The Benefits of Being Scared

Excerpt from my article in World of Psychology, The Benefits of Being Scared.   th

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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Teaching Your Teen about Peer Pressure

Guest Blog ~ Teaching Your Teen about Peer Pressure

As teenagers grow into their independence, they tend to reject their parents’ advice in favor of making their own decisions. They test your rules and take more risks against your will. As a parent, you may start to wonder if your teen is even listening to you at all.

You worry that this sense of stubborn self-reliance could lead your teen into a sticky situation, especially when he or she is being pressured to engage in potentially dangerous activities. Will your teen’s sense of reason be trumped by his or her desire to belong? Will he or she even be able to detect peer pressure, especially when it’s coming from a trusted friend? Can your teen say “no” with confidence?

These are tough questions for any parent to have to consider, but there are things you can do to help yourself feel confident in your teen’s ability to resist peer pressure.

  1. Instill a strong sense of confidence and self-worth. Teens with a greater sense of self are more confident in making their own decisions. They are also less likely to succumb to the negative influence of friends. Teach your teen that “No.” can be a complete sentence and empower him or her to stand firm against pressure.
  2. Reinforce trust. Open communication, listening and understanding are key when engaging in a dialogue with your teen. When the trust is mutual, he or she will be more likely to come to you with any questions or concerns about peer pressure.
  3. Take advantage of teachable moments. Taking your teen to a party? Use those minutes in the car to discuss party behavior dos and don’ts. During high-stress periods, such as exams or sports competitions, teach your teen about healthy stress management. Warn your teen about the negative consequences of using alcohol or medicine abuse as a coping mechanism.
  4. Role play. Act out various scenarios of peer pressure, such as being offered an alcoholic beverage or drugs. Alternate between overt and subtle situations. Watch how your teen thinks through and responds to each one. Use different “characters” in your scenarios, including close friends and family members, to illustrate instances where trust and boundaries may be blurred.
  5. Talk to your teen about online safety. With new social networking sites and apps popping up all the time, teens are becoming more accustomed to sharing personal information and photos online. Teach your teen to limit the amount of personal information he or she shares as well as limiting who has access to it. Emphasize that what’s posted online can live online for years—just one bad mistake can have lingering effects.
  6. The gut check. Teach your teen to trust their intuition as a first alarm. If it doesn’t feel right, chances are it’s not right. By the same token, check your gut as well. If something doesn’t feel right, follow up on what is making you feel uncomfortable and take action if necessary.

All of these things will help you feel more confident in your teen while simultaneously helping your teen feel more confident in him or herself. That’s a win, win.

Author: Christy Crandell is a mother of two, an author and a drug awareness advocate working to educate other parents about risky teen behaviors such as medicine abuse on the Five Moms blog.

10 Things Teens Should Know Before High School

10 things teens should know before high school 

1) Everyone is nervous going to high school- everyone!  Don’t think you are the only one freaking out, because you aren’t.  Some people are just better at hiding it.  You are not alone, so remember that. 

2) Take a chance early on… that way taking addition risks later won’t seem so big. It’s kind of like jumping into a cold pool. It’s a bit scary, but once it’s over, you like it and wonder why you were so nervous in the first place.  You will comfortably take more chances after that. 

3) The longer you wait to do something…the harder it is to do. Procrastination is not your friend. It will hold you back from amazing opportunities, experiences, conversations, people, etc.  Don’t let it! 

4) Talk to your parents.. don’t drift away.  Some teens get distant from their parents in HS.  However, trust me, this is the time that you really need them.  Find time to talk with them every day, even if only for a few minutes. 

5) Get involved in HS- it goes by fast. It’s easier to stay involved in high school activities if you get involved freshman year. So, join a sport, student council, theatre or the newspaper right away.  You will thank me.  

6) Pick friends that have your back. It’s ok to walk away from unhealthy people you knew in middle school. Chances are your high school class will be pretty big compared to your 8th grade class. Meet everyone and make new friends based on shared interests, likes and values. 

7)  Every day is a new opportunity to re-invent yourself. This is a perfect time. Why? Because everyone else is doing the same thing! Don’t let others define you. Find new interests, change your attitude and explore new things. 

8) Clothes, electronics, make-up and music don’t make you cool. Confidence trumps all those things.  Drop the labels, products and latest apps. These things don’t make you interesting or likable. Show people who you are, have an opinion and make decisions for yourself.  People will respect you and your confidence. 

9) Stay away from drama- don’t get involved.  High school drama is the worst and it’s everywhere. Don’t gossip- it will come back to bite you.  Don’t tweet, post, say or share inappropriate things. You will be labeled very quickly as a mean girl/a gossip and this label can be hard to shake. 

10) Don’t do anything you don’t want to do.  If you stand up for yourself, say no, or walk away from the first bad situation freshman year, people will take notice. That way peer pressure will not follow you for the next 3 years. Instead, you will attract like minded friends.