Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

Author: raisingteensblogger (Cindy) (page 2 of 21)

Should a Teen Sleep Over a Boyfriend’s or Girlfriend’s House?

Nearly two years ago I (Raquel) wrote a blog that surprised me as it resulted in the largest response I had ever had. The topic? Should teens that are dating be allowed to sleep at each other’s house and have a boyfriend/girlfriend teen sleepover? This blog post resulted in almost 150 comments, from parents and teens!

I honestly can say I did not expect such a huge response. But I was so happy to touch upon a subject that clearly needed to be talked about. I sure hope I helped some parents and teens with this difficult conversation. Given the high level of interest in this, I thought it was worthy of sharing a Top 10 list from the interesting feedback I received from teens and parents.

Original post from March 2014

Is it okay for boyfriend/girlfriend to sleep over at each other’s house?

My daughter recently went over to her boyfriend’s house last Saturday night to hang out like she has done in the past. I fell asleep and realized she wasn’t home and it was past her curfew. I looked on my phone and found messages from her saying she is sleeping over at her girlfriend’s house.  I am a bit upset over the fact she didn’t ask permission and I know she is lying!

I asked her why she didn’t ask me prior to now and she said she fell asleep. More lies. I decided I would let her stay over her “girlfriend’s” house knowing very well she is probably at her boyfriend’s. I knew arguing at this time of night wasn’t going to get me anywhere so I said we would talk about this in the morning when she comes home.

Next morning comes around and like I suspected she stayed at her boyfriend’s house! I was extremely upset because we had this discussion before and I am totally against it, as is her father. She tells me that she doesn’t understand what the big deal is? “Lots of parents let their kids stay at their boyfriend’s house.”

I said, “Well, it’s not okay with this parent.” She said my reasoning did not help her understand why it was wrong or inappropriate because she found nothing wrong with it. They weren’t doing anything and they are 17.

How do I talk to a teen rationally about this? I am spitting nails and fuming. My daughter would not let go of the fact that there is nothing wrong with the sleepover and that it’s not wrong.

So, I am asking… Am I wrong? Do you allow your teen to sleep over at their boyfriend/girlfriend’s homes? Have times changed THAT much? I need someone to please help me understand this or at least help me make my daughter understand.

I did explain to her that sometimes in life, just because we don’t think it’s not inappropriate or wrong, doesn’t mean it isn’t. There isn’t always a logical reason.

That same day my husband called my daughter’s boyfriend’s dad and told him that she was not allowed to sleep over and unless he hears it from us, don’t believe it is okay with us.

I mean, really? These teens nowadays have found a way to basically make everything a battle. Sleepover with boyfriends? Yay or Nay?

Top 10 Things I Learned After Reading Feedback on My Original Post:

  1. Talk with your child not TO your child. Sometimes simple conversations can go a long way with building a relationship with your teen.
  2. Listen to your child. You may not agree with what they say but give them a chance to talk to you if you want the same courtesy back.
  3. Be realistic. Teens of today are not the same from when we were teens so because you did not do it does not mean they should not. Don’t have expectations that your teen may not live up to.
  4. Do not judge.  You are not a bad person and you will not be punished if you allow your son or daughter to sleep over at their boyfriend/girlfriend’s house.
  5. Teens are not sleeping over their boyfriend/girlfriend’s house for sex. They can have sex anytime. They just want to be able to relax the way they cannot at home.
  6. Teens need to respect and trust parents first! Parents want what is best for their teen and that may be not letting them “play house” at 17 or 18. So, until you are an adult and get your own place, parent’s house…parents rules.
  7. Communicate  and compromise. Consider compromising with your teens so they do not have to lie and go behind your back. Better to know where your teens are and that they are safe than to not know.
  8. Do not try to control your teen. Teens hate to feel controlled. They just want to be able to have some freedom.
  9. Trust your teen. If you have taught them about right from wrong and good from bad, then trust that your teen will make smart choices and will be honest with you on not about just sleeping over at their boyfriend/girlfriend’s house, but on bigger issues.
  10. Teach your kids values and respect. That is more important than controlling them or allowing them to be a part of a sleep over.

Talking to Your Son About Teen Sex

I have been talking to my youngest son, Garret, about wearing condoms when he has sex since he was in third grade. I know it sounds crazy to start so young, but when he came home from the Transformer movie talking more about Megan Fox than the plot of the movie, I knew I had to have the teen sex talk early. Because I have an older son, I gave them both the “always wear condoms”  sex talk at the same time. I explained that even if the girl says she has protection, unless they want to be a dad or contract a disease, they better not be silly and always wrap their willy to be safe.  They laughed and called me a crazy mom.

Now that Garret is in high school, I am having a different conversation with him about teen sex. It’s a conversation about emotions, actions and consequences.   I want him to know that sex can be a healthy way of expressing love in a good relationship. I also want him to know sex is more than a heat-of-the-moment action. Although he’s only 15, Garret tells me he has friends who are having sex, sometimes in their own homes, and usually without their parents knowing.

Even as I repeat my “wrap your willy” talk with him, there’s something I have to worry about in addition to diseases or pregnancy as a result of unsafe sex.  As soon as my son turns 18, sex can become a crime if there is an female involved who is under 18.  Let’s say Garret  turns 18 and has sex with a girl who is a year younger than him. In Florida, it’s considered illegal, even if the sex is consensual. The age of consent can vary among states, and some states differentiate between consensual sex between minors who are close in age (for example, two teenagers of the same age), as opposed to sex between a minor and a much older adult. But states some don’t.

It’s a scary thought that my son could run into legal issues for having sex with another teen who he might think legitimately wants to “hook up.”  If the girl’s parents find out she had sex, and she decides to say my son forced her into it, the penalties for him include prison.  So, already I’m giving Garret the lecture about how things change when he turns 18 and how he needs to know the risks. I’m also thinking about the advantages of legal insurance. ARAG  (a partner of RaisingTeens) offers legal insurance that works a lot like health insurance (but way more affordable). You can use it if your teen falls victim to identity theft, pulls a dumb prank that gets him into legal trouble, gets a traffic ticket, or needs legal help of any sort like in the situation I described involving sex. When your teen turns 18, a lot changes in the eyes of the law, and legal insurance gives you peace of mind because a lawyer is always available to help you navigate through any issues that arise with any family member.   I completely understand why 90 percent of people with ARAG legal insurance feel it reduces their stress.

As a mother of a teen girl, I’m glad the law protects minors who are forced into sex. But as a parent of boys, I worry about the gray area around teen sex, consent and the law.  Parents, what are you saying to your teen boys about sex?  Do you think it’s unrealistic to tell boys to stay away from younger girls once they turn 18?

 

 

Is Your Teen Daughter Cutting Herself?

One day, my daughter came home from school and told me her friend had cut herself.  My reaction was “she did what?” My daughter explained that her friend is “going through some stuff” and she had been cutting her arm, just enough to cause pain but not enough to cause serious harm.  After that first time, she has mentioned many other friends who cut themselves, telling me about it like it’s no big deal.

This self-harm trend is huge and most parents don’t even know it’s happening.

Growing up, I can’t remember ever considering cutting myself, nor do I remember hearing anyone else consider it. But today, cutting is a way some teens are coping with strong emotions, intense pressure, or relationship problems.  It’s a way for a teen to  let out what she is feeling inside. According to NDTV, self-harm is not a fashion fad, nor is it suicidal behavior. It is merely a coping mechanism and one in 12 teens have tried it

Where do teens learn about this? Believe it or not, there are dozens of YouTube “how to” cutting videos. 

The triggers are pretty much the same ones that have always caused teens trouble:

  • Depression,
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Complicated relationships
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Stress and emotional burden

Today, the first of March is marked as Self-Injury Awareness Day. An orange ribbon is commonly associated with this campaign.

 

 

 

 

If you’re a parent who has seen signs that your teen is self injuring, this book could be a resource for you,   A Caregiver’s Guide to Self-injury.  So could these fact sheets with dos and don’ts for approaching your teen about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you suspect your teen has inflicted self-injury — bruises, scratches, cuts– it’s a great opportunity to have a conversation about it. This is definitely not a rare phenomenon so if you’re suspicious, use today to do something about it. You can follow the conversation on Twitter at #SIAD.

This is a powerful video made by a teen who talks about her personal experience with cutting

When Your Teens’ Friends Start Driving

I will never forget the day my son Jake’s friend pulled into the driveway an hour after she got her driver’s license. She already had two other kids in the car and wanted him to go for a ride. When I told him no way, he was furious with me. It was the start of months of negotiation with Jake over driving rules and arguments that lasted beyond the day he got his own license.

Slowly, I have eased into the idea of my teens driving with other teens. Not because I want to, but because I have had to give in to keep myself sane.

Now, here I am again with my younger son starting the negotiations again. Garret is six months away from being eligible to get his license, but his friends have started to get theirs. To me there’s is nothing scarier than letting your teen drive with a new driver! There are so many distracted drivers on the roads today, which makes lack of experience even more worrisome.

One of my friends doesn’t let her daughter drive with anyone who hasn’t had his or her license for a month. She also has told her daughter she is not allowed to take any passengers in her car for a month after she gets her license. I agree with my friend that it is definitely easier for a new driver to concentrate without passengers in the car.

For me, enforcing a rule like that is hard.  If I tell my Garret he can’t drive with friends, he will get left out. Last weekend, some of my son’s friends went to the beach together. One of the boys, who has had his license a month was going to drive.  I wanted to drive him myself to the beach.  However, he told me I was making him look like a baby and he would rather stay home than have me drive him separately. I gave in, said my prayers, and breathed relief when he got home. My son told me a mom of one of the other boys who went with them tracked her son on his phone the whole time and called to question him when they stopped at the mall after the beach.

So far, I don’t have any set rules with Garret, nor have I felt the need to track my son when he is out with friends. I have let Garret drive with a friend who I feel is responsible, and I have said no to driving with one who gets easily distracted. In the meantime, I am preparing myself for the day he gets his license and the independence and the inevitable parental worries that goes with it.

So parents, am I too lenient to let my son drive with new drivers? How have you handled your teen being a passenger in a car with a teen driver? Do you have any rules?

A Teen’s Perspective: What Your Teen Is Doing On Social Media

Today, fellow parents, we are extremely fortunate. A teen is going to give us some insight into how  we can keep up with our teens on social media. She has lots of great suggestions for  how to help  your kids with problems they  may encounter online.

Let me introduce you to Lauren Ofman. If you have questions or comments for Lauren, please weigh in below!

Lauren Ofman is a high school student in California who loves spending time with her family, learning sign language, and helping teens and parents communicate! She blogs about her perspective and answers requests for advice at, http://ateensperspectiveblog.weebly.com/.

I’m a junior in high school, so I can tell you one thing for sure – your teen’s phone and computer are essential to his or her life. For school, social life, and sometimes even breathing, I need my phone and my computer.

It’s not surprising that it’s difficult for most parents to understand the role technology plays in almost everything their kids do. For most teenagers that I know, interactions with online content and social media are complex, inescapable, and require constant management in order to protect or maintain an image- even if your goal is to not have an image.

I’m a big fan of the 90s and even the 80s a little. My understanding of high school for the generations before mine is derived mostly from movies and stories I hear from my parents. In my admittedly limited view, it seems to me that not much has changed. The struggles of a teenager in high school today are still basically the same as they were decades ago. We’re all still very concerned about our image and the way we’re perceived by others.

The big difference is that, in today’s world, many of us, whether we admit it or not, are managing two separate personas. Yes, you read that right; we’re leading double lives. There’s our IRL (“in real life”) persona, which everyone has and does their best to maintain, but, for most teenagers today, there also exists a funnier, sexier, wittier, and even more daring alter ego. And it’s this second persona that’s in charge of making sure that, no matter what, the Instagram and Snapchat content coming out of the camp is sensational, sexy, and stage ready.

The priorities of the alter ego and the IRL persona are sometimes different and the two are rarely on the same page. This is usually okay, since for the most part the IRL persona makes rational decisions and is ultimately the one in charge. Trouble arises when the alter ego takes over and clouds the judgment. When this happens the Instagram and Snapchat posts get racier or otherwise worse in judgement while at the same time the social circle expands beyond friends to include more random, anonymous internet alter egos with bad intentions. It’s at this point that your teenager is most likely to encounter issues like cyberbullying and blackmail.

Here’s what to watch for:

New Followers: As a parent you should have the Instagram and Snapchat apps on your phone and learn to use them. You should also do your best to know your teen’s Instagram and Snapchat handles. For Instagram and Snapchat, even if the account is private, you can see the number of followers your teen has. A few of my friends with dominant alter egos have multiple Instagram and Snapchat accounts, so this may take some digging. Once you find the account(s), keep an eye on the number of people following that page. If you notice more than 5,000 followers and the account is private, this could be a sign that the alter ego is in command. Also, if you notice a large and sudden uptick in followers, this would be a point of concern.  I suggest that even though you’re keeping an eye out, you focus on protecting against real danger, not policing every move your teen makes and trying to be too controlling. A post that makes you roll your eyes, has typos, sounds dumb to you, or uses slightly off-color language? Let them be.

 

Cyberbullying: According to Antibullyingpro.com, 7 in 10 people aged between 13 and 22 have been a victim of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying has become one of the most frequent types of bullying in society today. It’s happened at my school. It’s even occurred within my social circle.

For many alter egos, the feeling that they can say what they want anonymously or without the pressure of speaking face-to-face is too strong to resist; however, cyberbullying is a very serious offense. It comes in many forms: texting, sending incriminating pictures, or even sharing confidential information can all be examples of cyberbullying.

The best way for your teen to avoid cyberbullying is to limit your teen’s followers and social media friends to those they actually know in real life. In my experience, cyberbullying usually doesn’t come from someone you’re going to see at school or camp the next day. It’s almost always some random troll from the internet. I only accept friend requests or approve followers from people I know.

You might let your teen know that cyberbullying is a crime and that if it happens to them, you are happy to help. They will roll their eyes, but if things get bad, they might remember they can come to you.

Blackmail: Limiting social media interactions to people your teen knows  also helps limit opportunities for blackmail. All of the blackmail I’ve heard about, however, has taken place when a relationship ends badly. Relationships in high school are by nature shaky and uncertain and always have the potential to end badly, so that means lots of us are at risk of being blackmailed.

Whenever I send a photo or video, I assume it’s going to go public, and if I’m not comfortable with my grandmother seeing it, I simply don’t send it. My recommendation to you is simple; tell your kids to assume that everything they send out will be seen by everyone they know, including their grandmother.

But also make sure your teen knows that if someone is blackmailing them with a text or photo, there are legal actions he or she can take, and you’re able to help them if they get in a tough situation. The idea that an indecent picture of you may be on everyone’s phone within the hour can be terrifying for a teen (or anyone).  So, it’s good that they know ahead of time to come to you immediately for help if the situation arises, and that you’ll help them without being angry.

They should also know, if they’re under 18, that sending risque photos of themselves, even to a friend or boyfriend, could land them in legal trouble. It’s pretty common for teens to send photos to their boyfriends and girlfriends, and although you may not want to think about it, you should be sure your teen understands that it could end in not only embarrassment, but legal trouble.

Most people I know who’ve been embarrassed by a photo getting shared trusted the person they sent it to, and thought “He would never do that!” Your teen will probably think the same. So instead of focusing on what that significant other might do if they break up, point out that accounts get hacked all the time, phones get lost, laptops get stolen, and all sorts of unpredictable things happen. Those scenarios may be easier for your teen to think about happening to them.

TALK TO YOUR TEEN! These are just some suggestions, but overall the important thing is to start a dialogue with your teens and share information without attacking or accusing them. You should also always be on the lookout for signs that the alter ego has taken over.

When mom tells her teen daughter she is fat

 

I am at Starbuck’s and I’m eavesdropping. I hate to admit that I would do such a thing,  but I just can’t help it. The teens sitting at the table next to me are talking loud and the conversation has lured me in.  “I love your mom,” one of the teenage girls says to the other. “She’s so cool.”  Now, instead of taking the compliment, the other girl replies, “Oh yeah, well this morning my mom told me I was fat.”

I listen as she explains further.  The girl continues on. “My mom asked me to go to the gym with her in the mornings before school. Can you believe that?”  “Really?” asks her friend, sounding horrified. “Yeah, of course I’m not going to go. I don’t have time for that,” she says.

I glance over and from where I was sitting it looks like the young teen girl is  average weight. Sure, the Frappuccino she is drinking isn’t doing anything to trim her waistline, but she by no means seemed overweight. As I sat there taking it all in, I realized that what I did not hear in the conversation was any mention that the girl’s mother had actually said her daughter was fat. She merely invited her to go with her to the gym.

As a mother of a teen daughter, I have learned discussing body issues is dangerous.  Teen girls are super sensitive about their bodies and bringing up the topic of weight is tricky. This girl apparently read more in her mother’s invitation to join her at the gym — whether or not the mother intended it that way. Unfortunately, I could relate. One day I suggested my daughter eat something other than the cupcake she was about to put in her mouth. My comment sparked tears and she insisted I called her fat. I tried to convince her I was just trying to teach her about making healthier eating choices.

As a society, we’ve gotten a little better about expecting females to be stick thin throughout their lives. But for teen girls, carrying extra weight can be difficult mentally and physically. It’s something many mothers worry about. So how exactly do you as a parent handle it when you see your daughter packing on pounds?  Do you say something and risk that she will rebel? Do you couch it in a caring way and avoid the word fat? Do you ignore it completely?

And, what do you do when your daughter says, “I hate my fat thighs?” Is there any right answer?

I have found a well-meaning conversation that’s just about weight or dieting, especially in the heat of the moment, can backfire.  Instead, I noticed conversations go more smoothly when you plan out what you’ll say before you say it, so you don’t cause your daughter to get defensive or worse, develop an eating disorder.   What has worked for me is to talk with my daughter about healthful eating, and how to balance that with exercise.

Lots of teen girls are just figuring out moderation and  what “eating healthy” really means. My friend’s daughter gained a good bit of weight her freshman year of college. My friend was upset and wondered if she should say something. She worried that speaking up would hurt their relationship.  But then, on her own, my friend’s daughter realized that eating late at night can make you put on weight and that skipping breakfast made her ravenous at lunchtime.  She began eating healthier and lost the weight. My friend felt  her daughter needed to figure it out herself and the approach worked. But it doesn’t always play out that way.

As a parent, none of this is easy.  I have found it helps, though, when you make your teen daughter well aware of your unconditional love. Have you ever talked to your teen daughter about her weight? Why do you think so many teen girls walk around saying, “My mother thinks I fat?”

 

Teens don’t want their parents on social media

Is your teen on Houseparty?

 

Driving some teens to the beach last week, I listened in on a conversation going on in the back seat about a new social media platform called Houseparty.  My son, Garret, and his friends were talking about some girls whose “houseparty” they had joined. One kid was saying that he sneaked into the houseparty without everyone realizing it.  I was intrigued. Here’s the description of  Houseparty, a group video chat app: Welcome to the House, where the Party is always on. When you and your friends are in the app at the same time, you’ll see each other instantly.

Last night, I told my friend with two teen daughters about Houseparty. I told her it was likely her daughters were on it at that very moment. She immediately downloaded the app and discovered that sure enough they were on it and taking part in a houseparty on their cellphones. In a houseparty, you can see other people on your screen who are at the party, you may  or may not know everyone because a friend of a friend could be on. My son and his friends say it’s a great way to meet people.  Anyway, when my friend’s daughters discovered their mom had joined Houseparty, they weren’t happy. Not at all. One of them started begging for her mom to delete it immediately.

The whole situation got me thinking about teens and social media. I remember doing things as a teen that I didn’t want my mom to know about or participate in.   Maybe we should give our teens leeway to do the same. Or should we?

Facebook, started by college kids, was cool until parents joined. So teens migrated to Instagram. As soon as we got on Instagram, they moved to Snapchat. When I joined Snapchat, my teens weren’t happy about it. Very few of their friends accepted my friend request. (Maybe it’s creepy for a parent to friend their teen’s friend?) My two  teens told me even if their friends accepted my request, I shouldn’t look at their Snapchat stories. (I still peek) But when my two older teens traveled this winter break, it was their postings on Snapchat that allowed me to keep up with them and know they were safe.

Recently, I noticed that my son, Garret, and his friends are on Instagram Live. It’s a new feature.  It worries me that going live and letting people comment on what you are doing and saying might make it easier to bully kids, intentionally or unintentionally. Unfortunately, so much of our teens’ self esteem revolves around what happens on social media — their likes, comments, acceptance into groups. It just feels like parents should be aware of what our kids are doing so we can have conversations that guide their online behavior.

As a parent of a teen, I want to keep up  and make sure my kids  don’t get into any trouble online. But this is difficult territory to navigate.  It’s pretty clear to me by now that as a parent, I will never be able to keep up with everything my teens are doing on social media. I’m just not as digitally savvy.  The question is…how hard should I try to keep up?  Do our teens deserve the privacy we had without our parents hovering? Or is it different with social media?

Some friends of mine take a completely hands off approach. Others, stalk their kids as much as possible on social media. For now, I decided to stay off Houseparty and give my son his privacy. He has convinced me that joining will make me look like a creeper. But I have reserved the right to  join later if the conversation in the back seat of my car leads me in that direction.

So parents, how do you handle monitoring your teen on social media?

 

 

Helping your teen through exam stress

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It’s 10 p.m. at night and you know what’s about to happen. You sense that the mood is about to shift in your home.  Your teenage daughter is stressed about end of semester exams and a melt down is just minutes away.  Yep, here it comes…the tears, the drama, the no-win effort to calm her down.  Are you ready to pull your hair out yet and long for the days of diapers?

It may be years since I graduated high school, but as a parent of a teen, exam hell is far from over! When my teen is suffering, I must suffer, too.

With three children,  I have experienced both extremes of exam hell. You may have as well. Either you have the kid who doesn’t seem one bit concerned about the gravity of mid-term exams (but needs to be), or you have the teen who takes it so seriously that you actually start to worry. This is when parenting gets difficult.

How do you make a teen more concerned about his grades? How do you calm a teen who is so stressed she can’t sleep?

Here is what experts say we are not supposed to do:

  1. Say things like:  “Shouldn’t you be studying?” or “You are getting way too crazy about exams!”
  2. Interfere with how they study.  I know it’s hard to hold back but we’re not supposed to say, “How can you think with that music blasting?”  (This one is going to be hard for me!) Apparently, some teens can study better with music or the TV on in the background.
  3.  Nag them about what they are doing instead of studying.
  4.  Bribe them with money to study
  5. Fight with them about their cell phone use. (This one is super hard for me. I hate when my son studies with his phone by his side. )
  6. Tell them to stop stressing  (This has the opposite effect!)

 

Here is what we are supposed to do:

  1. Be lenient about chores, messy rooms and untidiness as much as possible.
  2.  Give them a break and understand lost tempers and moodiness
  3.  Encourage them to work hard for their own satisfaction, not just for the grade
  4.  Schedule small  rewards for the effort they are putting in or suggest a special evening out as a treat to look forward to when exams are over.
  5.  Encourage them to put a single exam into perspective. The world is not going to end.
  6. Discourage cheating
  7. Encourage them to find some outlet to de-stress. (Maybe offer to talk a walk with your teen after a solid hour of studying?)

 

So if exam pressure is building in your household and a meltdown is moments away, give your teen a reassuring hug and try not to say much.  Know that teenagers are programmed to overreact and rant to their parents. Take it from a mom who has been there…there is no easy way to navigate exam season. But then again, there is no easy way to parent a teen!

 

What to say to your teenage daughter after the election

I woke up this morning thinking about what I wanted to say to my teenage daughter about the future.  At first, it felt like an overwhelming task. I saw a clip on television of a woman at the Hillary Clinton reception. The woman looked up and said to the camera: “The glass ceiling is there and it’s fully in tact.”

Clearly, as a mother, that’s not the message I want my teenage daughter to take away from this election.

I also do not want her to take away the message that degrading women is okay or that walking around in shirts that say “Trump that Bitch” is acceptable behavior. I want to my daughter to believe that there is a level of respect for women in the United States and that young women today have every opportunity to achieve whatever they set out to do. I want young women to believe that their husbands, fathers, brothers and male friends are okay with women having power in the workplace and in the political arena.

My daughter watched the campaign results in her sorority house, surrounded by young women who had voted for their first time. This morning, I told my daughter I was proud of each and every young woman who voted. As a child, my mother hammered in the message that women worked hard to get the right to vote and I must never let them down by failing to exercise my right. It’s the same message I have repeated to my daughter.

As a journalist, I have been writing about women in business for two decades. I have seen firsthand how difficult some of their journeys have been to achieve success in their fields. But I see progress.

This morning, I encouraged my daughter to be proud of how far women have come and to realize that having a female presidential candidate is an accomplishment. I told her that young women today need to educate themselves about politics, business and social issues. They need to know who and what they are voting for and why. They need to demand respect at work and in the world and refuse to accept anything less.

I am encouraged by the reaction of a young woman at Wesley College who said this morning: “Today, we put on our pantsuits and fight on!”

Yes, young women, we need you to fight on!

Over the years, I have seen that the success of women is the success of families. I have seen that when women break the glass ceilings in their fields, they achieve feats that better all of mankind.

There are two things that Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech that I wanted my daughter to hear:

 

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“To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me: I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion. Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will — and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.”

Then, Clinton went on to say something equally as encouraging to the next generation of female leaders:

“To all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

So parents, talk to your daughters today about what the future holds for them. Give them the encouragement to dream big and to understand that achieving high goals may come with obstacles but navigating them is part of life.  Show them examples of women who are admirable and encourage them to address disrespect. Most important, let them know there is a lot of work to be done and I’m hopeful that there are many young women who are smart, self confident and enthusiastic enough to make positive change for years to come.

 

 

When an Instagram post makes your teen feel excluded

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The morning after Halloween, my friend’s daughter woke up and checked Instagram (part of most teens morning routine).   She saw in a post that three of her friends had gone trick-or-treating together and didn’t invite her — and freaked.  She told her mother that her feelings were hurt.

As a parent of a teen girl, I could SO relate!

Being excluded from social events has always been rough on kids. For decades, groups of friends have been getting together, inviting this one or that one, and someone inevitably gets left out.  But tweens and teens today are much more likely to find out about what they are missing because EVERYTHING is posted online in real time.

 

A few years ago, I went through a similar experience with my daughter. She found out from a Facebook post that some of her good friends had gone to the beach and she wasn’t included.  She was sad and disappointed that she was left out.  As a parent, it was upsetting to me, too.

Unfortunately,  during their teens years, our kids are struggling with confidence and self esteem and friendships and relationships. Being excluded from one event can easily seem like a BIG deal.

I feel like most kids aren’t posting with the intent to make others feel bad. They’re just trying to be cool or share pics of themselves having fun.

When my daughter experienced this type of exclusion, I told her:  “You’re just not going to be included in every get together and you have to be okay with that.”  I also told her she may be the one who accidentally excludes a friend one day and she needs to be careful about what she posts and mindful of how it could hurt someone’s feelings.

My teenage son says handles it differently when he sees on Instagram that he has been left out when friends get together: “If I really want to hang out with them, I ask them if I can hang out with them next time, or I take the initiative to be the one to make the plans.”

Of course, there’s a big difference between posting group pics or party photos in which someone is excluded by accident — and posting the photos on purpose to taunt someone.  That’s where some parental intervention may need to come in.

We all know that teens aren’t going to stop sharing their “hanging out with my friends” pics any time soon. But encouraging your teen to think about the potential for who may see the pictures before posting can go a long way toward avoiding hurt feelings.

Has this happened to your teen? How as a parent did you handle it?

 

 

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