Archive for the ‘Teens’ Category

Random Acts of Kindness 2013

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

The countdown begins!

December 1 is day one as little children open Advent Calendars eager to find a surprise each day until December 24th.

The holiday season is our time to build family memories.  

Some families cut down their own tree; others watch classic holiday movies, some bake cookies, while others write an annual holiday letter.  The common thread is just that – a thread, and threads are like habits.

Habits are like a cable. We weave a strand of it everyday and soon it cannot be broken.

-Horace Mann

It’s never too late to start new traditions. I’m going to start a new tradition this year which is to perform a random act of kindness each day until December 24th.

Please follow me on twitter #randomactsofkindness2013.

Traditions matter more than the gifts and more than you realize. Ask your children about their favorite holiday traditions. Guarantee this will make you smile.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom®

Have you talked to your teens about the Steubenville Rape?

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Steubenville Defense attorney Walter Madison plans to appeal the verdict in this case because he feels his client should not have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, based on scientific evidence that would support the brain isn’t fully developed at age 16.

No kidding…Socrates and Plato could have told you that

The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone knew everything and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them.’ So Socrates said, according to his student Plato.

Plato added, ‘What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?

Neuroscientist Sarah Jayne Blakemore illustrates this finding in this TED talk.  She explains that research done in the past 15 years, possible as a result of advances in brain imaging technology, proves the adolescent brain development, specifically the prefrontal cortex, controls decision making, planning, inhibiting inappropriate behavior, and social interaction which helps to understand other people.  It isn’t developed until adolescents reach their twenties or even thirties.

Furthermore, synapses pruning takes place during adolescence where environment can have a profound impact on tissues that stay and connect and others that are pruned away.   The good news is that the brain is most adaptable during this period. The great philosophers tell us that it’s always been this way, so what is different today?   

Your child is on a world stage where mistakes and bad choices can be replayed, forever.

This is where we [parents] come in, and the bottom line is that due to social media and smart phones, raising teens has become exponentially more difficult.   Even with younger children with access to such ubiquitous technology, it’s as if you left your front door open, and strangers are pouring in talking to your children without your knowledge or supervision. 

Treat this situation as if your child had an illness; you would not be passive.   The information from Sarah Jayne Blakemore tells us you do have control over the outcome because you are the most important part of your adolescent’s environment.  Engage your children in a constant discussion on your rules and values; best done when given full attention and no one is checking messages.

What can you do right now?

  1. Have frequent discussions with your children about choices, consequences and values
  2. Know the passwords to all your children’s accounts, and read posts and text messages to make sure they are not a bully or being bullied
  3. Be familiar with their ‘friends’ and make sure they are 16 as they say, and not 54

In a prior blog post, Sometimes you need to have an awkward conversation, I suggested that especially with teenagers, we trust but verify. 

Just to be clear; parenting was never meant to be a democracy. 

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Sometimes you need to have an awkward conversation

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

It’s easier when things remain unsaid, whether it is where to celebrate the next family holiday, or (not) dealing with a difficult neighbor.  Ignoring a situation doesn’t make it go away and certainly doesn’t solve it. 

The easy choice is not having the awkward conversation; unless it matters.  An example is when your teenager is invited to a party. 

Trust, but verify is a good rule when dealing with teens.  Instruct your teen that they are to call you from the house phone when they get to a party.  This way you can verify they are there.   But you need to do one better; ask to speak to the parents. 

Here comes the awkward part which goes something like this:

Hi this is Johnny’s mom.  I just wanted to make sure that

A)        He was invited

B)        A parent was home

C)         There would be no alcohol

Don’t be surprised if there is awkward silence or harsh reply.  But that awkward conversation is much easier to take then the knock on your door at 2am letting you know your child is hurt or worse.

In this case, I would always opt for the awkward conversation.   For those readers with younger children, spoiler alert – parenting teens is really hard, like nailing jello to a tree!

Best wishes,

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

It’s really great to be Santa

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exists, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.  Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.  -Francis Pharcellus Church, in an Editorial in the New York Sun, Sept. 21, 1897, responding to a letter from 8-year old Virginia O’Hanlon

How amazing it is to be Santa! 

  • To only see the good in people have
  • To know what brings delight to someone because you listened carefully
  • To have a constant smile on your face
  • To take incredible pride in your work
  • To eat exactly what you want and still fit in your clothes

Here is hoping that you have a wonderful, memorable and safe Christmas!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Remembering meatballs on Sunday morning

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

It could have been yesterday. 

Vivid memories of stopping for meatballs on the way home from church.   I still can smell the  wonderful aroma and remember that as a kid thinking the pot must have been bottomless.

Reminiscing is bittersweet because it represents a time we will never see again.   For those of us who were fortunate enough to grow up during this time, it’s difficult to explain to our children.  Your entire family lived within walking distance, and Sunday was the day you got to see them all.   

Today, we share pictures and moments on Facebook, have conversations on Skype and provide frequent updates in less than 140 characters.  We’ve moved away from family; so much further than just a few city blocks.

It’s different, but we  are still able to connect; something the families of 9/11 can’t do.

Make the most of each day and let the people you love know how you feel.  And let’s hope the next version of the web gives us the ability to smell the meatballs via Skype and Facebook.

For the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it is a pity that you use it so little.  – Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964)

Never Forget

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Do we really need another bake sale?

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

“May you live in interesting times.” Chinese Blessing

With shrinking education budgets and cuts in sports, arts and afterschool programs; we need to get creative with fundraising.  Well, here’s a unique product that is relevant for parents and kids!

Consider a fundraiser that provides security, safety and peace of mind in a……

TRAVEL STIX®

MEDICAL AND TRAVEL INFORMATION FLASH DRIVE

The unique digital device to ensure safe travel and proper medical treatment for teen athletes’

Sport Teams, Schools and Sport Associations

________________________________________________________________________

2010 SCHOOL & TEEN SPORT CATALOG

for a complete tour, visit us at http://www.mytravelstix.com

Be sure to use Coupon Code PW2010 for FREE SHIPPING!

NEW FROM TRAVEL STIX®

CUSTOMIZED CREDIT CARD FLASH DRIVE WITH 2GB OR 4GB WITH YOUR LOGO ON BOTH THE FACE AND THE EMBEDDED TRAVEL FORMS

MULTIPLE LANGUAGES: ENGLISH – SPANISH – FRENCH

TEEN SPORT TRAVEL STIX®

Unique storage device for your important travel & medical information.  This state-of-the-art credit card shaped flash drive may be used in every computer, net book or iPad’s USB port.  With two versions providing either 2GB or 4GB of memory, this is the digital device to keep what you need accessible and not reliant on the Internet when you are on the go!

Price of 1 to 5,000 is $14.50 for 2GB; $22.50 for 4GB which your organization can sell for the suggested retail price of $19.95 for 2GB & $29.95 for 4GB.

You can also include your school or team’s logo right on the Travel Stix® as well as encourage local businesses to donate funds to support your event and pay for the customized Travel Stix®.  Your logo is free when using coupon code PW2010, provided your order is a minimum of 100 Travel Stix®.  You can allow contributing local businesses to include coupons and web site links that we can pre-embed on your customized version.  This is another way that the Teen Sport Travel Stix® enable you to maximize your fundraising efforts.

TRAVEL STIX® was created by an attorney who is also a mother of two active teens.

Visit  http://www.mytravelstix.com and be sure to use the coupon code PW2010 for free shipping.

If you have any questions, you can also contact me.

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Wishing You a Very Happy Back to School

Monday, August 30th, 2010

It dawned on me as we stood in the aisle…it would be our last trip for back to school supplies.  My youngest child was starting her senior year in college.  For so many years, this was one of my favorite traditions.

We always shopped early to avoid the back to school rush.  Truth be told, I went early because I couldn’t wait and loved the  brand new notebooks that snapped as they opened, the highlighters, post-its, a new dictionary (not sure if that was necessary), were there that many new words?  The sneakers kept safe in their box for that very first day to be worn with a specially selected outfit, and those amazing pictures taken the first day each year by the tree outside to measure their growth.

Years flew and there I was making this special trip for the very last time.  I realized by my daughter’s eye roll, she didn’t appreciate me sharing that with the clerk asking if we needed assistance.  I didn’t need assistance, but I desperately needed a tissue.

One thing I want to share with anyone with a child:

  • Entering kindergarten or first grade
  • Stepping into middle school for the first time (they are going to stress over the combination locker)
  • Stepping into the halls of a scary high school where she can’t imagine getting from one side to the next in time for classes
  • Just drove away on ‘move-in’ day and hope that your college freshman will wake up himself and go to class

The new school year is always a new start.  The teacher has a blank grade book, and all students begin with an A+ in each class.  Where they go is up to them.

Now, a note from Dr. Vicki Panaccione before the stress sets in….

Having a hard time juggling everyone’s hectic schedule?

  • Here are a few helpful tips:
  • Keep a big family calendar where everyone can see it
    • Use a different color marker for each person in the family for a quick and easy way to see who needs to do what, when and where

If you have more than one child, allow one or two after-school activities per child

  • That way your kids are not being overloaded
  • And neither are you

Take short cuts:

  • Make and freeze meals ahead of time
  • On busy nights, use paper plates
  • To avoid the last minute scramble in the morning,
  • Have your kids lay out their clothes,
  • Pack up the back packs and
  • Get out the lunch money before they go to bed.

And please don’t lose sight of your #1 priority—

  • Family comes first—even if it means doing away with an activity or two.

For additional tips log in to Parental Wisdom® and locate the email under Free Stuff The Promise of a New School Year.

Have a terrific first day of school!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Are you building or ruining the relationship?

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Question: What do these situations have in common?

  1. The three-year-old having a meltdown on the check out line at Target
  2. The seven-year-old who could put in more effort at school
  3. The eighteen-year-old high school senior looking at colleges

Answer(s):

  1. They all create a certain amount of stress for parents
  2. They are NOT life threatening
  3. They ARE relationship threatening

What does that mean?

These situations become stressful because we sometimes care more about what other people think, and as a result let that influence the way we handle situations with our children.

Let’s reset the scenarios a bit:

Why is the three-year-old having a meltdown?

Did he nap?  Is he hungry?  Did you plan a marathon shopping day and this is the tail end of the six-hour trip?  Did she see something the store put as an impulse item that they want?

The looks from other people on line do not matter!

All that does matter is your relationship with your child.  The meltdown usually starts low and slowly, so you can plan your exit strategy, even if that means abandoning your shopping cart.  Make the best decision you can given that set of circumstances.

The same could be said of the effort of a grade school child.  You’re right to ask the child to do his/her best in school, and choose to be a good role model in terms of work ethic.  But realize that education works best for those who are good at following rules.  Don’t get stressed about your child not having straight A’s and instead be more concerned about their love of learning and ability to think for themselves.  When family and friends ask how the kids are doing, it’s OK they are healthy and happy.  You don’t have to ‘report’ on their report card as if it measures how well you’re doing as a parent.

The high school senior looking at colleges has more stress than he or she can handle.  Don’t let the opinions or questions of caring and concerned family and friends add to that stress.

Think of the questions they are being asked:

  1. What college are you going to?
  2. What major are you choosing?
  3. What do you want to do for the rest of your life?

Really?  Do those questions seem reasonable?

I would like to be the voice of all parents in response to family and friends and strangers with good intentions:

Thank you for your concern, now please mind your own business.  Amen!

To see the patented Parental Wisdom® concept and multiple answers to these and other questions, you can learn more and become a member.  It’s free and you are anonymous.   It really is a better mousetrap.

p.s. This is the kind of advice you should share with your friends.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

How To Connect with Your Teens through Travel

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

By Luisa Frey

Creator/editor of www.teentraveltalk.com

What’s one of the biggest issues facing parents of teenagers?

Disconnect between parent and child.

We all know the feeling of wanting to be closer to our young adult yet mostly we end up butting heads because of their desire to be treated like an adult but not really acting like one. Inevitably, we often feel the void that this disconnect causes.

However, I’ve discovered one sure-fire way to connect with my teen – through travel. While we can’t be on the road 24/7, I’ve found over and over again that when my teen daughter and I are away from our daily routine, we turn into different people – ones who don’t see each other as a “parent” or as a “teen” but instead as a complementary duo. And we actually have real conversations instead of those which escalate into shouting!

So what are my secrets to selecting a trip that facilitates connecting with my teen?

LET THEM OWN PART OF THE PLANNING PROCESS

Last winter my daughter and I were going through a very difficult time. However, one day she walked into my office and said, “I want to go to Salem, MA with you next month since I’m doing a history paper on the Salem Witch Trials.” My first reaction was, “No way, we can’t afford that.” But then I realized that she actually wanted to spend time with me and that I was going to move heaven and earth to make this trip happen!

So I gave her ownership of the planning process and told her to choose a website to help her plan it; find out which attractions were open in the winter; price an affordable hotel; and decide how many days we needed to stay there. The next day she marched in with an itinerary she had created and an affordable hotel suggestion.

Needless to say, I booked the trip and it proved critical in getting our relationship back on track.

TURN “CAR RIDES” INTO “CONFIDES”

Our road trip from New Jersey to Massachusetts gave us plenty of time to talk, listen to music, or just be in the same space for a period time without one of us having to run out the door like at home.

Since then, I have discovered that my daughter opens up most when we are in the car and I am driving. Perhaps it’s because teens do not always feeling comfortable looking an adult in the eye when they talk about deep matters. With me behind the wheel, that scenario is facilitated.

USE THE POWER OF THEIR PEERS

Let’s face it – teens are most influenced by their peers and not as much by mom and dad. Why not use teen influence to help you plan a trip that your teens will enjoy? What parent wants to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a family trip that their teen labels “lame” ahead of time? Instead, you can nip “baditude” in the bud by getting your teen enthused before you even leave the house.

One way to do this is for you and your teen to check out www.teentraveltalk.com. This blog is written by teens for their peers and parents and details trips that get the teen stamp of approval. It also features articles that are written by teens and their parents regarding trips that had some tension around them. These articles give advice from the teens as to what they would have liked to have done differently on those specific trips. Lastly, it includes teen and parent forums for asking family travel questions which are answered by teentraveltalk.com’s teen bloggers.

ACTION IS A MUST

When you check out teentraveltalk.com, you’ll see a recurring theme: teens love trips that feature ACTION! They do NOT want long car rides, sitting in a cathedral in Europe, nor too many museum visits. They want to be out there doing cool, active things. This can range from horseback riding in Costa Rica to walking over the Brooklyn Bridge.

However, action needs to be tempered with time to “hang out.” This is not the same as down time on a plane or in a car. Instead it means unstructured time to listen to their iPod, watch a movie, munch on some snacks, or hang out at the beach.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO KEEP THE MEMORIES ALIVE

During and after your trip, use the alluring power of social media to keep the trip memories alive. My daughter LOVES taking photos – thousands of them. The photos are great documentaries of what we did and what we saw. They also are the impetus for us to stand around her computer after a trip – her little brother included – and laugh at some of the fun moments of our trip.

Of course these photos then turn up on my teenager’s Facebook page. While some of us parents are not privy to our kids’ Facebook pages, you should feel honored that the trip you went on with your child actually landed up on her/his wall. Sounds like your teen might actually want to take another…and another trip with you after all!

Do you have Santa’s Phone Number?

Sunday, December 6th, 2009


Happy Countdown to Christmas!