Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

No son, you can not say the n-word

My 16-year-old son and I are at odds.

I blame Gucci Mane. And Kendrick Lamar. And Kanye West.

My son loves their rap music and walks around singing the lyrics to their songs.  When he takes a shower, he blasts rap music. At first, I didn’t mind because the beat is catchy, and I want him to encourage him to have his own taste in music.

But here’s why we are at odds.  These are the lyrics to Gucci Mane’s song, “Last Time” (one of my son’s favorites).

I love when my bitch get drunk ’cause she talk greasy to me
Nigga with an attitude, this shit gettin’ easy to me
The last time I drunk some lean I was out of my mind
Tried gave me 20 years and that’s a whole lotta time
A married woman divorce her husband to spend the weekend with me
He think it nasty when she squirt but that shit sexy to me
The last time I took some molly, took a gram and a half
Niggas think they know ’bout Gucci but they don’t know the half
See I’m an ex-X popper and online shopper
Niggas thought I was a clone, they heard me speak proper
Convicted felon worth 10 million, I’m a well known robber
Like Shawty Lo I got 10 children, yeah, Lo my partner

 

These are not exactly the words you want your 16-year-old son walking around singing. I hate songs that have the word bitch in them and MANY rap songs do. However, my biggest beef is with the word “nigga.” I have noticed that tons of rap songs have that word in them. So, you have a bunch of teenage white boys rapping along to hip-hop songs and saying the n-word. The more they sing it, the more they think it’s okay to say it. In my eyes, it’s not okay. I have let my son know that LOUD and CLEAR. We all know that word has heinous origins and while the “a” at the end instead of “er” may be an attempt to reclaim the word and casualize it, in my eyes putting an “a” at the end  doesn’t make the word less revolting when being sung by a white boy.

My son says he likes the beat and the vibe of rap music and he prefers hip-hop artists to pop artists. He friends do, too. They seem to know almost every word to every song by popular hip-hop artists. In the last few years, rap has permeated the mainstream and even pop music stations play rap music in between top 40 hits.

When we’re together in the car, I listen to rap  with my son.  Some of the lyrics are insightful and moving. The beats are catchy.  But the cursing! I can’t stand it! Sometimes when a song is too explicit, I will insist my son skips to another song. Why do rappers have to use such vulgar language and why the n-word?

I am told that cursing is part of the rap genre and hip-hop artists are singing about where they came from and how they were raised. I get that. I read one teenager’s argument that profanity makes rap what it is. Again, I get it, but I don’t have to like the cursing, especially when my kid is singing along.

I wonder how it feels as a rapper to look at into the crowd at a concert and see teenage white kids among the sea of black fans singing your lyrics and hearing “nigga” coming out of their mouths like no big deal.

As a parent,  how do I  instill my son with a sense of historical perspective about this derogatory word while letting him enjoy and embrace a music genre becoming popular among his friend group?  There is no easy solution from my seat in the car and my son isn’t happy that I have banned him from saying any form of the n-word.

If you’re going through this battle over rap lyrics with your teenager, what approach have you taken?

How to Succeed as a Single Dad

Whenever we can give a different perspective on parenting we are thrilled to do it. We all know that men and women tackle parenting different. Today, we are fortunate to share the perspective of  Daniel Sherwin. Daniel, has a blog called DadSolo.com. He has been a single father for three years. If you’d like to reach out to him, you can do so at daniel@dadsolo.com

 

Here are his experiences and words of wisdom for other dads:

Few men aspire to be single parents. Raising kids alone  usually is the result of a shattering experience: divorce or the death of a wife. It won’t be easy, but you can rise to the challenges of single parenthood. How do I know that? Well, I’m currently doing it. Some days are harder than others, but the hope is some of my first-hand experience can help other single dads out there. Read on for some ideas.  

Your children come first

Raising children and teenagers to become awesome adults is not rocket science. You have to show up. That means you will want to hammer out a work schedule that gives you work/life balance. Be upfront with your boss about your need to spend time with your family rather than working late every night. For me, this meant learning to put down the work at home too. It can be so tempting to answer a quick email or take a phone call, but all that time adds up. I owe it to my kids to be present, so I silence my cellphone when I get off work and focus on family.

If, heaven forbid, your job doesn’t give you the flexibility you need, look for another job. Single dads have been known to switch jobs and even careers to get more time with their kids. Keep in mind that they don’t care how much money you make, as long as they are safe and fed.

Don’t try to be “friends”

Don’t try to friend or follow your teens on social media. Especially not as a substitute for being there in real life.  Social media is their space to be rebellious. You’re needed at the dinner table, not in their Facebook photo gallery. However, it’s a good idea to check in from time to time to make sure their online habits are safe.

While we’re on that subject, don’t be your teenager’s friend in real life either. Your children and teenagers need you to be a parent. That means they will not always like you or approve of your choices, especially choices relevant to them. While you don’t want to be a tyrant or bully, you definitely want to be an authority figure. Let your children know that your family might look like a democracy, but you get to make executive decisions. However, remember that your family will look different from other families, so resist the temptation to make that comparison. Whenever I found that I was getting down on myself, I took a step back and named five things that made my family unique, no matter how big or small they were. Sometimes it takes a little reminder to make you realize how good you really have it.

Prioritize your mental health

People who have a lot of stress need to learn daily stress-relieving methods. There is a lot of rhetoric surrounding mindfulness, but, in its mosts basic form, mindfulness is a useful coping strategy that can be incorporated anywhere with no equipment.

To be mindful, take stock of how you are feeling in the moment. What are you most worried about? What is the worst thing that can really happen? Be aware of your breathing. See if you can slow it down with deep breaths. Be aware of your heart rate. It’s okay if your heart is pounding, just be aware that it’s doing that. I know it seems too simple, but this little exercise has helped me  get some distance on problems. I’ve found that re-focusing my attention elsewhere is the best form of stress relief, as it allows me to step back, regroup, and return refreshed, so I’m not above playing a few levels of Candy Crush in order to get a moment away from my own thoughts. We all need time outs now and again.

Make time for stress relief

Incorporate short bursts of exercise into your day. If, for instance, you are waiting for an important phone call, use the time to run up a few flights of stairs or do some squats and lunges. Some people swear by stress balls. But the truth is that a more active spurt of all-over body exercise that gets your heart pumping is more stress relieving and better for your health. Even just taking a brisk walk around the office will help you cope with pressure.

Behavioral Wellness & Recovery says, “It’s important to learn small ways to face that stress head-on and reduce it no matter where you are, because having effective coping mechanisms handy will allow you to get through even the most challenging times. You can use your new skills to immediately start feeling better, and to prevent the emergence of chronic mental health problems.”

Give yourself a break

Learn not to trash talk yourself or your ability to handle stress, especially in your thoughts. If you hear yourself thinking, “I made a mistake with …” or “I shouldn’t have …” or “I am crap at …” clamp down on that thought and divert it to something positive about yourself. That shouldn’t be too hard: You’re a hero for sticking around and raising your kids. Focus on that.  

Losing a wife or partner and landing the job of full-time parent can devastate men just as much as it does women. No one is a perfect parent. I have learned the key to being successful is to be present in my children’s lives while doing daily checks on my mental health – and to enjoy parenting every day!

When mom is the referee between teenage siblings

sibling rivalry

 

One evening when my children were young, I was cooking dinner when I heard a loud shriek coming from my son Jake’s bedroom.  “MOM, come here quick!” I ran across the house and expected blood or a broken bone. However when I arrived, I instead found my daughter trying to shove my son off the chair in front of the only computer we had in our house at the time.

“Mom tell Carly to let me finish my game,” he shrieked.

“Mom tell Jake he’s been on the computer long enough and it’s my turn now.”

Ugh, it was now on me referee sibling rivalry,  a job most mothers dread. So I did what most moms would do. I turned off the computer and told both kids to come help me cook dinner. End of argument.

Flash forward 10 years and I hear that familiar shriek again. “Mooommmm come quick!”

There  is no blood or broken bones or life threatening emergency, just three teenagers arguing over a set of car keys. Two of my teenagers are home from college, one is still in high school and all three want the car at the same time.

“Tell Jake I get the car now. My friends are waiting for me.”

“Tell Carly I need the car. I have a haircut appointment.”

“Tell them both the car is mine now and I want to use it.”

I am agitated. Once again I am expected to referee. With teenagers, it’s not as easy as turning off a computer. I want the arguing to stop!! I want to go back to scrolling through my Facebook feed, where everyone’s kids have smiles on and look like they get along fabulously!

I find myself trying to come up with a solution that will bring peace and harmony to my household and put an end to the fighting.  I pull out a calendar and start mapping out who can have the car on which days and at what times. I put my car in the collective driving pool on the days and times I don’t need it.  I am working in overdrive trying to make everyone happy and  make my kids participate in the negotiation/resolution process. This is when it dawns on me that this is why mothers make great bosses. We know how to work out conflicts. We have lots of practice.

As a seasoned mother, I have come to realize that sibling conflicts generally are a pretty typical and normal part of family life. At least I’d like to believe that is true. I also know by negotiating conflicts with their brothers or sisters, kids learn valuable skills for getting along with others in the real world.

I reluctantly acknowledge my job as referee is a lifetime position and my main goal is ensuring I don’t encourage sibling rivalry. Author Amy McCready says  reacting in a way that encourages sibling rivalry is a pretty common parenting mistake.

So I dangle the car keys in front of my teenagers like a reward, toss them on the counter, make some suggestions and leave it up to  them to figure out how they can all get where they need to go. Then, I slap the calendar we’ve created up on the wall and retreat to my home office. A few minutes later, I look out the window and see Carly and Jake drive off together in the car.

For now, there is a peace accord, a negotiated settlement. I am pleased, but realistic enough to know my referee skills will be called upon again, and it won’t be long until I hear the next “Mooommmm!”

You are definitely my friend! Period.

Over the holiday break, my daughter and I were going to do something together and I was so looking forward to it. What is it you ask? We were going to try the Knixteen & Knixwear underwear. The Knixteen underwear was for her and the Knixwear was for me.   When I first approached my daughter about trying them to give our reviews, she was a little apprehensive. I told her to keep an open mind and that the underwear will not be like anything she has ever tried on before.

Why is that you ask?  Because they are period panties! Awkward right? Well, that is what we thought! Olivia really did not want to try these at all because she had it in her mind that these will look like “granny panties” and feel like them as well. She was not looking forward to wearing them, but I told her I would be trying them out, too. I was excited for us to be trying out the Knixwear panties at the same time and discussing what we thought about it. I was more excited that these were period panties and could not wait to see whether they really worked.

The package arrived during winter break. I went into Olivia’s room with a big smile and said, “Guess what came in?”   Her face quickly transformed into a look of despair.

I took them out of the package and much to my surprise and amazement; they were the silkiest, smoothest, softest feeling panties I have ever felt. I am talking Victoria’s Secret-needs-to-worry soft!

Did I mention they also look quite sexy and NOT a granny panty like Olivia thought? She looked at them and said, “Oh wow, this is not what I envisioned at all.”  I could not wait to try them, but more so, I could not wait for Olivia to wear them and give her opinion. Olivia is very high maintenance, and very particular and specific with everything she wears. She does not buy just anything. She likes to buy quality and does her research on whatever she purchases.

Well, we wore the panties and I asked her what she thought. She said, “Mom, I cannot believe how comfortable and form fitting these panties are! I can wear them with clothes that I would normally wear a thong with.  They are so soft, and they conform to my butt.”

Did I mention the best part of these panties? We all know how we feel and what underwear we wear when we have our periods, and let me tell you, they do not look or feel like Knixwear or Knixteen panties. I absolutely loved how comfortable they felt. Whether you wear them during your period, or to prevent an accident leak, this underwear will make you feel amazing!

I asked Olivia how she felt wearing them during her period and she said,  “At first with my period I thought it was weird because I felt so comfortable and worried about an accident, but I was so wrong for worrying. I loved them. Are you buying me more?”

This was such a fun experience for Olivia and I, and I hope you all do the same kind of experiment with your teen, or at the very least, have your teen daughter try  Knixteen. She will love them!

 

Five things we learned from our teenagers in 2017

 

happy new year 2018What a crazy year 2017 was in so many ways! From our teens getting  driver’s licenses to moving into college apartments to taking up a fixation with video games, we mothered in the only way we know how — with love and patience.

Some days our teens drive us batty with their moodiness and one word answers. Some days they warm our hearts with a hug out of nowhere or that hesitant admission that mom was right. The best part of raising teenagers just may be how they challenge us to take our parenting skills to the next level.

As we head into 2018,  share with you the five things we  learned from our teens in 2017.                                                                                  

  CINDY

goodman family for raisingteensblog

Cindy and her family

From my teens, I have learned:

  • Snapchat is the platform I need to be on if I want to see what is going on in my teenagers’ lives. Sometimes, I feel like a stalker but at least I know what my teens are up to when I’m not with them.
  • A cell phone car charger is a life essential when teenagers are riding in my car (and anything less than 10 % battery power is a HUGE deal).
  • Pondering the answer to a question on my mind is foolish. All I need to do is say the question out loud and my son will Google me the answer in a few seconds.
  • Teenagers don’t need a reason to try something stupid like shaving off an eyebrow or waxing an arm.  “Just because”  is a good enough reason.
  • Teenagers can’t hear their mothers’ voices when they are looking at their cell phone screens…they just can’t.

 

                                                                                      RAQUEL

raquel and her family

Raquel and her family

  • Chipotle is king. Teenagers LOVE the place!
  • Teenagers will always make time to drive with you if they are the one who is driving. If I ask my 16-year-old son if he wants to drive me to the store or to his grandmother’s, he will stop what he’s doing to drive. I wish he was like that with all my requests.
  • Vineyards Vines is the new Gymboree  for moms who shop with their teenagers. I finally found a place where both my son and daughter like to shop. However, it’s  a bit pricier than Gymboree.
  • Teenagers will listen to their older sibling before mom and dad. My son will do whatever my daughter requests or asks with no pushback. If she asks him to go with her to go visit their grandmother, he will go.  I do like that they get along!
  • RTX is Comic-Con for computer gamers. My son is obsessed with RTX. When my husband went with my son to the convention this year, he said it was the Comic-Con of computer gaming. We would never had know that if we didn’t have a teenager.

 

Thanks for joining us on RaisingTeensBlog.com in 2017. We look forward to sharing our parenting challenges and triumphs with you in 2018.

Wishing you and your families a happy and healthy new year!


 

Should parents let teenagers drink in their home?

 

My 16-year-old son recently attended a holiday party at a friend’s home. What started out as a small party quickly escalated (as they often do!). According to my son, about 40 high school students were invited. But by 10 p.m., more than 80 had shown up. The parents of the teen throwing the party had gone out for the night and returned at midnight to find a lot more teenagers than expected and beer and alcohol bottles all over the place. They quickly shut the party down.  The scenario made me think about what is parent liability for teenage drinking.

When my son originally told me about the party, the first thing I asked him was if kids were going to be drinking. “Of course,” he answered, “It’s a high school party.”  That quickly snapped me out of my naivete.  I find teenage fascination with drinking one of the most difficult parts of parenting through the teen years. My three teens think I’m a “mean mom” for not letting them throw parties at our home once they hit the high school years. I am pretty certain that I let them have a party and even did best to discourage alcohol, someone would find a way to sneak it in, which would open me to liability.

As New Year’s Eve approaches, my teenagers already are talking about house parties they are going to and I’m guessing there will be drinking going on at those parties. Beyond having the “alcohol” talk with my teens, I wondered…what are the legal risks for the hosts – and for anyone younger than 21 if the cops show up?

To get some answers, I reached out Jerry Merrill, a Kansas criminal defense lawyer with Merrill Law Firm who defends teenagers (and/or their parents) when they find themselves in legal trouble. Merrill  is a network attorney with ARAG, legal insurance, which connects customers to attorneys as needed and covers the fees.

I asked Merrill about what liability parents have with teens, alcohol, parties, driving and sneaking booze from the liquor cabinet. I hope this information helps you as much as it helped me.

 

 First I gave him this scenario:

Let’s say teens drink in your home and you know nothing about it. You weren’t home at the time and you didn’t supply the alcohol.  But, the drinking leads to a problem: either someone gets sick from drinking too much, or someone leaves your home after drinking and gets into a car accident. Could you, the homeowner, be legally liable?

Merrill says yes. Depending on what state you are in, you could be subject to criminal charges andcivil lawsuits.

If some gets alcohol poisoning at your house or gets in an accident after leaving drunk, it can make a difference if you are home or not, Merrill said. “Criminal and civil laws have to do with knowledge, what knowledge you had and whether you had the means to prevent what occurred.” For example, if your teenager and his friends are drinking in your basement, the question becomes ‘did you know and turn a blind eye and should you have known?” he said.

Basically, Merrill said, parent liability comes down to knowledge.  “It will be difficult for someone to charge you or sue you, if you would have had no knowledge of the drinking. Liability is based on the negligence law…were you negligent and did you breach a duty?”

Next, I gave Merrill another scenario:

What if you decide to be the “cool parents” who throw the party, supply the alcohol but stay at home to supervise. There is something called social host liability which makes the party hosts liable for any alcohol-related injuries or property damage that occur as a result of providing alcohol to minors.

Merrill suggests saying this to your teenager: “You can drag our family into serious legal issues by doing things shouldn’t be behind our back. It’s scary how little it would take for something to happen and for us to be legally liable.”

Remember Merrill defends teens and their parents. Each case is different, and often based on small facts, he said. For example, if your teen and/or his friends have taken alcohol from your liquor cabinet in the past and you didn’t put a lock on it, if something happens the next time that can create liability for you, the parent, he said.

Now, here’s another scenario:

What if your underage teen is at a party or hanging out at a park drinking and the police show up?

Merrrill explained that for a minor under 21, it’s not a crime to be around alcohol. Police have to show you are in possession or you consumed it to charge someone under 21 with Minor In Possession of Alcohol (MIP)  or Minor in Consumption of alcohol (MIC), both are misdemeanors. However, when police raid a party and it can be hard for a teen to prove they weren’t drinking when the place is littered with liquor and beer. “Even if technically it can be proved, your teen is still in a situation in which he or she has to defend themselves in court,” Merrill said.

How common are MIP tickets? I asked Merrill.

“It almost always happens at a house party with group of kids and someone brings alcohol, or it happens in a parking lot…it almost always is a group setting where teens are congregating and they attract the attention of adults. Then when the police arrive, the teens have alcohol on them, or have consumed alcohol.”

If it’s a misdemeanor, what’s the punishment?

Getting charged with a Minor In Possession is serious, Merrill said. The punishment can be a fine, a license suspension, probation or required classes. But there’s something even more worrisome. “If you’re convicted and you fill out a job application or a college application and it asks: “Have you ever been convicted of misdemeanor, you have to answer is yes.”

Are there ways to defend yourself when you’re charged with minor in possession?

Merrill looks for any legal defense he possibly can use. “The goal is to mitigate the charges and help the teen through the system so the matter doesn’t impact their future.” Don’t try to defend yourself without hiring an attorney, he said. “If you just pay the fine you can still have it on your record.”

What’s the deal with legal insurance?

Earlier this year, RaisingTeensBlog.com became an affiliate partner with ARAG. When I first learned about legal insurance, I didn’t know what it was and hadn’t thought much about how parents of teens could find it useful. But paying a sum upfront for access to a network of attorneys as needed seems pretty useful when you find yourself in a legal predicament.  I increasingly see how teens can get into legal trouble and how having legal insurance can offer some peace of mind.

Parents, if I didn’t ask Merrill a question you would like answered, please let me know by commenting below. And, if you ran into legal trouble regarding teens drinking in your home and can share your experience to help other parents, please do!

Happy Holidays from Cindy and Raquel!

raquel and cindy holiday photo

 

       Wishing You Happy Holidays and

Happy New Year!

 

happy holidays

 

It’s been a fun and crazy year trying to hold on to our sanity as we raise our teenagers.  We are thankful to have you on the journey with us. As we look back on this past year, we are incredibly grateful for  the opportunities we have had, the other parents we have bonded with, and the friendships we made along the way— including you! Thank you for offering your ideas, sharing our posts and commenting on our social media.

We have great things planned for 2018 and we look forward to sharing them with you as we move into the new year together. We wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season and look forward to continuing to connect with you in the new year!

Cheers,

Cindy and Raquel

 

How to handle your parents when they fight you on their estate planning?

So recently, my dad had to undergo brain surgery, which resulted in him in being hospitalized for some time. This also resulted in the hospital asking my mom if she had a Power of Attorney or Medical Surrogate form. Well, she does not. Did I mention my parents are in their early 70s? I am amazed they have come this far without having these documents to protect themselves and their family.  By the time most of most of us have teenagers, our parents are starting to age and we need to think about what that means for us.

For years, I have been telling my parents, mostly my mom, to please get a will, power of attorney, etc. I told her to get their estate planned. She constantly dismissed me with excuses that she did not need it; she did not have a lot of money to have an estate planned. I kept telling her that it is not about the money, it is about protecting the assets you have so my brother and I could have legal access to their accounts if God forbid something happened to them.  Does she not realize the nightmare my brother and I would have if we do not have any legal papers authorizing us to handle their estate or medical decisions?

Like my parents, there are many people out there who are in their 70s, 60s and 50s or older who have nothing in place to protect whatever assets they have or make any medical decisions for them in case of an emergency.

What do they think happens to their estate when they pass? Do they honestly think the courts will say, “go ahead and sell the house and take the profits?” NO!  What do they think would happen, if God forbid they are both incapacitated and their bills need to be paid? When my brother or I call the bank or credit card company, they would say we do not have legal authority to their account. Then, the bills would not get paid and we would have no access to anything of theirs, including the ability to make medical decisions.

In a world filled with identity theft, it is crucial now more than ever to protect whatever assets you have and that includes your health, the most important asset! You do not have to be rich to protect yourself, your home, jewelry, personal mementos or car.

I think for my mom, it is the work that has to be done for the estate planning that overwhelmed her, not to mention she thought it costs thousands of dollars. She does not know what estate planning is or the cost. Many people are like my mother and are afraid or unaware, so they rather not plan or think about it.

There are resources out there that can make this process smooth, painless and easy. I have seen and read about many legal companies that will help you connect with attorneys that will do the planning for you. I know ARAGlegal.com is a great resource for estate planning. The company provides legal insurance, which includes access to estate planning. I encourage everyone who does not have their estate planned to visit ARAG.com and see how easy it is to get it started.

As parents, I truly believe we should not only protect our children, but protect what we have worked for all our lives.

 

*ARAG is an affiliate partner of RaisingTeensBlog.

Raising Teenagers Means Knowing When To Stay Quiet

parenting teenager means staying quiet

 

My friends and I have just made our way through the buffet line and are taking our seats at a round table. As I pull my chair back and sit, I notice my friend is staring at her daughter’s plate. I know she wants to say something about the lack of protein and abundance of starches she sees piled up, but she glances away, and quietly takes a sip of water.

Watching her, I understood what was going through her head. I have had many similar moments of silence — when I want to say so much, but don’t. By staying silent, I have preserved my relationship with my teenagers rather than blurting out words that they ignore, resent or respond to with anger.

When my older son was about 14, he had a wicked crush on a girl who seemed to be annoyed by his attention. On Valentine’s Day, he bought her silver heart earrings. Aren’t they nice? he said, putting the earrings in front of me. At that moment, I knew my son was going to give her the earrings no matter what I said. So I said “yes” and then stayed silent.

At so many different life moments, I have wanted to offer my teenagers suggestions that would save them from getting hurt, or warn them about friends who aren’t loyal or give an opinion on a love interest. But as I began to open my mouth, I realized my comments would be misconstrued or worse, cause my teens to go in an opposite direction just to show me they are their own persons. So as I have gained some teen-raising wisdom, I have started to recognize when to bite my tongue, avert my gaze and resist the instinct to blurt out what I am thinking.

Of course, there are times when I do speak up because staying quiet can create bigger problems. The challenge for a parent is knowing when to make that call.

Here are the times I think it’s okay to tell your teen what’s on your mind:

To tell them the risk or consequences of an action. Whether it’s drugs, drunk driving, cheating  on tests, or premarital sex, I think teens need to know the worst that could happen. 

To give them another option. If your know your teen is going to be at a party with alcohol I think it’s okay to say something like…”If the only option is getting into a car with a drunk driver, call me — I don’t care if it’s 2 in the morning.”

To remind them of the rules of your home. If you have a rule of “no doors closed when the opposite sex is in the room” it’s okay to say something when the rule isn’t being followed, even if it’s in the moment.

To address a lie. This is tricky because most teenagers tell their parents lies or just tell them half of the story. In an online poll of 1,000 teenagers, only 40 percent said they tell their parents the whole truth.  Some lies or half-truths can be ignored. Others can’t. I have had to drill down at times to get the whole story and then figure out what to say in a way that will encourage them to tell me the truth in the future.

Here are the scenarios in which I zip my lips and stay quiet.

To comment on anything related to body image. We all know teenagers are sensitive about their appearance, but somehow we can’t help doling out advice and giving our opinions. Usually, what we say or what advice we give is not taken well. 

To say something about one of their friends. This is super-dangerous territory and can easily go badly for a parent.

To comment on a romantic interest or boyfriend/girlfriend.  I have discovered your teen  can say something negative about their love interest. You cannot. And if you think you you can guide them toward being interested in someone you pick out for them, don’t go there.

To compare them with a sibling. Somehow almost every parent at some point falls prey to the temptation of comparing a child to their siblings. Don’t do it!

So many teenagers walk around saying they hate their parents or they can’t talk to their parents. Ugh…I don’t want that to be me. So now, I put a little thought into what I say and how I say it, and at those pivotal moments, I stay silent. (Here’s an article I like about Talking to Your Teen )

Parents, do you believe in staying silent at times? Has staying quiet helped, or made a situation worse with your teenager? 

 

Helping Teens on #GivingTuesday

By now, you probably know that today is GivingTuesday, a day to give back to those in need in this world.

Because we are parents of teenagers, organizations that work to better the lives of teens are near and dear to us. So, when you consider giving today, here are a few you might want to consider:

(Feel free to comment below if you know of a teen-oriented non-profit organization worthy of our attention!)

Do Your Own Fundraiser

Now, if you are looking for ideas to help your teenager be more charitable this holiday season, here is a wonderfully thorough list of fundraising ideas. The 100 unique, impactful events listed in the Eventbrite post are a helpful starting point for teens looking to host a fundraising event for the cause of their choice.

Some of the ideas include a fashion show, a dance party, an ugly sweater party, or a dog wash. My teens get consumed by what they want for the holidays and I try hard to get them interested in giving instead of just getting.  Hosting a fundraiser for a cause they want to support is a great way to help teens get into the giving spirit of the holidays.

 

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