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.

 

How to Talk About Peer Pressure With Your Teen

We hear the term “peer pressure” being thrown around a lot these days. But what is peer pressure, really? Depending on the age and maturity level of your teen, it can look very different. I highly recommend starting the conversation about peer pressure with your kids in late elementary or early middle school so that the topic becomes commonplace between the two of you by the teen years. This way, if a serious situation arises that they don’t know how to handle, they will hopefully come and talk to you. If you’ve never discussed the topic of peer pressure before, don’t expect them to seek your help or guidance after the fact. Take the proactive approach.

Firstly, start off by asking your kids, “Do you know what peer pressure is?” This can get the ball rolling. You can talk about the classic definition of peer pressure, you can ask them to explain in their own words what they think it is and you can ask them to share examples with you that they’ve seen at school, on TV or read about in books. Then, take those examples (that your teen shared) and directly apply them to your child’s life. Create peer pressure scenarios using real people, names, locations and situations that are familiar to your child. See what your teen says or does once the example is REAL within the context of their own world and not just an external educational exercise. Create age-appropriate, but complex situations and see how your child handles them. This gives you the opportunity to witness how your child thinks through peer pressure and that will provide you with the perfect opportunity to give them the guidance and advice they may need.

To read more, go to The Five Moms Blog.