Excerpt from my article in World of Psychology, The Benefits of Being Scared.
Being scared isn’t always a negative. You can be scared in many different ways..right? There is the “scary movie” kind of scared, where you don’t know what’s going to pop out on the screen. The jumping out of a plane kind of scared, where you fear real death and your adrenaline is pumping loudly. Lastly, there is the “taking a chance” kind of scared, where you have to address someone or something that’s anxiety producing and you don’t know if the outcome will be favorable.
Now, with a scary movie, we look forward to being scared. We want it; anticipate it. We set the mood. Shut off the lights, grab the popcorn and get ready to be entertained.
When jumping out of a plane, we are excited about the experience even if it is anxiety producing. It gives some people a huge rush to look death in the face, which later can make you feel invincible.
Now, the “taking a chance” kind of scared is a little different. This is the kind of fear we don’t look forward to. We avoid it at any cost and dread it all the way through. It’s no surprise that public speaking is the number #1 fear of most people. Why? Because you are willingly putting yourself out there for others to judge you… and who wants to do that? However, this kind of fear, I believe is the most rewarding and can help teens build self-esteem and confidence.
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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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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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