Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

Month: October 2011 (page 1 of 2)

Are teen costumes getting too sexy?

Here’s a story from the website of a Dallas TV station that made me think about what I’m going to let my daughter wear tonight. I thought I’d share it with you. Do you think teen costumes are getting too sexy?

Short skirts and revealing tops — they’ve become staples for teen
Halloween costumes.

Some parenting experts say they’re getting sexier and sexier. They’re urging moms and dads to know where to stop. But look at what’s showing in the costume shops and it’s no wonder teen girls want to dress sexy…it’s what stores are selling.

Lots of parents are being faced with a tough decision. Just how sexy
should your teenager dress for Halloween?

Halloween costumes for young girls these days have gotten so sexy they’re
scaring some parents.

“A lot of the prepackaged items that are coming out today are targeted
toward that more sexual flare of a costume,” said Parenting expert Amy
Zicarelli.

Quincy Lynch, 12, had her eye on packaged pirate get up.

“I just like the pirate-ness I guess, I don`t know,” said Lynch. Her
mom says she tries to shoe her away from the sexier stuff.

“Yeah, you kind of have to actually steer them away sometimes from aisles
that aren’t very age appropriate,” said Shannon Lynch.

Amy Zicarelli, is a parenting expert with Kidville, who says costumes for those
under 18 got sassier as Halloween become more popular among adults.

“They go out and they get really fun costumes that tend to be on the sexy
side, well that has trickled down to our teenagers and our tweens and even to
our young children into the toddlers,” said Zicarelli.

This year sexy rapper Nicki Minaj is topping Google’s list of most searched
costumes.

Outfits for other scantily clad pop stars are hits among teens too.

“I just saw the Lady Gaga and the wing, so that might be fun, something different,” high school student Kathryn Thiel.

“Not too sexy. I mean, some of them are a little inappropriate. It just depends on what it is, what the character is,” said parent Candice Thiel.

The owner of Costume World in Dallas considers her store and “apple pie” shop. She says tries not to stock teen costumes she thinks cross the line.

“We want the young girls to look cute and enjoy their costume, but we also want to cover them up,” said Costume World Owner Marilyn Wick.

Zicarelli says parents should be shopping for costumes with their teens and make sure certain standards are set.

“At Halloween it`s very important for parents to be able to put their foot down and set boundaries,” she said.

It’s a strategy that seems to have worked for Quincy Lynch.

“I have a Winne-The-Pooh costume at home, so I think I`m going to do that,” said Lynch.

Zicarelli says if you put together a costume with your own pieces it can be easier do avoid being sexy.

Here’s a link to the TV video:

http://kdaf.vid.trb.com/player/PaperVideoTest.swf

 

How responsible are we for our teens actions?

Being a parent is not for sissies. As a parent of a teenager, every time I hear about a teen-related car accident, I cringe. If you haven’t seen Footloose yet, be warned, the opening scene is gut wrenching.

But this morning, I read a Miami Herald article that scared the heck out of me. It involves a college student and a car accident – you can only imagine where this is headed.

Ivanna Victoria Villanueva, a 19-year-old University of Miami student was coming home late from a night out at  the LIV nightclub in Miami Beach. She allegedly had
been drinking because her blood alcohol level was above the legal limit. Around 4:30 a.m., her 2011 Audi plowed into another car at an intersection, an accident that claimed the life of a grandmother.

Now, the student has been slapped with a DUI manslaughter charge for the fatal wreck. The charge carries a 15-year maximum prison sentence. To me, the whole scenario is pretty darn scary.

Villanueva also was charged with a third-degree felony count of possessing a false drivers license. Prosecutors  have said at the time of the accident, Villanueva had several fake IDs which she had used to get into the nightclub.

Villanueva, a UM sophomore, has pleaded not guilty and is under house arrest pending trial. There is a real possibility this girl will do jail time.

And there’s more: the family of the grandmother, Eyder Ayala, 68, is suing
Villanueva and her father, who owns the Audi she was driving, for
negligence.

This is an upsetting story from every viewpoint. Commenters on the Herald
website have called Villanueva a spoiled rich kid and quite a few have said she and
her parents deserve the trouble they have gotten into.

I feel the same as this commenter: “This is very sad, and here but for the grace
of God goes any teenager’s parent.”

I know some of you might say…”my kid would never be in this kind of trouble.”
You also might say, “I take the time to teach my kids responsibility and
consequences.”

But let’s ask this question to any parent: If your child was off at college, can
you be sure he or she wouldn’t drink and drive?  I know, you’ve given your teen the don’t drink and drive lecture a million times. I certainly have. But can you be 100 percent sure your kid would NEVER do it?

Now, what if he or she messes up and does do it. Should you be responsible if you have title to the car he or she drives?

I would answer no parent can be certain her child will NEVER be in the same situation as this college student. We all just hope and pray it won’t happen to our kid.

But I believe once a child turns 18 and heads off to college, that teenager becomes responsible for his actions. Unfortunately, teens learn — good or bad — from consequences of their actions.

Blogger Deborah Crawford writes: Responsibility is not a lesson that can be learned
from lectures. You cannot tell someone to behave responsibly and expect that
your parenting job is done. Responsibility is a growing and learning experience.
And, most of us need a bit of help when it comes to learning to be  “responsible”.

There are teens who max out credit cards, skip school, curse at their parents
and never suffer consequences of their actions. There are teens that do the
right thing all the time. So, when a child turns 18 or goes off to college and
messes up, are both these sets of parents equally responsible should their kid mess up?

Readers, at what age do you feel teens are responsible for their own actions
and as busy as we all are these days, what can you do as parents to make them
more aware of consequences?

 

 

How responsible are we for our teens actions?

Being a parent is not for sissies. As a parent of a teenager, every time I hear about a teen-related car accident, I cringe. If you haven’t seen Footloose yet, be warned, the opening scene is gut wrenching.

But this morning, I read a Miami Herald article that scared the heck out of me. It involves a college student and a car accident – you can only imagine where this is headed.

Ivanna Victoria Villanueva, a 19-year-old University of Miami student was coming home late from a night out at  the LIV nightclub in Miami Beach. She allegedly had
been drinking because her blood alcohol level was above the legal limit. Around 4:30 a.m., her 2011 Audi plowed into another car at an intersection, an accident that claimed the life of a grandmother.

Now, the student has been slapped with a DUI manslaughter charge for the fatal wreck. The charge carries a 15-year maximum prison sentence. To me, the whole scenario is pretty darn scary.

Villanueva also was charged with a third-degree felony count of possessing a false drivers license. Prosecutors  have said at the time of the accident, Villanueva had several fake IDs which she had used to get into the nightclub.

Villanueva, a UM sophomore, has pleaded not guilty and is under house arrest pending trial. There is a real possibility this girl will do jail time.

And there’s more: the family of the grandmother, Eyder Ayala, 68, is suing
Villanueva and her father, who owns the Audi she was driving, for
negligence.

This is an upsetting story from every viewpoint. Commenters on the Herald
website have called Villanueva a spoiled rich kid and quite a few have said she and
her parents deserve the trouble they have gotten into.

I feel the same as this commenter: “This is very sad, and here but for the grace
of God goes any teenager’s parent.”

I know some of you might say…”my kid would never be in this kind of trouble.”
You also might say, “I take the time to teach my kids responsibility and
consequences.”

But let’s ask this question to any parent: If your child was off at college, can
you be sure he or she wouldn’t drink and drive?  I know, you’ve given your teen the don’t drink and drive lecture a million times. I certainly have. But can you be 100 percent sure your kid would NEVER do it?

Now, what if he or she messes up and does do it. Should you be responsible if you have title to the car he or she drives?

I would answer no parent can be certain her child will NEVER be in the same situation as this college student. We all just hope and pray it won’t happen to our kid.

But I believe once a child turns 18 and heads off to college, that teenager becomes responsible for his actions. Unfortunately, teens learn — good or bad — from consequences of their actions.

Blogger Deborah Crawford writes: Responsibility is not a lesson that can be learned
from lectures. You cannot tell someone to behave responsibly and expect that
your parenting job is done. Responsibility is a growing and learning experience.
And, most of us need a bit of help when it comes to learning to be  “responsible”.

There are teens who max out credit cards, skip school, curse at their parents
and never suffer consequences of their actions. There are teens that do the
right thing all the time. So, when a child turns 18 or goes off to college and
messes up, are both these sets of parents equally responsible should their kid mess up?

Readers, at what age do you feel teens are responsible for their own actions
and as busy as we all are these days, what can you do as parents to make them
more aware of consequences?

 

 

High School limits on bathroom breaks?

My mom is a frequent bathroom goer. So is my 14-year-old son. Of course, he would be humiliated if I announced that to the world. But it’s true.

So, when I heard about a high school limiting students’ bathroom breaks, it made me mad. If a kid has to pee, let him!

Evergreen Park High School in Chicago has made headlines for trying to curb excessive bathroom use by penalizing students for taking more than three trips to the bathroom per semester. (Regardless of other obligations, they have to stay after school to make up work)

Parents are up in arms! They say they’re concerned about the possible health risks. One mom is convinced her daughter is going to get a urinary tract infection if her bathroom usage is limited.

Evergreen’s Principal Bill Sanderson told NBC Chicago that the new policy is to prevent students from using restroom visits as an excuse to miss class, and ensure that students who may miss valuable class time during a bathroom break have a built-in provision to make up the work. He also said the five-minute passing periods between the school’s four 83-minute classes per day provide an ample opportunity for students “holding it” during class to use the bathroom.

My kids also have five minutes between class and the same complaint as students at this Chicago school  — that the bathrooms are crowded between classes and there’s a real risk of being late to class. They also have complained that some teachers won’t let them out of class to use the bathroom.

You’ve got to love the quote this parent told the TV news: “This principal — let him find out he’s got diarrhea, and he’s only told that  he can go to the bathroom three times a semester and we’ll see how this policy  holds up with him,” said parent Bea Bailey.

While there are slackers who definitely abuse bathroom visits, most kids do anything to avoid using the bathrooms at school. I once got a ticket for driving like a speed demon to the nearby drugstore after school so my son could dart into the bathroom. Even worse, my kids say that some of the high school bathrooms don’t have soap — SO GROSS!

Anyway, these Chicago parents think the principal should trust the teacher to know when a student genuinely needs to go or when they use a bathroom visit as an excuse to get out of class.

Sure, some slackers will retreat to the bathroom. Even if us “old people” have forgotten what high school is like, we’re not that out of it. In every TV show or movie about the high school years, the bathroom is where the “mean girl” and “bad boy” stuff goes down. I doubt that will ever change.

But penalizing kids for bathroom use? I think high schools have much more to worry about that their students’ peeing too often.

Readers, do you think this is the most ridiculous policy you’ve ever heard of or do you think it has validity?

 

High School limits on bathroom breaks?

My mom is a frequent bathroom goer. So is my 14-year-old son. Of course, he would be humiliated if I announced that to the world. But it’s true.

So, when I heard about a high school limiting students’ bathroom breaks, it made me mad. If a kid has to pee, let him!

Evergreen Park High School in Chicago has made headlines for trying to curb excessive bathroom use by penalizing students for taking more than three trips to the bathroom per semester. (Regardless of other obligations, they have to stay after school to make up work)

Parents are up in arms! They say they’re concerned about the possible health risks. One mom is convinced her daughter is going to get a urinary tract infection if her bathroom usage is limited.

Evergreen’s Principal Bill Sanderson told NBC Chicago that the new policy is to prevent students from using restroom visits as an excuse to miss class, and ensure that students who may miss valuable class time during a bathroom break have a built-in provision to make up the work. He also said the five-minute passing periods between the school’s four 83-minute classes per day provide an ample opportunity for students “holding it” during class to use the bathroom.

My kids also have five minutes between class and the same complaint as students at this Chicago school  — that the bathrooms are crowded between classes and there’s a real risk of being late to class. They also have complained that some teachers won’t let them out of class to use the bathroom.

You’ve got to love the quote this parent told the TV news: “This principal — let him find out he’s got diarrhea, and he’s only told that  he can go to the bathroom three times a semester and we’ll see how this policy  holds up with him,” said parent Bea Bailey.

While there are slackers who definitely abuse bathroom visits, most kids do anything to avoid using the bathrooms at school. I once got a ticket for driving like a speed demon to the nearby drugstore after school so my son could dart into the bathroom. Even worse, my kids say that some of the high school bathrooms don’t have soap — SO GROSS!

Anyway, these Chicago parents think the principal should trust the teacher to know when a student genuinely needs to go or when they use a bathroom visit as an excuse to get out of class.

Sure, some slackers will retreat to the bathroom. Even if us “old people” have forgotten what high school is like, we’re not that out of it. In every TV show or movie about the high school years, the bathroom is where the “mean girl” and “bad boy” stuff goes down. I doubt that will ever change.

But penalizing kids for bathroom use? I think high schools have much more to worry about that their students’ peeing too often.

Readers, do you think this is the most ridiculous policy you’ve ever heard of or do you think it has validity?

 

High School limits on bathroom breaks?

My mom is a frequent bathroom goer. So is my 14-year-old son. Of course, he would be humiliated if I announced that to the world. But it’s true.

So, when I heard about a high school limiting students’ bathroom breaks, it made me mad. If a kid has to pee, let him!

Evergreen Park High School in Chicago has made headlines for trying to curb excessive bathroom use by penalizing students for taking more than three trips to the bathroom per semester. (Regardless of other obligations, they have to stay after school to make up work)

Parents are up in arms! They say they’re concerned about the possible health risks. One mom is convinced her daughter is going to get a urinary tract infection if her bathroom usage is limited.

Evergreen’s Principal Bill Sanderson told NBC Chicago that the new policy is to prevent students from using restroom visits as an excuse to miss class, and ensure that students who may miss valuable class time during a bathroom break have a built-in provision to make up the work. He also said the five-minute passing periods between the school’s four 83-minute classes per day provide an ample opportunity for students “holding it” during class to use the bathroom.

My kids also have five minutes between class and the same complaint as students at this Chicago school  — that the bathrooms are crowded between classes and there’s a real risk of being late to class. They also have complained that some teachers won’t let them out of class to use the bathroom.

You’ve got to love the quote this parent told the TV news: “This principal — let him find out he’s got diarrhea, and he’s only told that  he can go to the bathroom three times a semester and we’ll see how this policy  holds up with him,” said parent Bea Bailey.

While there are slackers who definitely abuse bathroom visits, most kids do anything to avoid using the bathrooms at school. I once got a ticket for driving like a speed demon to the nearby drugstore after school so my son could dart into the bathroom. Even worse, my kids say that some of the high school bathrooms don’t have soap — SO GROSS!

Anyway, these Chicago parents think the principal should trust the teacher to know when a student genuinely needs to go or when they use a bathroom visit as an excuse to get out of class.

Sure, some slackers will retreat to the bathroom. Even if us “old people” have forgotten what high school is like, we’re not that out of it. In every TV show or movie about the high school years, the bathroom is where the “mean girl” and “bad boy” stuff goes down. I doubt that will ever change.

But penalizing kids for bathroom use? I think high schools have much more to worry about that their students’ peeing too often.

Readers, do you think this is the most ridiculous policy you’ve ever heard of or do you think it has validity?

 

Media giving a message to your teenage daughter?

I recently saw this video on Facebook. It’s called:Miss Representation

Here’s the link:  http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=2349117563337

I want to share it with all of you.

If you are a mom, sister, daughter, wife or girlfriend, you will enjoy this video. It was quite moving.

I feel its important not only to our daughters but to the future of their daughters as well.

Look forward to hearing your feedback from the video.

Stupid teachers, know any?

How do you handle it when your kids insist a teacher is stupid?

This semester, both of my high schoolers have the same teacher and they both spend at least an hour after school telling me about her stupidity. Ugh, I hate stupidity!

Apparentely, the teacher comes unprepared to teach material, doesn’t know the answers to the kids’ questions and tells her AP students she’s going to call their mommies if they talk in class. I’m feeling a little frustrated because I usually like to defend teachers. (I have a few in the family) However, I’m starting to feel this woman is hopeless.

In high school, having a stupid teacher is dangerous. Grades are so important that a teacher who doesn’t get the material across well to her students can cause them to do poorly in the class, which would bring down their GPAs. On the first big test, 90 percent of the students failed. To me, that’s a sign of a very bad teacher.

Meanwhile, my kids’ friends who have a different teacher for the same subject are scoring much higher on the tests. Even worse, today my kids announced to me that their teacher doesn’t believe in reviewing for the mid-term.

As parent, I feel like I have three options. One, do nothing. Two, reach out to the teacher and let her know I’m concerned. Three, go above the teacher and reach out to administration.

Until now, I’ve taken the first option. I’ve been telling my kids to speak up in class, ask more questions, take better notes and try to get the class notes from the other teacher’s students. Not all teachers are great teachers, just like not all bosses are great bosses and I think kids have to learn that lesson.

 

But I’m concerned. I think I’m going to send an e-mail and urge the teacher to do a review. I have heard teachers say that the best first step is to talk to the teacher directly.  I also have seen advice suggesting if you go in to a teacher with a problem try to mutually find a solution.

Parents, in your experience, does a teacher consider making changes if parents complain? What approach have you taken to address a someone’s poor teaching ability?

Are you a nosy parent? Where to draw the line on privacy

Over the weekend, a bunch of kids were over and I heard them talking about a text some girl had sent my son. She was accusing him of breaking up a couple who were mutual friends. From the conversation in my home, the text sounded pretty brutal, borderline threatening.

Later that night, I asked my son for his cell phone. I told him I wanted to read the text messages from this particular girl. My son told me I was being nosey. This isn’t the first time he has said that to me. I told him, “I am nosey and since I pay for the phone, I have the right to look at it when I feel it’s necessary.” I read the message and begrudgingly, he had a conversation with me about what was going on.

The next day, I read a blog post that made me question whether reading his text messages, demanding to read them, is an invasion of his privacy. The post by Aurelia Williams of Parentingmyteen.com advocates total teen privacy and gives two arguments for it: First, privacy builds trust – Giving your teen some privacy will show your teen that you trust them enough to give some space. Privacy will allow your teen to prove to you that they can be trusted without your watchful eye over him all the time.

Second, Williams says, privacy helps your teen make responsible choices – If you are constantly watching every move your teen makes, how can her or she learn to make responsible choices? Guide your teen in the right direction, then step back and give him or her the privacy they want, she says.

Should I have asked my son what was going on and trusted him to share with me what I needed to know? Does it make a difference if you tell your teen your interest in what’s going on comes from a place of love and caring and not from a sense of snooping or spying?

By-parents-for parents.com also says teens need lots of privacy and should give it to them. “Keeping journals, having private conversations with their friends on the phone, and wanting some alone time is a teen’s way of becoming who they are. They are slipping into their bodies, their minds, and their distinct individualities. It helps to remember what it was like to be a teen: the writing we may not have wanted to show our parents, the conversations with friends about “crushes,” the times that we wanted to listen to The Beatles when our parents only wanted to hear classical music.”

This privacy issue is tough: Give a teen too much space, and he may feel as if he is on his own to solve problems. Not enough privacy and he will feel like you don’t trust him.

Readers, where do you think you draw the line on privacy? When does asking questions or reading text messages really move into the nosey category?

New disciplinary strategy for your teen?

You have taken the phone away, taken Facebook away, taken computer time away, taken TV away, taken going out with friends away, what else is left? Been there, done that right? Problem is, what do you do when you run out of punishments that just don’t have the impact you want it to?

I recently came up with a new disciplinary strategy for my 14-year-old daughter Olivia. Now, I don’t mean  make your bed, vacuum, fold clothes punishments, No! Those are daily chores not punishments.  I mean hard, elbow-grease work.  Painting!!

It all started one day, after Olivia and I got into our usual “differences of opinions”  spat, and I was tired of the same old punishments. So, I needed to think of something different that will have more of an effect on her.

After talking with my husband about some of the things that needed to get done outside and having our jungle gym in the backyard painted was one of them,  it dawned on me,  “Why don’t we have Olivia do it?” This way, she is not on the phone, texting, watching TV,  or on the computer and we get the jungle gym painted! YES! I like this a lot!

Well, last Friday, Olivia started painting our jungle gym and to say she is not happy is an understatement.

New disciplinary strategy for your teen

There are spider webs in the jungle gym so she was freaking out. Her dad told her to get a broom to get rid of the spider webs. Real simple. She then calls me to tell me that ” I can’t paint the jungle gym because there are too many spiders.” I told her again, to take the broom and clean it. She said that “they are coming from everywhere and I already got bit.” My luck, she is deadly afraid of spiders and they are all around her. I just can’t win. I told her to improvise and paint the outside of the jungle gym not inside where the spiders are.

Well, the jungle gym is almost done, but I have to say I was proud to see how much she accomplished, not without a lot of complaining of course.

I still prefer this strategy to some of the others. Now, we just have to wait and see if it works! Stay tuned!!

So tell me, what is your disciplinary strategy for your teen? Does it work? Can’t wait to read about them.

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