Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 19)

We Are ALL Parkland Parents

With tears rolling down her face, Lori Alhadeff looked into the CNN camera, screamed into a microphone and begged President Trump to do something about the nation’s deadly gun epidemic. As she shouted, “President Trump, please do something!”  her powerful statement, her anger and her raw emotions brought me to tears. Watching her, I became her. I felt her feelings of overwhelming sadness. I wanted to hug that mother and tell her I understood her grief and anger. I wanted to shout alongside her. After all, regardless of where we live, we are all Parkland parents.

I am certain all mothers of teenagers who read the articles, watched the news reports and saw the social media posts on the Parkland shooting have felt every ounce of emotion that the community’s parents have experienced in the last week. We are parents who love our teenagers and send them to high school believing they are going home for dinner, just like Parkland parents believed. Had Nikolas Cruz attended our teen’s high school, the victim could have been our child.

Like the parents we see burying their children, we are horrified and numb. Like the Parkland parents whose surviving teenagers are traumatized, we are appalled at what they witnessed.  This isn’t the first time for us, though.  As parents, we have been here before. We have seen the faces on television of parents who lost children during other horrific school shootings.

But this time is different.

This time, a socially conscious, action-oriented generation of teenagers is determined to evoke change and ensure these 17 victims are remembered.  With a social media campaign now known as #NeverAgain, these teenagers and student survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are making plans and taking action.  They are leading protest against gun violence in front of the White House. They are holding rallies to demand leaders make school safety a top priority. They have organized #MarchForOurLives, a national event to honor the victims of gun violence with action.

On March 24, 2018, students will rally in Washington D.C and in local communities across the country to demand action from  leaders and fight for an America that is free from gun violence.
#MarchForOurLives campaign











Politicians are offering them resources.

congresswoman offers help with #MarchForOurLives



Celebrities are recognizing their efforts.

Amy Schumer posts about #MarchForOurLives










As a parent, I could not be prouder of these teenagers.  They need our support in any way we can give it to them. Spread their messages on social media. Give to their fundraising campaigns. Show them love by marching alongside them and inspiring your teenager to participate in activities that draw attention to creating positive change toward school safety. And, continue to send prayers to those families of victims and those of survivors.

As they lead the way to change, let’s support those who are working to make a difference. We are all Parkland parents. We are all in pain and we all want desperately to believe in #NeverAgain.

What do you when your teenager doesn’t want to go to college

to go or not to go to college


On those rare occasions that I have conversation with my son about his future, I try not to pry too much and let him do all the talking. So, one day Matthew decided to tell me that he doesn’t know  if he wants to go to college.

My first reaction was,  “You will be going to college. Are you crazy?”  But I took a deep breath, and told Matthew he still has  two years to decide what he wants to do after high school. He is 16 years old and a high school sophomore.  I know some 16 year olds may already know what they want to do when they graduate and where they want to go to college.  However, not all teenagers know. They are all different and that’s okay.

Stress, I truly believe, has a lot to do with it.  Teenagers have so much homework and so much studying that often they can’t see their future, and the thought of more work in college scares them.


should teenagers to to college

I told Matthew we will cross that bridge when we get to it, and we will take one day at a time. He said, ” I don’t  want to waste your money on college.  I would rather take a year off and then decide.” I told him I appreciated that he didn’t want to waste our money and his time going to college, but I hope he  changes his mind.  I told him he could take a “gap year” if he felt it  is what he needs.

I truly felt trying to talk to him out of not going to college at this point would be useless. I remember my daughter Olivia’s thoughts about college when she was 16, and she did a full 180 by the time she graduated.  I think what I do need to worry about is Matthew’s stress and anxiety and how to help him work through it. I guess my gut as a mom tells me he will change his mind because he is a smart kid and knows that without education, it is more difficult to succeed in life.  Matthew just needs to mature and grow up  some more before making any decisions about his future.

So for now, I continue to listen when he wants to talk, which is rare for a teenage boy. I  try to help him  work through the stress and anxiety, and of course, I try to guide him to make smart decisions for his future.  Because in the end, parents get blamed 10 or 15 years later when their children’s lives are not how they planned, even if we let them choose the path they want to follow.

How to Know When Your Teenager Wants to Talk

Last weekend, my teenage son Garret and I were driving to a food festival. My cell phone rang and I answered the call. It was my daughter at college with a big story to tell me. As I spoke to her, I didn’t notice how annoyed Garret was getting until he screamed out, “Enough talking on your phone mom!”

I hung up with my daughter and asked Garret what was going on. He told me he just wanted to talk to me. “I don’t understand why you have to be on the phone when we’re in the car together,” he said.

I felt like a bad mom. I had totally missed that signs that Garret want to talk to me. He actually had something specific he wanted to talk about, but I had no idea when we got in the car. Usually, Garret blasts his rap music when we are driving somewhere together. A lot of the time when I want him to open up to me, he gets annoyed by my prodding.

Because Garret is my third child, I should know the signs by now when a teenager wants to talk to his or her parent. But even as a seasoned veteran, I was off my game.

talking to a teenager

Seize the moment

If you want good communication with your teen, it’s important to seize the moment when you can to have a conversation rather than a lecture. Car rides are great places for that opportunity — and by talking on the phone, I had almost squandered it.  The next car ride alone with your teenager, turn off the radio, don’t answer your phone and it’s likely your teenager will surprise you with candid conversation.

Do something together

Another sign your teenager wants to talk is when he or she asks you to do an activity together. When my son Jake was home from college, he asked me if I wanted to go on a bike ride. Jake rarely opens up. But during the bike ride, he had lots to say and actually talked to me about his girlfriend.

When I watched the television show “13 Reasons Why” one of the things I found scary was how the teenagers shrugged off their parents’ efforts at conversation.  At times, my teenagers have shrugged me off the same way. It feels as if they want to talk when they want to talk and they don’t want to talk when you want to talk. The definitely don’t want you asking them questions.

Be available

A spontaneous conversation in the car or in their bedrooms late at night — any time when you’re not rushed — can make for some of the warmest, most rewarding moments with a teenager, according to Laurence Steinberg, an expert in adolescent behavior.  I have learned that those moments happen when your teen can tell they have your attention and when you listen more than you speak.

On WebMD, Steinberg said. “I think for parents, one of the key parts of having good communication with kids is being around enough to capitalize on these moments that invariably don’t come up when you expect them to.”

Be aware of location

As toddlers, the spontaneous hugs and “guess what mom?” seemed to come so easily. Now, my teenagers have a life that I’m not fully a part of and connecting is much more complicated. I noticed with Garret, and with my older teenagers, that they don’t like to have those deeper, bonding conversations in their bedrooms. It’s almost like I have invaded their personal space. So, if Garret comes into my bedroom or my home office or into the kitchen while I’m cooking, it is a sign he has something to tell me or is  open to conversation.

As parents, I feel we need to know what our kids are doing and thinking. Teenagers see it differently.  They don’t want us to know everything going on in their lives.  Still, the teen years are such a crucial time and just because they aren’t willing to open up to us as much as when they were younger, doesn’t mean we can’t keep working on ways to have those important talks. Next time I’m in the car alone with Garret, he gets priority over phone calls.  While, it took a harsh reminder  to get me to realize it, not only do those bonding conversations mean a lot to me, they mean a lot to our teenagers, even if our teens don’t always admit it.


Are you a Spy Mom? What some moms have learned about their teens on Facebook

Why are teens so annoyed?

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This family board game will definitely let you “Talk About It”!

Last  Sunday night my family had just  finished eating dinner and I was starting to clean up the kitchen when my son Matthew said, “Mom, if you want to play that game after dinner, we can.” He was referring to a board game called Talk About It!

Well, you never saw me clean the kitchen so fast. I knew I only had a small window of opportunity for Matthew to give his attention to something other than his computer. 

Talk About It!  is family board game intended to encourage  communication between teens and adults. It’s a card/dice game with a twist!

Because I have a teenage son who loves the computer more than anything in the world,  I couldn’t wait to try this game, and possibly get him interested in something new.

When you open the board game’s rule book, there are several choices of specific games to play. We decided on Go  Fish since it was easy and our first time. I had Matthew pick the deck we would play from.  We had topics ranging from stress, to feelings, to icebreakers, to values. Matthew picked the “least of  the most awkward” topics for him to talk about. He picked values.

We started the game and I was so nervous as to who would have to answer a question first. Well, it was my husband and believe it or not, I was just as curious to hear his answers as my son’s. When Matthew finally got to answer, I listened carefully and tried not to look obvious that I was hanging on his every word and thrilled to be playing this game with him.

Matthew, on the other hand, was not so thrilled, but he played anyway. What I found peculiar was that no matter who had to answer the question on the card, Matthew would answer for that person.

For example, if I had a card that said, “What do you value most, that you are not willing to give up?” Matthew would answer for me, or at least give me some choices. I answered “respect” and then went into why. I started to notice Matthew really wanted to share his answer for someone else’s question. I started to listen to his response more than my husband’s answers. But I also got an opportunity to learn Matthew thoughts on topics we usually don’t talk about.  It was a way for him to tell us things he normally wouldn’t.

At one point, I said we can stop if you don’t want to play anymore. Matthew surprised me when he said, “No, let’s play until we are done.”  For me, this board game  was the key to learning more about Matthew’s thoughts and feelings in a way that I couldn’t accomplish without it being awkward or without him shutting me down.   I also loved that my husband opened up in front of my son.

I  truly believe teens are not going to openly tell you how they feel, or what they feel, or why they feel how they do —  but playing board games often helps. For me, the game definitely helped my son Talk About  It. You might want to consider a family game night. It can get quite interesting!

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!

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.                                                                                  


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 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!


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.

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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