Parenting a Rebellious Teen - One Essential Ingredient

If you are the parent of a teenager, I am sure your patience has been tested more than once. In addition, if you are the parent of a rebellious teen, your job is probably even more trying. So what can you do as a parent, to really help a difficult teen? I think the most important quality you can have is to be unrelenting. Do not ever give up on them, on helping them, standing by them, or on parenting them. If you do, who else will they have?
As parents, our job is to love our children unconditionally as we guide them through childhood and into adulthood. No matter how much they test us, fight us, argue with, ignore us or rebel, we must be persistent as parents. There will always be those difficult days...the days when we are exhausted, frustrated, disappointed and overwhelmed, but every day ends and a new one follows. Keep that in mind. Time is not infinite. There is always an end. Be unrelenting.

adolescenceadolescence (Photo credit: dongdawei)
So how can you be relentless as a parent? A few things that come to mind are to stay active and involved in their life, pursue them and show attentiveness in what interests them. Attend any events they may have, or accept and participate in any of their leisurely activities that you can. For instance, if you have a child who likes to ride skateboards, go and watch them at the skate park, get to know their friends, maybe attend a professional event with them, like the Dew Tour. Whatever it is they are currently passionate about, get interested in too. Also, be sure to let your teen know that you will always be there for them and that you are always available to listen.
Another part of being relentless is choosing to never give up. No matter how hard a situation gets, be willing to learn more, to seek answers, to find the help you need. Nobody is born knowing all there is to being a parent. Therefore, learning is going to be a part of the process. It is imperative that you remain willing to continue reaching out, to keep trying, and to keep learning. It is then, that you will remain close to your child, even through those rebellious teenage years.

Related articles
Tina is a happily married WAHM of 4 boys, a freelance writer and advocate for families and parents. She enjoys seeing stressed out parents and broken relationships put back together. Family life is great, and if things are difficult and unhappy at home, then you must find the help you need to restore things once again. Your family can be happy, but it may take some work to get there.
If you found her tips useful and want to read more in depth material about helping your out of control child or teenager then visit her here at:
Out of Control Teenager or at Parenting A Difficult Child

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Raise Your Kids to Be Responsible Adults, Part 6 - Help Them Believe They Can Impact the World

Martin Luther King made a difference! So did Oskar Schindler and Florence Nightingale. These were amazing people, but even though their stories are so magnificently encouraging, we know that they were not alone. Hundreds of people in our history dared to make a difference, to pioneer an idea or a thought, that no one else had the courage to do.
Though it is possible for our kids to make such grand contributions to the lives of many, they may never be internationally recognised for it. I am referring to something quite mundane, simple and safe - helping to save our planet.

People who don't recycle, reduce their waste, or reuse what they can, use the excuse that not every one does, therefore, they argue that what little they can do won't make such a big difference after all. They do not believe that it's their responsibility to help save the planet, because whatever they could do, would be so small, it wouldn't matter anyway. But we all know how wrong this is, don't we?

Teaching our children that they are responsible for helping to save the world, gives them a sense of importance. (This is a good thing). It teaches them that they CAN make a difference, either as one singular person, or as part of a group. It helps them to understand that there are consequences for what we do, and that more often than not, these consequences affect other people.

The kids I work with think nothing of peeling the wrapper off a chocolate bar and dropping it wherever they are standing or sitting. They become indignant and swear at me if I ask them to pick it up. They have no sense of responsibility for their own litter. They do not understand that if we each pick up the can we drank from, there would be no cans at all hanging around. They do not understand this, maybe because they were never taught.

Our children need to understand that it is everyone's responsibility to save the planet we live in. The only way to do this is to get them involved in recycling from a very early age. This then becomes their way of life, something as normal as doing the shopping. Let them be the ones to sort out the plastics, bottles, cardboards etc. Take them to the recycling bank and let them actually put the items in the recycling units. Of course it would be more convenient and quicker to just do it ourselves, but this does not give our kids the pride of knowing that they are part of this vital, world-wide movement.

Get them involved also, in reducing the waste they contribute to the world, and reusing whenever possible.

Involving our kids this way, develops in them, the responsibility that we all should bear. They are less likely to grow up into teenagers and adults, who are so buried in anti-social behaviour, that they cannot understand that our actions affect our neighbours, our street, the country, the universe. This awareness will have been cultivated from an early age, and they would grow up with an already inbuilt sense of positive attitudes and social awareness.

What other crucial world-wide movement could our kids to get involved in, if it isn't recycling to help save our planet.

Anne Lyken-Garner is a freelance writer, and works with children and young people. She is a trained and experienced Youth Worker, having worked in this capacity for over 10 years. She has studied Child Psychology and has a keen interest in helping young people to find a positive direction in life, and a responsible place in society.
Blog links
Read chapters of her book

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Prepaid Credit Cards For Teens


Prepaid credit cards for teens have been increasing in popularity for a couple of years now, due to the many perceived benefits that they offer teenagers and parents alike. Prepaid credit cards can be used just like a credit card but only to the extent that they have been pre-loaded with cash.

It is impossible for a teenager to get into debt using a prepaid credit card and this is probably the biggest advantage of these types of cards. However this is not the whole story. As well as other advantages there are also disadvantages. This article details with all the issues in full so that you can make a fully informed choice as to whether these types of credit cards are for you.

The advantages of prepaid credit cards:

1) Teaches good money sense - as mentioned in the introduction because you cannot get into debt with this type of credit card it forces your teenager to budget and spend their money wisely. This is especially the case when the parent is in control of loading the card with more cash!

2) Stands them in good stead for real life - prepare your teenager for the future by giving them a prepaid credit card and let them practice for real life before letting them loose on their own as an adult "with the real thing".

3) On-line reporting - most prepaid credit cards provide website access to real-time reporting of transactions on the account. If you are a parent this can offer you real peace of mind, especially if your son of daughter is abroad for a prolonged period of time.

4) Generally available to all - most prepaid cards are available to all teenagers with few exceptions and you don't need to have an established credit history in order to apply.

5) If you should lose your card then it can normally be blocked from use once it has been reported to the relevant department. The limit of your liability only extends to the amount cash you have left prepaid on the card.

The disadvantages of prepaid credit cards:

1) Fees - there is a cost associated with owning a prepaid credit card. (Because the credit card company are not charging you interest they have to make a profit somehow!) When deciding which is the best card for you, look out for the following costs; application fees, monthly service charges, cash loading fees, cash withdrawal fees and account termination fees.

2) Encouragement of reckless spending - the critics argue that these cards tend to encourage teenagers to engage in "cashless spending" without due regard for what they can actually afford. This is of particular concern when parents regularly top-up cards without questioning what the money is being used for.


Prepaid credit cards for teens are an ideal solution for teaching your teenager how to manage their money before they go off to college for example. In my view the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, particularly when the cards are used with a common sense approach.

It's eminently sensible to choose a prepaid card with low card service fees (application fees, pre-load fees and withdrawal fees etc.). Make sure you make good use of the many personal financial websites on the Internet to compare all of your options before committing to one credit card company in particular.

For more information on Prepaid Credit Cards For Teens [] or Use Credit Cards For Online Bingo Games [] make sure you visit Peter Craske's website []

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School Anti-Bullying Laws - Protect Arkansas Teenagers

Why do we need federal laws to make bullying a crime and to require schools to have anti-bullying policies?

The saga of Billy Wolfe should be enough to convince you. Over a year ago, the New York Times reported that Billy was being bullied relentlessly by two bigger guys from his high school in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He was beaten up in a bathroom at school and on the school bus and in shop class and in Spanish class. The bullies put up a Facebook page harassing him. A brother of one of the bullies even recorded on his cell phone camera, the bully getting out of a car, walking up to an unsuspecting Billy, who was waiting at a bus stop, punching him hard enough to leave a fist-size welt on his forehead and then showing the video around the school.

The authorities did nothing while the violence and brutality went on for three years. Billy's parents tried to get the bully's parents and the school authorities to stop the bullying but the assistant principal, Byron Lynn Zeigler, did nothing to stop it.

Oh, he said it was Billy's fault and immediately suspended him. He blamed the victim. Days later Ziegler watched the recording and showed Billy's parents that their son was innocent. But he didn't stop the bullies.

Billy's parents finally went to court. After almost a year, the court has ruled on whether to keep considering the motions on behalf of Billy.

Why do Billy and his parents need laws? Why do we need to require schools to have anti-bullying policies?

According to the story by Scott F. Davis in the Northwest Arkansas Times, although the court kept intact many of the charges, it ruled that the plaintiffs (Billy and his parents) failed to show that the school had an official policy that led to the alleged problems surrounding bullying.

Let's put that in simple English. Assistant principal Ziegler argued that since the school didn't have an official policy supporting bullying, it wasn't the school's fault that bullying occurred on school premises and they can't be held liable for the bullying. Also, since the school didn't have official anti-bullying policies, Ziegler didn't have to stop the bullying; even that part of the bullying that occurred on school grounds. The court agreed.

Because there are no laws specifically about bullying and beating kids up, Billy's parents had to try to use laws that are on the books against sexual harassment.

Now do you understand the need for laws that would require administrators to take proactive measures to prevent bullying on school grounds and also laws that would require administrators to stop bullying that's brought to their attention?

The teenagers at school all knew what was going on. They saw the cell phone video. They knew that the legitimate authorities had turned their backs and given the bullies a free hand. When the responsible authorities allow bullies to control the turf, they allow violence and scapegoating, harassment and brutality.

Billy may have tried to fight back, but that doesn't make him the problem. That just makes him one child against two bigger kids. And with the size disparity that often happens in middle school and high school, he can't win without adult help. When his parents went to the school, way back at the beginning when it was only threats, the district wouldn't act.

I'm sensitive to principals that don't protect the victims because I'm from Denver. Remember Columbine High School.

Of course, the bullies' parents are to blame for allowing their sons to act that way. But when schools tolerate bullying, the real problems are the administrators (principals and assistants) and teachers.

Have those ignorant, cowardly principals in Fayetteville not learned anything. There are many schools in the country which don't tolerate bullying because the principals won't tolerate it and, therefore, their teachers and staff won't either. And the successful ones have no better statutes to back them. However, they do have consciences.

Whatever the court decides on the basis of law; shame on those adults. They have shamed themselves and their community. They are definitely not models who should be allowed to teach or administer for children.

On an individual basis, parents must teach children how to face the real world in which they'll meet bullies all their lives, even if the children are small and outnumbered. That's independent of the type of bullying - cyber bullying, physical bullying or verbal harassment or abuse. Help your children get out of their previous comfort zones and stop bullies.

True bullies will take empathy, kindness and tolerance as weakness. They'll think we're easy prey. It will encourage them, like sharks, to attack us more. Bullies will show you how far you need to go to stop them.

Read "Parenting Bully-Proof Kids." Get coaching to design tactics that fit your specific situation. Take charge of your personal space

References cited:


I'm the author of the books and CDs "How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks," "Parenting Bully-Proof Kids" and "Eliminate the High cost of Low Attitudes" I'm available for coaching, consulting and speaking. To find practical, real-world tactics to stop bullies and bullying at home, school, work and in relationships, see my web site ( and blog (

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Rule Enforcement at Home - The United Parental Front

Though Children may gripe and complain and get upset when you become the enforcer, they realize deep down that this shows you love them enough to care about their behavior. Believe it or not, you and your mate are their role models, not the latest music or movie star. The rules of conduct you set and enforce, if reasonable, make your child feel loved, safe, and secure.

It's never easy developing and introducing rules. Many busy parents avoid setting rules because they already have enough stress at work and they just cannot handle more at home. Confrontation and unpleasantness bring additional stress which can make for screaming matches, not only between parent and child but also between parents who are not in agreement about child discipline.

Take heart. The uncomfortable stuff isn't necessarily a reflection on your relationship with your child, it's just the nature of adolescence - breaking rules and pushing limits is a part of growing up. Make no mistake, you cannot be your child's best friend because, when you are laying down the law, it's an impossible position to be in. Friends don't ordinarily discipline friends, do they? No, your primary role is to protect, nurture and provide for your children and this includes you and your mate standing tough together.

Children will try to divide and conquer to avoid punishment. They will try to manipulate one parent against another, even resorting to lies and exaggeration. You and your mate need to agree in front of your children even if you disagree in private. Your children cannot know where you are vulnerable. They will play to your weakness.

When your kids break the rules, be careful to not overreact with harsh, disproportionate and unenforceable punishment, which undermines the effectiveness of setting rules. Instead, when you first tell your child about a new rule, discuss the consequences of breaking that rule - what the punishment will be and how it will be carried out.

Consequences must go hand in hand with limits so that your child knows what the cost of breaking the rules will be. The punishment you set should be reasonable and equal to the violation. For example, if you catch your son and his friends smoking, you might "ground" him by restricting his social activities for two weeks. It's also extremely important that you consistently enforce the rules you have laid down. You cannot allow any infraction to pass unpunished.

When we have our grand kids for the day, they know our rules and the result of breaking them. They know that "good girls get to do fun things and bad girls go right home to their parents."

Once, they were arguing in the back seat as we were headed to the Zoo for the day. I simply said - "Girls, apologize to each other or I'm taking you right home." They refused and I turned the car around and headed for their home. They whined, crossed arms in protest, yet, another mile down the road they apologized to each other. They knew that grandpa and grandma were not going to tolerate bad behavior. I turned the car around and we had a great time for the rest of the day at the Zoo. It does work.

My wife thought I was being a bit too tough but she supported me 100% and we got the expected good results. We had two happy and well-behaved girls for the rest of the day.

I could have still taken them home. They broke a rule. But, rewards for good behavior must also be a part of your rules. When they are good, give them something good. Don't have the attitude that good behavior is something that is expected and does not deserve some kind of tangible benefit. That is unreasonable. The girls learned that by quickly apologizing they were rewarded.

Punishments should only involve penalties you discussed with your children in advance. Never make empty threats. Always carry out the punishment that fits the infraction.

It's understandable that you'll be angry when house rules are broken, and sharing your feelings of anger, disappointment, or sadness can have a powerfully motivating effect on your child. Anger, however, is a negative motivation and is not good parenting.

Since we're all more inclined to say things we don't mean when we're upset, it's sometimes best to give ourselves a time-out period to cool off before we say something we don't mean. Children are quick to adopt our behavior so hold your temper. Have a firm, calm, demeanor as you enforce the rules. Above all, keep to the rules-punishment-reward equation. Never allow them to escape whatever punishment that fits the infraction and reward them when they do something right that they used to do wrong.

To make the ground rules crystal clear to your child, discuss them in some detail as if you were talking to another adult. Kids aren't stupid. They have a greater level of understanding than you might believe.

While it's imperative that you are consistent and follow through with a defined disciplinary action after each infraction, it's equally important that your child thoroughly understands the reasons why. This understanding comes from taking the time to explain everything in detail. Saying - "Because I said so!" just doesn't cut it. Your kids need more from you than that. That's simply lazy parenting. They need more from you than dictatorial statements.

If you and your mate are not presenting a United Parental Front, I guarantee your children will become more and more uncontrollable. The earlier you can nip bad behavior in the bud, the better for every member of the family unit, especially, you!

Yours for success.

Jim DeSantis

For more tips like this and free eboks about marriage, visit Jim's Marriage Matters blog.

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Trigger Words and Phrases That Help Prevent Arguments

Choosing the right words are perhaps the single most important key to ending arguments and avoiding arguments.
You're going to disagree with people, and when you feel it is necessary to voice your disagreement, choosing the right words are essential. No two people can ever agree on everything. When you feel it necessary to voice your disagreement, your approach, your words, your mannerisms all come into play on how other people react to your disagreement.
How you approach a disagreement is nearly as important as what you are willing to disagree about.
For most disagreements, you should use words that won't spark an argument. I use a variety of trigger words and phrases that help avoid an argument.
Think about this: words mean things to us. The words you use will convey much more than a definition, but also that of an impression of your mindset. The wrong words can cause people to get defensive, believing that you are attacking them. The wrong words can make people feel foolish, grow angry, and see you as an interrogator, rather than a friend or a loved one.
I use a variety of trigger words and phrases in the hope of building the right atmosphere and mental image of what I am trying to say. These are important. If I set someone on the defensive, or worse yet, the offensive, I have lost the ability to help, change, or fix anything.

I often open up a disagreement with this phrase.
This delivers the idea that I am seeking their help, not attacking them.
This conveys that their opinion is important and that they aren't stupid or foolish.
It also hints that I have need of them, that they are needed and thus important.
I've avoided many an argument by just using this opening.
EXAMPLE: A teenage boy was getting himself into trouble. I went to him and said something like this. "Hey, I need your advice on something. I'm not quite sure how to handle it, and since it involves you, I thought you could help me. Several times now you have done this thing, we both know it is not a good thing, and we both know the problems it causes. What I don't know is what I ought to do about it. I can't ignore it, I wouldn't be a good pastor if I did, and I don't believe for a second that you are enjoying the consequences. What do you think should be done? I have two ideas, and I wanted to know what you thought." I would give the ideas, listen very carefully to what he said to me, and he walked away feeling, rightly so, that I cared about him, his problems, his opinion and so forth. As a result he gave my ideas thought and attention. The problem was corrected.


Many times, when I am in a disagreement with someone, I will say that phrase.
Most disagreements have rightness on both sides. Often a statement that is made is correct, even if the context and intent is wrong.
Instead of always saying, "you're wrong", or "that's stupid", or "don't be foolish", I instead say, "you're absolutely right" and then re-explain what they just said with a different intent. Rarely do they argue with me when I do this.
Doing this, will seem like you aren't really arguing with them, or disagreeing with them. Thus they have no reason to be defensive or angry.
EXAMPLE: Someone says: "The president is an idiot." If I disagree, I'd respond. "You're right. It doesn't matter who the politician is, they all have to make absurd compromises to be anywhere close to being effective. I think just wanting to be a politician is idiotic. In fact, no matter how good a president is, he is always trapped by the politics of the other you're right, he was probably an idiot for even wanting to be president." Very subtly, I shifted the concept from the president is an idiot to his choice was possibly idiotic due to the nature of politics. Thus I spoke my disagreement without sparking an argument.

#3 - "IT'S MY FAULT"

I use this often when someone thinks I did something wrong, but I don't really agree with them. Instead of saying that I wasn't wrong, I will instead use the phrase, "It's my fault", because somewhere I failed to transfer my intent to this, to some degree, it is my fault.
I will say something like, "It's my fault. I should have explained it better. I hope you will forgive me, sometimes I get carried away and fail to make things clear. I didn't intend to do that, but it is still my fault."
I also use this phrase to repair relationships.


Very similar to "I need your advice", but I use it in a different way. I use this trigger phrase when I want to provide a different way of doing something...a way I think is BETTER!
Again, this conveys the mental mindset that I am not really correcting them, that their opinions are valid and important, that I am not trying to ride rough shod over them.
I provide it as an alternative, but an attractive one at that.
EXAMPLE: If I see someone doing something in a manner that I think could be better, I'll try to do it this way, "Hey, I've got an idea and want to know what you think. We could do this and that and then this would do that, is that a good idea to you? Or we could do this slight change here, what do you think?" Any minor refinement they make to the idea I jump on and say, "Hey that's a great idea!"
If you use this one right, they even leave thinking the idea was really theirs, not yours.
If you present the idea correctly, particularly if it IS a better idea, you can give them a choice within the idea's framework. Which ever one they chose, you exclaim, "That's a great idea!" And they often leave with a sense of pride.

Allowing people to retain their dignity is essential to disagreeing in ways that don't spark a full blown verbal war. Practice using these trigger phrases, and you'll find that they help you to avoid many of the arguments that are common to relationships.

Please visit our website at:
For more books and resources.
Specializing in practicality that works, not the politically correct or socially acceptable platitudes!

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Trim Kids - Weight Loss for Children and Teens

Today's parents are fighting an up hill battle that their parents didn't have to worry or think about during their childhood. When today's parents were kids, there wasn't a computer, or video games, nor cable TV channels, and few fast food restaurants. In their time most kids spent their days riding their bikes, climbing trees, and playing tag. At dinner time the family came together at the kitchen table, and ate a home cooked meal. The world has certainly taken a 180 turn with this generation of children. Having an overweight child presents particular challenges encouraging the child to move, addressing consumption of junk food, and all the while still trying to build the child's self esteem. Helping an overweight child is far from an easy task.

The Trim Kids Program

Trim Kids is an excellent 12 week plan that addresses virtually every challenge faced with an overweight child, pre-teen, or teenager. It is one of the best - if not the best programs and guides to arrive in the recent years. This program appeared for the first time in a book written by Melinda Southern. Trim Kids has been tested on more than 1000 children and teens, and was found to be successful. Nutrition and exercise is not all the Trim Kids program focuses on - it also addresses behavioral issues that led to the child's weight problems. The program has a 10 week meal plan exclusively prepared and suitable for children. Recently Trim Kids has acquired a partnership with eDiets. Meal plans can now be personalized and accesses instantly at the Trim Kids on line program. Highly Recommended.

Exercise Ideas for Children

Exercise is not the only way to burn calories they are burned through activity. Trim Kids gives many superb ideas to get your child to move:

o Does your child have a favorite television show? Of course they do - allow your child to watch their favorite television show on the condition that they have to stand up and dance or move around the duration of every commercial. If your child shrugs you off or refuses, simply turn off the TV. If your child is watching a video or DVD, explain to them you are going to pause the movie every 30 minutes so they can walk around the block or do some abdominal crunches. If they argue, no more movie.

o Take your child shopping with you whether it is the mall or convenient store - park at the far end of the lot and walk to the store. If there is a cart involved while shopping such as with groceries have your child push the cart. When finished with the cart both of you can return to the cart to its designated area.

o Do you have one of those teenagers who will never get off the phone? Tell your child they can talk as long as they are walking. This will more than likely require a cordless phone or cell phone but it will be worth the investment. The moment your child sits down, the conversation ends. It's obvious that you cannot monitor your child at all times, but what you can do is make surprise visits to make sure your child is still moving. Another option is to have your child walk the length of your house so they'll keep popping up where you are. Remember, if your child sits down the conversation is over.

Parents, it cannot be stressed enough that this will require a lot of patients from you. The work must come from both ends if you wish your child to succeed. The first time you give in to your child and allow them to break the rules you have just made it that much more difficult. This program comes highly recommended and is probably the very best program designed to help children lose weight. With the addition of the online program and partnership with eDiets and all their free tools there should be no excuse for having a child that is overweight with these options available.

For a wide variety of the best weight loss programs, exercise programs, and some of the best FREE fitness information on the web visit

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Sexting - Ten Tips to Prevent the Abuse

"Sexting" is the term for sending or receiving pictures of nude of partially nude teenagers through the text function on cell phones. Sexting is so easily accomplished, literally thousands of them are exchanged everyday between teens and even pre-teens. This behavior is not only illegal, it can lead to degradation and embarrassment. This can spiral into depression, anxiety disorders and other problems with participating teens. It also leaves the door wide open to predators.

To help combat sexting, here a ten tips to keep it from happening in the home.

Tip 1. Help teens build a positive self-esteem and good body image. If a teenager feels positive about her body, she is less likely to seek approval from others. This seeking approval may be a root of some teen's sexting behavior.

Tip 2. Help teens set boundaries. Teenagers need to understand that their body is a sacred space and no one deserves to view it, much less touch it, without an intimate relationship established. And, then, the only appropriate pictures are those which do not have a sexual content.

Tip 3. Have access to children's technology. Although some will argue against the idea, parents are ultimately responsible for their teenager's behavior. Parents should be able to access any text message or image at any time on a child's cell phone. No passwords or locks should be allowed between a parent and a child's technology. Of course, parents need to respect privacy. But never put privacy over safety.

Tip 4. Parents need to be up to date on technology. The abilities of communication technologies has advanced at a breakneck speed. Parents need to be sure to understand what can and cannot be done with the technology in the home. Especially portable technology like laptops and cellphones, which are often employed to text or instant message (IM).

Tip 5. Talk about it. If parents have not explained what sexting is children will get the information elsewhere. Parents may find it uncomfortable to breach the topic, but by doing so and being honest about concerns, teenagers have the opportunity to ask questions.

Tip 6. Parents should be clear about consequences of sexting with teenagers. Of the things which are absolutely not tolerated, sexting should be high on the list. Parents need to express the consequences of the behavior and make certain children understand what happens should sexting occur.

Tip 7. Encourage your teen to use the phone. It may be a strange thing, but by encouraging teens to call each other instead of texting or IM. Phone calls are one of the safer methods of saying good night.

Tip 8. Check in cell phones at bedtime. Parents should have teenagers turn in the phone to them during times when texting isn't allowed. These include bedtime, homework and events which require peace and quiet.

Tip 9. Pray about it with the teenager. By bringing the concern to the Lord with a teenager, it reminds teenagers of God's omnipotence and love. There is no need to have threats in the prayer, instead ask for wisdom for the teenager and the parents and guidance when reaching out with the technology.

Tip 10. Keep a cellphone as a privilege and not a right. Although a handy way to keep up with older teens, younger teens have very little need for a cell phone. Of course, safety, again needs to be paramount and a cell phone can make everyone's life easier. However, it needs to remain a privilege and something to be earned by positive behavior.

Sexting may be on the rise, but for Christian living families it holds no place. By being clear and honest with teenagers, limits and boundaries are set for behavior. Again, prayer should be a wonderful time to help teenagers seek wisdom and see all communication they do should be done as if in person.

Reece W. Manley, DD, M.Ed., MPM, CSTF-M


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The Harassed Parent

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.

(Anonymous, often erroneously attributed to Mark Twain)

How often do parents hit their heads against that attitude! Parenting is never easy, but for a job that requires no previous experience and has no formal training course, most do it remarkably well.

Let's face it - where would you be without your kids... OK... stop thinking about that world cruise and a new Beemer!

A wise or prudent parent, if faced with issues and problems should not just rely on yelling back at disruptive or over-demanding children. There are techniques and tips to help available out there in cyberspace.

Do you find yourself banging heads with your two year old - who is just being a two year old - hey "the 'ego' has landed"!

Of course, your teenagers know more than you do - don't they... or do they?

And, of course, their constant bickering and fighting is easily dealt with... right?

One of the best clues I ever discovered is don't buy into the power game with kids. As a parent, as a teacher or whatever! You won't win.

So don't ever fight with them. Settle the problem when the kids are not angry.

Don't even think about arguing with them. You only hype them up and it's not worth it. If they persist in trying to get you to react, simply leave them in the room and go to your bedroom or parents den. Talk about frustrating didn't get a rise out of you after all... and they probably didn't care whether they won or not - they are establishing themselves (so they think)

Remember, behavior, rather than words, is the greatest teacher. And, your life as a guiding star (read parent for that) will be easier if you:

are consistent
a listener
communicate positively
give praise, not just punishment
exercise self control yourself - especially if you expect the kids to.
when you say 'no' mean it - buy don't over use it. Yes, works better, in the right context
be a parent, not a pal
spend time with the kids - regularly
stay married and in love (if possible)

Knowing their parents love each other and work together at their marriage is the greatest basis for stability in a child's life.

Peter Damien Ryan
Is a qualified family counselor

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Separation - Dealing With Children's Reactions

Separation and divorce affects the whole family, including children and teenagers. They can uncertain as to what the future of living with one parent at the time will mean to their lives. They don't know any different as having both parents present and with the uncertainty of the future might act out more than usual. The following article will look at some possible reactions of children and teenagers and how you can support them through this period.

The age of the child

The reactions vary depending on the child's age. Very young children, below the age of three, will most likely not understand the situation to its full extent. They will go along with what is happening but will be strongly affected by disharmony or verbal aggression being displayed when they are around.

Self-blame and guilt

Children between three and five can grasp what a separation means. They are often fearful of not having the other parent around and will ask continuous questions like: 'Where is daddy?' or 'Why is mummy no longer living with us?' These children, as well as older ones, often unconsciously feel guilty and put the blame onto themselves for their parent's disagreements, arguing or separation.

Acting out to draw attention

It is common knowledge that children act out to get attention. Children older than six and younger than twelve can react very strongly as they are trying to figure out what this means to them. They can become moody or aggressive towards siblings or be overly fearful and clingy themselves. Sometimes even before the parents have spoken to the children, they will ask them questions about the topic of separation, unconsciously letting their parents know that they are ready to know something is going on.

Effect on school and social surrounding

Older children and teenagers can display unusual behaviour or start experiencing academic difficulties at school. The shock of their parents changed relationship status will affect their ability to concentrate, their belief in what relationship means and for some totally dispel the myth of what they thought their parents symbolized on various levels.

Taking sides

Depending on the way the separation is communicated to the children, they might take sides. It is of utmost importance that parents maintain a common front and explain that 'we have come to this decision together'. It is tempting to blame to other person when you are feeling hurt. Asking your child to choose between your partner and yourself is not doing any favors to your growing children.

Remember: Make sure that you adapt the suggestions above to your child's temperament and nature. Always keep your child's best interest as your highest priority and trust your own heart in choosing the right way.

Want to know more? Have a look at my blog.

Nathalie Himmelrich is the founder of 'Reach for the Sky Therapy' on Sydney's Northern Beaches and specialises in 'relationship related issues'. She is working with individuals and couples using techniques ranging from Counselling, Neuro Linguistic Programming to Journey Therapy. She supports clients in their personal growth in a supportive and professional environment.

Visit my website: or visit my blog: and sign up for our newsletter today.

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Teens, Jobs and School: The Pros and Cons

Most teens realize at a fairly young age the old adage that "money equals power." Money equals designer clothes, a car and insurance, and in many cases, a certain amount of freedom. And in order to get money, many teens get part-time jobs.

While the benefits and/or drawbacks of teens and part-time jobs have been researched, studied and debated since at least 1979, the teens, jobs and affects on schoolwork verdict is still out. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 50 percent of American teenagers hold informal jobs, such as babysitting or yard work, by age 12. And by age 15, nearly two-thirds of American teens have had some kind of employment. And many researchers, including those on government panels like the National Commission on Youth praise part-time work and say it contributes to the transition from youth to adulthood.

Parents and educators alike have, for decades, said that part-time jobs teach children how to be responsible and manage money. But Temple University researcher Laurence Steinberg found that only 11 percent of students report saving most of their money for college, and only three percent contribute to household living expenses. "The bulk of teen's money goes to clothing, cars, entertainment, and in some cases, drugs and alcohol," according to results of a study published in Harvard Education Letter in 1998.

Steinberg says, "Students who work longer hours report diminished engagement in schooling, lowered school performance, increased psychological distress, higher drug and alcohol use, higher rates of delinquency and greater autonomy from parental control." A 1997 study by David Stern, director of the National Research Center for Vocational Education at the University of California, Berkeley, proves Steinberg's viewpoint. In research conducted over 20 years, students who worked more than 15 hours per week had lower grades, did less homework, had higher dropout rates and were less likely to go to college than students who worked under 15 hours per week.

But Jerald Bachman at the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Project, warns not to jump to cause and effect conclusions. "I would argue that most of the problems that correlate with working long hours are more fundamentally caused," he says. "That may contribute the to spiral, but I think the spiral is well underway at the time they elect to work the long hours."

Though the drawbacks to a busy, part-time job are many, so are the benefits. A teenager's job can teach work skills that school does not, and it can instill in the teen new confidence, sense of responsibility and independence. Earning money will enable your teen to buy things and to manage money. An after-school job can also provide adult supervision, especially if you work longer hours than those in a typical school day. And the right job may provide networking possibilities and set your child on a rewarding lifetime career path.

But before your child gets a job, there are some things you should know. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, "Minors under 14 years of age may not be employed or permitted to work in any occupation, except children employed on farms or in domestic service in private homes." Children under the age of 14 can also work on farms, be golf caddies, newspaper carriers or juvenile performers in the entertainment industry. But special permits may need to be required.

Also according to many state labor laws, teens aged 14 and 15 are not permitted to work more than four hours per day during the school year and not before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. (During the summer, the amount of hours of work per day can be increased to eight.) Children under the age of 16 are prohibited, by Pennsylvania law, for example, from working in bowling centers (unless as snack bar attendants, scorers or control desk clerks), building heavy work, highway work, anywhere liquor is sold or dispensed, manufacturing, on scaffolds or ladders and window cleaning.

For 16 and 17 year olds, the some state laws say, "minors are not to work before 6 a.m. or after midnight on school days and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays." Also, not more than eight hours per day and 28 hours per school week. (During the summer, the only restrictions on 16 and 17 year olds, is that they can work no more than eight hours per day or 44 hours per week.) Young adults under the age of 18 are prohibited from working in billiard rooms; doing electrical work; operating elevators; performing crane and hoisting operations; excavating; operating machinery that does woodworking, bakery mixing, cleaning, oiling or punch pressing; roofing; welding; and doing demolition.

Your teen securing a job is a big step on the road to maturity. Be sure to discuss the pros and the cons with him or her. You may also want to agree to a job on a trial basis, such as "you can work x number of hours a week this grading period and then we will decide if you can keep working, based on your grades." Maintaining good grades, continuing extra curricular activities and keeping a social life will be important to your child's psychological health and development. Also, prepare a budget with your child, setting limits on spending and enforcing a percentage-of- paycheck-into-savings policy. Good money management skills, acquired when young, will last a lifetime. Part-time jobs can be a wonderful experience, with the right supervision and parental guidance.

Jill L. Ferguson is a writer, editor, public speaker and professor of creative writing, literature and communication at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Sometimes Art Can't Save You, her novel about teenage angst in a dysfunctional household, was published by In Your Face Ink LLC in October 2005.

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Puberty - Get Ready to Play the Puberty Game

Puberty can be a difficult time for children. Not quite kids anymore and not really adolescents they are caught in the middle in type of limbo. It is a sad time for many young people too. Many look back at their childhood and realise that they can never really act the same way yet they look ahead and realise that adolescence will present them with its own peculiar challenges.

Children are reaching adolescence earlier than ever. The World Health Organisation estimates that in developing countries puberty begins about three months earlier every ten years. It is a stage when the maturity gap between girls and boys is quite evident - about two years.

Puberty is a time of immense body changes. The male and sex hormones are different and set off different development in girls and boys. Bodily changes are more evident for girls are accompanied by huge mood swings, which can be disconcerting fro parents. The onset of puberty is not so obvious for boys. The first physical sign boys may notice is the enlargement of the testes, followed by growth of pubic hair. Testosterone, the male hormone, also affects mood swings but it arguably leads to increased energy and boisterousness. Many parents discover that their pre-teen son delights in wrestling with siblings or even his father in what is a sort of test of strength. Paradoxically, many early teen boys need more sleep and eat parents out of house and home.

Pre teens have a need for greater privacy so they spend more and more time in bedrooms, locked in bathrooms or arguing with younger siblings about personal space.

During puberty peers begin to assume increasing importance in young people's lives. Their opinions, their dress and appearance is increasingly influenced by their friends. It can be hurtful for a parent to discover that you are less influential than your child's friends, particularly if you enjoyed a close relationship when they were younger. It is a time when the telephone often becomes usurped, particularly by girls. Incidentally, girls can be quite cruel to each other at this age forming friendship groups along extremely exclusive lines.

It is time for parents to be a little circumspect - a time for guidance and influence rather than control. Make no mistake children during this time of change need their parents more than ever. The way you go about helping them changes - subtle, gentle guidance is often required.

This particular stage provides a window of opportunity for parents. It is a time to help prepare your child for adolescence and even adulthood. It is a time for parents to establish a relationship based on mutual respect and shared interest. And it is the start of an exciting period in your child's development that requires thoughtful and smart parenting.

Michael Grose is The Parent Coach. For seventeen years he has been helping parents deal with the rigours of raising kids and survive!! For information about Michael's Parent Coaching programs or just some fine advice and ideas to help you raise confident kids and resilient teenagers visit

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Parenting Pitfalls to Avoid with Compassionate-Child Parenting

The process of learning parenting is rough on the first born. Inexperienced parents can have the best intentions and still make mistakes that have long range negative impact on their children. Child-Compassionate Parenting adheres to developmental stages and provides for the healthy personality to develop while maintaining parental control and reason. Here are ten parenting pitfalls to avoid.


Irritation and exhaustion make parents more volatile. Complaining and bickering may relieve some built up pressure but these anger embers can explode into a yelling fight. Young toddlers can be so alarmed that they may have accidents or get ill when their parents become angry. Screaming and anger were part of a survival reaction when the mother deemed an intruder was life threatening. There is no excuse for putting this much stress on a child. Discuss adult issues and disagreements in civil and polite tones. The person who is yelling is trying to win an argument by acting violent and that is unfair fighting.


The body can handle millions of bits of information intake but then it needs a break. The noise level of children, their television programs, appliances, pets and phones can leave a parent confused and stressed. A fifteen minute walk, with only the sound of the birds, can do wonders for your psyche. When the child is safely in his or her stroller and you are away from unimportant urgency, telephones and chaos, then you can process and relax. A slow stroll without any other purpose than to "Listen to the song of life," as Katherine Hepburn often said. At home, if your child is clearly in sight, make a cup of hot green tea and sip it slowly wearing earplugs. The combination of antioxidants and silence is healing. Sound is a necessary warning signal, so mini breaks only.

3. NO NO'S

As a child ages they can learn from other peoples mistakes, but toddlers want to experience everything for themselves. Eliminate the possibilities for disaster rather than spend the precious time you have with your child saying, "No" so many times that the child becomes immune to the word. Save "No!' for dangerous moments that could be life threatening. You want that word to stop them in their tracks so do not over use it on meaningless control issues. If the child is drawn to Grandma's colorful vase, put the vase away and replace it with a plastic object or stuffed animal. Let the child explore, touch and occasionally taste the room's objects until they have learned what they need to learn. Usually, the child only makes one pass across everything. Follow the child patiently helping them to explore the breakable items, explaining that this will break so we leave it alone. Then, put the vase up where there is no chance of a mistake. The vase is nothing compared to your child.


Teach your child to swim. "Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14 and the leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4." (usa.safekids). Even if you are afraid of the water yourself or hate the amount of chlorine your child is exposed to in public pools, teach your child to swim. Drowning is preventable unlike a car accident or many other accidents. Chlorine is as hard on your lungs as your eyes so insist on better ventilation at swimming pools especially an indoor pool with low ceilings. Non-chlorinated disinfectants are available and used in many European pools. But if all you have is the local pool reeking of chlorine, you owe your child a fighting chance to swim to safety. Teach your child to swim now.


Good idea but the human body is complicated and requires B12 and Vitamin D and fish or nut oil good fats that can not be supplied in many limited diets. Feed your child a variety of healthy organic foods as often as possible but do not be too restrictive. We only know a fraction of the intricacies of the chemical reactions in the body and many facts become fiction as science discovers new evidence. Waiting for water in plastic bottles when often municipality water is superior can lead to dehydration and serious complications. Letting a young child feel painful hunger pangs because the food is not perfectly nutritious is counterproductive to good parenting. Sometimes it is O.K. to help the child deal with difficult situations with a full belly of just O.K. food.


See that mischievous glint in your child's eyes that alerts you to impending trouble? Remember it well so that you recognize it when as teenagers they get that same look when they have an exciting idea. Even as you absolutely know for certain that they are doing something wrong, discipline means teaching. Remind them of the consequence of disobeying you and wait to see what they do. They will weigh the potential pleasure reward of doing what they are thinking versus the severity of your consequence. Typically, they will choose pleasure. Calmly, shake your head and say I asked you to do that and instead you did the other. The consequence will now be this. If you are really clever you will have already pasted the crime and punishment on the refrigerator before it happens so you can say, "See." Start with very tiny logical consequences, like a minute of time out that matches their age and loss of gadgets and privileges when they are older. Save the big punishment for drug and alcohol use, stealing or not using a condom, much later. Never use big threats or joke with threats. When it is really important they will not know whether you are serious or joking.


After a long day of work, a couple just wants to eat, shower and sit down. But who is watching the baby? Never leave a child unattended. You must get a response from the other parent acknowledging that they are on duty before you run to the bathroom or step outside even for a moment. When you are on, you must prioritize your job of protecting your child from harm over a television game, surfing the internet or making dinner. Make a section of a visible room a safe play area that is baby gated and away from obvious danger. Toddlers can stack toys together to make an escape faster than you can get back to your computer chair. Never leave a child in front of a television while you go back to sleep. They can open a door and be in the street so quickly. You use to love to play. Perhaps, you could play with your child joyfully for a while. Some day they will not want you anymore. So relax and enjoy running in the park, puppets and card games again. When they leave for college, you can repaint the house and get new flooring. Tolerate messy toys, spills and other accidents.


Realities of life are extremely harsh. As humans we must suspend the truths of our short existence. Our vulnerable body can die in a few minutes from a cut or a few inches of water. Knowing how to balance protective parenting and fear inducing anxiety is tricky. Teaching the kindness and beauty of the world is more important than teaching the horrific things people do to each other. If you want your child to know Jesus, teach the wisdom of Jesus, not the sadistic brutality of Roman gladiators nailing a man's hands. If you want your child to love animals visit a zoo, or adopt a pet rather than watching the television footage of a lioness eating the belly of a living deer. You need to stay informed, but the news is also on at ten after the child is asleep. Can you really explain to them why other parents allow their adult children's bodies to be contaminated and destroyed in wars? Can they believe it won't happen to them? Protect your children's hearts and minds at every opportunity until they are in school where they will learn the history of man soon enough.


Never use bedtime as a punishment. A child abruptly left in a dark room to sob is abhorrent to experienced parents and anyone who has a heart. Such selfish parental quick fixes will result in long term damage to trust and self esteem. If you must punish a worn out tired child, use time out instead. Then, begin a pleasant nighttime ritual of bath, brushing teeth, p.j.'s, a book, a favorite bear and blanket, a kiss and good night. This ritual will cut down on phobias, nightmares, guilt, anxiety and hysterically crying rejected little children. Bedtime is one of the most loving experiences of parenting that when done correctly results in strong bonding.


Funds are tight and so many purchases seem important, however, spend money on a babysitter at least once a week. Time alone with your spouse in dating mode will help keep your love alive. Like a delicate flower you must water, feed and care for you living and changing love. Men need attention from their wives and wives need nurturing from their men. Hire a babysitter, grandparent or older teen to play with your child while you spend time with each other as a couple. Go play miniature golf, or bowl or dance, feel young again, carefree and unencumbered for a little while. The best gift you can give your child is a stable, happy home life, not an abundance of things or fancy schools.

Forgive in your heart the struggles of childhood and parent with a compassionate, not critical code of behavior. Parenting is the hardest job you will ever do. Your reward will not be your child thanking you for your sacrifices. Your reward will be the realization that your parenting skills advanced forward as you watch your grown child parent your grandchild with Child-Compassionate Parenting.

Dr. Molly Barrow, Ph.D. Clinical Psychology,, American Psychological Association, is host of The Dr. Molly Barrow Show on Progressive Radio Network, author of Matchlines for Singles, Matchlines Relationship Quiz, Malia & Teacup Awesome African Adventure and Malia & Teacup Out on a Limb, and quoted in O, The Oprah Magazine, Psychology Today, Newsday, New York Times,, and has appeared in films and television news.

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Teen Communication And Teen Arguements

How Teens Normally Communicate

· Teens normally come to their parents when they need to talk. Be patient.

· Your teen may appear to be rude, in a hurry or cut you short. This is not their intention. Be patient.

· Teens are not adults. You may from time to time have an adult conversation with your teen. Treasure this moment! Don't expect it all the time.

· Teens often are more comfortable talking to their friends or peers than they are talking to adults; especially their parents. Again, nothing against you mom or dad, but kids their age are more fun to talk with. Be patient.

· Moody teens will avoid conversations with you.

· Happy teens may talk your ears off. You may have to listen, nod your head and smile. Be patient.

· See the section in Scott Counseling regarding communicating with you child for information on parenting techniques and strategies on this topic. Be patient!

My Teen Argues!

We want our children to learn to speak and communicate. We want them to become independent thinkers. We also want them, someday, to stand on their own. Well, believe it or not, these are some of the key factors to explain why some children argue with their parents. According to the Department of Families, "arguments between brothers and sisters are one of the ways that children learn to respect other people's belongings and feelings." Children are just like adults. We like to present our ideas and sometimes argue to express our opinions or points of view. Children, however, are just beginning to learn how to argue without being disrespectful. Below are some pointers to help parents teach their child how to share their thoughts without offending others.

· Do not argue with your teen. It's that's simple. An argument can only occur if you let one occur.

· Many arguments can be avoided when you give the child an option. For example: "You can either empty the dishwasher or take out the trash."

· Treat your child and yourself with respect. Be objective when you speak and try to use fewer words. For example: "I need your help. Your job is to pick up your toys. Please begin now." Avoid statements or questions like: "Can you" or "Do you want to pick up your toys now."

· Teach your child the difference between debate and arguments. Debates allow two people to share their points of view without offending others and leaving one person a winner and another a loser. Arguments end with a winner and a loser. Teach your child what points of view or opinions are debatable in your home. If your child says, "Mom, I'm tired of doing dishes." The parent can respond by saying, "That's fine. It's a good time to change chores. You may pick between feeding the dog or dusting this week."

· Use simple body and facial language instead of words. Simple body and facial language includes: Looking at your child and show the face of patience. Your face should show that you are not angry, but you are also not amused.

· Sit down with your child and let the child know the negative consequences that they will receive if they argue with a parent. Set the consequence ahead of time and stick to the consequence. It's appropriate to let children know that you do not want an argument as a warning before providing the consequence. Remember the first example provided above.

· You may provide incentives. However, do not over use this strategy or you will be teaching the child that rewards come after each request. "You may play with your friends when you are done doing the dishes."

· Encourage and teach your child to ask for permission. This will prevent many arguments.

· Prepare yourself for the fact that your child will be making more requests that may lead to future arguments. To find out if your child's request is normal for his or her age group, ask a teacher, youth group leader, coach or other adults who have many years of experience working with children to find out if their request is normal.

· Let your child know that making a request should be done in private or at home. Some parents, for example, tell their child that if they ask to have a friend sleep over in front of the friend that their request will automatically be denied.

Note: Children who have chronic or ongoing behavioral problems with argument that lead to anger, violence or other fear inducing tactics may need to be assessed by a trained professional. Usually these behaviors diagnosed by a psychiatrist or other medical professionals. You may also obtain assistance from a school psychologist who may provide some insights and resource information.

Scott Wardell is a school counselor and created to provide parents with 100's of free parenting articles to assist parents with their parenting skills.

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Turbulent Threes: The Challenges of Living with a Three-Year-Old

Last night, upon returning from work, I prepared dinner as always. I brought my three-year-old daughter's dinner into the living room and stopped in my tracks. There was a pile of dirt on the coffee table, and Rebecca was sitting in front of it drawing roads in the dirt.

"REBECCA!" I shrieked. "Where did you get that dirt?"

"From the fireplace," she said calmly.

Later, she volunteered to help me with the dishes. Halfway through the stack, she began nonchalantly pouring water on the floor. Then when we attempted to clean up, she screamed inconsolably that the rag was too big. She wanted a particular rag.

Is my child psychotic? you ask. No. She's simply a three-year-old.

Everyone has heard of the terrible twos, but I argue that the turbulent threes are ten times worse. From whining to screaming to creative destruction, I have to be on my toes twenty-four hours a day.

Other mothers agree. "All the horror stories I ever heard about two-year-olds were nothing compared to what I'm going through now," says Karen, a young mother in her mid-twenties. "Did you ever try to tell a three-year-old it's time to leave and he can't finish watching his favorite show?"

Nancy agrees. "Or that he can't wear a plaid shirt with striped pants."

More than one mother of grown children I spoke to smiled and murmured, "I remember three."

If I chose one word to describe a typical three-year-old, it would be "active". (My husband comments that he would choose the word "hurricane"). As two-year-olds, children are always on the go, but as the age of three is attained, coordination improves, and they have more freedom of movement. They are continually anxious to explore the world around them. The three-year-old can run, climb, dance, and hop, and they don't seem to be able to keep up with where they are eagerly trying to go. They are excited by learning new things and are more independent, striving to dress themselves, brush their own teeth or retrieve their own drinks. Life is fascinating and challenging.

On one occasion, I urged Rebecca to close her eyes and go to sleep. "I don't want to close my eyes. I want to leave them open!" she protested. The three-year-old wants to absorb all the newness and wonder that surrounds them as rapidly as possible. They are often heard asking who? where? when? why?

The three-year-old likes togetherness. They want to include others in almost everything they do. They have elaborate fantasies, and enjoy hearing and telling stories. Some have imaginary playmates. They are learning to play with other children, but enjoy being with their mother most of all. This can reach an extreme of insisting on attaining mom's undivided attention for prolonged periods of time.

The three-year-old has a distorted perception of time. "I tried to explain to my son that we'd be back home in less than an hour, but that was beyond his comprehension," Nancy says. She's exactly right. A child this age doesn't understand time, and can be heard saying "last week" or "last year" for yesterday. It is difficult for a three-year-old to wait in line, or to wait any length of time for what they want.

Keeping up with them requires boundless energy and patience, especially because the three year-old is still learning to get a handle on anger and aggression. They will test parents to the point of reaction, and it is important not to reward this kind of behavior. One mother suggests sending the toddler to the tantrum corner, where he can stomp his feet as long as he wants, but has to wait until she leaves the room. This takes the fun out of the attempt to provoke a reaction.

It is around the age of three and a half that the real challenges begin. It is a turbulent troubled age where a child's main concern is to strengthen his will. He seems to rebel against whatever his parents want. He really is not your enemy. He is going through will-testing because that is his job at this age, and for no other reason. It is easy to get drawn into anger and being reactive. Say yes whenever you can, and save no for when you mean it. At any age, when a child is trying to rebel, a good rule of thumb is striving to catch the child doing something good. The three-year-old loves praise for new accomplishments. "Look what I can do!" they beam.

Although communication skills are improving, they are still imperfect. Approximately 75-80% of their speech is understandable. They enjoy repeating words and sounds, such as nursery rhymes or songs such as "London Bridge" or "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." They also enjoy hearing the same stories told over and over, and may recite the words to some picture books.

Moments when their exact meaning is not being communicated can create frustration and tantrums. A tantrum can be thought of as an emotional blown fuse caused by an overload of frustration. It can be downright terrifying for a child. All children are individuals, and some are more reactive than others and more prone to violent outbursts. A screaming child is frustrated because she is trying and not yet succeeding. Her efforts should be applauded. When a child is out of control, hold her gently but firmly. Distract her and point her to a different activity. Encourage her to help with household tasks. Keep in mind that the attention span of a three-year-old is roughly three minutes. Above all, stay in control of your own emotions.

It is important to choose your battles. Know what your own expectations and limits are. For some mothers, having a child pick up after himself is a top priority. For others, battles are saved for things like getting out the door in time, or bathing or bedtime. Some days it feels like there is nothing but turbulence, and to add fuel to the fire, well-meaning friends and relatives are often judgmental and sure that they have all the answers, particularly the ones who have no children. Parents of children with a quiet or mellow personality are quick to judge parents of more active, strong-willed children. Remember that no one knows your child like you do. All children are individuals, and there is no expert in the world who has encountered every problem or every personality.

Learn to trust yourself more than anyone else in the world. The age of three can be difficult and exhausting, but it's only a stage and once it passes, a beautiful butterfly will emerge.

It is late and I have worked all day at my day job. I have done housework, I have tried to shower Rebecca with attention, but as a typical three-year-old, she continues to ask for more. We have built blocks, made brownies, colored, read stories. Now I am sitting at the computer trying to give some of my day to myself.

"Mommy," she calls.

"Rebecca, Mommy's working."

"Can you read me one more story?"

"Yes, but that's all," I agree and stop to read one more story.

I am back at the computer and she calls, "MOMMY!!"

"What do you want now?" I say, hearing the harshness in my own voice.

"I can't find my blanket." I take a deep breath and locate the security blanket. I sit at the computer, only to be summoned again.

"Rebecca, that's enough. It's time to settle down." I am out of patience and it shows. There is silence and then a small voice.

"I love you," she tells me, taking my breath away.

"I love you, too," I answer softly. The exhaustion I feel is suddenly not noticeable, and the day's battles are forgotten. This age and its struggles will be lost in a flash and I know it, because I am also the mother of a teenager. "How about one more story?" I ask.

Valerie Dansereau is the webmaster of [], a resource for parents who work at home or want to work at home. Included are work at home ideas, parenting tips, stress busters and tips for saving time and money. She is the mother of two and grandmother of one.

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Teen Relationship Violence - Is Your Child a Victim?

Mary is a single mother and has been raising her seventeen year old daughter, Jill, by herself. Lately, Jill has been coming home from school every day in a bad mood. The old Jill would bolt into the house, throw her books on the table and give her mom a big hug. Now she goes directly to her room and locks herself away for hours. Jill's puzzling behavior worries Mary. Her daughter has always been a happy, energetic girl who engaged in sports; managed straight A's in school and a very popular student among classmates and teachers alike. But in the last few months, Jill's personality has gone from sunny and vivacious to darkly intense and moody. Jill's grades have also dropped to C's and D's; she has quit the soccer team and has isolated herself from her friends and family. Mary constantly hears Jill arguing and crying on the phone with her boyfriend, Max, from behind closed doors of her room. Mary really can't hear what the fight is about, but whatever it is, the arguments are happening every day, several times a day. Jill started going out with Max about 3 months ago, and he seemed like a nice boy, very attentive and caring. Max seemed to become attached to Jill instantaneously, and the two of them became an "item" almost overnight. They spent so much time together, Jill barely took the time to eat dinner or complete her homework. Mary gently lectured Jill several times about spending too much time with Max and that she has been neglecting her studies, her friends and her family. Jill, extremely defensive about her relationship, tells her mom to "mind her own business." Mary is hurt by Jill's disrespectful attitude, but she chalks it up to teenage hormones and leaves it at that.

A few more months go by, and Jill is cold and distant to everyone around her, except Max. Mary is extremely concerned about Jill, and she calls the counselor at school and discusses her daughter's recent change in behavior. The counselor reinforces the "teenage hormone" theory and tells Mary not to worry about it, and that Jill will eventually snap out of it. Then one day, Mary gets a phone call from the police. Jill has been severely beaten by her boyfriend, and she is in the hospital under intensive care. Mary rushes to the hospital, and the doctors inform her that although Jill should make a full recovery, she will need extensive therapy to heal not only physically, but also emotionally. Since Max is considered a minor, he is sentenced to Juvenile Hall for the remainder of his school year and will continue on with probation for two years after that. Max gets a slap on the hand, Jill's life is in ruins, and Mary tearfully wonders how could she have let this happen to her daughter? Why didn't she see the signs that Jill was in a violent relationship sooner?

According to the US Dept. of Justice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Liz Claiborne Inc. teen dating violence survey, 1 in 5 high school girls is physically and sexually hurt by a dating partner. These statistics are shocking, and they should serve as a wake-up call to communities across the country that the epidemic of teen relationship violence is very much a reality. Many parents, like Mary, are unaware that their child is in an abusive relationship until it is too late. Today's economy has dictated that both parents need to work, which rarely leaves an adult around to pay attention to what is going on with their children. That being said, awareness regarding teen relationship violence has to be disseminated to the public on the same national level as domestic and intimate violence.

The circulation of information regarding teen relationship violence needs to begin at home and within the school system. It is critical that High Schools and Middle Schools across the United States incorporate a mandatory policy for both teachers and students to attend a course that educates them on relationship violence, the warning signs of abuse, and how to prevent this growing issue among our kids. Teen relationship violence can happen to anyone and because of the immaturity of the victims; they don't even realize that it is happening to them. Women and girls between the ages of 16 and 24 are the highest risk factors in experiencing relationship violence. Teen girls are much for susceptible to intimate partner violence, and they are 3 times more likely to be involved in an abusive relationship than adult women. Only 33% of teens who were either involved in a violent dating relationship or knew of one communicated it to family or friends. Sadly, relationship violence is a vicious pattern of control and abusive behavior that can manifest itself verbally, sexually, emotionally, financially and physically. Relationship violence is not prejudice to race, color, economic status, sexual orientation or cultural upbringing. It is a serious social issue that is having a devastating effect on our school system, our core family unit, and on the well-being of our children.

It is critical that teens are educated on the warning signs that may indicate they are in an abusive relationship with their partner. Controlling behavior, intense jealousy, threats of violence, stalking, verbal and sexual abuse is symptoms of an unhealthy pattern within a relationship. The cycle of abusive behavior and the "in-denial" type of reaction from the victim can go on for months until the perpetrator has total control over the relationship. The abuser sucks the victim in with compliments, gifts and loving words and then demands a commitment. The victim gives in, and slowly but surely, the abuse begins. As the relationship continues, the mistreatment becomes worse until it escalates. The abuser begs for forgiveness and the victim gives in wanting to believe the lies and promises. The cycle continues until the victim is so beaten down and fearful, there is no motivation to leave and will change their own behavior to avoid the abuser's rage. The abuser isolates the victim from friends and family so that eventually there is no longer a support system in place to get help. Over the course of the cycle, the victim is beaten down psychologically and made to feel worthless and insignificant. Statistics reveal that the average number of times the victim will return to the abuser is around seven times before they end the relationship for good. Unfortunately, there are many victims who never leave and either suffers the abuse for years to come or eventually may be killed by their abuser.

The state of Rhode Island is helping to set a precedence to support and educate their local communities in the prevention of relationship violence. Lindsay Anne Burke, a 23 old Rhode Island College graduate, was murdered while trying to escape her own vicious cycle of violence. Lindsay's mom was devastated by her daughter's death, but she used her grief to start a non-profit organization to fund efforts in the prevention of relationship violence through education and awareness.1

It is imperative that teens are taught that abusive behavior is unacceptable in any manner and that no one deserves to be threatened or mistreated. Victims of abuse need to understand that they cannot change the abuser's destructive behavior and that the violence will only worsen. Victims should never be ashamed to seek assistance either by calling the toll free numbers listed below or by speaking with an adult or a local agency that provides a safe haven for domestic violence survivors.

For Immediate Assistance

If you or someone you know is a victim, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline:


Teen victims can also call the National Teen Dating Violence Hotline: 1-866-331-9474

1The Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund is a non-profit 501(c )(3) charitable corporation. All donations are tax deductible and directly support our mission of ending relationship violence through education. We have no paid staff. Our workshops to train middle and high school health teachers, school staff and parents are made possible by your donations. In addition, we provide free educational and curriculum materials to Rhode Island workshop participants and trained health teachers in Rhode Island. Visit for more information on teen relationship violence and how you can help stop it.

Susan Fredricks is the general partner of Her Company's goal and vision is to empower women to protect themselves from predators and to stay safe. Stingergirlz offers a wide variey of personal, travel and home protection devices as well as self defense training literature and videos. Visit today and protect yourself and your loved ones today.

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Transforming the Parent-Teen Relationship Through Coaching

"Help my teenager is self destructing!" was the cry down the phone line from an exasperated parent.
This is an common cry for help that I receive in my coaching business. I specialise in coaching parents around finding and developing their true potential as a parent and in assisting their teens in building a life of confidence, courage and compassion. I coach teenagers to discover their passion and potential in life.
The parents' perception of their teenager's problems cover the entire spectrum from: "Help, my teenager is driving me crazy"; "How do I make them more responsible?"; "Why don't they talk to me anymore?"; "How can I say 'no' without feeling guilty?"; "How do I discipline my teenager without yelling at them?" to desperate cries like, "My teenager is self destructing!" My response to the parent was," Rather than forcing change onto your child, let's apply some coaching around your issues with your teenager. Let's learn some coaching skills so that you become the Parent as Coach."
The Parent as Coach Model
The Parent as Coach model helps us as adults to examine our own core beliefs enabling us to respect the rising beliefs of our "emerging adults." Instead of teaching how to manage and control teens, being the Parent as Coach helps us to appreciate the unique perspective of our teens and to express respect, understanding, and support for who they are right now. A Parent as Coach does not dictate how to grow up. A Parent as Coach will guide young people to their own solutions, inherent gifts, and show them the path to a meaningful and purposeful life.
A Case Study
When, continuing the case story, both parents took up a joint ten session coaching program with me, we began with them determining their desired outcomes for the 3-month period. Their main concern was that their 15-year old teenager, who had been expelled from two schools and was now smoking marijuana on an almost daily basis, was on a path of self destruction. After some explanation and application of Choice Theory, they realised that as much as they tried they could not control their teenager. Their controlling behaviour had created fronts and moved the boy further away. Each week we worked on the parents gaining an understanding of who they are and how they show up in the world, particularly in the eyes of their teenager. This newly found knowledge assisted them in seeing their teenager's point of view. We worked with a model "The Seven Ways to Coach your Teen" developed by the Academy for Family Coach Training.
With the application of this model and being coached around their new behaviours, the parents were able to respect their son for his qualities, really listen to his point of view, understand that he was not his behaviour alone, appreciate his differences, and give up rescuing him. They learnt to show support instead and started assisting him in developing his level of responsibility, striving towards his independence.
The Results
One of their greatest breakthroughs came after only three weeks, when they began using their new listening technique. The teenager had been refusing to come to the dinner table, and was not open to any conversation. When he talked, he argued. That night: with new listening skills honed, the parents had a one hour conversation, which the mother had said, had not happened for a couple of years! During that conversation, the parents spent more time listening than talking, they did not give advice or tried to fix or solve anything the teenager came up with. In that conversation the boy developed the idea that he might just give up some of his bad habits and would look to finish year 10 at TAFE. The parents offered to support him. The result further down the track: he completed year 10.
With continued coaching and support for these parents using "The Seven Ways to Coach your Teen", their relationship with their teenager was transformed over time. Their son is now a chef's apprentice and no longer on the path to self-destruction.
Relationships between adults and young people are rewarding - fun - endearing and energising!

Tracy Tresidder MEd, PCC is an ICF professionally certified coach. She specialises in working with parents and teens Parents - learn how to assist your children to build lives of confidence, courage and compassion. Discover the seven simple steps to create a mutually loving and respectful relationship with your teenager. Go to to see the programs that are available now. Tracy is also the Director of Professional Standards for ICF Australasia and an ICF Assessor and Mentor Coach. Visit the website to see more of what she has to offer. Tracy Tresidder Website

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