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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting Teenagers’

Teaching Kids About Money

Monday, August 20th, 2012

It’s August and that can only mean one thing – spending money! A recent survey indicated that moms spend more on their kids during back to school shopping time than they do the entire year. While the jury is still out about whether it is better to give your kids an allowance or make them earn their spending money, back to school shopping is a great time to teach your kids good spending habits, budgeting, and discount hunting.

Sit with your kids and explain that they will have a certain dollar amount that you will spend for school clothes. If they have their own money they can supplement this, but be clear that you will only buy them necessities (no crazy hats or studded belts). Have them put items on hold at the store for your inspection before you use your credit card or cash to purchase the items.

Another great approach to teaching kids about money is to have them go on a bargain hunt the week before the planned shopping outing. Most kids know about checking out the catalogues before the holidays, but explain to them that if they can find good bargains they may be able to get more stuff. Learning to budget is made easier when teens see how much more their money will buy by looking for deals. Teach them about early bird specials, two for ones, couponing, and even vintage clothing stores. For older teens this can be a great time to teach them about using credit cards responsibly for discounts.

You may find as you are teaching your kids about good money management you discover you have some bad money habits yourself. Don’t despair! Use this time to hone your own skills, take a course (we recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University), and get your own budget in shape.

Dr. Kate Walker Ph.D. is owner and CEO of achievebalance.org found in The Woodlands TX.

Getting Ready for School

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

About this time of year the talk amongst parents of school age children turns to bedtime rituals, earth-friendly lunch containers, and shopping for school supplies. Not to be outdone, we at achievebalance.org decided to dedicate an article to the top 10 ways parents can smooth the transition from summer to fall. Supporting your child from a youth mental health standpoint is all about making sure your child is equipped with knowing the ropes Here is the top ten countdown for mentally getting ready for school this fall:

10. If you are transitioning your child to a new school, take time to visit the campus and ask for a tour.

9. Find out what kind of food is served in the cafeteria and allowed for snacks. Many schools have a policy against nuts and foods of minimal value (FMV).

8. Call the bus facility if your child is a bus rider to see what the commute time is in the morning and afternoon. Help your child prepare if the commute is long and the weather is extreme.

7. Create your list of emergency contacts. Schools always ask for them and its good for your child to know who may pick them up if you can’t. Teach your child never to go with anyone who is not on this list.

6. Donate to the local backpack/school supply drive while you are picking up your own supplies.

5. Talk to other parents about age-appropriate bedtimes. Everyone doesn’t have to be the same but it will be much easier to get your kids to go to bed on time if everyone in their group of friends has close to the same bedtime.

4. Check the school handbook before you go clothes shopping. Most schools without uniforms have rules about school clothes.

3. Get your child’s input on school lunch ideas.

2. If your child is having anxiety about the start of school or has trouble separating from you, check your own attitude and make sure you don’t seem fearful too.

1. Celebrate the end of summer and the start of school by doing something fun! Make it a new tradition you and your child can look forward to.

Parent, child, school…success!

Dr. Kate Walker Ph.D. is owner and CEO of achievebalance.org found in The Woodlands TX.

“Just a stage?” Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Children, and Defiant Disorder Treatment

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

As every parent knows, kids love to use the word “no.”  It gives them a sense of power and it allows them to perceive they have some control over their endlessly rule laden lives.  While unpleasant, this is a normal part of child maturation and testing boundaries, and it is a normal part of parenthood to continue to be the boundary enforcer. But what happens when a child surpasses normal non-compliance efforts, and their unruliness becomes so severe and so consistent that the parent is unable to regain authoritative control? It may be the child’s behavior is a diagnosable condition.

So how do you know when those refusals to comply have become more than just a little stage?  There is a little known but increasingly diagnosed disorder called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).  If your child is exhibiting the signs below it may be a signal that something more serious is going on and it’s time to contact a mental health professional about a possible ODD diagnosis.

The essential feature of Oppositional Defiant Disorder in childeren is a repeated pattern of negative behavior that is “deliberate, spiteful, and argumentative.”  This is not the preschooler who tells mom “no” to bath time or the school age kid who doesn’t want to do his homework.  This is a child or teen who, over a six month period or longer, repeatedly refuses to follow rules, argues with adults, and is easily angered.

The result is often serious disruptions at school or other social settings. ODD is usually recognized by about age 8 and can be diagnosed by early adolescence.  If not addressed, symptoms may become more confrontational and more persistent as the child enters middle school and high school. Treatments include impulse control therapy, cognitive behavioral therapies, and behavioral therapies.

So the next time your child exercises his “no” muscle, have no fear.  It is a normal part of growth and helps him mature, develop decision making skills, and become independent.  If, however, your child’s “no” has become constant, results in discipline problems at school, or appears overly intentional or directed at adults, check with your school or community counselor for a referral.  There are defiant disorder treatment options, and licensed family and parenting counselors will be able to help.

Communication with Teenagers: Tips for Parents

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

It has been said that being the parent of a teenager is similar to that of being a parent of a child from Mars. They look different than you, act differently from you, and speak another language. Yet the parent’s job in raising teenagers should not be neglected, but what’s a parent to do when their own teenaged child seems to be completely “alien” to them?

Communicating with teenagers doesn’t have to be that way. Remember when you were a teenager? It really isn’t too different today. The less your son or daughter tells you about their life, the more independence they feel that they have. They begin to create a new identity. It is part of the natural process of growing up.

Unfortunately, sometimes our teenage youth make poor decisions. They need your help, parents, even if they don’t ask for it. Many of the questions about life that we faced when we were young still exist in today’s youth. What am I going to do when I grow up?  Am I cool enough to be liked? How do I fit in? Am I wearing the right clothes? Why don’t my parents understand me? Does he/she really like me?

The good news about dealing with teenagers: You can help your teenage son or daughter navigate this challenging time in their life. First, it is important to make time to spend with your son or daughter every day. Whether it is doing homework, eating dinner as a family, or talking about school, making time for your child will provide a foundation of trust. Second, focus on the positives more than the negatives. Think 80% positive and 20% correction. Finally, build open lines of communication. Remember, the most important thing that your son or daughter wants is to be heard and understood by you.

Will they tell you everything that is going on in their life? No, not at first. Over time, however, you will see that your teen will trust you and confide in you.

By Jason Davis, MS, 

Jason has over 15 years of experience working with adolescents, and is passionate about helping them with problems such as bullying, depression, anxiety, anger, as well as improving interpersonal communication skills. 

 

Setting Boundaries For Teenagers While Increasing Their Freedom

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

“Sink or Swim.”

If you have teenagers you know what I am talking about. When children reach the ages of 15-17 parents begin to wonder whether or not it is time to let them make their own decisions. Parenting teenagers is not for the faint of heart.

Of course teens believe they know everything and can navigate life’s decisions on their own. With age comes wisdom, however, and parents can set boundaries for teenagers and enforce explicit rules to help teens transition away from ‘mom and dad decisions’ and learn to make good choices on their own. Here are some guidelines you may find helpful:

  • Establish non-negotiables up front.  When parenting teenagers, safety and well-being cannot be compromised. Let your teen know that behaviors such as drinking, drug use, and risky driving will not be tolerated. No exceptions.
  • Discuss rules open to compromise. Household rules such as curfews, household chores, your teen’s financial responsibilities, and homework policies, are most effective when they are established as a result of discussion with your teen. Allow natural logical consequences to follow failures to comply.
  • Pick your battles.  Clothing choices, hairstyles, music choices, and which club or sport to be a part of might be good decisions to leave up to your teen. If that weird band t-shirt or goofy hair style won’t have an adverse effect on your teen’s success, then letting go of the battle may allow her to feel in control of some aspect of her life. Understanding teenagers is to know which of their behaviors are innocent efforts of self-expression, and which ones are rooted in more troublesome activities or attitudes.

If your teen continues to struggle with the non-negotiables, gets in trouble at school, or cannot keep to the boundaries you set, it may be time to seek counseling. Family therapy and individual sessions for your teen can be an effective and safe way for your child to work through difficult issues. A trained counselor can help families work together as a unit to create rules and boundaries in a non-threatening environment.

 

Jennifer Meehan MA, LPC has worked for the last 15 years in public education and knows has experience working with students and their families in dealing with, ADD/ADHD, anger, autism, defiance, conduct disorders, and abuse. www.achievebalance.org

The “Normal Family” – What Makes a Strong Family

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

As a counselor for over 15 years, I often hear the need for a normal family. Normal is defined as conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern. The thought of a conforming teenager may appear humorous, yet the need for stability and normalcy is not. With such clients, I assess their perception of a normal family. Answers vary, but I find that strong and productive families share similar characteristics including the enforcement of rules, clear communication, and acceptance of change.

Vigorous yet happy and strong families have rules that are specific, respected by all members, and consistently enforced. Rules in the home help family members develop clear expectations, support a stable environment, and decrease the frequency of control and power struggles. What makes a strong family is when family members know where authority lies and respect the opinions of all members while also acknowledging the opportunity to negotiate and discuss any problems or family issues.

Clear communication is another contributor to strong families. Members take responsibility for their statements and respectfully communicate with others. Even though expressing thoughts and feelings involves facing certain risks – one may encounter opposition, disagreement, and hurt – these expressions are validated and welcomed in healthy families.

A third characteristic of strong families is the realization and understanding of change. Although it is human nature to resist change, strong families have a tendency to accept change and members understand the ever-present concept of change. These families have a clear understanding of developmental stages and are thus able to successfully assimilate and accommodate when change is necessary. Family members understand life stages and accept each member’s individual growth.

In conclusion, while no perfect recipe produces perfect families, a “normal family” is achieved when these important ingredients are considered and implemented. Incorporating the above characteristics is a great way to start strengthening your family relationships.

 

Tia Parsley, MEd, LPC, LCDC has experience assisting adolescents and their families with issues such as addiction, anger management, depression, anxiety, communication, parenting, and stress management. Lear more about TIa Parsley the these websites: www.achievebalance.org and www.tiaparsley.com.


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