Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

Month: December 2011

20 Things You Need to Share With Your Teen

I love this list and wish I could take credit for creating it….But, I have to give credit to Leslie Welch, a mother who obviously knows just what the rest of us parents are going through. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. Feel free to add your “things to share with your teen.”


20 things you need to share with your HS or middle school child

by Leslie Welch on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 7:38pm

1.         Yes, your freshman year counts towards your GPA for college  entrance.  Screw it up and you’ll work for crap wages your whole life.

2.        No means NO.  In every possible circumstance.

3.        Join every sport, every club, every after school activity no matter what the cost.  It’s cheaper than bail.

4.        Repeat after me: I am never in that much of a hurry…I am  never in that much of a hurry.   Now say that every time you get behind  the wheel. It will save your life and that of your best friend in the  seat next to you.

5.        Don’t smoke pot.  It ruins your short term memory. (Did I already say that?)

6.        Don’t ever get a credit card.  Ever.  You earn it or you live without it.

7.        If I yell at you, it’s because I love you.  And also, because  you pissed me off.    To avoid the latter, stop being an idiot.

8.        Make a vivid picture inside your head of every great moment  of your childhood.   You’ll need those to get through adulthood.

9.        Make snow angels as often as possible.

10.      Stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.

11.      Be always benevolent.  Yes, that’s a word.  Look it up.

12.      Call me for a ride even if you are so drunk you barely know my  number.  I’ll probably be mad for a while but I’ll respect you for  calling and I won’t kill you.  Riding with someone who is drinking will.

13.      Be a leader, not a follower. Unless you are doing stupid things, then follow the kid with the highest GPA.

14.      Love your siblings, even when you don’t like them.  Some day  you will be trying to get them to take care of me in my old age.  If  they are mad at you, you are stuck with me.

15.      I’ve been  there, done that on more things than you can imagine.  I’m not stupid  and I know what you are doing.  I was once you (times ten).

16.      Work hard at everything you do.  Anything worth doing is worth doing your best   at.

17.      Cover it.  (Enough said.)

18.      When I tell you to clean your room, do not point at my messy  room and raise    your eyebrows.  I’m trying to raise you to be better  than me.

19.      Learn to type; to budget; and to pray.  All are equally important.

20.      Never be sedentary.  Some day soon you will no longer be able to move like that.  Enjoy it.

High school start times cause sleep deprivation

Teens and sleep deprivation

Are your teens sleep deprived? There’s a buzz around the country about teenage sleep deprivation and a new movement called Start School Later. There’s actually an online petition that parents are signing to move back start times.

As a parent, I’m all for starting school later. My kids wake up at 6 a.m. on school days — they’re miserable and so am I.

Sleep deprivation is a real problem with teenagers and parents like me pay the price when our tired teens are downright cranky. Yet as Dr. Jeff Deitz points out on today’s Huffpost Healthy Living blog, there is still resistance to starting high school later to accommodate the biological time clocks of teenagers

How can it be that despite overwhelming evidence that sleep deprivation in teenagers is every bit the public health menace that cigarette smoking is, school administrators have held fast to the status quo?

Dr. Dietz says that sleep researchers have convincingly demonstrated that, on average, teenagers need nine hours of sleep and that their brains are programmed for them to stay up later than adults. I’m a night owl and many nights, I go to bed at midnight and my teens are still up. I would guesstimate that most teens get about six hours of sleep on school nights.

Of course, I don’t think its just the teenage biological clock that’s to blame. Some of the reason for the late nights, I think, is the huge amount of homework teens get in their honors and AP classes ( which are almost requirements to get into colleges these days).

Dr. Dietz compares teen sleep deprivation to cigarette smoking:  “Not getting enough sleep is as pervasive in today’s culture as was consuming two or three packs per day of Lucky Strikes in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.” He’s so right.

The risk for our teens is that sleep is essential for sustained focus, concentration, and attention which are crucial for succeeding in high school. Dietz writes: “Clinically, every psychiatric disorder I treat in adolescents is worsened by getting too little sleep. Well over half the teenagers who come to me with attention symptoms are sleep deprived.”

Some schools are taking action.

CBS News recently reported on an eye-opening study says delaying high school starting times by just 30 minutes can reap big rewards. The study at St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island, discovered students there were more alert in class, expressed better moods, arrived to class on time, and even reported eating a healthier breakfast due to a 30-minute later start.

“The results were stunning. There’s no other word to use,” says Patricia Moss, academic dean at the boarding school where the study was done.

Dietz believes high school should start at 8:45 a.m., or better at 9 o’clock.

I realize some kids work after school and starting early allows for earlier release. But I think there’s a middle ground that can be found in most school districts.

Parents, what do you think about teenage sleep deprivation?  Some parents have decried the movement to start school later, calling it “the coddling of a generation and giving in to spoiled brats’ laziness.” Do you think starting school later would make a difference for your teen?

Teen Belly Buttons: To pierce or not to pierce?

Recently my 14-year-old daughter asked me if she could  get her belly button pierced.  As I stood there wanting to scream “HECK NO”!, I realized she needed to see that I was respecting her time to talk with me and that I owed it to her to at least listen.

Ok, I listened as she told me that “all her friends have done it,  she would not flaunt it, what is the big deal, it’s better than a tattoo”, etc.. etc..

As contemplated my response, I asked her why it was so important to her? She said that she always wanted to get one, but, she knew we (her dad and I), would never allow it because she was too young. So  I asked her,  “Don’t you think you are too young now?” She said “no.”  She told me most kids her age are getting them, especially the soccer players in her league.

I personally think she is too young, but I am also her mother and am biased when it comes to her. I don’t see her like everyone else. It’s my job to protect her and make decisions that I feel are best for her now and in the future.

I said I would discuss it with her dad and she responded,  “Oh, dad will say no, so you have to convince him to say yes.” WHAT? I told her I was not “convincing” anyone and all I could promise her was a conversation with her dad. If she did not like that response then the answer was “no.” She said “fine”, she would wait.

I think I am just pushing off a battle with her since I don’t want her to have it and I know her dad will most definitely not want her to have it either.

So, I ask you, what do I do?  Do I fight this battle till the end with a stern “No” or should I pick my battles and just compromise and take her and make sure it is a small, nice piercing? Am I making a bigger deal than it needs to be? No one will see it anyway right?

Would love your feedback and opinion.

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