Thursday, May 31, 2012

Terrible Things Teens Say Online About their Parents

Brace yourself parents!

Is this a time to say, "It's not my kid?"

Though venting their displeasure regarding parental rules and restrictions is nothing new for tweens and teens, the current generation isn’t limited to bashing their parents to one friend at a time over the telephone; now, they can air their grievances in one of the world’s most public forums: Twitter.

Here are ten of the terrible things tweens have been saying for generations, but now say with a hashtag to emphasize their point.
  1. “It’s Not Fair!” – The battle cry of older kids for decades can now be shouted from the rooftops; it’s less than one hundred and forty characters, and allows plenty of room for creative hashtagging.
  2. Physical Insults – Kids often speak without thinking in the heat of indignation; once upon a time, the hurtful insults about their parents’ physical appearances were limited to a few sets of ears. Now, anyone with access to a Twitter feed can see exactly what a tween finds disagreeable about their parents’ appearance.
  3. “It’s My Life!” – Often used in tandem with the old faithful “it’s not fair,” kids that are just starting to assert their independence love to claim that they are, in fact, the masters of their own lives. Also like “it’s not fair,” “it’s my life” is short enough to leave room for heavy-hitting hashtags.
  4. Airing Sensitive and Private Information – Kids that are angry or hurt will lash out in any way possible; often, this means sharing personal and potentially humiliating information. Before the days of social networking, the scope was limited to those that could physically hear a tween’s angry shouts.
  5. “I Hate My Parents!” – Few phrases strike a parent to the heart like “I hate you.” Unfortunately, most kids will utter those dreaded words at some point, and today’s kids can also drive the point home with an angry tweet.
  6. “You’re Not Even My Real Mom!” – When disputes erupt in blended families, an angry tween’s go-to response is “you’re not even my real parent!” When these statements find their way to social networking sites, it can create even more distance in an already shaky relationship.
  7. “My Parents Are So Stupid!” – Mark Twain famously said, “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” This age-old sentiment has been on the lips of kids for decades; now it’s on their Twitter feeds as well.
  8. Using Foul Language to Drive the Point Home – Rebellious kids will often resort to profanity in an attempt to underscore their frustration and to elicit a response from parents. When they do so in a forum as public as Twitter, the humiliation a parent feels in this situation is increased exponentially.
  9. “My Parents are Too Old to Understand!” – The young always feel that their parents are out of touch with modern ways of thinking; this sentiment is both tweeted and the belief in it exhibited by a tween thinking that their parents are too out of touch to operate Twitter in order to find their comments.
  10. Name Calling – When kids resort to publicly calling their parents rude or profane names, it’s both a bid for acceptance from their peers and a way of exhibiting how “adult” they are. Twitter offers tweens not only a venue for airing their thoughts, but a platform for their peers to encourage their poor behavior.
Source:  Find A Babysitter

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Teens and College: 5 Tips for Starting the Conversation

Nothing is more difficult as a parent than watching your babies leave the nest.

This moment can happen at any age, but one of the most common associations is on the day they start college courses.

Even if your child will be living at home for a few years when they start school, the beginning of college still marks the beginning of their adult life. So, how do you prepare your kids for the process of choosing a college based on their needs? And, how do you do this while recognizing that this decision is, ultimately, up to your child?

Even though this can feel like a thin tight rope to walk, and you may be more nervous about your child’s choice of college than he or she is, it is still very important to have a discussion with your teen about future college plans. In fact, this conversation can be helpful for you both.

Here are some good tips for going about it:

1. Be realistic about your expectations.  This is probably the most important step parents need to reach in order to have a successful talk with their teen about college. There is nothing wrong about setting high standards for your children and having high hopes for the education that they will pursue after graduation, especially if you intend to pay for it. However, you have to remember that, once they graduate high school, your kids’ lives are technically in their own hands. They will be of the age to make their own decisions and determine their own futures. So, parents need to reach a healthy balance of personal expectations and allowing their children the freedom to follow their own dreams before a conversation can be had.

2. Figure out how they feel.  The next step after you have come to terms with your own expectations is to figure out what your child’s expectations are for him or herself. Starting in on page twenty when your kid has only thought about college to about page four won’t really work. Likewise, falsely assuming your child is starting at square one when, in fact, he or she has been researching schools for months is another way to start the conversation off on the wrong foot. Instead, ask your child how much time they have spent thinking about going to college. Then, ask them what they have been feeling about it. Figure out where your kids are in the process before you carry on with a discussion.

3. Make sure they understand the commitment.  There is more to college than picking a school and signing up. College students are no longer on a high school timetable where they attend school from 8 to 3 every day and have their schedules lined up for them. In college, your child will be responsible for getting himself to class on his own and getting work done in a timely manner without parental supervision. There is also a huge financial commitment involved in enrollment. Once you know your child’s plans, you can discuss with them the realities of those plans and how they mesh with the realities of what your family can provide.

4. Ask what you can do to help.  Instead of becoming a dictator in your child’s college search, simply ask what you can do to help the process. Ultimately, unless your child wants you to choose a school for them, the choice of where to go and what to study is up to your kid, so you should simply act as a form of help and guidance in the process. Let them know that you are there for them, no matter what. If your teenager doesn’t seem to know how to take the first steps toward figuring out college plans, then you can step in and provide a little direction by setting up school visits and looking for information about degree plans.

5. Suggest other sources of guidance.  If your teen is less than enthusiastic about working with you on college plans, you can refer them to someone you trust to provide insight and advice. Try suggesting that they talk to their favorite teacher, a college-aged cousin, or anyone else who has their best interests at heart for help along the way.

This is a special guest post by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online university.  You can contact her at:

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Teen Help Programs: The Search

Tips for Searching for the Right Teen Help Program for My Child:

My story is a cautionary tale that I always hope parents can learn from.

I always tell parents to be cautious of the hundreds of toll free numbers and websites they find online that lead to marketing arms.  These marketing arms are not always in the best interest of your child.  It is always best to try to find a program or school that you can talk directly to the owner or director - someone who will be responsible for your child and accountable for their progress from the day they arrive to the day they finish.

With this - you are also speaking with someone that is only going to want to accept a student that they feel they can help - since their reputation will reflect their success with your child.  Whereas with a marketing arm, in many cases, they will get their commission and you will not hear from them again and they have nothing vested.

Another falsity I see many parents fall for is the misconception that all students need a Wilderness program to break them down prior entering a residential therapeutic program. 

This can not only be an expensive first step, it can also be an extra step that your teen has to complete and then start all over with a new set of therapists and school.  What I find more upsetting is some Wilderness programs won't say that most kids go on to longer term programs - so parents go into these short term programs thinking that 6-9 weeks will resolve issues that have been going on for a few years.  In my opinion, it is only a band-aid that quickly falls off if you are not able to go on to the next step.

If you sit back and truly think about it - why don't you just start at a residential therapeutic boarding school to begin with?  Why add an additional $15K-20K glorified camping trip?  They say to break your child down - however, isn't your child already broken down?  If you can find a solid 6-9-12 month program this should accommodate what you would get from doing your Wilderness.

I encourage parents to look for what I consider the ACE factor:

A=Academic's - Be sure the program is accredited academically
C=Clinical  - Be sure they have qualified therapist
E=Enrichment Programs - Be sure they offer enrichment program to stimulate your teen in a positive direction (ie: sports, music, culinary, fine arts, etc... it doesn't have to be all of them, but something to help boost their self esteem).

Visit me on for a free consultation and more helpful hints and tips for finding quality programs.

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