This is a question that many parents can relate to. The phone, in some ways, has replaced the television of the 1970s. We’d dread when a parent would say the words, “That’s enough TV… shut it off and go outside!”
Today’s parents can think about their own teenage television habits and ask themselves: “What are the rules of TV watching in our house?” Use that as your reference point for how much you want your teenager to be on his or her phone.
Ideally, parents should establish the expectations regarding phone usage from the beginning. I cannot stress this enough. Otherwise, it ends up like a runaway train.
Questions to answer before handing over a phone: When can your adolescent use the device? All the time? Or perhaps you want to limit it to after homework is finished, a period before bedtime, or just weekends? Where is the phone stored? Who pays for the phone? Again, answer as many of these questions as you can in advance and make your expectations clear.
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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.
Excerpt from my recent article for The Five Moms Blog
The face of teen bullying has really changed over the years. It’s not restricted to the old image of a bully in the cafeteria or on the bus that calls you names to your face or picks a physical fight with you. It can be a group ignoring your child, avoiding them or acting like they are invisible. With social media, it’s even easier to bully via Facebook, texts, tweets, etc. Cyberbullies can be sneaky these days. They might hide their identity – sharing damaging photos of your child, leaving anonymous comments or targeting their victims in other indirect ways. For some teens, telling mom and dad that they are being bullied, doesn’t feel like an option. It makes it more real and they don’t know how their parents are going to respond, so they often decide to keep it to themselves.
Here are three pieces of advice:
- Practice assertiveness training techniques with your kids at home. It can be tied to a game, a healthy debate or a dinner conversation. Use bullying as the main topic and let the conversation naturally unfold. Starting with a question usually helps. “What does bullying look like these days?” Or, if your child wants a more private experience, encourage them to practice assertiveness in front of their bedroom mirror. Have them stare their reflection straight in the eyes as they speak. Give them some language if they don’t know what to say. Practicing NO is always a good start. “No, you can’t look at my homework.” “No, I’m not listening to you.” “No, I’m not doing that.” As they say it to the mirror, have them focus on their tone. Sometimes how you say something is even more powerful than the actual words you say. Then they can more comfortably transfer these techniques to an actual bullying situation.
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