Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

21
Dec
11

Too old, Too fast

Ever wonder why we’re in such a hurry for our kids to grow up that we treat small children as if they’re teenagers and teenagers as if they’re adults? We let them watch the same movies, listen too the same music, provide them with the same technology, wear the same clothes, and even have a twitter, MySpace or facebook account; sometimes all three.  We let them watch movies that promote sex and disrespect and we wonder why they do the things they do.  It’s like putting cake in front of a small child and wondering why they ate it.

We don’t stop to think about the consequences of those actions.

After working with teenagers for 15 years I’ve seen the damage it does.  Heck, they’ve even admitted the damage it’s done.  It never ceases to amaze me how teenagers even know the correct way of parenting.  Even they know the difference between what they “want” compared to what they “need”.

They may “want” to watch what they want to watch, listen to songs about sex, sex, and more sex, have every piece of technology known to man, have multiple social media accounts and wear clothing so short and tight that we can see their “gender parts”, but is that what’s right for them?  I want to be healthy and fit but is my unhealthy diet and lack of exercise really what’s best for me?  The same is true for our kids.  

We allow them to get their way and we wonder why we say, “Ah, teenagers!  What can I do?” 

The answer? You can parent them and stop trying to be their friend first.

Why do we give in so much? I think part of it is because we’re afraid of not being liked by them.  We forget that their “dislike” only lasts for a little while but their respect lasts for a lifetime.  We also take the attitude of, “Everyone else is doing it.” Yes, even parents give in to peer pressure.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not talking about controlling them, I’m talking about guiding them and protecting them from themselves until they’re able to do it themselves.  Ten-year old, even sixteen-year-olds don’t have the foresight to know how one thing leads to another.  How flooding their brain with the wrong music and movies leads to lack of self-respect or multimedia leads to drama.  I’m not saying not to allow them to watch movies or listen to music, but don’t allow a ten-year-old or even a 16-year-old to watch The Hangover.  Yes, I’ve know tweens whose favorite movie is “The Hangover.”

In the case of teenagers and social networking, I’m not saying don’t allow them to have it, but at least be their “friends” so you can monitor what they’re saying and who they’re friends with.  I’ve seen facebook status’ that BLOW MY MIND and I wonder why in the world parents are allowing it.  How are they? Either because they don’t know about it or because they try to be just as “cool” as their kids.  And if parents aren’t aware of what’s going on, why not? I think it’s one of two reasons, maybe both, possibly more.  Maybe they don’t have the time or energy to give to it, or they don’t want to feel like they are “policing” their kids when, instead, they should look at it as coaching their kids and teaching them right from wrong.  They NEED us and are relying on us to step up to the plate. 

We need to take a step back and look at what we’re allowing vs. what we should really be doing. 

When it comes to our small children, let them be children and not teenagers.  When it comes to our teenagers, let them be teenagers and not adults.  Instead, teach them how to become a successful adult when it’s time to let them fly.

In summary, each parent and child is different and I can’t really tell you what you can and can’t do, all I can tell you is what I’ve seen first hand and what I’ve heard from hundreds, yes hundreds of children and teens.  If my child tells me they want chocolate milk then why would I give them strawberry milk?  In the same way, if our kids really want to succeed then why do we set them up for heartache, lowered morals and an attitude of entitlement?

Please don’t let your kids grow up too fast.  Cherish the stage they’re at right now so they can enjoy every other stage of their lives later.

~ Melanie

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09
Nov
10

Internet Safe or Secretive?

Are you worried about what your kids are doing online? If you answered yes, then join the ranks of almost every parent raising a child after the new millennium. Kids are becoming so internet savvy that you may feel like you cannot control what they do online. This statement is so false! Most computers come with password capabilities,parental controls, and the good old standby of checking the history on the web browser. Granted, your teen will probably be angry with you for keeping tabs on their internet activities, but they will be safer in the long run. Below are some things to be on the lookout for and some web activities to discuss with your teen that may be harmful.

Things To Be Aware Of

-Your teen immediately clicks out of a window when you walk in the room

-Spends extended periods of time on the computer

-Changes in behavior/mood that are unlike your child

-Increased understanding/vocalization of/about sexual intercourse

 

Worrisome  Web Activities

ChatRoulette-a website where users are randomly assigned a partner to web chat with. There is no control over the webcams and anyone can do anything on the webcam, including nudity and sexual activities

ChatRooms-Pedophiles often meet their victims in chat rooms and pose as someone the victims age to lure them. The majority of internet induced abductions occur from the victim meeting the kidnapper in a chat room

CraigsList-although good for picking up free stuff or buying a used car, there are also some not so friendly uses. The erotic services section is an advertisement area for adults

 

What You Can Do

-Make a facebook/myspace and ask to be your child’s friend

-Request your teen’s password for facebook/myspace/aim

-Limit computer time to a certain period of time per day

-Place the computer in a place where you can monitor their activities

12
Oct
10

Who is Ruling The Roost-You or Your Teen?

Does it seem like your teen is the one calling all the shots and you are the one stuck on the sidelines? Are you tempted to call in a referee or better yet get yourself a whistle? Then it sounds like your teen is the one in charge and not you. How do you take back the reigns and keep your teen from ruling the roost?

 

First: Sit down with your teen and tell them in a calm manner that things are going to be different in the home from now on. Be prepared to be met with some opposition, because honestly no one wants to give up the control.

Next: Lay out the new rules for the house, ask for their input and if they feel as if they can adhere to the rules. If not, ask what they can agree to and how the ones they cant can be adjusted so they can abide by them.

Then: STICK TO IT. Teens will not take you or your rules seriously if they are empty promises. Saying that there will be consequences for their actions but not following through sends them the message that they are still in fact, in charge.

So, take back the reigns, put yourself in charge, and be the parent.

 

 

-Kate MacHugh, Intern For Driven

05
Oct
10

Creeping or Caring?

Driven recently held our annual MERGE Conference. At the conference, parents and teens were given the chance to submit questions to a panel of parents and teens who had successfully navigated the teen years together. One question came up in both panels- “Does snooping make me a bad parent?/Why do my parents go through my stuff? ” For both teens and parents this can be a touchy subject. Parents want to know what is going on in their child’s life, and are often met with “you wouldn’t understand” and a door slam. Where does this leave parents? With lots of questions and not many answers. If you feel like you must check in on your child, you have just cause. That being said, you need to be prepared for what you may find.

Online: Your child’s online identity is very important to them, and you need treat it as such.  Asking who you are communicating with is reasonable. If your child is not forthcoming with their online activities, minimizes the window when you enter the room, or keeps everything locked with a password and will not tell you it-you may need to do some further investigating. Instead of forbidding the use of online social networks, compromise. Make your own facebook/myspace and “friend” your child. If your child refuses to allow you to see certain things on their page or flat out refuses, take the next step. Ask for their password to their account. When this fails, you may require them to delete their page in front of you and restrict computer access to supervised homework time. The key here is start out less strict and if they are not compliant, become stricter.

Cell Phone: Check your monthly bill, if you see anything out of the ordinary ask your teen about it. You pay the bill and have the right to regulate the use of the cell phone. With the abundance of “sexting” teens are doing and sending provocative pictures to people, you as the parent have an obligation to keep them safe. Teens do not realize the lasting consequences this can have on their lives.

All this considered, your child has a right to privacy as well. If you do find something that is troublesome or worrisome, fight the urge to yell.Engage in open dialogue about what is going on and your feelings about it. Give your teen a chance to explain themselves, and then work together to come up with a solution you both can agree upon.

~Kate MacHugh, Intern For Driven

30
Sep
10

Why Won’t They Talk To Me?!

Chances are you have tried to talk to your teen about something and were met with a blank stare and a door slam. What is with this phenomenon? Is there something about teens that make them so adverse to telling us how their day went, who their friends are, and who this week’s crush is? Not exactly. They want to tell you what happened in Biology, who Rob is asking to prom, and who they hope will ask them. If you feel like you have asked those questions until you were blue in the face and are met with that deer in the headlights look that teens are so known for-then maybe you are not asking the right way. How would you feel if you walked in to work and your boss asked you about an important project you had been working on, and as soon as you began to talk he began reading his email and mumbled “mmhmm” occasionally. You would feel pretty upset wouldn’t you? Well, your teen may be feeling the same way. If you say “How was school today?” and in the same breath begin cooking dinner, reading the mail, and wiping down the counters-you are no better than that boss. Your teen wants you to mean it when you ask them about their lives,and that means stopping everything and listening. Good listening can be hard when you have got half a million things to do and 20 minutes to do them. But, if you are truly invested in having a relationship with your teen, you have to give them your undivided attention when they want to share something with you. Try taking ten minutes a day and giving it to them to talk about their lives. Go some place quiet, leave the cell phones on the counter, and truly listen. Ask questions, nod your head, make eye contact. These little things let your teen know that you care about what they have to say and they will be much more likely to venture information, problems, and issues when they come up on their own. Soon enough, you won’t need to set aside time, it will come naturally to stop whatever is going on and listen.

To sum it all up:

Your teen wants to tell you about their lives.

They may feel like you are not listening or don’t care because of your actions.

Setting aside time to listen everyday can open up communication.

Make eye contact, ask questions, nod your head. This lets them know that you are really listening.

~Kate McHugh, Driven Intern

15
Sep
10

Could My Teen Be In A Violent Dating Relationship?

1 in every 3 Teen Dating Relationships is Violent

Over 90% of the injuries in Dating Violence occur to the woman in the relationship

92% of teenage rape victims know their attackers

What Is Dating Violence?

Physical Abuse

pushing or shoving

slapping, hitting, kicking

hitting with an object

threats with weapons

forcing sexual relations

Verbal Abuse

name calling

threats

belittling

put-downs

Characteristics  of Abusers

Jealous or possessive

Controlling, bossy, gives orders, makes all decisions

Scary-uses threats to get you to do something

Violent-history of fighting, loses temper quickly, brags about mistreating others

Pressures sex, thinks of women as sex objects, gets too serious about relationship too fast

Abuses drugs or alcohol

Blames victim for mistreatment

History of bad relationships

Family and Friends are concerned about safety of partner in the relationship

Prevention

-Pay Your Own Way

Give your child money for their dating activities, and make sure they have emergency cash on them.

-Be Able to Leave

Know who your child will be traveling with, and arrange to be available to pick them up if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable with their date

-Assert Yourself

Encourage your child to be themselves in their dating relationships. If you notice a shift in your child around their significant other, this can be a warning sign that they do not have the freedom to express opinions around their partner

-Get to Know Their Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Any one who wants to date your child should be respectful of your questions and desires to get to know them. If they are resistant to this, this can be a red flag.

-Decrease Interaction Time

Encourage your child to continue doing activities that he/she enjoys and not to quit them to spend more time with their boyfriend/girlfriend. Activities outside of the relationship helps promote a healthy relationship.

-Keep Your Friends

Girls may stop spending time with their friends unless a boyfriend/girlfriend is busy. This is harmful in an abusive situation because they lose a network of people who be there as a support for them.

Resources

Berks Women In Crisis

610-372-9540 ENGLISH

610-372-7463-SPANISH

http://www.berkswomenincrisis.org

07
Sep
10

Facebook-Your Teen’s Friend or Foe?

“Get off the computer and come down for dinner!” “Put that phone down and look at me when I am speaking to you!” It seems that teenagers these days are glued to their information connection. As parents, you want to safeguard them from danger while allowing them to flourish and grow into functional human beings.  How do you strike a balance between the two? Tough conundrum .

 For teens, Facebook and the like are probably a vital part of your child’s social life. It may seem hard to understand as a parent where the thrill lies or how they can spend hours interacting through the online world. These outlets however are a wonderful way for your teen to interact with the world and establish their identity. As parents, it is your job to make sure they are being safe in doing so. We have all seen horror stories on the news about girls being snatched after meeting older men online. These numbers continue to grow as more and more people use the internet to communicate with one another. Parents need to be mindful of their child’s online activity while maintaining a level of privacy. Talk with your teen about online safety, on a continual basis. Assure them that you understand their need for autonomy but you are still the parent and set ground rules for Facebook. Some parents require their child to be their friend on Facebook, whilst others ask for their child’s password. The discussion should be an open one between teen and parent.

~Kate MacHugh, Intern for Driven