Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

Month: September 2011 (page 1 of 2)

Family dinners matter

It’s so easy to kill dinner hour, especially when your teen criticizes that chicken creation you’ve struggled to put on the table. And then there are all the activities that have teens running in or out at all hours making it nearly impossible to get everyone at the table at the same time.

Believe me, I’ve thought about telling my kids to fend for themselves for dinner. But I’ve resisted. Watching a special report on ABC News last night, I’m glad I’m a family dinner hold out.

Here are the big benefits of family dinners:

  • Compared to teens who ate with their families five to seven times a week, teenagers who had fewer than three family dinners a week were almost four times more likely to try tobacco, more than twice as likely to use alcohol and 2.5 times more likely to use marijuana.
  • Teens who eat with their families make healthier food choices when eating out with their peers.
  • Female teens who ate family dinners at least most days were less likely to initiate purging, binge-eating and frequent dieting.

Of course, some teens, especially those with driver’s licenses, think it’s “not cool” to eat dinner with their families. Seventeen-year-old Ben Smith had this comment on ABC.com: “You know if I’m sitting at the dinner table my parents are going to ask me, ‘How’d you do at school today,'” he says. “You don’t really want to tell them, ‘Oh, I failed three tests.’ ”

Let’s say you like the idea of family dinners, but don’t really think it’s doable. William Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota advises starting on a Sunday night. “One (dinner) a week is better than zero. It’s quality, not quantity.”

He has more advice: Turn the television off, put all cellphones away and have kids talk about the best and worst thing that happened in their day.

This might be tough for parents, but Doherty says don’t use the sit-down meal as an opportunity to nag or scold.  “Make it a connecting meal. It’s the quality of the connecting. Just try to have a good conversation. Don’t grill them about their grades.”

What are your thoughts on the family dinner hour? Do you think it’s unrealistic these days to get everyone at the table? Do you REALLY think it makes a difference in whether a teen will drink or do drugs?

Click here to see the ABC News segment.

Family dinners matter

It’s so easy to kill dinner hour, especially when your teen criticizes that chicken creation you’ve struggled to put on the table. And then there are all the activities that have teens running in or out at all hours making it nearly impossible to get everyone at the table at the same time.

Believe me, I’ve thought about telling my kids to fend for themselves for dinner. But I’ve resisted. Watching a special report on ABC News last night, I’m glad I’m a family dinner hold out.

Here are the big benefits of family dinners:

  • Compared to teens who ate with their families five to seven times a week, teenagers who had fewer than three family dinners a week were almost four times more likely to try tobacco, more than twice as likely to use alcohol and 2.5 times more likely to use marijuana.
  • Teens who eat with their families make healthier food choices when eating out with their peers.
  • Female teens who ate family dinners at least most days were less likely to initiate purging, binge-eating and frequent dieting.

Of course, some teens, especially those with driver’s licenses, think it’s “not cool” to eat dinner with their families. Seventeen-year-old Ben Smith had this comment on ABC.com: “You know if I’m sitting at the dinner table my parents are going to ask me, ‘How’d you do at school today,'” he says. “You don’t really want to tell them, ‘Oh, I failed three tests.’ ”

Let’s say you like the idea of family dinners, but don’t really think it’s doable. William Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota advises starting on a Sunday night. “One (dinner) a week is better than zero. It’s quality, not quantity.”

He has more advice: Turn the television off, put all cellphones away and have kids talk about the best and worst thing that happened in their day.

This might be tough for parents, but Doherty says don’t use the sit-down meal as an opportunity to nag or scold.  “Make it a connecting meal. It’s the quality of the connecting. Just try to have a good conversation. Don’t grill them about their grades.”

What are your thoughts on the family dinner hour? Do you think it’s unrealistic these days to get everyone at the table? Do you REALLY think it makes a difference in whether a teen will drink or do drugs?

Click here to see the ABC News segment.

Family dinners matter

It’s so easy to kill dinner hour, especially when your teen criticizes that chicken creation you’ve struggled to put on the table. And then there are all the activities that have teens running in or out at all hours making it nearly impossible to get everyone at the table at the same time.

Believe me, I’ve thought about telling my kids to fend for themselves for dinner. But I’ve resisted. Watching a special report on ABC News last night, I’m glad I’m a family dinner hold out.

Here are the big benefits of family dinners:

  • Compared to teens who ate with their families five to seven times a week, teenagers who had fewer than three family dinners a week were almost four times more likely to try tobacco, more than twice as likely to use alcohol and 2.5 times more likely to use marijuana.
  • Teens who eat with their families make healthier food choices when eating out with their peers.
  • Female teens who ate family dinners at least most days were less likely to initiate purging, binge-eating and frequent dieting.

Of course, some teens, especially those with driver’s licenses, think it’s “not cool” to eat dinner with their families. Seventeen-year-old Ben Smith had this comment on ABC.com: “You know if I’m sitting at the dinner table my parents are going to ask me, ‘How’d you do at school today,'” he says. “You don’t really want to tell them, ‘Oh, I failed three tests.’ ”

Let’s say you like the idea of family dinners, but don’t really think it’s doable. William Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota advises starting on a Sunday night. “One (dinner) a week is better than zero. It’s quality, not quantity.”

He has more advice: Turn the television off, put all cellphones away and have kids talk about the best and worst thing that happened in their day.

This might be tough for parents, but Doherty says don’t use the sit-down meal as an opportunity to nag or scold.  “Make it a connecting meal. It’s the quality of the connecting. Just try to have a good conversation. Don’t grill them about their grades.”

What are your thoughts on the family dinner hour? Do you think it’s unrealistic these days to get everyone at the table? Do you REALLY think it makes a difference in whether a teen will drink or do drugs?

Click here to see the ABC News segment.

OCD or Responsible Mom?

My daughter keeps telling me that I am a OCD mom because I continually get on her about organizing  and keeping her room  clean and straightened.  She leaves things lying around and I want her to put it in its right place so she doesn’t lose it.  She tells me ” just because it’s not done when you want it or the way you want it doesn’t mean it wont get done.” Well, I am trying to teach her to respect her things, be responsible and to do things the right way not just doing it. I am trying to teach her that when you get out in the real world, you wont be able to get away with this.

Olivia also has assigned daily chores, which of course I get on her if it’s not done by a particular time because history has shown that if she doesn’t do her chores by a specific time, it wont get done at all!

I understand she is a teen and I should expect this behavior, but I will not encourage it by not saying anything when she falls short of her responsibilities and her parents expectations.

Why does everything we ask our teens to do have to be a battle?? I tell Olivia, “You know what’s expected of you, do it and I wont have to be “OCD” with you.”

I take offense when she says I am OCD because she says it like it’s a bad thing!Shouldn’t she be proud to have a mom that cares about raising her responsibly?  I am sure she should, but she’s 14 and let’s be realistic.. she could care less!!

I am so hoping that someday when she is much older she will thank me for being “OCD” and  getting on her for things.

So I ask you, am I being OCD or just being a mom? How do you handle it?

Tracking Device for teen drivers?

My husband recently told me about an article he read on CNN.com   regarding spying on your teen driver by using a tracking device.

I haven’t decided whether my daughter will find it intrusive or a reason she can start driving even sooner. Mom can track her so no reason for worries. Wrong! Even with a tracking device,  a parent still does not have control over other drivers.

I told my daughter about this article and the tracking device and she said, “I hope you don’t put that in my car someday. All that device does is give kids a reason to go against parents wishes. The device just shows kids that our parents don’t trust us. That only leads to kids finding ways to out smart their parents. You are better off trusting your child so you don’t tempt them to betray you. Kids can park their cars at their friend’s house and go into another car and then go where their parents did not want them to go.”

So then I asked her if I didn’t put the device in her car and just trusted her outright would she listen to me and my rules. She said she would. Well, I will have to take her word on that. Let’s see if that holds true when the time comes.

I ask you, do you think these tracking devices will help ease your worries or will your worries still be there?  Is the device worth it if it means your teens think you don’t trust them, encouraging them to find ways to outsmart you?

Should we just be honest with our teens and communicate our concerns and give them rules and guidelines to abide so they wont feel the need to deceive us?  No matter how you feel or what you decide, teen driving still is stressful on parents.

Tracking Device for teen drivers?

My husband recently told me about an article he read on CNN.com   regarding spying on your teen driver by using a tracking device.

I haven’t decided whether my daughter will find it intrusive or a reason she can start driving even sooner. Mom can track her so no reason for worries. Wrong! Even with a tracking device,  a parent still does not have control over other drivers.

I told my daughter about this article and the tracking device and she said, “I hope you don’t put that in my car someday. All that device does is give kids a reason to go against parents wishes. The device just shows kids that our parents don’t trust us. That only leads to kids finding ways to out smart their parents. You are better off trusting your child so you don’t tempt them to betray you. Kids can park their cars at their friend’s house and go into another car and then go where their parents did not want them to go.”

So then I asked her if I didn’t put the device in her car and just trusted her outright would she listen to me and my rules. She said she would. Well, I will have to take her word on that. Let’s see if that holds true when the time comes.

I ask you, do you think these tracking devices will help ease your worries or will your worries still be there?  Is the device worth it if it means your teens think you don’t trust them, encouraging them to find ways to outsmart you?

Should we just be honest with our teens and communicate our concerns and give them rules and guidelines to abide so they wont feel the need to deceive us?  No matter how you feel or what you decide, teen driving still is stressful on parents.

High School, High Stress

The minute my teens get home from school, they start complaining about how much homework they have — usually it’s at least a couple hours worth. Of course, the next thing I hear about is how unfair it is…and part of me agrees.

Being a teen has never been easy, but rigorous academic demands and  jam-packed extracurricular schedules are making the high school years so much more stressful.

What’s behind all this pressure — and all this homework?

Is it the increased competition to get into college? Is it that teachers aren’t doing their jobs and expecting kids to learn on their own time? Has the economic downturn put more pressure on students to get scholarships?

Many teens will admit they’re stressed out.

In a Miami Herald article this weekend, Cherisse Cooper, a senior at Miami Beach Senior High, said she worries not  only about getting into college but about how she will afford the tuition.

“I am scared I won’t be able to get accepted into the colleges I want just  because I might have had a bad test date,” Cherisse says. “I am also stressed  out about trying to get scholarships because I can’t afford tuition. All I can  do is apply and wait to see if I am eligible for financial aid.”

I worry what’s going to happen to this stressed out generation of teens — will they eventually burn out? They are being told over and over that getting good grades in rigorous classes just isn’t enough. They have to be star athletes, volunteer of the year and president of their class.

In the Herald article, Denise Pope, a senior lecturer at the Stanford University School of  Education, advises teens to choose activities in moderation.

“Students have to realize that they can’t participate in everything,” Pope  says. “Joining many activities will only lead to a student that is stretched too  thin.”

As a parent, I feel the stress, too. Counselors recommend we encourage our teens to take time to de-stress —go for a run, read a  book for pleasure or just find time to chill.

Dr. Gregory Germain of Pediatric & Medical  Associates in Connecticut, said parents need to remember that not every kid needs a multi-page resume at age 18 to succeed. “There are lots of kids out there  who are just that — kids — and there is a place … and a college for  everyone.”

What do you think of the stress on high school students? Does it make them better prepared for college? Is it zapping all the fun out of the high school years? Is it creating a generation of anxiety-ridden teens ( and parents)?

Mother and Daughter BFFs

I think of my daughter as my BFF. There, I admitted it!

The realization hit me when my daughter went out of town with friends last weekend. I moped around the whole time.

I bet the “parenting experts” are horrified. But I think I’m no different than most mothers. I’m part of a generation who want to stay young, think young and bond with our daughters in a way that’s different from how our moms bonded with us.

I have plenty of my own friends, but now that my daughter is a teenager, she’s become a pal. She will watch the newest chick flick with me and indulge in my favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream. She’s even up for jogging a mile with me at a moment’s notice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m close with my husband and sons and I enjoy spending time with them. It’s just different with my girl.  Something has happened in my generation that has changed the dynamics of the mother/daughter relationship.  We, 40-something mothers of teens, feel hip and work a little harder than our moms did to feel that way.  We’re part of the 40-is-the-new-30 generation and we enjoy hanging out with our daughters.  We have a lot in common.

To me, the key to making your daughter your BFF is knowing where to draw the line.  We all know moms who try so desperately to be cool that forget to be a parent. I know that I’m mom and when it comes to setting rules and limits, I’m capable of doing it. I don’t dress like my daughter’s twin (I have bought the same shirt but I’d never wear it on the same day!) I don’t let my daughter speak to me with disrespect. But I do confide in my daughter the way I do my friends, and occasionally I struggle with just how much to confide.

I love this posting on The Friendship Blog: The mother/daughter relationship is so much more comprehensive than a best friendship. It’s a relationship that is not replaceable by any other. This unique bond doesn’t mean that when daughters mature they can’t assume more responsibilities and give back to their mothers, but it’s never equal and it’s not supposed to be. Mothers never stop being mothers, which includes frequently wanting to protect their daughters and often feeling responsible for their happiness. Mother always “trumps” friend.

What do you think about today’s mother/daughter relationship? Can a mother be a daughter’s BFF and still be a good mom?

Me and my pal

Mother and Daughter BFFs

I think of my daughter as my BFF. There, I admitted it!

The realization hit me when my daughter went out of town with friends last weekend. I moped around the whole time.

I bet the “parenting experts” are horrified. But I think I’m no different than most mothers. I’m part of a generation who want to stay young, think young and bond with our daughters in a way that’s different from how our moms bonded with us.

I have plenty of my own friends, but now that my daughter is a teenager, she’s become a pal. She will watch the newest chick flick with me and indulge in my favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream. She’s even up for jogging a mile with me at a moment’s notice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m close with my husband and sons and I enjoy spending time with them. It’s just different with my girl.  Something has happened in my generation that has changed the dynamics of the mother/daughter relationship.  We, 40-something mothers of teens, feel hip and work a little harder than our moms did to feel that way.  We’re part of the 40-is-the-new-30 generation and we enjoy hanging out with our daughters.  We have a lot in common.

To me, the key to making your daughter your BFF is knowing where to draw the line.  We all know moms who try so desperately to be cool that forget to be a parent. I know that I’m mom and when it comes to setting rules and limits, I’m capable of doing it. I don’t dress like my daughter’s twin (I have bought the same shirt but I’d never wear it on the same day!) I don’t let my daughter speak to me with disrespect. But I do confide in my daughter the way I do my friends, and occasionally I struggle with just how much to confide.

I love this posting on The Friendship Blog: The mother/daughter relationship is so much more comprehensive than a best friendship. It’s a relationship that is not replaceable by any other. This unique bond doesn’t mean that when daughters mature they can’t assume more responsibilities and give back to their mothers, but it’s never equal and it’s not supposed to be. Mothers never stop being mothers, which includes frequently wanting to protect their daughters and often feeling responsible for their happiness. Mother always “trumps” friend.

What do you think about today’s mother/daughter relationship? Can a mother be a daughter’s BFF and still be a good mom?

Me and my pal

Mother and Daughter BFFs

I think of my daughter as my BFF. There, I admitted it!

The realization hit me when my daughter went out of town with friends last weekend. I moped around the whole time.

I bet the “parenting experts” are horrified. But I think I’m no different than most mothers. I’m part of a generation who want to stay young, think young and bond with our daughters in a way that’s different from how our moms bonded with us.

I have plenty of my own friends, but now that my daughter is a teenager, she’s become a pal. She will watch the newest chick flick with me and indulge in my favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream. She’s even up for jogging a mile with me at a moment’s notice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m close with my husband and sons and I enjoy spending time with them. It’s just different with my girl.  Something has happened in my generation that has changed the dynamics of the mother/daughter relationship.  We, 40-something mothers of teens, feel hip and work a little harder than our moms did to feel that way.  We’re part of the 40-is-the-new-30 generation and we enjoy hanging out with our daughters.  We have a lot in common.

To me, the key to making your daughter your BFF is knowing where to draw the line.  We all know moms who try so desperately to be cool that forget to be a parent. I know that I’m mom and when it comes to setting rules and limits, I’m capable of doing it. I don’t dress like my daughter’s twin (I have bought the same shirt but I’d never wear it on the same day!) I don’t let my daughter speak to me with disrespect. But I do confide in my daughter the way I do my friends, and occasionally I struggle with just how much to confide.

I love this posting on The Friendship Blog: The mother/daughter relationship is so much more comprehensive than a best friendship. It’s a relationship that is not replaceable by any other. This unique bond doesn’t mean that when daughters mature they can’t assume more responsibilities and give back to their mothers, but it’s never equal and it’s not supposed to be. Mothers never stop being mothers, which includes frequently wanting to protect their daughters and often feeling responsible for their happiness. Mother always “trumps” friend.

What do you think about today’s mother/daughter relationship? Can a mother be a daughter’s BFF and still be a good mom?

Me and my pal

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