peggy Sapp, president of Informed Families, made a great point about technology to monitor kids. The key, she said, is knowing what to do with the information you learn. Her advice: Make the rules, post them and discuss the consequences of breaking them.

Readers, are you using any cool tech tools to communicate with or monitor your teens?

 

Finding your middle school mojo

I loved this post by Mom Sass so much on MomsMiami.com that I had to share it with all of you.

Here’s the first graph:

Rebels are taking over Libya. Hurricane Irene is breathing down our neck.  And my youngest daughter is starting middle school.

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Mom Sass generously share bits of advice passed on from a 7th-grader to a 6th-grader. For the sake of all 6th-graders everywhere (and their moms), she passes them on to all of us:

* The only first-day-of-school photos to be taken will be done so at home. Once you get within a 500 meter radius of school, all parent-owned cameras, cell phones and video cams must be kept from view.

* Wear Converse sneakers. The brighter, the better. Laces should also be bright and contrast with the shoe as jarringly as possible.

* Avoid using school bathrooms at all costs. They’re gross.

Click here to read more.

Getting your teen organized for high school

My middle child started high school today. It’s going to be interesting.

My son went from being a tidy little boy to a disorganized teen…school papers in disarray, handwritting impossible to read, clothes on the floor, and cell phone almost always out of battery power.

What does high school have in store for him? Classes are getting harder and his college future is getting closer.

Like most parents, I want my kid to have a trouble-free school year. So, I searched around for some tips from experts to help both him and your teen stay organized. I found some on on a parenting website and added a few that I’m going to try out on my kids. I’d love to hear any strategies you use.

Organize your time. By high school, teens need to know their weekly schedule. If they have appointments or reoccuring activities, write them down in a prominent place in your home. All changes and additions to this weekly schedule should be discussed. And make sure your kid has his or her own agenda — and uses it. Make a habit of checking it once in a while to make sure your teen is using it.

Organize school supplies. Have you ever made a trip to a 24-hour Wal-Mart to buy poster board at 10 p.m.? Reluctantly, I admit I have. In high school your teen is going to need everything from a sharpened #2 pencil for all computerized tests to deodorant for gym class. Use your teen’s school list as your guide but stock up on poster board, copy paper, printer ink and anything else that could have you make the manic mom midnight dash.

Set goals and expectations. The start of the school year is a great time to re-examine school performance – both academically and extra curricular activities. Remember to set doable goals and try not to over stress your teenager. After open house, my son was overwhelmed with the amount of homework teachers said they planned to give him. We talked about getting him on a routine that involves some exercise after school, then homework, then an activity he enjoys such as playing guitar.

Get emotionally ready. A new school year can mean a lot of stress for teens and parents. Talk to each other about the school year coming up and reaffirm with your teenager that you are there to help whenever help is needed. Be sure to tell him/her this and don’t assume he/she already knows. It is easier to handle stress from outside sources – like school – when you know someone is on your side.

Set a sleep schedule. It was brutal waking up my teens for high school this morning. I now know that I need to help them develop a nighttime routine that involves activities that slow them down for the end of the day — taking a bath or reading. Experts says turning off the computer and disconnecting from friends and the commotion of the day an hour before bedtime will also help your teen relax.  They also advice setting a time for ‘lights out’ on school nights — typically 10 p.m.

Below: (My teens entering school this morning, sleepy and embarrassed that mom would consider taking a photo through the car window)

Getting your teen organized for high school

My middle child started high school today. It’s going to be interesting.

My son went from being a tidy little boy to a disorganized teen…school papers in disarray, handwritting impossible to read, clothes on the floor, and cell phone almost always out of battery power.

What does high school have in store for him? Classes are getting harder and his college future is getting closer.

Like most parents, I want my kid to have a trouble-free school year. So, I searched around for some tips from experts to help both him and your teen stay organized. I found some on on a parenting website and added a few that I’m going to try out on my kids. I’d love to hear any strategies you use.

Organize your time. By high school, teens need to know their weekly schedule. If they have appointments or reoccuring activities, write them down in a prominent place in your home. All changes and additions to this weekly schedule should be discussed. And make sure your kid has his or her own agenda — and uses it. Make a habit of checking it once in a while to make sure your teen is using it.

Organize school supplies. Have you ever made a trip to a 24-hour Wal-Mart to buy poster board at 10 p.m.? Reluctantly, I admit I have. In high school your teen is going to need everything from a sharpened #2 pencil for all computerized tests to deodorant for gym class. Use your teen’s school list as your guide but stock up on poster board, copy paper, printer ink and anything else that could have you make the manic mom midnight dash.

Set goals and expectations. The start of the school year is a great time to re-examine school performance – both academically and extra curricular activities. Remember to set doable goals and try not to over stress your teenager. After open house, my son was overwhelmed with the amount of homework teachers said they planned to give him. We talked about getting him on a routine that involves some exercise after school, then homework, then an activity he enjoys such as playing guitar.

Get emotionally ready. A new school year can mean a lot of stress for teens and parents. Talk to each other about the school year coming up and reaffirm with your teenager that you are there to help whenever help is needed. Be sure to tell him/her this and don’t assume he/she already knows. It is easier to handle stress from outside sources – like school – when you know someone is on your side.

Set a sleep schedule. It was brutal waking up my teens for high school this morning. I now know that I need to help them develop a nighttime routine that involves activities that slow them down for the end of the day — taking a bath or reading. Experts says turning off the computer and disconnecting from friends and the commotion of the day an hour before bedtime will also help your teen relax.  They also advice setting a time for ‘lights out’ on school nights — typically 10 p.m.

Below: (My teens entering school this morning, sleepy and embarrassed that mom would consider taking a photo through the car window)

Do you have your teen on a back-to-school budget?

Ugh. Back-to-school shopping with teenagers. What a nightmare!

I’ve been trying to figure out the best approach to shopping without feeling like I’ve just become the major stockholder in American Eagle Outfitters. The way I see it there are a few different strategies — let your teens blow as much as they want on back to school and call it a day, give your kids a set amount to spend and let them figure out how to allocate it, or take inventory and buy only those items needed. Of course, there’s also the buy nothing approach and let them wear clothes that are too small (seems like some teen girls already use this strategy!)

Some friends of my friends give their kids allowance throughout the year and make their kids buy all their new clothing with their own money. I’ve never tried it but if you have, let me know if it works.

This year,  I went through closets, made a list and went to the mall. The only problem was my teens and I had a very different idea of how much a pair of jeans should cost. Me: “Why spend $60 on jeans when these jeans from Target fit you so amazingly?” My daughter: “You’re kidding, right? I know what you’re doing…”

Turns out teens and parents see shopping VERY differently. Capital One Financial Corporation did research and found that parent and teens mostly agree on which items they need to buy for the new school year, but they have very different expectations on how much they’ll be spending on back-to-school purchases. Us parents are WAY more realistic about what stuff costs. Only 41 percent of teens expect their parents will spend more than $100 on back-to-school shopping, compared to 68 percent of parents who expect to spend over $100.

Then there’s the battle over needs and wants. Over half (57%) of parents surveyed by Capital One say that they have discussed the difference between needs and wants with their teen. Yet only one-quarter (26%) of teens report that they have discussed the difference between needs and wants with their parents. I’m going to admit, I’ve had this discussion many times with my teens.  Just last week my daughter told me she needs a thong bikini from Victoria Secret. “It’s the only thing I can possibly wear to school under my white shorts,” she tells me. My quick response:  “That’s a want!”

I thought I’d share tips from Capital One for how to teach their teens good money management skills:

  • Make back-to-school shopping a family affair – It’s a great opportunity for teens to learn valuable hands-on lessons from their parents.
  • Do your homework – Talk to teachers in advance and try to get a list of required school supplies so you can buy in advance (maybe even on sale.)
  • Crunch numbers together – establish a budget – Determine how much you’re able to spend in advance and stick to the amount.
  • Consider having your child contribute – Capital One’s survey suggests that many teens are prepared to help pay for back-to-school shopping. Discuss how much they may contribute and work it into the budget you develop.
  • Make a list – Prepare your shopping list in advance. Try to distinguish between “needs” and “wants” on the list and prioritize the needs first.
  • Shop smart – Make sure you shop around for the best price and the best quality and use coupons when possible. Even if you don’t plan to shop online, encourage your teen to look at prices online to see how they fit with the budget before you head to the store.

Readers, I’d love to hear how you handle back-to-school shopping? What’s worked for you and what hasn’t?

© 2017 Raising Teens

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑