Saturday, September 29, 2012

Therapeutic Boarding Schools and Residential Treatment Centers

You have finally reached your wit's end.  It has come to a point where you have exhausted all your local resources.  The one on one therapy is no longer working, if it ever did.  The fact is, it is a fight to even get your teen to attend a session.  If you do get them to attend - how many times to they actually manipulate the therapist to actually believe there isn't an issue at all...... in some instances the blame can come right back to the parent!

Yes, manipulation of a teen is priceless.  They are the best at what they do.  However now is the time for the parent to be the best at what they are - a parent.

You decided it is time for residential therapy and you jump on the Internet and you start with Google by typing in key words.  Teen help, struggling teens, defiant teens, teen help programs, military schools, reform schools, troubled teens, rebellious teens, etc.

What you will find is a list of marketing arms that are very quick to "sell you a group of programs" rather than discuss what is best for your individual teenager.  I always caution parents to beware of these toll free numbers and marketing arms that you have no clue where you are calling and who is connected to what.

I once was at my wit's end - my story is what prompted me to created an organization to help educate parents about the big business of "teen help".  Take a few minutes to read - "A Parent's True Story" and you will realize that although you absolutely need to get your son or daughter help, you also need to take the time to do your research.

I have listed some "Do's and Don'ts" when searching -  these are some great helpful hints for parents.  This is such a major emotional and financial decision that I encourage to read through my website and learn as much as you can before making a decision.  I firmly believe in residential programs - I just also believe you need to select the right one for your child's needs.

Visit for more information.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bullying: Shielding kids from bullying without turning them into a bully

While it’s something that has gained a lot of press in recent years, bullying is not a new thing. In past generations, it was considered a rite of passage, and was something that was simply expected.
Today, however, we have a much better understanding of bullying and the lifelong effects of it on both the bully and the victim.

Bullying takes on many different forms. Verbal bullying includes intimidation and threats, name calling, insults about gender, race, sexual orientation, special needs, disabilities, or other personal characteristics, public humiliation, and spreading rumors. Physical bullying includes tripping, pinching, hitting, pushing, and destroying or stealing personal property.

Cyberbullying includes harassing emails, texts, and instant messages, and intimidating, harassing, or humiliating posts and pictures on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other websites. Cyberbullying can be especially damaging because it continues outside of school hours and off of school grounds, and has the ability to reach a large audience. These attacks can continue to circulate online long after the initial event.
If you think your child is being bullied, you’re not alone. Up to half of all children are bullied at some point during their school years, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Some of the possible warning signs that your child might be a victim of bullying are if your child:
  • Comes home with torn clothes.
  • Is missing sweaters, jackets, school supplies, or other things repeatedly.
  • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches.
  • Is afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, or riding the school bus.
  • Suddenly begins to do poorly in school.
  • Is sad, upset, angry, or depressed when she comes home.
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, being tired, or other physical ailments that would prevent her from going to school.
  • Has few friends.
If you think your child might be being bullied, you’re not helpless. There are things you can do to stop the bullying, help your child deal with the after effects, and stop future attacks.

Encourage your child to share her feelings. It’s important that your child has a safe place to talk about what’s happening and how she feels about it. When your child opens up, listen without dismissing her feelings (e.g. “Oh, you shouldn’t get so upset about what she says.”), without downplaying the incident (e.g. “Don’t listen to what that boy says. You’re beautiful just how you are!”) or without assuring her things will immediately change (e.g. “I’ll talk to your teacher and it will be OK.”) Offer empathy and support, let her know you’re on her side, remind her that she’s not to blame for what happened, and work with her to find a solution.
Contact school administrators. You should report all bullying to your child’s school. Many schools have bullying policies already in place so you’ll have a good idea what to expect. Present as many details as you have and ask what actions will be taken. Make sure you follow up and stay up-to-date on how your complaint is being handled. Unfortunately not all principals and teachers take bullying seriously and you may have to be the squeaky wheel to get them to take meaningful action. If your child was physically attacked, talk to the school principal immediately to decide if the police should be involved.
Model an honest yet appropriate response. Of course you’re going to be angry if your child is being bullied. Be honest with your child about how you’re feeling while letting her know that acting on anger, hurt, humiliation or other negative emotions doesn’t solve the problem. Put your energy into working with the school to stop the bullying behavior to ensure the bully is dealt with appropriately and to help your child deal with the emotional toll of bullying.
Boost your child’s self-esteem. There’s no such thing as a bully-proof child, but kids that have high self-esteem, are part of supportive friendships, and are involved in activities they enjoy and are good at are much less susceptible to bullying. In today’s world there’s a group, team, or club for pretty much any activity your child is interested in. Sports, volunteering, music, performing arts, chess, gaming, or outdoor adventure can all help your child avoid or successfully deal with bullying. If her school doesn’t offer anything your child is interested in, look in your local community.
Bullying is a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon. Public awareness, prevention programs, and progressive school policies are making it easier to identify and deal with bullies, but occurrences of bullying aren’t declining. In fact, cyberbullying is increasing at an alarming rate as smart phones become standard equipment for students. As a parent, you have the power to help your child to deal with bullying wherever and whenever she might encounter it.


Join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today's teenagers.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to Keep Your Teenager Healthy in the New School Year

Guest Post:
When I was a little girl, I ate whatever I wanted. When you're a young child running around at all hours of the day, having a cookie doesn't seem to do a bit of harm. The older you get, however, your body starts changing and caloric intake actually starts to mean something. After I entered my teenager years, my body started changing drastically. I, like many other teenagers, was going through a period of change, and my body was trying to adjust to all those changes. Yet nothing could have prepared me for the 30-pound weight gain that I experienced in the 7th grade.

Looking back, I wish my mother and father would have taken more of an active interest during my hectic body transformation. It took me two years to get my weight back under control, and now that I'm a mother of two teenagers, I watch their health very closely. The beginning of a new school year can provide difficult challenges for those parents who are trying to keep an eye on their teenager's health. With everything from lack of exercise and unhealthy school lunches, your teenager has a number of obstacles to face when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are three tips in helping your teenagers keep their health as their number one priority.

Prepare breakfast and lunch
Though things have improved in the last few years, school lunches still aren't what they should be. I was shocked to go to my son's high-school orientation the other day to find that fried mozzarella sticks and chicken nuggets were the main menu staples. Sadly, schools have a tendency of overlooking the importance of health and nutrition; therefore, it's our jobs as parents to make sure our children are fed healthy, nutritious food. One way to keep an eye on your teenager's health is to prepare their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Every morning, make it a priority to prepare healthy breakfast dishes, such as steel-cut oatmeal, fruit salads, high-fiber cereal, egg-white omelettes, and other nutritious breakfast options. Making your child's lunch is also a good idea also, seeing as they'll be choosing between different fried dishes if you don't. In fact, there are a number of great websites and blogs out there that provide delicious, affordable lunch ideas for students. Family dinners are a great way to keep an eye on what everybody is eating as well.

Make health a family priority
When I was growing up, health was something my family hardly ever talked about. I didn't know much about diabetes, nutrition, exercise, and dieting because discussing such matters wasn't a priority in our household. If you want your kid to care about their health, you need to teach them that they should. One of the best ways to educate your child about health and nutrition is to lead by example. If a parent isn't taking care of themselves, it's unlikely their child will either. Start doing little things like working out as a family, eating healthy dinners as a family, and talking about health/body-image issues as a family in order to keep your family's health on track. Just by making a health a family priority, you'll be better able to help your teenager keep their health as a priority.

Encourage your child embrace a regular form of exercise
Let's face it: many of us don't get the necessary exercise we should each day. As a working mother, I hardly have any time to move around. One thing I'm quite adamant about, however, is that each of my family members gets at least one hour of exercise each day. This can be as simple as walking outside for an hour or going to soccer practice for an hour. Though many parents choose to overlook exercise, it's absolutely unacceptable if your child sits on his or her butt in school all day. One way to get them up and moving is to sign them up for school sports or exercise classes. As long as you require that your teenager embrace some form of daily exercise, they should be on their way to being healthier.

I know how hard it can be to raise your teenager to care about health and nutrition. As a child, I could have cared less about what I ate, and I gained an unnecessary about of weight because of that apathetic nature. If you're trying to raise a healthy teenager in the new school year, utilize these three helpful healthy tips.

Special Guest Contributor:
Leslie Johnson is an avid health and nutrition blogger or As the mother of two teenagers, she is particularly passionate about teaching children about nutrition, health, body image, and exercise. If you have any questions for Leslie, feel free to leave them here.