Tag: Teenagers

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Getting Your Teen to Volunteer

Community service is a great way to teach responsibility. Developing a sense of gratitude and empathy for the less fortunate will go a long way in enriching their lives. It may be a challenge convincing them something is good for them, but it is important to instill this value as something they can appreciate and be passionate about.

Developing Their Helping Hand

Start by finding a cause where your teen may show an interest. Consider their abilities, the time commitment needed, and the attitude of the organization. Maybe they are interested in animals, children, sports, health, or senior citizens. Motivate them by explaining the purpose behind the volunteering.

Let them make their choices about who or what they are helping. No one likes to be forced to do something. They need to feel like they are trusted and can be independent. The more trust you put in them, the more responsible they will become to earn it. Do your best to empathize and be understanding with them. This will make them more open to compromise.

Teenagers are not always the best at listening to their parents, but they do see your actions. Walk your talk. If they see you with a passion for helping, they will be inspired to follow your example. Do your best to make it fun and interesting. Try to incorporate games into your learning activities. This works especially well if they are working with kids from poor communities. It can create a bond between your volunteer teens and the kids they are helping.

Be Sure to Offer Positive Feedback

If you want to keep their motivation strong, be sure to let them know they are appreciated. They want to feel noticed and know their efforts are recognized. That will inspire them to work harder. When you tell someone you appreciate what they do, they tend to work even harder.

Give your teen this purpose and let them do the work. Tell them to know you appreciate their efforts and see the hard work and improvement. Watch them grow up, work hard, and reap the benefits of their efforts. Your teen will grow up to be socially aware, confident, competent, and useful members of their society. Hopefully, they can help make a difference and can move on to inspire other young people. It is all worth the effort to help our youth succeed in life.

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Fighting With Your Teen

You tell your daughter she cannot borrow the car to drive to the mall until she finishes cleaning her room. She says it is her room, and she will keep it how she wants. From there, the conversation gets ugly with name-calling, yelling, and slamming doors. Now you are receiving the silent treatment from a sullen teenager while you walk on eggshells to keep the peace.

What Happens Now?

Raising teenagers can be a challenge. Your priorities and those of your teenager are completely different. She is worried about being invited to the prom or keeping up with the latest fashion trend. You are worried about getting the power bill paid and making sure she gets a good education. Having one of these arguments is rough, but learning to deal with the aftermath can help.

Your daughter may want a little time to cool off and process. Give her the space she needs to work through her feelings, and do not push her to “be okay” with you right away. There will be tension in the room, but hopefully, you will be able to tolerate it while you both process the argument. Maybe it is you that is causing the tension after building resentment by what your daughter said. Are you frustrated with yourself because you gave in? Are you sad because she hit too close to home? Be sure to examine your feelings to know you are not causing the tension. Do not worry. The tension is temporary and will eventually diffuse itself.

Apologize if you said something hurtful. Take responsibility for it and let your daughter know that you realize your imperfections. Do not apologize for setting boundaries or rules to follow. If she is giving you the silent treatment, just talk to her as you would any other day. If she does not respond, just go about your business.

Use your disagreement as an opportunity to show your daughter by example the best way to manage anger and tension. Let her know you love her even when she is mad at you. Check your feelings, and be sure not to hold a grudge. Most things said in the heat of anger are not worth hanging on to.

Your feelings during this cooling-off period are essential, and so are your daughter’s feelings. Do not discount either. Instead, say something like, “I know you are feeling angry after our fight just like I am. I hope when we are both feeling better, we can talk about it and then move on.” If your daughter feels respected and has the space to process her feelings, the tension will dissipate before you know it.

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Do You Smell Alcohol on Her Breath?

She must have seen the commercials on television about the pitfalls of teens drinking. But she came home from a friend’s house acting a little wobbly, and you could smell alcohol on her breath. She is too old to spank, so how do you react to this dangerous behavior?

Find Out Why

There could be a variety of reasons why your daughter decided to drink. She was at a party, and that is what all her friends were doing. She was afraid to turn down a drink because her friends would call her names or turn their back on her. If it has become a habit, the problems may go deeper. She may be dealing with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or stress. It is important to find out the underlying issue.

You can help her by staying calm. Listen to why she is drinking and let her know you understand that she faces pressure and challenges in her life. If she realizes that she can talk to you openly about her feelings, you will be more likely to get the information you need to help. Try to explain the dangers of teen drinking without the lecturing tone of voice. It can make you more depressed or lead to permanently damaged memory. Getting drunk can lead to bad decisions or even legal problems.

Communicate and Learn

Let your daughter know that you want to keep honest communication open, but they do need to learn the consequences of their unwise decision. Do not punish them by humiliating them in any way, or you will ruin that line of communication. Ask her what she feels her punishment should be. You might be surprised by what she produces.

Have your daughter do a research paper on underage drinking. This will help her to learn about the consequences of these actions. It may also be a wonderful way for the family to come together and brainstorm ways to deal with situations in their lives when alcohol might be present, like a slumber party or get-together. This could be a helpful exercise for the whole family.

Catching your teenage daughter drinking can be a serious situation, but with calm patience and effective communication, it is a problem through which you can work. You may even find it brings the family closer.

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Is Your Teenage Son Stressed?

It is hard to watch sometimes. When your teenage son was little, your son was anxious about dentists, monsters, or being alone in the dark. Now he is still your little boy, but he is also a young man, and his anxiety is much more complicated. When kids become teenagers, their anxiety becomes more internal. They may get moody and irritable. They explode if you mention anything out of place. Do not worry, he will be okay. It is all a part of growing up, and you can help.

Helping Teens Cope

Teen years are a time of change for your child as they head towards adulthood. They are changing emotionally, physically, and socially. They are worried about how they measure up to the world around them, especially their peers. So how can you help?

  • First, get your son to talk. Talking helps to process all the chaos spinning around in his mind, especially when there is someone listening.

When he talks, he can sort through his feelings about things. When you listen intently, you will be more in tune with any way that you can help. One thing that seems to help is physical activity while you have a conversation. Go for a walk together. The fresh air and gentle rhythm of your steps provide encouragement for the words to come to the surface.

  • Acknowledging his fears and anxiety is essential. What he is anxious about may never happen, but his feelings are still real. Acknowledge his anxiety and let him know you are confident he can manage it. Use warmth and compassion and hope they can use this to develop self-compassion as well.
  • Encourage him to talk positively to himself with little pep talks. Be sure to let him know it is okay to ask for help. Humans are not designed to go through this life alone, and you are always there for them. Reassure him this is something we all go through, and he is not alone. Getting good sleep, eating right, and even meditation will all help guarantee success as well.

If your son continues to have issues for an extended period of time or it begins to interfere with normal life, it may be time to seek the help of professional help from a school counselor or psychologist. The most important tip is to get your teen talking so you can understand the issue, and he can feel like he is understood and that his feelings are important.

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What If My Teenager is a Thief

You got a beautiful necklace for the holidays, but the next time you decide to wear it, the necklace is not in your jewelry box. Then you hear your daughter was wearing one just like it at school, and you find it in her backpack. Your heart drops, you are disappointed, and you feel betrayed and downright angry. First, count to ten. Get past the emotional response and access the logical side of your brain. Most importantly, remember that this is a behavior, not a personality trait. Now you are ready to help them work through the situation.

Tips to Teaching Amends

It is understandable that you would feel hurt and betrayed when your child steals from you but try not to take the behavior personally. Their stealing is not about you or your parenting skills. Unfortunately, your teen has chosen an inappropriate way to solve their problem, and you can help change their thinking.

  • Do not let them think you see them as a horrible person. It bears repeating, remember this is behavior and not a personality trait. If they sense you have a bad opinion of them now, it could cause them to feel hopeless. They will lose hope in their ability ever to change.
  • Instead, shift the situation to the opposite way of thinking. Good people apologize when they make a mistake, not just because they got caught but because they hurt someone they care about. They also make amends for their behavior. Let your teen know you believe they are a good person, and you know they can do this too.
  • Let your daughter know that just because you want something does not mean it is okay to just take it without asking. This is faulty thinking. Ask her what she should do next time. Never let them benefit from stealing or keep what they took. If she still has the necklace, she should be required to return it with an apology, maybe even a written one, so she must think about the situation. Make sure there are consequences.
  • If she does not have the necklace anymore, she will have to work and earn money to replace it. If she does not have a regular job, then she can work around the house for designated points and be grounded until she has earned enough points to buy her restitution.

She needs to know there are consequences, but if you make amends, you can be forgiven and earn back trust. Your teenager is not a thief, she is a growing human who will make mistakes, and with a bit of patience, you can help her learn from those mistakes and grow into being a caring and loving adult.

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Opening Communication with Your Teen

Many parents believe that at some point around the time their kids become teenagers, their kids become foreign creatures who act bizarre, dress strangely, and are impossible to communicate with. It is important for parents to have open communication. It is also important for teens to be able to express themselves and be heard. Communication is one of the most powerful tools teens can have in their arsenal. Here are some tips for getting them armed for the future.

Steps to Teaching Effective Communication

Listening is the first and more important key to good communication. We need to encourage them to talk and then listen with interest when they do. Let them finish their thought without interrupting. It is vital that they know we hear them. Teach them to listen as well. Do not just demand they listen. Explain active listening to them and why it is important for them to use in the future.

Teenagers need specifics. When talking about issues, discuss behavior, not personalities traits. Try to be logical and not judgmental. Let them know what they need to be doing, but also let them know why. Knowing the reason for behavior helps them to reason through behaviors in the future. Also, please take this opportunity to teach them skills for communicating with adults. Sometimes they feel we are a little foreign too. Help them understand we are on the same side and want the same things.

When things get a little heated, take a break. Teach your teenager it is okay for them to ask for a break if they are getting a little overwhelmed. Be patient and allow them to gather their thoughts, catch their breath, and process the conversation. Teach them to do this as well and let them know that when speaking to adults, sometimes we are a little slow and need time to process information as well.

Communication is a vital tool, and teaching your teen how to use it correctly will serve them well in their future endeavors. Learn how to talk to your teen with patience and respect and teach them these communication skills as well. It is important to talk calmly, using logic instead of emotion. It is important to listen effectively without interrupting and letting them know you hear them. It is vital to communicate, a good skill for you, and a good skill to teach your teen for the future.

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Fostering Healthy Relationships

The teenage years can be difficult to navigate – teens are developing social skills with not only their friends, but with other adults and members of the opposite sex. They will have successes and failures, and it’s important that they have a trusted individual that can guide them when it comes to fostering healthy relationships. Below are several tips that can be reinforced to help teens foster healthy relationships.

  1. Respect is key. Speak to others the way you wish to be spoken to, and that includes the tone of voice you use and the words you choose to communicate with. If conversations become too heated, it’s okay to take a step back, compose yourself, and return when your emotions are a little more under control.
  2. Establish boundaries. Know in advance what you are and aren’t willing to do in certain social situations, and stick to your decisions. When you stand up for what you believe in, others can respect you for it and may be inspired to establish their own standards in life.
  3. Practice conversations with a trusted individual. If you need to have a difficult conversation, practice what you are going to say beforehand with someone you know and trust. Knowing what you want to say will help keep your emotions in check and help you keep your thoughts organized and collected.
  4. Keep your social circle open to new individuals. We all like to have a few close friends, but having new acquaintances broadens our experiences and opens us up to new ideas, and exposes us to things we may not get the chance to experience otherwise.
  5. Helping others allows you to help yourself. When you are helping someone in need, it allows you to reflect on things and see things from another person’s perspective. Another’s life experiences may be totally different from your own, and you can each learn from the other.
  6. Try to avoid preconceived notions or prejudices towards others. Outward appearances are just that – you never know what is truly on the inside until you begin a conversation and start to get to know someone.
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Discussing Mental Health with Teens

Though mental health awareness has gotten a big push in the media over the course of the last few years, it’s still a topic that many parents find hard to bring up with their growing children. If you have a teen at home, though, you should be setting an example for how to discuss mental health issues. Doing so will not only inform the attitudes that your teen takes into their adult years, but it will also give them a chance to know that you’re there if they are struggling.

Normalize Talking about Mental Health

The first and perhaps most important thing to do is to normalize the concept of struggling with one’s mental health. Though you may not have any particular struggles that you can point to, it’s vital that you let your teen know that many people do struggle with their mental health and that doing so is not a mark of weakness or a sign of bad character. Instead, it’s merely another health issue that needs proper care.

This discussion can and should be a dialog. While you may be giving your teen information, you should be prepared to listen to their questions and let your teen direct at least part of the conversation. If you are unsure of any answers to their inquiries, make sure to consult trusted online resources or to make an appointment with a mental health professional so that you can gather the correct information.

Create a System to Communicate Mental Struggles

It’s also a good idea to create a system for letting your teen talk to you about their own struggles. While they might not feel comfortable revealing everything, creating a system that allows your teen to express their general feelings will allow for more communication and might enable them to better track their mood. With a good system in place, you can notice trends and determine if any kind of intervention is necessary.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your teen about mental health issues. Doing so not only helps to keep them safe now, but will have an impact as they grow up. With the proper discussions now, you can prepare your teen for a healthier life in the future.

Close-up portrait of a sad young man lying on the bench in the p
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Suicide Prevention Month

Suicide is something that touches us all. From those who have had suicidal ideation to those who have lost friends or family members, it’s hard not to see ways in which the phenomenon has become a significant part of modern life. That’s why it is so important to take the time to talk about Suicide Prevention Month and the steps that can be taken to protect those who are the most vulnerable, not just now, but year-round.

Take Steps to Understand Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Month is designed to shine a spotlight not just on the ongoing suicide epidemic, but on the resources and methods that can help prevent it from taking lives. From workshops and books to counseling and residential treatment programs, these resources are invaluable for saving lives. But, unfortunately, many of those who are at their lowest and feel like they have nowhere left to turn simply might not be aware of the resources that are available to them.

It’s vital that even those who have not had their lives impacted by a suicide or suicide attempt take the time to understand what can be done to help those who feel like they have nowhere to which they can turn. Knowing the numbers to call or resources to tap can help many get the help they need. Rather than trying to villainize those who take their own lives or to somehow insist that individuals can power through suicidal ideation on their own, realizing that suicide is a societal issue that requires a societal approach really is the way forward that can make the most change for the most significant number of people.

Whether you have struggled with suicidal thoughts or you simply want to ensure that you know what to do if someone in your life is considering committing suicide, the programs spotlighted this month and the outreach performed can give you the knowledge that you need to offer an alternative. Sometimes simply knowing that there is help out there can be the necessary first step in helping an individual in crisis find a way to stay safe during a trying time.

Family Psychotherapy. African American Couple Listening To Counselor's Advices During Therapy Session
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Discussing Intervention with a Teen

As a parent or guardian, it can be difficult to determine exactly how to start the conversation about treatment options with a teen. Not only do you broach a subject that’s difficult at best, but you may be looking at a situation that will generate a significant amount of pushback from the person who needs help the most. Learning how to start the conversation is often the best way to gain the confidence you need to move forward.

The Steps to Effective Interventions

It’s important to start by doing your research. There are necessarily going to be questions about what intervention looks like, how long your teen might need to be in a program, and other related factors. The more you know, the more you will be able to answer honestly. With that said, you also need to admit that you don’t have all of the answers so that you can honestly tell your teen what you know and what you do not.

From there, you need to think about the conversation itself. You’re doing this out of a concern for your teen, after all, and the conversation needs to center around him or her. A dialog is best, of course, but it’s not always a guarantee in these situations. Instead, you need to be able to calmly and honestly set out your concerns and your reasoning for choosing this particular intervention for the teen in your life. Centering things on your care for him or her may not make the conversation easier, but it may help you to avoid a more heated confrontation.

Finally, you’ll want to do what you can to get buy-in from the teen if possible. While it’s not a given in every situation, teens that go into intervention with the right mindset will usually have an easier time accepting the necessity of any program. If you can talk to your teen out of a place of love and concern while making sure to answer any of his or her questions as honestly as you can, you may be able to take the next steps as a team rather than in an adversarial relationship.