Raising Teens

a site for parents grappling with sanity

Page 10 of 21

With teens, nice guys finish last


Ugh, I’m lecturing my teens — again!

What the heck is wrong with me?

As a parent, I’m in a quandary. I’ve made a discovery and I want to share it with my teens. But where do I start and how do I take this epiphany down to their level without sounding like Glee’s know-it-all Sue Sylvester?

My big discovery: nice guys finish last in high school. It only took me 47 years to figure that out. By nice guys finish last, I mean teens girls prefer “bad boys” and teen boys prefer the “heartless bitches.” That’s the simple truth and it is a hard to explain to a “nice” teen.

Recently, I listened to my daughter rant about the fact that at least a dozen boys were after a girl who she considers slutty and mean. I explained that teen boys tend to go after slutty girls at this age because it’s much easier for them. I gave her a little heads up on the value of big boobs and loose lips during the teen years and encouraged her to hang in there for another ten years until boys are mature enough to see value in intelligence and personality.

At the same time, my son is too nice to the girls he likes. He buys them flowers, says sweet things to them, and showers them with attention. The girls don’t like it at all. No, they’d much rather chase the boy who makes out with them behind the bleacher, and then text messages their friend to ask her out a few minutes later.

I’m not sure exactly the age when treating your partner nicely is an admired quality, but I’ve discovered it’s not in high school. Even worse, I remember blowing off some really nice guys in high school. Now, I feel like crap for doing it.

I’ve decided all I can do as a parent of teens, is talk with them about healthy relationships. I tell them that healthy relationships occur when both parties are happy and their needs are being met. Can a teen can even understand that?

Maybe not.

So I try a different tactic. I explain confidence is sexy. Being independent, positive and secure are what attract the opposite sex — at  any age. Right?

I enjoyed reading advice one teen gives on her website to nice guys who wonder why they don’t get girls. She says nice guys need to show just the right amount of interest to get the girl –not too much, not too little.

Parents, how do you talk to your teens about the value being treated well by the opposite sex? Do you think it’s challenging to get your daughter to appreciate a “nice guy” ?


Why I hate “Facebook official”


This weekend, a friend of my daughter’s was in tears after her boyfriend broke up with her by text and then posted the status change on Facebook five minutes later. She felt the need to change her status minutes later, too. Of course, that gave both of their entire friend circles opportunity to comment on the break up.

I don’t get it.

For some reason, it’s become common that as soon as teens break up or hook up, one rushes to change their status on Facebook. Apparently, online relationships are the new spectator sport. Corcoran put it well:  “Everyone gets to have opinions and comments on something that, in fact, should be dealt with between two people.”

As a parent of teens, I will never the fascination with “Facebook official” or worse, “Facebook unofficial”. Here are some random definitions of Facebook official from UrbanDictionary.com:

  • When on one’s facebook profile it says “In A Relationship” and your significant other’s name. “Are Adam and Courtney dating?” “I don’t know, they’re not facebook official yet.”
  • This term is used when a relationship is official, and you know so because the couple changes their status from either “single” or “it’s complicated” to “in a relationship” on Facebook.
    Guy 1: “Dude, I met this fly girl last night and we had a really good time, so I looked her up on Facebook…” Guy 2: “And….” Guy 1: “She’s Facebook official with some douche bag.” Guy 2: “Ouch bro.”
  • If something is absolutely certain or believed to be true, it is indeed Facebook official.
    Hey, did Aaron and Michelle break up???
    Your positive?
    It’s facebook official!!!


To me, the problem with “Facebook official” is the speed in which teens post their relationship status changes. I don’t get why teens feel the need to rush to Facebook within seconds of a break-up. It’s so hurtful for teens to endure the nasty online comments, or worse, friends “like” the split, leading the wounded party to question the sincerity of their friends in the first place.

I recently heard my son talking about a friend who changed made his new relationship “Facebook official” only a few days after he started dating a girl. It devastated his ex-girlfriend who thought they were on the way to reconciliation.

I find it extremely challenging to talk with teens about entering and ending relationships with face-to-face discussions and in a private manner rather than on Facebook. This has become such a big concern that just last month, the Boston Public Health Commission  invited 200 teens from all over the state to a conference: the Break-Up Summit.

In a story on ABCnews.com, Casey Corcoran, director of the commission’s Start Strong initiative, says the problem is the way the teen brain is wired: “Young people don’t differentiate as much as adults between online and offline life. … One of the wonderful things about the adolescent brain is impulsivity. And these [social networking] tools drive on impulsivity.”

I’ve tried to talk to my soon about staying off Facebook with his relationship status changes but he tells me I don’t understand the way things are done today.

Parents, how have you dealt with the repercussions of “Facebook official” or changes to “single”? Have you been frustrated trying to teach your kids the importance of face-to-face conversations and keeping their love lives private?


How do you survive high school when you have already graduated?

My daughter Olivia started high school yesterday. She is officially a freshman and I am officially panicking on how I am going to survive not only freshman year but 4 years of high school!!?? Did my mom or dad panic like this? I didn’t think I made them worry like this. Did I?

Why do I feel like I am starting high school too?

Starting high school is a process.
1. School clothes shopping
2. Designer Bag (Michael Kors, Coach) or back pack
3. School supply shopping
4. Open House where you pick up your schedule and walk around for and hour trying to find your child’s class with them say they don’t get lost the first day.
5. Getting hair cut and highlighted
6. mani/pedi
7. Whiten teeth with Crest whitening strips
8. Spray tan
9.Orientation at school where this time you run around for 2 hours so you can meet the teachers that are scattered all over campus.
10. Pray they do well in school and don’t get into trouble.

Did I leave anything out?

I have stressed to my daughter numerous times the importance of doing well from day one in hopes she understands bad grades = no college. Am I over killing her with expectations? Am I driving myself insane? There needs to be support groups for this!!

I know there is only so much I can do and that she has to work and focus on her own. But, I can’t help but feel that it’s my role as a parent to ensure she stays on track. In the meantime, I feel like I am holding my breath until report cards come out.

How did you survive?? Look forward to reading your high school survival tips! Us parents, need to stick together!!

How (not) to embarrass teenagers on vacation


I’m on vacation with my kids, thinking I’m a cool mom adventurer.  We are on a jeep headed to the top of a mountain when I begin to make conversation with some young girls who are riding up with us. My teen daughter whispers in my ear to stop making conversation because she finds my “friendliness” embarrassing.

As a parent of a teen, I’ve become used to hearing:  Mom, you’re being so embarrassing!

So far, a few days into vacation, I have heard this every time I say something I find funny, make conversation with strangers, pass gas in front of any other human being, wear my shorts at what’s considered by them an inappropriate length (either too short or too long)or talk in a voice they consider too loud. My husband hears it every time he tries to sing.

Meanwhile, my 10-year-old son still worships me. Thank god!

What is it about the teen years that bring out this utter embarrassment with parents?

I take comfort in a warning from Adam Gopnik of BBC News Magazine: The one thing that is written into the human genome is that exactly at the age of 13, your child – in a minute – and no matter how close or sympathetic the two of you have been before, will discover that you are now the most embarrassing, ridiculous and annoying person on the planet. This is a universal truth.

This embarrassment/annoyance  will sometimes be expressed in a tone of pitying condescension, and sometimes in one of exasperated wrath, he says.

So parents, it’s not us, it’s them. Of course, once you are declared embarrassing, you may as well live up to your teen’s belief that you cannot keep your absurdity to yourself.

My husband and I are threatening to ride around the golf course at our hotel at dusk on bicycles completely naked.

Now, that would give a teen something to be embarrassed about!


Mom Wants Teen Daughter to Get A Boob Job

Last night I dabbed some acne medicine on my daughter’s chin. She didn’t ask me to do it, nor did she want me to do it. I just did it out of instinct and it didn’t go over well.

So how far would I go to encourage my daughter to look good?

Not as far as British mom, Chantel Marshall. She’s trying to force her 14-year-old daughter, Britney, to get a boob job.

Chantel told The Sun, “Britney is going through a funny phase at the moment and saying she doesn’t want to get her boobs done.” Chantel then went on to say she really wishes Britney would follow the lead of her four sisters.  “I really love the fake look of my girls and I know Britney will go that way when she’s a bit older.”I

The Huffington Posts writes: Britney, the “brainy” one of the family, told the Sun, “Maybe I’ll decide to get them too and start saving in a few years. But for now I want to focus on my school work.”

On the face of it, this story is ludicrous. I want to be repulsed. I want to think this mom is completely insane….but I can relate to this mom in a very bizarre way. Wasn’t I just dabbing cream on my daughter’s face?

I’m not a crazy mom who goes off the deep end worrying about her daughter’s looks.  I want my daughter to attract boys with her smarts, her ambition and her confidence and not care if they don’t find her as attractive as she finds herself.

But I understand how a mom who is struggling with her own confidence could get carried away in pushing her daughter to enhance her appearance. I know a lot of parents today who measure their worth by how successful their children are in sports, academics and physical attractiveness. What parent doesn’t beam when told their daughter is gorgeous?

And there’s the root of the problem. We all know teen girls struggle with their self-esteem.  Now, mothers are struggling, too. Our society values beauty and we’ve got many women who themselves are undergoing the knife to enhance their looks.

Isn’t it our job, though, as parents to come up with a constructive way to guide our girls into adulthood with confidence in themselves? If they want plastic surgery and beg for it, then that’s one thing. But to pressure a teen into getting it?

Shouldn’t we at least let our daughters become insecure adults before we encourage them to make life altering decisions about their bodies?

(Britney, 14,  and her mom, Chantel, 53)






Your teen is back from vacation… happy or sad?

So Olivia came back from her 3 week NY vacation with family and I was all ready for the drama that happened last year at the airport; crying, “I hate Florida” and “I want to live in New York” comments.  I was ready to feel not missed, not loved and overlooked. But, Instead, what came off the plane was a happy blonde highlighted 15-year-old with a big smile and hug for mom! I missed her and I couldn’t wait to hug her and have her feel how much I missed and love her through my hug. Enjoy the moment I kept thinking.

I loved her new look, her blonde highlights and her dark tan. I was happy to see her smiling and how happy she seemed to be home. Keep in mind, I know she cant wait to see her girlfriend Erica and all her other friends the second the car pulls in the driveway. I was never so grateful for her friends making her want to come home. I will take what I can get.

In the car,  we talked and talked. I was absorbing every happy moment with her and so appreciating her opening up to me. After much discussion with her, come to find out, life with mom and dad isn’t so bad once you stay with other people for 3 weeks. Ah.. my plan worked!! What better way to appreciate what you have then to be away from it for 3 weeks!!

I have to admit the last 3 weeks the house has been quiet, her room immaculate and no fighting with her brother… heaven. I felt so guilty though but, I’m sure she felt the same way about us in NY! Is it bad that I felt happy she was away for my own personal peace? I needed the 3 week vacation!! LOL. However, when she came back, I was happy she was home. Does that count?

Before you know it, life was back to normal, “Mom, can you take me to my friend’s house”, “Mom, can Erica sleep over?” “Mom, can my friends come over?”, “Mom, can you pick me up from the movies?”, “Mom, can you take me to Zach’s house”, and  “Mom, can I get my hair blonder?”.

You know what, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

So, I want to know, when your teen comes back from being away on vacation or a any trip, are you happy they are back  or sad?


Should teens have a bed time?


Want to set a bed time for a teen? Good luck with that.

When my two teens got to high school I gave up on bed times.  I figured they were old enough to manage their time and decide how much sleep they need. Some days, I pay the price.

Recently, a friend of mine asked me if I thought she should set a summer bed time for her 13-year-old son. She is trying to make him go to bed by 10:30 p.m. Let’s face it; the tactics you’d use for getting a toddler to bed won’t work with a teen. They’d rather eat dirt than have mommy tuck them into bed at 8:30 p.m. Believe me, I’ve tried it.

In my house, I’ve noticed the sleep habits of teens mimic that of vampires. During the school year, my teens are tired from waking up early for school and usually go to bed at a somewhat decent hour.

But on weekends and in summer it’s a different story.  In the first week they had off for summer, before camps started, I woke up at 3 a.m. to find my kids awake and their friends in my home. Usually, if I find my kids up after midnight, I strongly urge them to consider how tired they’re going to feel the next day — something subtle like “YOU’RE GOING TO BE ONE HORRIBLE GRUMP TOMORROW!”

According to the American Sleep Disorders Association, the average teenager needs around 9.5 hours of sleep per night because hormones that are critical to growth and sexual maturation are released mostly during slumber. Yet studies show that teenagers generally get an average of only 7.4 hours a night.

I’ve heard the argument that for teens having a bedtime makes them seem babyish.  If you look at a teen’s Facebook page, the chatter gets pretty heavy between 10 p.m. and midnight so I’m pretty sure most of them are revving up at that hour.

Parenting expert Jan Faull suggests setting a “bedroom time” for your teens, not a bedtime.  I like this idea — kinda like a wind down time.

She says this would be a time when they are required to be in their bedrooms each night when they can read, listen to music (at a reasonable level), or do something else they find relaxing. The exact time should be approached as a negotiation, not a mandate, she says. She warns that once you’ve all agreed to a “bedroom time” realize that you’ll most likely need to remind them nightly when it’s time to go to their rooms until they get used to the idea and go there on their own.

What are your thoughts on setting bed times for teens? Do you think setting a bedroom time would work in your home?

How do you connect with your teenager?

I recently read an article in USA WEEKEND about  “How to connect with your teenager”. I found the article quite interesting. It gave  4 great tips on some parenting solutions.

1.  Get into their world Find some commonality even if you have to fake it. If your teen is a die-hard movie buff, watch one of their favorite movies with them.  Ask for help with putting a playlist together or you are having problems with your iPhone and need their help. For me, it’s shopping. My daughter will jump at the chance to go to the mall and have me buy her something and then have lunch together.

2. Have Dessert- It’s hard for families nowadays to eat together but one thing is for sure, dessert is always something we all love to have. It’s hard for families to get together for dinner at 6pm with everyone’s different schedules, so plan a night ir be spontaneous and say “let’s go out for ice cream or yogurt”!

3. Audit their English classes– If your child has a reading list, pick up one of their books and read along with them so you can have discussions about the book with them. It can be a 5 minute chat like “what did you think about….?”

4. Encourage their outrage– If there is a social cause that has your teen riled up, look for ways that you can make a difference as a family. They will feel supported and you will get to spend time together and most importantly, you will all help those in need.

At the end of the day, teens are still kids despite how they act or treat you. They really need you and want you, they just don’t tell or show you. It’s just understood.  It’s our job as parents to still support them and love them no matter what.

So..  what are some of the ways you connect with your teen? Does it work?

Look forward to getting some suggestions!!

Star says rehab is like summer camp: lots of teens

Kristen Johnston was 28 she was cast as John Lithgow’s co-star in the runaway hit sitcom, 3rd Rock From the Sun. Suddenly famous, she says was unprepared to handle the overnight fame. She turned to alcohol and pills. After popping an endless array of pain pills, she almost died in a London hospital when an ulcer in her stomach exploded. She spent two months in the hospital.

Kristen says biggest shock to her when she went to rehab was that it looked like a summer camp: lots of teenagers. She asked about it and one of the counselors said this is what all rehabs look like.

Wow! Kristen says she discovered 1 in every 3 teens meets the medical criteria for addiction and 1 in every 70 teens will go to rehab. Coincidentally, the New York Times ran a piece on Sunday about teen use and abuse of the Adderall, an amphetamine prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  Teens routinely pop these pills to study late into the night, focus during tests and get better grades. It’s happening the most among highly competitive students.

Kristen reveals some interesting stats on rehab: Eighty percent of rehabilitated teenagers who return to a regular high school will relapse within 90 days.

Johnston said her discovery led her to found the nonprofit, SLAM (Sobriety, Learning and Motivation). “We’re really devoted to making New York City’s first sober high school.” There are 25 of these schools across the country, but New York is not one of them. At a recovery school, 70 percent of rehabilitated teens will graduate clean and sober.

Did you know the rate of substance abuse and addiction was this high in teens? Would you know the warning signs if you saw them in your teen?

School is out. Now, what to do with your teen?

I know school is out and summer is here and that is all fine and dandy however, for moms with teens it can only mean one thing.. how to keep your teen busy and out of trouble!

I have my teenager going to NY to visit her cousin and family for 2 weeks. I started doing this 2 years ago when she turned 13. My parents use to send me to NY to stay with my cousins and family and I LOVED it! I had so much fun. I would send her up for more time, but if you recall she is working now. Not many hours due to her age but still, a responsibility and opportunity for her to make $.

When your child becomes a teenager they no longer want to go to camp because they are too old for that but they can become CIT’s, Counselor’s in Training.

Your goal is to keep your teen busy so they can stay out of trouble right? How do you do that? By having them work, visit and stay with out-of-town family, go on family vacation, playing summer sports etc…

My daughter, just made the 16 and under travel soccer team which is a year round sport, so she will be practicing with her team over the summer. Again, your goal is to keep your teen busy so they stay out of trouble and you don’t have to worry where they are, what they are doing and who they are with.

If they do stay home, set rules and boundaries up front so  both you and your child are ok with summer expectations… (going to beach with friends, going to pool party, going to the lake, going over a friends house to “hang out” etc..). If you are prepared up front, it eliminates disagreements and miscommunication and also make for a better summer vacation for your teen and a less stress one for you!

I am curious, what are your teen’s plans for the summer? What is your strategy? What is your plan? Any words of wisdom or great ideas you want to share with the rest of us pull your hair out teen parents?

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2015 Raising Teens

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑