Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why Not to Push Your Teen into College: Is Every Teen Ready?

For many kids, the stages of learning are defined long before the first thoughts of college enter their minds. Society dictates that graduating high school should immediately be followed by higher education, and parents often encourage this idea. However, with rising tuition prices and a plunging economy, pushing your teen to attend college may no longer be the best choice.

Rising Tuition and Economic Decline

Attending college has always been an expense for which both parents and students have had to plan. Basic tuition plus books, campus activity fees, and expenditures for room and board add up fast. With the cost of higher education at an all-time high and still going up all the time, it’s worth considering whether or not college is the next logical step for your teen.
If your teen has little idea of what he or she wants to do for a living, attending college straight out of high school makes little sense. Without a clear goal in mind, all college has to offer are liberal arts courses that may or may not help toward a particular degree or professional field. Paying for these courses can essentially amount to paying for a directionless education, one that likely won’t be of use to teens as they move on in life.

Even teens who know what type of degree they want to pursue should think about whether it’s worth the cost. Four- and six-year degrees can wind up saddling kids with large amounts of student loan debt that may remain hanging over their heads long into the future. Students who get degrees online may face additional obstacles.

While online universities are growing rapidly, many people do not consider these schools to be a legitimate way to obtain a higher education. As such, if a perspective employer sees an online school mentioned on a resume, they may be less than impressed. Even if a student receives their education from a tradition brick-and-mortar institution, having a college degree no longer guarantees people a reliable career, especially with economies all over the world in a slump. There are so many people vying for available positions that there’s a good possibility your teen may emerge from college and not be able to get a job for months or years.

Parents and teens who are unaware of or don’t fully grasp the current economic situation may fall prey to what is being referred to as the “higher education bubble.” The belief that higher education is essential to getting a good job and will lead to the best possible careers for degree-holders pushes many people to spend a great deal of money on college. When coupled with easy access to student loans and the idea that expensive schools provide better quality education, this creates a situation where young people emerge from college with thousands of dollars in debt and no reliable way to pay it back. This in turn leads to more money being spent on loan payments and less going back into the economy, further fueling an already problematic decline.

Social and Academic Pitfalls

Teens who move straight from one academic environment to another often do so with little or no “real world” experience in between. While some teens may be able to handle this without a problem, those at lower maturity levels may be at risk for both social and academic reasons.
In the past, teens were expected to do more in the way of working and helping out their families, and these responsibilities helped them to grow both mentally and emotionally. Today’s teens spend more time immersed in media than any previous generation, a condition that keeps them disconnected from reality more often than not. A college environment creates its own brand of unreality, immersing students in academic activities and social situations that don’t exist anywhere else.

As a parent, it is of paramount importance to become familiar with the situations your teen may encounter at college. For some teens, college is the first time that they’re away from home, unsupervised by parents and other authority figures. This newfound level of freedom can lead to poor choices, especially when presented with a social structure that supports and often encourages drinking, substance abuse, and sexual experimentation.

Moving directly from high school to college also keeps teens immersed in academia. Attending class and completing assignments in a timely manner teaches responsibility and time management, but how many teens really grasp these skills in a way that will be useful once they enter the workforce? And how many real life skills are kids learning during the time they spend as students? Being academically intelligent doesn’t necessarily mean that your teen will have the knowledge to take on life’s challenges or tackle everyday tasks. Some things can’t be learned at school, and your teen will have to pick up on basic life skills whether or not he or she completes a higher education.

Alternate Plans
Teens who decide not to go to college right away should have some kind of alternate plan. Working with your teen to come up with such a plan can help him or her make the most of time that would otherwise be spent in school. Many positive, enriching things may be accomplished during this time, including:

• Getting “real world” work experience and saving money towards future academic endeavors.
• Exploring career options and learning what’s really involved in different jobs.
• Checking out vocational training, internships and other hands-on learning situations.

Taking the time to do these things offers teens the chance to gain knowledge not available to them at college. Going out into the world and seeing how everything works is an invaluable experience that can help when choosing a major in the future. Teens may even find that there are job opportunities they never considered that don’t require a college degree.

Pushing teens to attend college directly after high school isn’t always in their interest. Changes in the job market and the economy make it prudent to consider alternative options. Whether your teen waits to go to school or decides to do something else entirely, challenging the ideas of traditional education may be a great benefit to his or her future.

Byline: Lindsey Wright is fascinated with the potential of emerging educational technologies, particularly the online school, to transform the landscape of learning. She writes about web-based learning, electronic and mobile learning, and the possible future of education.  Contact her at

Monday, June 20, 2011

Teen Drinking: Summer is Here -More Free Time-Be an Educated Parent

What is your teen doing this summer?

Summer Time and Alcohol-Related Crimes: What Your Teen Needs to Know About Under Age Drinking

The summer is here which means the “party season” is now in full force. And while the time off of school is a great way for teenagers to rejuvenate and have some fun, those  who are thinking about partaking in underage drinking this summer should think twice before doing so—underage drinking is a crime and can result in jail time, pricey fines, probation and can result in death.

In fact, according to experts May through August are the most deadliest months for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 due to underage drinking and driving.  While you can’t watch your teens like a hawk at these summer parties, you can warn them of the repercussions that may arise if they decide to participate in underage drinking. Even you, the parent, can in trouble for giving your under age teen “access” to alcohol. With that said, to learn some the different alcohol-related crimes and to learn the consequences your teen (or you) may face, continue reading below.

Minor in Possession (MPI)
If a person who is under the legal drinking age is caught consuming an alcoholic beverage, appears to be intoxicated due to alcohol remnants on one’s breath, or is caught with an open or even an unopened container of alcohol, he or she is breaking the law. While each state has its own regulations, typically if a juvenile has a blood alcohol content of a mere .01, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor offense, which is a crime punishable up to a $500 ticket, six months of jail time, and up to six months of license suspension (even if he or she is not caught in a moving vehicle); those who are under 17 years of age can have their license suspended for a longer period of time. However, if he or she is a first offender, chances are he or she will only need to pay a hefty fine and register for an alcohol awareness program. A minor may have to undergo probation as well, but that heavily depends on the circumstances and whether he or she is a first offender or not. Note that an MPI can possibly affect your teen’s chances of getting accepted into college or graduate school.

MPI & Driving Under the Influence
Just about every state has a zero tolerance law when it comes to drinking and driving, but minors are subject to experience even more fierce consequences. If a minor is caught driving behind the wheel and is intoxicated, her or she is committing a crime. Typically it is considered a misdemeanor if no one is injured, but if someone is harmed or the worse scenario occurs (someone is killed) the crime will be considered a felony and punishment will double. But if a minor is a first offender and no one is injured, he or she can expect a punishment of up to a $1,000 fine, up to 30 days in jail, and up to a one year of driver’s license suspension. Additional punishment may include the installation of an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle, registration for an alcohol awareness program, community service, and and/or probation. Like with an MPI, a DUI can really affect your teen’s acceptance to college or graduate school.

Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
If you are the type of parent that if given a choice would rather your teen drink under your supervision so that you can have a watchful eye, know that you may get into trouble as well, especially if you allow their friends to condone in the same behavior. This is because those that over the age of 21 and freely serve or purchase minors alcohol are committing a crime. Even if you give your teen and his or friend’s easy access to alcoholic beverages—meaning your alcohol is just right there in the open for the taking or you give your teen permission to throw a party and while you’re locked upstairs in your room your teen and friends are boozing it up downstairs—you could be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Although just a misdemeanor (if no one is injured) you can be ticketed up to $1,000 and spend up to 6 months in jail.

Author's Bio:
Nancy Farrell is a freelance writer and blogger. She regularly contributes to criminal justice schools, which discusses about child abuse, human rights, divorce, and crime related articles. Questions or comments can be sent to:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Legal Pot: Is it Being Sold on Amazon?

'Legal Pot,' Made in China, Sold To U.S. Kids

If you missed ABC News recent report on fake pot, also known as spice, you need to take the time to learn about this today and now.  Teens are dying - yes, dying from this.  
High school students use "legal marijuana" or "herbal incense," marketed as K2, Spice and Potpourri, to get high because the products are legal, easily available and do not show up on drug tests.

According to ABC News, the products have spurred more than 4,000 calls to poison control centers around the country since 2010 and have been linked to deaths. The parents of 18-year-old David Rozga of Indianola, Iowa say their son committed suicide after he smoked K2 and became overwhelmed with anxiety.

"He just continued to become agitated -- indicating that he felt like he was in hell," said David's father Mike Rozga.

Detective Sergeant Brian Sher, who investigated Rozga's death for the Indianola police department, is adamant that smoking K2 is the only thing that could have triggered the suicide.

"I want people to know that," said Sher. "There are nay-sayers, but I can say definitively there's just nothing in the investigation to show that. Given what we know about K2 and Spice, David's anxiety, his feeling like he was in hell, has happened in many other cases." 

Wake up parents, this is accessible and available through websites as credible as Amazon.  An ABC News investigation found these products available on-line and at stores for anywhere from $15 to $85. did not respond to requests for comment.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Parenting Teens: Common Mistakes Parent's Make

Picture Major misconception of parents:  Almost all parents that contact us have that next Einstein or Dan Marino, but the fact they are either changing friends, smoking pot, not attending classes or school at all, wanting to drop out of school all together and just get a GED, are all signs you are heading down a very negative path. This road usually escalates before it gets better.

Teen Help Advisers are here to help educate you with sound and objective resources and options.  Contact us today.

When therapy isn't working anymore, what can you do?

When a parent is reaching their wit's end, they are most at risk for making mistakes - mistakes that can cost them financially as well as emotionally.

TEEN HELP ADVISERS offers over 25+ years of combined experience in the teen help industry, which is a big business! 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Teen Friendships: 10 Ways to Destroy Friendships

Friends are such an important part of life. Next to our families, our friends can be one of the most cherished relationships any of us can have. That doesn’t mean we are all great at being friends. It also doesn’t mean that, we will always do what will keep a friendship lasting for a lifetime.

Real friendships can be a challenge to keep intact, but so rewarding when we do so.  However, there are times when we just seem to do the wrong thing way too often, and end up destroying a friendship.

Here are ten ways that we often ruin friendships unintentionally.
  1. Being too needy. Everyone has emergencies and crises that come into our lives. When we do, it is wonderful to have a friend who will listen and help. If we are always in the person in the needy position and seldom in the helping position, it can become emotionally draining for our friends.
  2. Criticism. No one enjoys constantly being ridiculed and criticized.  Finding fault with everything someone does will not help to endear them to us. Unless we balance our criticism with some positives, they are likely to withdraw from us.
  3. Treating someone as a tool. There is nothing wrong with asking for help from time to time. But if someone comes away thinking the only reason you ever spend time with them is to get something from them, they will move on to those who actually care about them as a person, and not just for what they can give.
  4. Give your relationship no value. If every time you want to spend time with someone they have other more important things to do, it won’t be long before you’ll stop trying. There is nothing friendly or inspiring about always feeling you don’t count in someone else’s view.
  5. Being obsessed with needing compliments. We all need to be encouraged at times when we feel down. But pestering someone to constantly keep telling you that you are great or good at something will get old very fast.  It won’t take much for a friend to get tired of holding your hand to make sure you feel good about yourself if it becomes a daily need.
  6. Being overly irritable. Who really enjoys being around someone who is in a bad mood? When you can’t say anything that doesn’t upset them? If the person is always grouchy and is unable to have a conversation without complaining about life, their friends will start seeking out more pleasant company.
  7. Gossip about your friend to others. Telling things told to you in confidence is very hurtful when others find out. In addition, making negative comments about your friend can also be very upsetting, if they are heard from a third person. Once that trust is gone, it isn’t easy to regain.
  8. Involving others in your disagreements. It is one thing to have disagreements with a friend.  However, if you invite others into the conflict to side with you against the other person, you may find yourself winning a battle and losing a friend.
  9. Too much attention. Too much attention can be as bad as too little.  It can strain the joy of the time you do spend together. Too much of a good thing can make us grow tired of it. The same is true of people. We all need to feel cared about, but no one wants to be smothered by your constant presence.
  10. Waiting for real pals. It can really hurt a friend’s feelings if you talk about someone else all the time and how much fun they are to be with.  It can be hard not to see that as a negative comparison.