Empowering Teens to Be Successful: Finding the Right Balance Between Encouragement and Pressure

Teenstress5As a parent, the desire to see your children succeed is a natural one. There is a difference, however, between encouraging your kids to do their best and placing them under so much pressure that they resort to desperate measures in order to achieve success.

Striking that balance can be challenging, but it’s important to help your kids reach their full potential without browbeating them into submission.

Praise Effort Over Accomplishments

When your children are praised for their efforts towards meeting a goal, they learn that the most important aspect of their accomplishments is the effort they expend to reach them. When your teen realizes his work is the key to success and the praise of his parents, he’s more likely to focus on that aspect than the end result.

Make sure your child knows that what you’re looking for in terms of success is honest, concerted effort to do his very best. Rather than demanding that he be the valedictorian, the quarterback of the football team and first chair in the student orchestra, help him understand that the foundation of success is hard work and strong effort.

Emphasize Integrity, Not Winning at All Costs

When teenagers feel like they’re under an intense amount of pressure to succeed academically or athletically at all costs, they’re more likely to view cheating as a tool of survival, rather than a morally and ethically bankrupt choice. Talking about the importance of honest effort and making sure that your teenager knows you value that honesty over an achievement reached through questionable practices can help to put these dilemma into perspective for your teenager.

Avoid Over-Scheduling

Extracurricular activities can be fulfilling and exciting experiences for your teen that help him learn new skills while exploring his interests and talents. When he’s bogged down by a schedule that’s cram-packed with them, however, desperation can begin to set in. Work with your teen to determine what activities he’d like to maintain and how they can be scheduled so that he doesn’t feel like he’s being spread too thin by a demanding schedule and placed under too much pressure by coaches, teachers and other authority figures. Remember, you’re not the only person that can place your teenager under pressure to succeed.

Focus On Your Teenagers’ Needs, Not Your Own

If you’re completely dedicated to your teenage son’s football career or your daughter’s cheer-leading prowess, it’s wise to ask yourself why these things are so important to you. If the answer is simply that you want to support your child in an activity she excels in and has a talent for, that’s one thing. Should a bit of deeper examination reveal that you’re inadvertently living vicariously through your teenager’s success, however, you may want to reevaluate things. In these cases, it’s all too common for a teen to continue something he’d much rather abandon because he feels so much pressure from a parent to be the very best. If you’re reliving your own glory days through your teen, he’s probably under far more pressure than you realize.

Provide Affirmation and Support

When a demanding schedule is something that your teen has chosen for himself and he’s committed to doing everything he can in terms of reaching his goals, the best thing you can do for him is to offer plenty of support and affirmation. Let your teen know that you’re proud of his efforts, but that his value to you doesn’t lie in how much he accomplishes and your love isn’t contingent upon his success.

Allow Teens to Explore Their Interests

You may have dreams of your son being a professional athlete, but his interests may run more towards the arts or academia. To truly support your kids and help them reach their full potential without stressing them out under the burden of your demands for perfection, allow them to explore the things that interest them and make an effort to show your support. A teenager who knows he’s loved unconditionally and that the support of those he looks up to most isn’t contingent upon him toeing the proverbial line is generally more secure and less anxious than his over-burdened peers.

It’s not easy to set aside the hopes and dreams you have for your child in favor of allowing him to find his own path, but it’s an important part of growing up and asserting his independence.

By supporting his efforts and applauding the hard work he does, you’re effectively helping him reach his potential without adding an unmanageable amount of stress to his plate.

Source: Babysitting Jobs

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Teens and Self-Esteem: Tips to Help Your Teen Make Better Choices

Help! My teen is hanging with the wrong crowd!

This is a common statement from parents when their child is starting down a negative road.

Your child’s self-esteem is an important part of his self-image. It helps him feel he’s worthwhile just as he is and helps him feel good about his choices and decisions. A healthy self esteem doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s something that is nurtured and grown throughout a lifetime, and something that the important people in his life have a chance to help cultivate.

Here are some tips for boosting your child’s self-esteem.

Give your child choices throughout the day. A big part of healthy self-esteem is feeling capable. Offering your child choices about what outfit to wear, what to have for a snack or for lunch, or if he should pick up the play room before or after going to the park will give your child practice making good choices. When offering young children choices, the key is being comfortable with whatever the child chooses. The goal is to help him think about both sides and make a decision that he feels will best satisfy his needs.

Avoid generic praise. Parents want kids to feel good about the things they do and to encourage them to repeat the types of behavior they value. So parents often say things like “Great job!” after everything from finishing vegetables at dinner to putting socks on in the morning to going down the slide at the park. While generic congratulations feel good to a child for a short time, after too many times it becomes meaningless. In fact, congratulating a child for things that don’t require real effort can make a child lose trust in the parent’s honesty.

Use specific praise generously. It’s helpful to a child’s self-esteem to hear from parents and other adults about their accomplishments, both big and small. Instead of using generic praise, let your child know how much you admire and appreciate his specific behavior. Phrases like “I appreciate your help in picking up the play room this afternoon. It means we have more time at the park!” or “Eating your vegetables will help your body grow strong and healthy. I love your willingness to try new things.” or “I’m so proud of how you climbed to the top of the tower. That took strong arms and great balance!” will help your child feel good about his abilities and choices.

Avoid negative labels. Most of the way we communicate with others is based in lifelong habits. Unfortunately some unhealthy habits may find their way into your parenting or caregiving vocabulary. Labeling a child as being mean, lazy, uncoordinated or hyperactive, or calling him a whiner, liar or babyish can negatively affect his self-esteem. Children are sensitive to what the people they love think about them and words can have a huge effect. Choose your words carefully and talk about challenging behaviors or traits in positive terms.

Become a great listener. Giving your child your full attention and truly listening to what he is saying and how he feels is an immediate self-esteem booster. When you turn off your phone, the TV and the computer and fully engage with your child it shows him that you really care about him and that you’re interested in what he has to say. That kind of undivided attention is rarer than it should be these days and will make your child feel valued and loved.

Model healthy self-esteem. Your child looks to you for clues about how to think, act and feel. Make sure you’re sending the right message. Invest in developing your own healthy self-esteem and you’ll be on your way to helping your child develop it too. Have a positive body image, be confident about your abilities, and don’t let petty criticisms from the outside world make you feel bad about yourself and your choices. If you struggle with esteem issues, talk about them with your child in an age appropriate way and show him the steps you’re taking to develop a healthy self-esteem. Showing your child that you’re not perfect, but that you’re working towards being better, gives him the freedom to accept his flaws too.

Teach problem solving skills. Teaching your child how to objectively assess a situation, brainstorm solutions, and put a plan into action is a proactive way of building self-esteem. Children who feel able to handle challenging situations, who recognize that when they get knocked down they can get right back up and try again, and who are confident that every problem has a solution have a strong sense of self-esteem.

Self-esteem is an important part of a child’s healthy emotional development. It acts like a suit of armor for your child, protecting him from many of the bumps and bruises that come with everyday life. It also gives him a strong foundation to build life skills on.

Source: Babysitting Jobs

11 Facts about teens and self esteem are listed on DoSomething.org and are very interesting including:

  • 78% of girls with low self-esteem admit that it is hard to feel good in school when you do not feel good about how you look (compared to 54% of girls with high self-esteem).
  • Teenage boys can be prone to obsessive exercising, binge eating, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, steroid abuse and diet aid abuse.
  • One of the main factors in teen promiscuity is self-esteem. When a teen has little or no self-confidence, he or she will use sex as a means to build confidence.

Do you feel your tween or teen is struggling with low self worth, starting to go down a negative path. Don’t let it escalate. Be proactive and reach out for help. Finding a local adolescent therapist can sometimes help. If it has gone too far, you may have come to a point where residential therapy is the answer. You can visit www.helpyourteens.com.

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Parenting At Risk Teens: From Home to Homeroom

Parenting teens is a challenge today.

Schools and parents today need to work together to help prevent teen drug use.

Fast Facts: Preventing Teen OTC Cough Medicine Abuse – From Home to Homeroom

A Wake Up Call for Parents

  • Thirty-three percent of American high school teens know someone who has abused cough medicine, a wake up call for those parents who think that their teen is not affected or being exposed to the issue.
  • Six percent of high school teens admit to abusing cough medicine containing dextromethorphan, or DXM, to get high in the past year.

Cough Medicine Abuse Does Not Happen By Accident

  • While safe and effective when taken as directed, teens looking to get high from cough medicine take excessive amounts, sometimes 25 to 50 times the recommended dosage. This translates to multiple bottles or packages of medicine at one time.
  • Teens often abuse cough medicines with other prescription drugs, illicit drugs, or alcohol.
  • Even the best kid in the world doesn’t have the same ability as adults to assess risk because the part of their brain that processes risk, the frontal cortex, doesn’t finish developing until their mid 20s.

Parents Have the Power to Keep Teens Drug-free

  • Research shows that kids who learn a lot from their parents about the risk of drug abuse are up to half as likely to use.
  • Parents are not alone in their fight to prevent medicine abuse; reaching out to the school nurse can help parents learn more about the issue and access local resources.
  • Parents can learn more about the Home to Homeroom campaign by logging onto www.StopMedicineAbuse.org

Parents can interact and help raise awareness by joining online communities including:

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Summer Party Time: Teen Drinking Risking College Rejection

School will shortly be out for the summer which means the “party season” will shortly commence.

While it’s natural for teens to want to have a good time during their summer break, those that are college- bound should really be careful about what kind of “fun” they engage in—any sort of illegal activity that results in a misdemeanor or worse, a felony, can jeopardize their chances of getting into the university of his-or-her-choice.

Getting a mark on their record even after college acceptance can still come with great consequence. For example, it will most definitely affect their eligibility for Federal Financial Aid and can hinder job prospects, making it hard to pay for school. While there is an array of crimes that a teen can commit, one of the most common offenses is underage drinking.

To help remind your teen of the several drinking-related crimes that can affect their future, read the list below.

1. Minor in Possession. Like the name suggests, anyone who is a “minor” (under the legal drinking age of 21) can get in trouble if he or she is in possession of an alcoholic beverage. This can include actually being caught red-handed drinking, “appearing” to be intoxicated, or simply holding an empty bottle in a public place. Even blood alcohol content of .01 percent is enough to book and issue a $500 fine to minors in some states. In addition to a possible maximum six months in jail sentence, most first-time MPI offenders are required to enroll in an alcohol awareness program and/or be placed on probation.

2. Driving Under the Influence. Arguably one of the most frequent (and not to mention most lethal crimes) is driving while intoxicated. Punishment varies substantially.  It heavily depends on whether your teen’s blood alcohol content is .08 percent or higher and whether he or she harms anyone.But if you don’t, still expect to have to challenge the most maximum punishment, which includes up to 30 days in jail, up to 1 year of a driver’s license suspension, up to $1,000 fee, an ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle, and community service. Repeated offenders punishments will greatly increase. If your teen is 17-years-old or younger, his or her license suspension will be extended.

3. Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. Lastly, some parents think that it’s “safer” for their teen to drink inside their home rather than on the streets. But allowing your teen (or his or her friends) to host parties and drink in your home can not only get them charged with an MPI, but you can get charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Those who are of the legal drinking age and voluntarily serve minors an alcoholic beverage or gives them “easy access” to alcohol is committing a crime. This includes 21-year-old college students giving their underage classmates beer. It happens quite often but if caught, there could be great consequence, such as up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail if someone is injured.

Special contributor:

This guest contribution was submitted by Samantha Gray, who specializes in writing about bachelor degree online. Questions and comments can be sent to:  samanthagray024@gmail.com.

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Troubled Teens – The Holidays – Residential Treatment Centers – Who Do You Trust?

Especially during the holiday season, this can be one of the hardest decisions a parent can make.

Sending a child to a residential program/school is a major decision. It is not one to be taken lightly or to be decided on overnight.

Usually a teen’s behavior has been slowly escalating and a parent knows that deep down things are not getting better.  As much as you hope and pray that things will change, this is only typical teen behavior, sometimes it just isn’t.

With drug use and substance abuse rising – more dangerous and deadly ingredients being used, such as spice and inhalants, parents have reason to be concerned.  It isn’t your marijuana of generations prior – it is so much worse and in many cases – addictive and deadly.

If you have reached your wit’s end and now surfing the Internet for help, remember, anyone can build a website.  Anyone can put up nice pictures and create great content.  You need to do your due diligence.

Years ago I struggled with my own teenager.  I was at my wit’s end.  I didn’t realize what a big business this “teen help industry” was.  Yes, my child needed help, but what we received was anything but that.  My story is a cautionary tale – not one to scare you into not using a program, however on the contrary, you have to get your child help, but you have to do your research in getting them the right help.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Your child is not for sale, try to avoid those marketing arms selling you a list of programs that are not in the best interest of your child’s individual needs.
  • Always speak with an owner or director – Someone that has a vested in your teen’s recovery.  Their reputation is on the line.
  • Wilderness and other short term programs are usually nothing more than a band-aid that will fall off as quickly as the program lasted.  They are expensive camping trips and in most cases the Wilderness program will tell you at about 4 weeks that your teen will need to continue on to a longer term program.  What? Yes, now you go back to the research board and worse than that, your teen will be deflated when he finds out he/she isn’t coming home in 6-9 weeks as they were lead to believe – and they will be starting all over again with a new therapist – new schedule – and new setting.  Don’t get caught up in this “shuffle.”  Start and finish with the same school/program.
  • The average stay should be about 6-9-12 months, depending on your teen.  Anything less is probably non-effective.  Anything more, you may be creating abandonment issues in my opinion.
  • Do you really need an Educational Consultant?  Absolutely not.  You are the parent and no one knows your teen better than you do – with a few tips, you will be able to make some sound choices.

For more helpful hint and tips, please contact www.HelpYourTeens.com for a free consultation. After the ordeal I went through, I created this advocacy organization to help educate parents on finding safe and quality programs.

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Teen Drug Abuse – Teen Help

Drug Addiction Destroys Families

With today’s society, kids have access to many different substances that can be addictive and damaging. If you suspect your child is using drugs or drinking alcohol, please seek help for them as soon as possible. Drug testing is helpful, but not always accurate.  Teen Drug use and Teen Drinking may escalate to addiction.

We get calls constantly, that a child is only smoking pot. Unfortunately in most cases, marijuana can lead to more severe drugs, and marijuana is considered an illegal drug. Smoking marijuana is damaging to the child’s body, brain and behavior. Even though marijuana is not considered a narcotic, most teens are very hooked on it.

Many teens that are on prescribed medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera, Concerta, Zoloft, Prozac etc. are more at risk when mixing these medications with street drugs. It is critical you speak with your child about this and learn all the side effects.  Educating your child on the potential harm may help them to understand the dangers involved in mixing prescription drugs with street drugs. Awareness is the first step to understanding.

Alcohol is not any different with today’s teens. Like adults, some teens use the substances to escape their problems; however they don’t realize that it is not an escape but rather a deep dark hole. Some teens use substances to “fit in” with the rest of their peers – teen peer pressure. This is when a child really needs to know that they don’t need to “fit in” if it means hurting themselves. Using drug and alcohol is harming them. Especially if a teen is taking prescribed medication (refer to the above paragraph) teen drinking can be harmful. The combination can bring out the worse in a person. Communicating with your teen, as difficult as it can be, is one of the best tools we have.  Even if you think they are not listening, we hope eventually they will hear you.

If your teen is experimenting with this, please step in and get proper help through local resources. If it has extended into an addiction, it is probably time for a Residential Placement. If you feel your child is only experimenting, it is wise to start precautions early. An informed parent is an educated parent.  This can be your life jacket when and if you need the proper intervention.  Always be prepared, it can save you from rash decisions later.

A teen that is just starting to experiment with substance use or starting to become difficult; a solid short term self growth program may be very beneficial for them.  However keep in mind, if this behavior has been escalating over a length of time, the short term program may only serve as a temporary band-aid.

Drugs and Alcoholic usage is definitely a sign that your child needs help. Teen Drug Addiction and Teen Drinking is a serious problem in today’s society; if you suspect your child is using substances, especially if they are on prescribed medications, start seeking local help.  If the local resources become exhausted, and you are still experiencing difficulties, it may be time for the next step; Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more valuable information.


Teens Hanging with the Wrong Peer Group – What Can Parents Do?

Do you know your teen's friends?

The transition from junior high into high school is a big one for your teen, and it often leads to significant changes in your teen’s circle of friends. The friends that you’re used to your teen hanging around may drift away as they get involved with different things in high school, and your teen may connect with another group entirely–a group that you believe is influencing your teen in a negative way. If you think your teen has fallen in with the wrong crowd, you may want to take the following steps to intervene.

  • Talk to Your Teen

If you’ve been on autopilot for a while with your teen and the lines of communication are a little dusty, spending more time with your teen is often in order. If your teen knows you care about what’s going on in their life, they will be more likely to listen to what you have to say. The way you approach talking about your teen’s friends is crucial. Teens will defend their friends to the death and will often shut down and close themselves off to you if they feel you are attacking them. Instead, first talk about how your teen’s behavior has changed since he or she started hanging out with a particular group of friends. Firmly explain what types of behavior are acceptable and unacceptable.

When you finally broach the topic of your teen’s friends, make sure you discuss the specific types of behavior they exhibit that you’re unhappy with, rather than vague, sweeping criticisms. Doing this lessens the chances of your teen thinking you just blindly hate their friends for no reason. For example, “I think that so-and-so is disrespectful of his parents. I saw him cussing out his mother in the parking lot after the basketball game. That’s not okay, and I don’t want you to think it’s okay to treat me that way either.”

  • Invite the Friends over

Typical responses when you talk to your teen about his or her friends are “You don’t even KNOW my friends!” or “You just don’t understand.” If this is the case, open up your home and have your teen’s friends over a time or two. Order in some pizzas and spend some time with them. Make an honest attempt at building a relationship with them. You don’t have to hover, but get an idea of who they are, their personalities and what makes them tick. This is an important part of assessing your teen’s circle of friends. Sometimes they’re not as bad as their hard exterior and crazy hair lead you to believe.

  • Get to Know Their Friends’ Parents

If your child is getting into trouble with a group of friends, chances are there are a couple other parents out there who aren’t happy about it either. Get in touch with the parents of your teen’s friends and discuss what you can do to counter what’s happening when your teens get together. While it’s tempting to play the blame game, don’t fall into that trap. You don’t want to ostracize the adult(s) who can help reinforce any separation or disciplinary action you have to take.

  • Find Positive Mentors

Finally, is there an old friend of your teen’s who’s doing well in school and could talk to your teen about his or her behavior and choice of friends? Is there a trusted family member, older teen or 20-something that your teen looks up to who could take them under their wing? If your teen won’t listen to your warnings about their friends, perhaps they will listen to someone who’s been in their shoes more recently.


Kitty Holman, regularly writes on the topics of nursing colleges.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: kitty.holman20@gmail.com.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

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