What Every Parent & Teen Needs to Know About the College Process

Choosing a college can be the first real big decisions you and your child make together. Managing expectations, finding the right schools and honing in on the proper academic program are no easy tasks—especially when you’re negotiating the deal with an eighteen year old child. Please keep in mind that you and your child are allies in the search and not on competing teams. Work together, find out what they are looking for in a college and share with them what is important to you during their college experience. There can be a healthy balance for all involved. I would encourage the college dialog to at least begin after your child’s sophomore year. This way they will grow accustomed to hearing the word “college” and believe it or not this will cause them to start thinking about it as well. Set a time-line for your family. Remember that college applications are mostly due by April of their senior year (the prior December if you are interested in early decision). So, work backwards from this timeline and you’ll be able to keep everyone on track. –

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I Need Help With My Snarky Teenager!

Ask The Expert

Question: How do I handle my 13-year-old daughter’s attitude? I get it’s her age, but it can be tough to ignore when she’s mean and snarky.

Answer: First, let me say . . . 13 is a tough age. At this age, teenagers are moody, overly dramatic and in some cases incredibly fragile. After a long day at school, where maybe your teen had a fight with a friend, got annoyed by a study partner or even scolded by a teacher, she needs a safe outlet. You know the expression “you always hurt the ones you love?” Well…it applies here mom and dad. For good or bad, you are that safe outlet. I highly recommend giving your daughter more room at this age and not forcing conversation. Pick your battles wisely, but also draw a line in the sand for what is acceptable and what isn’t. You are still the parent.

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Who Wants to Talk About Snapchat?

Okay… Who wants to talk about Snapchat? I’ve received quite a few questions about Snapshot lately, so I thought I’d take the time and address them. So what is Snapchat?

Snapchat  is an app that allows you to “snap” a photo and posted it to text. The selling point of the app is that the photo disappears after 10 seconds. It’s a visual chat– a kind of “freeze framing” a specific moment in time. It’s all about spontaneity and no impulse control. Just what kids need more of–right? 

The app creates the illusion that the information you send will be secretive and then disappear forever. This is certainly attractive to young kids, who are tempted to send things that are a bit risqué. They feel a false sense of safety in doing so, since their content will magically disappear. Right? Wrong….like everything else on the internet, it doesn’t disappear. The receiver of the information can easily take a screenshot of what was sent, hold on to it and then share with whomever they choose.  This app is also becoming a big tool for cyber bullies because they can send and hide behind a mean message/photo and then “poof” it’s gone. Leaving the receiver in a state of shock. Numb and upset by what they just saw. It’s damaging, hurtful and can negatively affect ones’ self-esteem and sense of self -worth.

As an adult, I can somewhat see the value in a tool like this. However, I don’t think I’ve ever texted something that needed to self destruct in 10 seconds like I’m a character from Mission Impossible.  However, I CAN see this as a smart marketing tool for businesses sharing information about last minute sales with values customers, pop-up events or secret coupon codes.  It can certainly build brand loyalty. But, let’s be honest; teens are the ones mostly using this tool.

Personally, I think there should be stricter requirements attached to opening Snapchat accounts. The only requirement is that you must be 13 years old.  That’s still too young. I think it’s more dangerous than kids are realizing. Encouraging impulsive actions that can have a lifetime of repercussions sounds like a recipe for disaster. As a parent, you need to check out the app and decide for yourself. Here is a good video about Snapchat to help you get started.