Archive for the ‘Teens’ Category

Do you have Santa’s Phone Number?

Sunday, December 6th, 2009


Happy Countdown to Christmas!

Is real life really like high school?

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

high school
I’ve heard it said that real life is like high school; full of uncertainly, figuring out who you are and how you fit in and what group(s) you belong to. Yesterday, I attended my 35 year high school reunion from St. Edmunds, which at that time was an all girl school.

If that statement is true, that real life is like high school; the outlook is good. We’ve grown up, gotten over the things that bothered us, though I did overhear a few “You know, you made my life hell” comments, but all in all what you remember, as the great Streisand so aptly sings in “The Way We Were” is,

it’s the laughter that we’ll remember.

The best feeling I came away with is that as women we’ve learned how to be good friends which in high school seemed as if it was much more of a challenge. Good lesson to teach our own daughters.

All the best to the class of 1974.

It’s the friends you can call up at four a.m. that matter.
-Marlene Dietrich, German movie actress (1901 – 1992)

It’s a bird; it’s a plane, it’s a helicopter parent

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

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Helicopter Parent: “A mom or dad who hovers over his or her children.”

In case you haven’t heard the term, “Helicopter Parents,” are always hovering–always helping–always rescuing–and always involved.

These are the parents who micromanage their kids’ play dates, science fair projects, and soccer game tournaments.

In high school they drive the teachers batty by hovering in at the first sign of a bad grade, making sure their kid’s schedule was stellar (with only the very best teachers), and writing those college entrance essays.

In college they are first on the scene setting up their kid’s dorm room (and complaining if the roommate wasn’t the perfect fit), and even calling the university president to complain about an unfair grade. Cell phones and e-mail have created umbilical bonds that are difficult to cut.

Well, now the kiddies have graduated and they are entering the workforce in mass numbers. It seems these parents are still hovering, but from all indications, their presence is now up a level — think “Black Hawk” mode. According to major businesses from coast to coast these parents are actually attending their kids job
fairs and interviews, negotiating salaries and benefit packages for their children and even demanding that the business call to let them know if their offspring got the job. And businesses are scratching their heads. What do we do with these parents?

Many are actually changing their long-standing practices to send notices of hiring intent to the parents as well as the kids.

This is over-the-top parenting. This isn’t mentoring but meddlesome, and it can rob kids of the self-reliance they need at this point in their grown-up lives. What can these kids fall back on if they have no internal resources of learning and failing because parents protected them from any ever experiencing failure?

Ask yourself a question before you jump in to save your child. What is the worst thing that can happen if you don’t step in?

If there was such a thing as a parent’s job description, it would probably say that we should raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted, independent children that contribute to society. Don’t wait till your child is twenty to celebrate Independence Day. Even very young children can and should have chores.

Though well-intentioned, the self-esteem movement of the last twenty years is what many believe to be the cause with the lack of self reliance many ‘twenty-somethings’ now face. Interestingly, that movement
started about the same time you would see those annoying ‘Baby on Board’ signs on cars.

It’s actually very simple. If you want your child to have self esteem, give them responsibilities. Begin when they are little with simple chores, and continue on as they get older.

Visit Parental Wisdom - Free Reports, and get a copy of the Chore Chart Ideas for a few ideas; add your own creativity. For example, if you want a four-year-old to pull up his bed covers every morning, take a few digital pictures of each step in the process and label the pictures with a big #1, #2 and #3 for each step. Leave it on a small poster so he will know and remember what to do. That will make your child feel good about his achievements and he is more likely to take on more responsibility.

This is one of the best ways to communicate with, and stay connected to your child.
Great way to avoid all the helicopter traffic.

Perfect Example of a Missed Opportunity

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

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In a less than courageous move, the South Plainfield NJ Board of Education reversed a decision by school administrators to ban from the graduation ceremony a group of students who came drunk to the prom. Students signed a pledge to arrive at their prom alcohol-free but at least some came “visibly inebriated,” a spokesperson said.

The students’ parents protested the ruling and threatened to take the issue to the state commissioner of education. The board then reversed the decision.

I don’t blame the Board of Education for not having a backbone, though it is obvious. I blame the parents for not having the wisdom teach their children a life lesson so valuable it could actually save their lives.

The question a parent should always ask is, “what is the worst that could happen?” For parents of the students that had the nerve to come to the prom drunk might actually cause them to learn about consequences.

Let’s focus instead on the majority of the students in South Plainfield High who deserve to enjoy this wonderful milestone despite this minority of the student population creating such a distraction.

Kudos to the teachers who are fed up with a system that caves to loud parents who don’t seem to know any better.

This could be urban legend, but the following is supposedly the answering machine message the Pacific Palisades High School (CA) staff voted to record on their school answering machine system. This came about because the school implemented a policy requiring parents to be responsible for their children’s absences and missing homework. The school and teachers are being sued by parents who want their children’s failing grades changed to passing grades even though those children were absent 15 to 30 times during the semester and did not complete enough school work to pass their classes.

“Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting to the right staff member, please listen to all your options before making a selection:
To lie about why your child is absent, press 1
□ To make excuses for why your child did not do his work, press 2
□ To complain about what we do, press 3
□ To swear at staff members, press 4
□ To ask why you didn’t get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you, press 5
□ If you want us to raise your child, press 6
□ If you want to reach out and touch, slap, or hit someone, press 7
□ To request another teacher for the third time this year, press 8
□ To complain about bus transportation, press 9
□ To complain about school lunches, press 0
□ If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable and responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, and homework, and that it’s not the teachers’ fault for your child’s lack of effort…hang up and have a nice day!”

We have a bill of rights. We need a bill of responsibilities. -Bill Maher

Exerpted from Because Kids Don’t Come with Manuals®:Contemporary Advice for Parents by Tina Nocera

What do you think about this issue?

Our False Positive Popular Culture

Saturday, June 21st, 2008


It’s one of those news stories you think you didn’t hear correctly. Teen girls trying to get pregnant!

It could have happened anywhere, but the town of Gloucester, MA is now trying to figure out why the teen pregnancy rate is four times higher.

Perhaps as usual, we’re asking the wrong questions:

• We’re trying to understand why over 150 girls under the age of sixteen, which very likely means that over 150 girls, under the age of sixteen were having sex
• We scratch our heads and wonder why girls would make a pact to become pregnant
• We look to point the finger at the school, the community and the parents to see who is at fault
• We debate over the use and availability of birth control and parental notification, when we should educate both
• We question the wisdom of making is easy and fun to bring a baby to high school and park a stroller next to the lockers
• We ponder the self esteem issues of young girls that need to feel loved

We follow popular culture in a ignorant stupor as millions are paid for the first picture of Jaime Lynn Spear’s new baby. No doubt the celebrity babies (see an earlier blog on this same topic) have a lot to do with the romantic notion of having children. This is a case where a positive test result leads to a false sense of reality.

What we really need to question is why we are not outraged that so many girls under the age of sixteen are having sex.

Please don’t lecture me on the reality of life. We create our own realities, and we’re so worried about our kids’ self-esteem, that we don’t think about this reality: they are too young to be sexually active. How does that affect their self-esteem?

Parents – talk to your children and be the moral compass in their lives.

What Do You Do?

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Thursday, April 24th marks the 16th annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® Day.

It is so much more than a career day. It demonstrates to our children why education matters, but more importantly, our children can be inspired to learn what it is they might love to do. You can only be really great at something with passion and persistence and that begins by doing what you love.

Now for the bad news. If you’re negative about your current job then I recommend you don’t pull your children out of school for the day since you’ll be doing more harm than good. Instead use this as an opportunity to think about the advice that you would give to your grade school age child so that she is not in the same position.

Here are some ideas:

Do what you love. As a young child, spend the time finding what it is that you love
Test the waters. You can’t know if it’s right until you try it. And then if you think you like something, try it again.
Talk to people (as many as you can) in the field you think is for you. Even be courageous enough to talk to people who have left the profession so you could understand why.
Think about the kind of a life you want to live. Do you want a family? Would you love (or hate) to travel? What if you had to constantly relocate? Do you want to be home for dinner every evening (if this is important to you, don’t even think about politics).

Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure;
Where your treasure, there is your heart;
Where your heart, there your happiness.
-Augustine

Teen Drivers

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

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There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Benjamin Disraeli – British politician (1804 – 1881)

I’ve noticed considerable attention and concern over teen drivers recently. While visiting various government websites, they recite accident statistics, which causes us to gloss over and not pay attention to the real message.

Instead of citing statistics, try citing rules. Interestingly, the laws that make the most sense were put in place as a result of the accident statistics related to teen drivers. In the words of the great Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be king.” Parents get to be king. Parents get to cite rules over and above the government rules. And no one has to gloss over with while reading statistics.

Feel free to visit Parental Wisdom – Free Reports and print out Teen Safe Driving Contract. There are two versions; one is a PDF, and the other is an editable version so you can personalize it.

Be sure to talk to your children about this important topic. Clearly this is an area where you don’t want to become a statistic.

You are beautiful!

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

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Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.
- Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC)

They called her Sunshine, the nickname given to Stephanie Kuleba, 18 because of her brightness, blond hair and personality. The South Florida teen died Saturday, about 24 hours after corrective breast plastic surgery. Gone are the hopes and dreams of a high school senior. All because of a reaction to anesthesia, proof that there’s no such thing as a simple procedure.

With all the things we need to tell our girls as they grow up, we need to let them know they are really beautiful.

Counter the myths of the beauty industry as few people can be a size 2. The beauty standards are too high for even the supermodels to follow, since most are photo-shopped.

Where does real beauty come from? Knowing who you are, and being happy with that.

Thank you Dove for reminding us of that. Please watch this [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaH4y6ZjSfE ].
Love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment.

Don’t you want to be an accountant?

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

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“Consider a career you may have never imagined,” and the discussion begins. Corporations such as Deloitte are reaching out to high schools to persuade students to join their ranks. Their objective is to convey the benefits of working with sponsor companies. They do this by drafting curricula, lesson plans and equipment with the hope of creating a pipeline of workers far into the future.

Businesses are now influencing schools in a way that is much different than when businesses simply wanted students to become customers. This is in response to a fearful shortage of workers from the coming labor force.

Some are worried about a commercial agenda influencing schools, and the potential loss of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.

On the plus side, students that may not have any idea what to do with their life, may get on an ‘express line’ to a career. It can also finally answer the age old question kids have when learning math and science, “When will I ever use this?”

Capitalizing on teachable moments

Monday, March 17th, 2008

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A good reputation is more valuable than money.
– Publilius Syrus 100 BC Maxims

In the midst of our incredibly busy days, parents search for something called quality time. But time is time, and each week we are given exactly 10,080 minutes; no more, no less. Time is the great equalizer – it doesn’t matter how much or how little money you have.

How we spend that time is what matters. Interestingly, we often spend time in things we can document, quantify or measure, such as activities like sports, school, chores, and work. But what matters more are the things you can’t measure, such as the impact of teachable moments. We need to look at those opportunities as gifts and capitalize on them.

Thank you Former Governor Spitzer. Thank you for giving us the opportunity the explain to our children the difference between little and big mistakes. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to ask our children a simple but very important question,

“What do you think your reputation is worth?”

Since we are surrounded by popular culture, what used to be considered infamous is now immediately considered famous. We are in the parenting fight of our lives and need to find opportunities to reinforce our values despite the world’s perceptions of values imploding around us.

The young woman in the Spitzer case stands to make millions from the publicity. Again, discuss with your children what her reputation is really worth? A new show called Moment of Truth offers large money prizes for true answers. Unless you’ve lead a Mother Teresa-like existence, I would suggest not trading your reputation and family embarrassment for dollars.

Despite your best attempts, you can’t be around your children all the time, so the next best thing is to make sure they are thinking before they act. No doubt they will make mistakes, but have discussions that reinforce the values you want to instill so you can at least minimize that possibility. I know you think children sometimes don’t listen, but they do. After all, if we didn’t listen, how could you explain that when we grow up we all sound just like our mothers or fathers.

As you end your discussion, put this seed in your child’s head;

“Before you do something – think, would you be proud or embarrassed for us to learn about it?”

That will tell them all they need to know.