Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

Author: mominthesprings (page 1 of 7)

Social Media: Deathtrap for teens?

I recently reviewed a book  called The Boss of Me…is Me and was impressed, horrified, scared out of my wits and grateful  to the authors all at the same time.  The authors  have written an eye-opening book about  how social media can  lure teens into some scary and awful life-altering situations. They  give some  edgy scenarios as real-life examples.  One of the most shocking was about a young teen who had befriended an 18-year-old on Facebook, slipped unnoticed from her home to meet him, and walked into her death trap. As I was reading the book, all I kept thinking was how I could so see this happening.

The  book is filled with tips and intended to  empower teens with the life skills they need to be the boss of their own thoughts, attitudes and actions.    The authors address a variety of relevant issues including suicide, shoplifting, child molestation and runaways.   The book is designed to equip teens to think and act quickly to avoid going down a path that ends in death, prison and suicide. It  basically helps prevent teens from becoming  a victim and  a statistic. As a mom of two teens, these scenarios scare the heck out of me and infuriate me at the same time! I am still shaking my head that these threats to our teens are  really happening in our society, but I shouldn’t be.

I like that this guidebook helps teach teens that there is always a way out of these awful situations they get themselves into, often because of their social media activities. The guidebook is in a notebook form so teens can write in it and basically have a lifetime of references when completed! The notebook does not come in a digital format because the authors wanted to ensure parental supervision however, the guidebook is in digital format. The guidebook empowers parents to facilitate and engage in conversations with their teen and that’s what is most important!  Without the parents being a facilitator, your teen wouldn’t learn or grasp the true meaning and value of the message(s) the authors are trying to convey.

Parents, because you haven’t physically seen or been exposed to this DOES NOT MEAN it’s not happening or could not happen to you and your kids. Your child could be a victim!  No one is immune. Educate, be aware and talk to you kids. Better yet,  BUY them this book so they can learn first hand about the crimes that are happening to teens.

As a parent, I encourage you to  have them read it! Get the electronic version since you know teens prefer technology to actual books. I hope this books builds awareness but most importantly, saves lives.

Here is a link if you wish to purchase The Boss of Me…is ME ! It is also available at www.cablepublishing.com, Amazon, and all major bookstores. (25% of all proceeds will be donated to The Youth Connection in Detroit, MI.)

By the way, the authors’ backgrounds are impressive:  June Werdlow Rogers  is a retired federal agent with a PhD in criminology,  Rayfield Rogers Jr  is a retired district chief of security for a school district in Michigan,  Grenae´ Dudley PhD is CEO of a youth center.

Parents if you have encountered scary scenarios with your teen as a result of social media, or know someone who can relate, please share your stories.

13 going on 30

My sweet cousin, Isabelle turned 13 today and she is so excited to be officially a TEENAGER!I remember when I would visit her in  New York and go ice skating with her and hold her hand so she wouldn’t fall. This sweet, young, innocent young girl will now be entering the world of a teen. Does she even know what’s ahead  for her? Does she realize she will be changing without realizing it? When I visited with her  last month, I told her that I would write a blog about her turning 13.

So Isabelle, honey  here are my top 13  tips for  turning 13:

  1.  Periods. If you haven’t already, you soon will be getting your period. It may be a rite of passage for womanhood, but it is not all that it is cracked up to be. Monthly cramps, bloating  and mood swings are not fun. My advice: stay in bed and watch TV.
  2. Acne. Along with your monthly “mensi” comes acne.  My advice:  Don’t fight it. Just wash your face real well and  put anti-acne medication on until it goes away. Do not pick at your pimples or face! You will regret it later if you scar.
  3. Makeup.  Most 13 year olds like to wear makeup and try to look older. My advice:  Stay away from makeup until you really need it. You have beautiful young skin.  Enjoy it without makeup while you can. Now you can put on some nice lip gloss, or a little mascara now and then for a special occasion.
  4. Boys. If you haven’t already, you soon will start taking an interest in boys. My advice: Stay away from them and enjoy hanging with your girlfriends. Boys will come and go but your girlfriends will always be there.
  5. Dancing. This is the time when teens start to learn how to bump and grind and try to act cool dancing. My advice: Don’t. Bumping and grinding make you look silly and inappropriate.
  6. Dating. Some 13-year-old girls may want to go to the movies or a dance with a boy. My advice: Go as a group with your friends. Meet at the movie theater or the dance and just have fun. You are too young to date! Trust me, enjoy being carefree and young.
  7. Boobies. Yep, that’s right.. the tatas! You will be getting them and wearing a bra.  You probably already are wearing one. My advice: Embrace it, don’t advertise it! No need to show the whole world what ya got!
  8. Clothes. Now that you are a teen, your body will be changing and you will be growing and exploring new clothes and new styles. This is your time to figure out who you are and what makes you feel pretty. My advice: Don’t go crazy spending a lot on clothes because you will be outgrowing them sooner than you think.
  9. Parents. As much as you think your parents are a nag, annoying, a pain, mean, not fair, etc.., your parents are looking out for what is best for you. My advice: Listen to them.  It’s okay to disagree. You are entitled  to your opinion, but be smart enough to realize they are protecting you and trying to keep you safe and happy.
  10. Mean girls.  There are girls that are nice to you to your face, but behind your back are saying bad things and doing bad things. My advice: They won’t ever change  so stay away from them. They grow up to be mean women.  They are not your friends even if they act and say they are. You will know who your true friends are. Trust your gut. It’s usually right.
  11. Social Media. Teens  use this a measurement of popularity and some just can’t live without it.  My advice: Be careful  and limit what you say and do on it.  There are cyber bullies so be very careful what you post and who you “friend”.
  12. Peer Pressure. Becoming a teen makes you want to fit in and be liked and that comes along with social pressure.  My advice: Be yourself. Don’t let other people pressure you into doing or saying something you don’t feel comfortable with. Again, if they do, these kids are not your “friends”.
  13. Respect. ( my biggest tip! ) You may think you know it all and adults don’t understand, but they do. My advice: Always always respect your parents, family, teachers, adults etc.   You are entitled to get upset, be in a mood, say things you don’t mean, but you are not entitled to be disrespectful.

There is a movie  called “13 going on 30.” I think you should watch it, Isabelle, and see that growing up and being an adult is not easy. It is more fun to be a teen and be young and carefree.

So Isabelle,  I hope you will take my 13 tips and  gain the wisdom  to know  how to survive your teenage years! Time goes by fast, so savor every day and every moment.

Now parents  of teenagers, I would love to know what tips you have for Isabelle as she becomes  a teenager.

Why teens are taking prescription medicine

I am sharing with our readers an article that was published  in my son, Matthew’s high school newspaper,  The Eagle Eye.

I was shocked but then again I wasn’t when I read this well-written article about prescription medicati by a junior at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High in Coral Springs, Florida. I am very familiar with Adderall because my daughter Olivia is on it for her ADD. I recall reminding her to take it every day and cautioned her about the side effects that came with taking it. I told her she would have loss of appetite and it would keep her up all night.  I also recall reminding her  that selling her prescription pills is a felony and told her not to ever even think of doing so, even if someone asks to buy one from her.  She was well aware of that risk and assured me she would never sell her pills and jeopardize her future. But, what is sad is that kids feel the need to use this ADD/ADHD medicine to help them get through all their school workload. Some teens are so desperate they illegally want to buy it off their friends. Parents, this is awful! This is a cry for help! These kids have no other alternative? Really?  Clearly, this medicine helps many teens succeed and do well, but at what expense?

Are the schools or teachers even aware that so many teens feel a need to take this medicine to stay awake and focused? If not, teachers need to wake up. Maybe our high schools should have classes for teens on how to handle stress or school workload. I am very worried about our teens’ stress levels. Some turn to prescription drugs,  some become depressed — and some do even the unthinkable, commit suicide.  We as parents need to do what we can to help our teens handle their stress levels, even if that means talking with their teachers.  My heart goes out to these teens who feel they have no other alternatives  to handle their stress other than medication or suicide.

Adderall is physically and psychologically addicting, and has long-term side effects.  What about the legal ramifications if your teen gets caught taking it without a prescription? You can kiss your teen’s future goodbye because now they are in a heap of legal trouble.  Now, as a preventative or if your teen does get into legal trouble, I would highly recommend you reach out to ARAG, a national company that offers legal insurance to families.   I wish I knew about legal insurance  years ago, but I know about it now and I am very passionate about paying it forward and helping  other parents become aware of this resources they could tap  in case of an emergency.  There are so many things to worry about as a parent of a teen and  ARAG  (a sponsor of RaisingTeens) could be an important resource because having legal insurance can save you money  and peace of mind when it comes to your teen’s future.

So, parents, please read this article because your teen can have all the right intentions as to why he/she is taking  Adderall, but not realize there are physical and legal consequences for abusing it, and selling or sharing their medicine.

Students abuse pharmaceuticals to maximize efficiency for schoolwork

Teen Trouble With The Law

When I was a teen, the only encounter I had with the law was either getting a speeding ticket or getting in a minor accident when I rear ended someone during spring break in Ft. Lauderdale.

Nowadays, teen trouble with the law happens more than parents care to admit. Teens of course are still speeding, or distracted driving and getting into accidents. However,  it seems like the severity of their accidents are worse. Some young teens will steal their parent’s car without having a license,  end up getting into an accident because of their joy ride and total the car.  When that happens,  parents often are left with fixing or replacing the vehicle, not to mention a possible arrest and ticket for driving without a license.

Parents of course do not want this on their teen’s record because this isn’t just a normal moving violation, this is breaking the law. This will require an attorney to ensure your teen does not carry a record with him all his life.

Most parents don’t have a criminal attorney on speed dial. I know from my personal experience, I had no clue who to turn to when faced with a similar situation. I ended up asking a police officer friend for a lawyer referral.  I was lucky and that lawyer turned out to be fantastic. The experience changed my life and my daughter Olivia’s. The legal process and potential consequences without proper legal representation was scary.

I remember talking with the attorney and hoping everything would turnout okay. This was all new to me. I was concerned, yet I had to be strong for my daughter whom I wanted to strangle for putting me through this.

Going to court with her the day of her hearing, I was sick to my stomach and fearing the worst. Fortunately for her, the judge ordered her do community service hours and instructed her that she had to maintain  a 3.0 GPA. If she did all she was ordered  within the period he gave us, he would expunge this from her record. Relief came over me and I was grateful to have a great attorney who was experienced with cases like this.

I want to  encourage parents who are raising teens — or will be in the near future – to be aware and prepared for what may come and make sure they have access to the right resources. Even responsible teens can mess up.

I recently learned about ARAG, a national company that offers legal insurance to families and who is also a sponsor for Raising Teens blog. Legal insurance plans protect consumers and their families against life’s legal issues, by giving you access to a nationwide network of attorneys and  legal resources. I wish I knew about legal insurance when I went through my daughter’s legal issues. I was fortunate to have had a great attorney but some people are not as lucky. ARAG offers help and resources that could be beneficial to families with teens. I highly recommend you check them out because having legal insurance would have saved me money and peace of mind.

A parent cannot predict what their teen will do – drive drunk, use a fake ID, get caught with weed –  but when they do, you will be prepared.

Raising a teen is not easy in today’s world, we need all the help we can get from each other, and outside resources to ensure we raise our teens safely and with proper morals.

I am curious to hear of any teen vs the law stories you may have had and how your experience turned out?

Tips on how to take a teen approved picture with an iPhone.

I don’t know about you but I cringe when my daughter Olivia asks me to take a picture of her alone or with her girlfriends.  I cringe because if the picture is not PERFECT, it’s my fault.   I get anxiety when I take a photo because I know she will get frustrated with me and have no patience  with my picture taking skills or so-called lack of skills.

So, according to my daughter here are some tips to take a good photo of a teen with an iPhone:

  1. Make sure there is proper lighting! This is key! Have your teen check for lighting by taking a practice  photo to make sure the picture looks good in the light.
  2. You have to focus on the faces and hit the box  that is on your faces to focus. God help you if you don’t do that!
  3. Then, immediately after you do that, you click the camera button to take the picture. This has to be timed precisely right or the picture will come out dark or blurry and you will have to deal with a bad picture and the wrath of a teen.
  4. Be patient because you will not be taking 1 or 2 photos, try  5-6 and they will all be different poses. Be prepared to help come up with different poses if necessary.
  5. Their  phone will always be better than your phone to take pictures. Period.  End of story.

In addition to the above tips from Olivia, here are my tips to survive this task:

  1. Ask if you don’t know  what to do but, be prepared to have  a huge sigh and “OMG mom, you are so annoying”.
  2. Do exactly as your teen instructs. 
  3. Practice makes perfect, You will get it after the 6th time!
  4. Have a sibling – your other son or daughter –  take the picture! They  would do a better job than you.
  5. Compliment the picture always. Teens need that reassurance or you will be taking  pictures of them forever!

There needs to be a section in the Apple store for parents with teens to learn how to take the proper teen approved picture with an iPhone. I know I would attend!

Please share your photo taking memories of your teen or any insights or photo taking skills you may have. It could save a mom or dad!

What is it with the lack of respect among teen boys?

I am sure many of you moms have teen girls who have had or still have boyfriends. Like any mom, you want your daughter to be respected.

I am finding more  teen boys have no filter, and no respect when it comes to their girlfriends.  Recently, my daughter Olivia sent me a text from a girlfriend whose ex- boyfriend felt the need to call her a “trashy whore” among many other things. I looked at Olivia and said, “How on God’s green earth could your friend allow ANYONE to treat her or talk/text her like that,  particularly her boyfriend!” I told Olivia that she should be respected, not only by her friends,  but especially a boyfriend who “loves her.”  I  said to my daughter,  “Olivia,  it is disgusting that a boy would text your friend such disrespectful things and think it’s OK. I would love to know if he talks to his mother like that.”

The sad thing is, it is not the first time this boy has done this. I have seen previous texts from the boy to Olivia’s friend. I know if it was  my son Matthew who did it, I would be ashamed. I wonder if that boy’s mother knows  what her son texted to  his ex-girlfriend.  Are these boys not taught about respecting  girls and women?

Olivia knows I can not and will not stand for disrespect at all  and she should not either.

When I was dating my husband, never in a million years, even when we fought, did he ever ever call me names especially awful, disrespectful ones like the one Olivia’s girlfriend’s ex did.

So, for all those moms out there with teen girls and boys I would like to request the following:

Teen moms/dads with teenage girls:

  1. Make sure you  talk to your daughter about respect a1eb02545d42e076568b6c1d861d4a04bnd  being respected.
  2. Inappropriate  and foul language is unacceptable period —  end of story.
  3.  Value yourself, have some self-respect.  People can’t respect you if you don’t respect yourself.
  4. Any boy who disrespects your daughter does not need to be in her life.
  5. Talking is better than texting to resolve issues with your boyfriend.

 

 

 

Teen moms/dads with teenage boys:

  1. Make sure you  have the same talk with your son abo31f7eaad7d0505a3bf82eff061553468ut respect and being respected.
  2. Talk to him about how texting foul language to a girl — or anyone — is not right (and can be forwarded).
  3. Tell your son his  actions will define his character.
  4. Explain why he should want to be respected and how it will prevent him from  being alone in life.
  5. Remind him that talking is better than texting  to  resolve issues.

I have a 15-year-old son Matthew, and trust me I have this talk with him about respecting others and how I will not stand for disrespectful actions or language.

So moms and dads, what are your thoughts? Has your daughter been disrespected? If so, what did you do or say???

 

Should teens get a job?

cashier-jobs

 

Olivia got her first job  at 14 as a  bag person at Publix Supermarket. She could only work 10 hours a week, but she was excited to be working and making some money for herself. As years went by, she gained more hours and loved working with friends and making new ones.

Where we live Publix is the grocery store a lot of teens get their first job because management is so flexible with the hours and extremely considerate of students’ school and family commitments.

When Olivia turned 18, she became a cashier and could work a lot more hours  since she was an adult.  She was thrilled when they gave her a raise and  she was allowed to participate in their 401k.

Working at Publix  taught Olivia about customer service, working with difficult people, managing conflict and resolving it. It was such a great way for her to get a taste of working in the real world and learn about responsibility and accountability.

Working also allowed her to pay for things that she wanted that were not a necessity and more of a luxury, such as manicures, hair color change,  new shoes and clothes.

When Olivia went off to college this year, her dad and I told her we didn’t want her working but focusing on college so she could graduate on time in four years.  At home she had worked for five years and now her workload was about to get harder. We wanted her to focus on school, but said over  Christmas break and summer break, she could work at Publix to make some money.

I have to admit, initially one of the reasons we wanted Olivia to get a job was to keep her busy and out of trouble during her high school years. Well, that clearly didn’t work because she still found time to get herself in trouble.

Now, my son Matthew is another story. He is 15 and we have tried to get him a job at the same Publix Olivia had worked as a bagger, but we are not having any luck. Funny though, I am not as eager for Matthew to get a job as I was for Olivia. Could it be because teenage girls  spend a lot more on themselves than boys?

I have family members whose kids have never worked — ever!  Wow!

I started working at sixteen to pay for my car and car insurance. When Olivia got her car, she worked to pay her car insurance just like I had done. She needed to realize that in life, if you want things, you have to work for them — whether it’s an A in a class or a new car or a David Yurman ring. You earn what you want, nothing is given to you and you are not entitled  to it.

I am curious, do any of you moms and dads encourage your teenage daughter or son to
work? If so, why? If not, why not?

When your teenage son tells you he only does hugs, not kisses.

teenkiss

 

Last week my son Matthew and I were sharing a rare and awesome moment laying in bed watching the TV  show The Goldbergs together. It was just like we use to do before the teenage years came around.  The mom in the show was trying to give her 14-year-old son Eskimo kisses, so I went over to Matthew, to be funny, and tried to do the same. He pulled away and said, “No way mom!” Okay, I get that he may not like an Eskimo kiss so I gave him a kiss on the cheek and then asked him for one on mine. He looked at me and said “Mom, I don’t do kisses. I do hugs.”  In shock, I said, “Since when?”  What happened to the little man who use to give me hugs AND KISSES??

Then, I asked Matthew why he didn’t  gives kisses when he use to with no qualms. He explained that he thinks it is weird now that he is older. Weird to give your own mom a kiss?? NOOOOOOO! I told him I was going to blog about this and share this with all other moms out there. He said, “Go ahead”, I still will only you give hugs.”

Part of me is sad  that my Matthew is changing and growing up and I can’t do anything about it. For now, I can only embrace his hugs and appreciate that he gives them willingly and with lots of love in them.   I will take the hugs because I know one day, the kisses will return and my cheek will be waiting eagerly for it.  Truth be told, Matthew does give the best hugs.

Have you experienced push back from your teen when you want to give him or her a kiss on the check? Is hugging acceptable? Or does your teen flinch when you try to show him or her any affection?

Don’t forget to breathe Mom!

I think many moms can relate having to remind their teen to do their homework, take a shower, make their bed, put deodorant on etc. Well, my son Matthew does NOT like to be reminded of anything.  He says, “Mom, do you think I’m stupid that I can’t remember things?” But  what Matthew doesn’t recall are the many times in middle school he would forget homework, forget to give me something to sign or fill out for school,  forget to put deodorant on or forget to take a shower.

In the past if he forgot, I wouldn’t remind him.   Funny thing is, when he would forget, he would say, “Mom, why didn’t you remind me or why didn’t you check my backpack?”  So, explain to me how I am supposed to remind him if he doesn’t want me to remind him? UGH!

I don’t want him to get a bad grade because he forgot his homework in high school. But then again I can’t keep enabling his forgetfulness. He needs to remember on his own.

Many times when I would go in his room to remind him of things,  he would say, “Ok mom, and don’t forget to breathe.”  I asked him why he said that and he answered: “Because that’s how silly you are reminding me of things I know.”

Good advice from a 14 year old. I do need to breathe, not because he was proving a point to me,  but because I need to trust him and let him remember on his own to do his homework, take a shower, do his chores. It’s the helicopter mom in me. I need to step back and exhale.

So, here is advice from my teenage son, Matthew,  for all the moms out there: Don’t forget to breathe.

mom breathing

My 14-year-old son says he only needs 5 things when he goes to college.

shopping-list-template-22

 

 

Last week as we were shopping for my daughter for her college move. When we got home, she was so excited to show all her new purchases for her new apartment to her 14-year-old brother.

Olivia described each purchase with such enthusiasm! Her new duvet, her decorative pillows, her Keurig and so on and so on. Matthew looks straight at her and said, “When I go to college, I only need five things.” Then, he listed them:

 

  1.  A computer
  2. A desk
  3. Wires for computer
  4. Mattress
  5. Pillow

When I found this out, I couldn’t help but ask Matthew why he only wanted to bring five things. He said, ” I don’t need all the frilly, decorative stuff Olivia has for college. I just need my computer and a bed.” Wow, what a difference between a daughter and son! I have one that can spend like a feene and one I have to beg to buy things.

It’s amazing how some people need or require so little to get by and are happy, while other need so much.

I love how they are so different in their needs.

Do you have teen kids who are opposite in what they say they need for college? Do you have teen siblings who are opposite from each other  in general?

 

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