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How To Parent A Teen Blog

Tips, Strategies, Coaching and Inspiration designed specifically for parents of teenagers who are looking to Restore Peace Of Mind During The Teenage Years.

And Your Teen's Diagnosis is..."Too Much Yes"!

Aug 05, 2020

Does this sound strange to you?  Well…it might but it is important, and I have worked with many, many teenagers who I have diagnosed with this “condition”.  Now, I am obviously being a bit sarcastic to make this point, but it is because I have seen the positive changes that can occur when parents (and their teenagers) realize that “too much yes” is central to many of the issues they are having.  "Too much yes" happens when parents have not been firm enough with limits, restrictions, and in saying “no” to some things their children want or want to do. 

 

“Too much yes” results in teenagers not understanding that they sometimes need to work harder to get what they want.  “Too much yes” results in teenagers not understanding there are consequences for their actions.  “Too much yes” results in teenagers not learning to tolerate discomfort or negative emotions. ...

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Teens, Tantrums and Threats

May 09, 2020

Teens, Tantrums and Threats.  These are three “T’s” that can cause a lot of stress, frustration and sadness for parents, especially when everyone is home together all the time.  Have you had situations where you feel like your teenager bursts into a fit of rage or tears without warning while you are left trying to figure out what provoked such a strong emotional reaction?  You are not alone. 

As I often discuss, teens have a lot going on internally at any given moment.  Raging hormones, insecurity, wanting independence but being terrified of it at the same time, academic pressure, peer pressure and general confusion about where they fit into the world are probably just the tip of the iceberg. All of this “stuff” sits inside them brewing and brewing until one thing, however small, causes them to boil over.

This can result in tantrums and threats.  Tantrums can involve crying, screaming, yelling, door slamming, stomping...

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A Mental Health Check in for You and Your Teen

May 04, 2020

How is your family managing emotionally as most of us go into another week of quarantine without a clear end in sight? Likely, everyone in your home has experienced a range of challenging emotions over last 7-8 weeks.

 

Anxiety, boredom, fear, low mood, stress, anger and disappointment are likely some of the challenging emotions experienced. You may have also experienced joy and happiness with having more time with one another and time to do things you usually put on the back burner. Most people have experienced many or all the above emotions, which is completely normal.

 

What we don’t want, is to have the challenging emotions most of the time. Carrying the weight of these emotions most of the time will take its toll on our mental health and the longer they persist, the longer it will take to get things back on track.

 

Keep in mind that our thoughts create our emotions. The problem is that often we don’t even realize what our thoughts are, or how...

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Are you or your teen falling victim to the QUARANTINE 15?

May 01, 2020

Has your family been eating more than you normally do, or eating less healthy foods during quarantine? If you are, you are not alone. The sale of snacks, alcohol and the demand for processed “comfort” foods, like mac and cheese, have increased significantly since March.

Why is this happening?

  • Emotional eating. This is when we use food to numb our uncomfortable feelings in an effort to feel better. We are experiencing something we have never experienced before and for many, there is an increase in some challenging emotions such as:
    • Stress
    • Anxiety
    • Worry
    • Boredom
    • Frustration
    • Uncertainty
    • Loneliness
    • Disappointment
    • Anger
    • Sadness

Less structured days. Work and school help us structure our days, so we only eat at certain times. With so many people home and/or not working, the structure is no longer present, and it is very easy to just walk to the kitchen and pantry and grab something without even thinking about it.

 

  • More access to food throughout the day. This...
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Teens, E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Apr 27, 2020

What’s the Deal with Vaping?

Teen vaping and e-cigarette use is being referred to as an epidemic. Even though it is illegal in all states for anyone to purchase e-cigarettes under the age of 18 or 21, teens are still easily able to access these products. Unlike regular cigarettes, there is not a distinct odor, so teens are able to be very secretive with their use. The manufacturers of these products also target teens, many of whom are misinformed by thinking that e-cigarettes or vaping are not harmful.  

 Harmful effects of e-cigarettes / vaping:

  • Vaping can result in a nicotine addiction. Teens are more likely to get addicted because they do not have a fully developed brain.
  • There are several additives in e-cigarettes that are known toxins, heavy metals and carcinogens.
  • Inhaling the vape liquids can cause serious lung disease.
  • There is an increase in teens vaping THC as well as nicotine.
  • Even if not becoming addicted to nicotine, using e-cigarettes can become a...
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Changing Family Dynamics Takes Time

Apr 22, 2020

Creating any kind of a change in our lives, whether a change around food habits, exercise or changes in our relationships, can be challenging.  Often, we lose steam because we are not seeing the results we want quickly enough.  How many people give up on diets after a week or two because they have not lost 10 pounds or because they are not fitting into their smaller clothes yet?  This happens to so many of us and it is because creating change can be hard.  We become frustrated and tired and then give up.  It sometimes feels more comfortable to stay in a “stuck mode” rather than invest a lot of time and energy into creating change when you are uncertain about how, if and when the change will occur.

This happens to many parents who want to change their relationship or the dynamic they have with their teenager (or with each other) as well.  Parents become frustrated with the dynamics of their family.  Whether there is too much yelling or...

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Don't, No, Stop, Quit - Words and Phrases Not to Use with Teenagers

Apr 21, 2020

When addressing your teenager’s behavior (or any child’s behavior for that matter), try to avoid using the following words, “DON’T, NO, STOP, QUIT”.  You may be asking...WHAT???!!!!  Let me explain so that this makes a little more sense.  When addressing your teenager’s behavior, you likely want to extinguish negative behaviors, but you should also want to promote that they engage more in positive behaviors.  When you start your conversation with the above four words…you are automatically putting your attention on the negative behavior you want less while not attending to the positive behavior you want more of.  It seems like a minor difference, but you will get more of what you put your focus and emphasis on.  If you are looking to increase positive behaviors, placing more focus on them will increase the chance that you will see more of them.

For example, instead of saying, “Stop playing games on your...

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Has Your Teen Taken Their Face Off Their Screen Since Quarantine Started?

Apr 16, 2020

Most teens are on their electronic devices more than ever right now for several reasons. Boredom is one of them for sure! In addition to boredom, they are on them for schoolwork and as a means of staying connected to others. As a parent, how do you set limits or manage your teen’s screen time during quarantine when it has gone on this long?

I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer for this, however, here are some guidelines that may help.

  • Monitor what they are doing. It is still important for parents to monitor screen time for their teens. With younger teens, there should be close monitoring so that you can continue to educate them about the risks associated with social media and make sure they are not putting themselves into situations they will later regret. For older teens, check in with them and insist that you have their password at all time. As their parent, you have a right to their password so that you can check what they are doing as you feel is...
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Is your teen being bullied during the quarantine?

Apr 15, 2020

If I asked this question before the days of smart devices, email and social media your answer would likely be “absolutely not”. You would be able to screen any calls coming into your home and protect your child from bullying, however, this is not the case today.

Unfortunately, it is much harder for teens to escape bullying unless they choose to unplug completely and what teen is going to do that? Cyberbullying can be persistent, either with non-stop harassing text messaging or with frequent hurtful, threatening or humiliating social media posts. For a teenager experiencing cyberbullying, home no longer feels like a safe place, even during a quarantine.

The other scary thing about cyberbullying is that once it is out there…it is usually out there forever. It’s easier for bullies to be relentless when they can hide behind a screen and not have to say or do something to their victim in person. While some bullying can be very blatant and obvious, other forms...

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Parenting During Covid-19 - Going on Week #4...or it is Week #40?!

Apr 13, 2020

Here we go…week #4 of social distancing. When they first announced that schools would close and that everyone who could, should be working at home, did you think we would be going into a week #4, wearing masks when buying groceries, having 6.6 million Americans apply for unemployment in a single week and still not knowing when this will end?  Me neither!

Are your kids asking you questions you cannot answer? Are they cycling through the stages of grief or cycling in and out of anxiety, fear and boredom?  If so, that is normal.  We are navigating uncharted territory and most of us have not ever lived with this level of uncertainty. What do you do when it is week 4 and we know there will be at least 2 more weeks (very likely longer) to follow? What do you do when we don’t know what this being “done” looks like and what our new normal will be following all of this?  What do you do when your kids keep asking for answers that you don’t...

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