Saturday, January 29, 2011

College Financing: Finding Creative Way to Pay for College

There's no doubt about it – college is ridiculously expensive. From tuition, room and board, food and fun, the best four years of your life can really hurt your pocketbook. Rest assured, you aren't alone in your agony. Thankfully, there are several different ways to help lessen the burden of college tuition and living expenses. With a little patience and a lot of creativity, you too can start earning money to pay for college.

Here are 15 creative ways to pay for college:
  1. Do Odd Jobs: If you want to work to pay for school, you should consider doing some odd jobs to bring in extra cash. Odd jobs vary in strangeness and pay. For example, you can donate your plasma, become a test subject at your school's health center, pose nude for a life drawing class or walk dogs for money every month and put it all toward school.
  2. Go to a Tuition-Free College: If taking out student loans or working three jobs to pay for college don't appeal to you, then why not consider going to a tuition-free college? Yes, you heard right, tuition-free! Tuition-free colleges, also known as full-scholarship colleges, are real four-year schools that pay for all students' tuition costs. There are only a handful of full-scholarship colleges in the country, but most are specialized institutions or have mandatory work-study programs.
  3. Apply to Scholarships: This may not be the most creative idea, but you'd be surprised how many students don't even try to apply for scholarships during their college career. Scholarships are still one of the best ways to get money for college. Not only are they free to apply for, but they can be used for tuition, room and board, food, textbooks or any college supplies you need.
  4. Get AP Credits: Before you enter college, consider taking college-level advanced placement courses and exams in high school that will help you earn college credit and save some dough. Depending on your exam scores, you may be able to enter college with enough credits to move into upper level courses because you've tested out of the basics. And fewer classes could be the difference between graduating early or paying for all four years.
  5. Enter Essay Contests: Entering essay contests is a great way to earn some extra cash for college. Each essay contest has a different set of writing prompts, eligibility requirements, rules and prizes. If you're a good writer, who's willing to put in the extra time to submit a bunch of essays, this may be your ticket to paying for college.
  6. Do Community Service: Donate your time to help others and get some of your student loan debt paid for through organizations like and These sites connect skilled college grads with volunteer organizations to complete service projects and get sponsors to help pay for their debt.
  7. Apply for Weird Scholarships: If you're not an athlete or straight-A student but desperately need financial help, you may have what it takes to get a weird scholarship. Weird scholarships award students who have unusual talents, qualities and interests. You can even win a weird scholarship by entering in several contests, such as the Duct Tape Prom Dress Competition or the National Beef Ambassador Program.
  8. Transfer Schools: Transferring schools can help students pay for college by lessening the cost of attending the same school for four years. Students often spend the first year or two at a community college to get their basic classes out of the way and save money, then transfer to a four-year college to get their degree. However, some students have to do it the opposite because they can no longer afford to attend a four-year university and have to transfer to a community college. Whichever way you do it, transferring is a huge money saver and may be your best option.
  9. Get Sponsored: You might have a rich aunt or generous family friend who's willing to throw some cash your way, but if you'd rather not beg them for money, try getting sponsored. One source for sponsorship is, a free online service that links needy students with individuals and companies that want to sponsor them and help pay for their education. Each student gets to create his or her own profile page and can promote it as much as possible to get more money for college.
  10. Start a Blog: Blogging provides a therapeutic way to vent about your financial frustrations, but it can also help you fund your college education. Once you start your blog, determine your niche and start producing content, you can get businesses to sponsor you in exchange for featuring their ads on your blog. Sponsors pay you in hopes of getting more business with their ads.
  11. Find a Job in Public Service: If you don't want to fret about paying for college while you're in college, you can shift your sights on finding a job in public service after graduation. In addition to good job stability and favorable pay and benefits, public service jobs also have a loan forgiveness program that will pay any employee's remaining debt after 10 years of full-time employment.
  12. Sell Your Stuff Online: An easy way to make money and pay for college is to sell your belongings online. Online marketplaces, such as Craigslist, eBay and Amazon, let you list items that are for sale, post descriptions, pictures and an asking price. You can make a killing doing this, but make sure you aren't selling family heirlooms and keepsakes you'll want after college.
  13. Enter Random Contests and Competitions: Your campus and college town most likely have random contests and competitions going on every month that offer cash prizes for winners. From karaoke contests, talent shows to 5k races, you can put your talents to good use and get paid to be the best.
  14. Go to a College with Locked-In Tuitions: Avoid tuition spikes and paying out the wazoo for school by attending a college with locked-in tuition rates. A locked-in tuition program will keep the tuition rate you pay as a freshman the same until you graduate. There's a handful of four-year colleges that have a locked-in tuition program, but be aware that some offer this option for free and others charge fees.
  15. Recycle for Money: There are several ways to earn money for college by simply recycling your junk. You can sell back your old cell phone, electronics and get paid for recycling everyday items, such as plastic, glass and paper. You may not earn enough money to pay for tuition, but it can certainly help pay for groceries, clothes and other expenses from time to time.
Special contributor: Jena Lewis of Online Certificate Programs

If you are located in Florida, for private colleges, there is also Florida Resident Access Grant Program (FRAGG) which offers you financial assistance.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Your Teens

DOES your teen,
  • always seem angry?
  • have anger that turns into rage?
  • show signs of depression, i.e., withdrawal, slipping grades?
  • show disrespect to you or disrespect people in authority?
  • self-protect by keeping people at a distance?
  • lie, manipulate and steal?
  • ever talk about his/her biological parents?
  • want to find his/her biological parents?

DO you,
  • feel comfortable about your teen's behavior?
  • recognize signs of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)?
  • believe you must be adopted to show signs of RAD?
  • understand what is meant by the Primal Wound?
  • think it makes a difference at what age a child is adopted?
  • understand bonding and how it can be disrupted?
  • understand the fear and pain of an adoptee?
  • understand adoptee' difficulty in trusting and showing love

It can be difficult to know if your adopted teen's anger is normal and within the range of typical teenage behavior. Most teenagers get angry, especially during the years when their bodies are changing and the hormones can bring quick and severe mood swings. All teenagers are searching the world trying to find out who they are and what they want to become. They all want to know how the world will affect them and how they will affect the world.

If not addressed as a child, an adopted teenager has a duality of conflicts to overcome. Whether adopted as a baby or as an older child, this teenager has had a separation from the birth mother and this is a strong link that is not forgotten. Nancy Verrier calls this the Primal Wound. In the womb, Psychologists now agree that the child is very aware of the mother, how she smells, how she laughs and feels, even how she sounds. The baby has been inside the womb for nine months. This baby even realizes if it was a wanted pregnancy or an unwanted pregnancy - this baby knows. It also has an awareness of the physical, mental and emotional connection with the mother. Bonding begins before physical birth and possibly shortly after conception. Many professionals used to laugh at this idea and thought it impossible for a little baby to know and remember being separated from its birth mother. Alas, the tide has changed and the professionals now believe that this child couldn't help but know the separation from the birth mom that carried it - and this is the primal wound that stays with that child forever.

By Nancy Verrier
There is a story that Nancy Verrier tells in her book, "The Primal Wound" about a little girl who was adopted as a baby. She had never been told she was adopted. One night this four-year old child had a nightmare and called for her mommy. Her adopted mother went in to comfort her and held her and told her everything would be okay because "Mommy was here." The little girl said, "No, I want my other mommy." This story is not unique and other similar stories have surfaced. How did this child know?

Many adopted children develop RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). This occurs when a child, teen or adult cannot attach and trust, as they should and experience trouble developing close intimate relationships. When the child is taken away from its birth mother, even if it is put in the home of a family giving the child love, this child is confused and knows this is not the same mother it had and its trusting abilities are lessened. If the child is put into a hospital, or foster care and then moved again and again, its trusting mechanisms do not know what it means to have a consistent caregiver to take care of its constant needs, i.e. hunger, pain, etc. This makes a child angry and scared and then the cycle has already begun.

After the child is adopted, hopefully in a loving home, a decision is made by the child as to what role to play within the family. Some have so many layers of anger and rage that negative behavior is exhibited constantly. Others may decide to be a complacent and pleasing personality because they want to make sure that these new parents are not disappointed or else abandonment will follow. Another choice is not to get close to anyone because this relationship probably won't last and getting close will be painful when it ends. Several adult adoptee's I've spoken to have confirmed this behavior. The more neglect, abuse and abandonment a child suffers, the more deep-seated will be this distrust for adults or anyone in authority.

It is common for adoption issues to remain hidden until adolescence. Sometimes a child seems well adjusted and happy during the early years and then everything comes out during the teen years. It is also very common for the child to stay in denial and hide deep feelings from everyone, even themselves, and in their teen years - which is an identity search time - these feelings rise to the surface. Usually, the child knows inside that something is not right but the complexity of their feelings give them fear and they hesitate talking about these fears since they believe they can trust no one.

You DO NOT have to be adopted to have RAD. Any child who suffered a separation from their original caregiver for a period of time could have symptoms. Separation from the mother due to illness or divorce can trigger separation anxiety, and divorce can also trigger guilt if the child feels part of the cause of the divorce.

Read the entire article: Click here. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Teen Help for Troubled Teens

As second semester continues, more and more parents are struggling with their teens to get them to attend school.  It never ceases to amaze me that so many teenagers in high school "assume" they can just drop out and get a GED.  Generations prior, this was frowned upon and the only teens that did there were juvenile delinquents.  This has changed.

Do you find yourself forcing your teen to go to school?  Are they failing when they have the potential to succeed?  Has your honor roll student barely getting C's?  Classic signs of underachieving can have an underlying issue to something bigger.

Has their peer group changed?  Are they experimenting with drugs?  Is it "only" a joint now and then? (Seriously some parents think this way).  What they aren't realizing is the pot they smoked 20-30 years ago is not the pot these kids are getting today.

You have come to the realization that you need outside help.  Local therapy has been exhausted, if it did anything, you haven't noticed.  Out-patient programs usually have kids far worse than what your teen is - which means they can learn better tricks.

It is time to do your homework as a parent and find the best match for your teenager - which includes an education.

Many know I am not an advocate of Wilderness programs - and I still am not.  One of the reasons is there is usually zero academics - it is about breaking your child down, which usually they are broken before they get there.  Many teens just fake it to make it for 6-9 weeks - and parents are charges exuberant fees.

Then there are the Educational Consultants (EC) - which parents have an extra $3000-5000 they will hire.  Before you hire them - I can tell you about the EC shuffle.   There are very few, if any, that won't have you start with Wilderness.  In my opinion it is a band-aid parents "like to hear"since most all don't believe their teen's are "that bad" and the years of negative behavior will be washed away in 6-8 weeks.

Wake up - if you talk to the majority of parents that went to Wilderness, most will tell you by the 4th week the counselors are already telling you to prepare for the next step.... Residential Treatment Centers or Therapeutic Boarding Schools.

My question is - why not start and finish at the same place?  Consistency is one thing these troubled teens need.  Visit for more valuable parent tips.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Digital Journal Goes Inside Google Bomb Book

Order today!
Google is the world’s top search engine used by millions each day. Anyone can be defamed easily, all searchable through Google. Author Sue Scheff talks about the Google Bomb and its impact on our life.

The Internet as a technology for information and quick, inexpensive communication may be fascinating for millions around the globe, but if put to malicious use against someone, it can be a paralyzing weapon.

That is what happened in the case of Sue Scheff, author of Google Bomb (HCI Books, 2009). In her book, co-authored with lawyer John W. Dozier, Sue tells the story of her victimization through serial defamatory attacks on the web that destroyed her professional career and trampled her personal reputation as well as her social life. Just by Googling her name, or that of her organization, countless people could mark her and her organization as evil entities, all because of false, malicious, and unchecked accusations (and even effusive abuse) made against her by someone who failed to use her for her own vested interests.

In today’s world, Google has become the measure of one’s reputation – hence the term “Google Bomb”. Standing up against the coercion, however, Sue finally won the historical $11.3 million defamation suit against the culprit responsible for her loss. It was very informative talking to Sue for an interview to run in the journal Recovering the Self (Vol. 3, No 1). Following is a slightly abridged version of Sue’s interview.

Read the entire interview here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teen Help Programs - The Confusing Internet

Who do you believe online?
You have resolved yourself to the fact that you can no longer control your teen's behavior as they are spiraling out-of-control.  Where did that cute little child go?

Actually, they are still there, but deeply buried under the layers of peer pressure, society, technology, divorces, and life in general.  Life is not perfect, however with teens (although they believe they are nearly adults) they are not mature enough to understand that divorce isn't their fault, a parent losing a job isn't their fault, a death is not their fault, being bullied isn't their fault - and before you know it, they have baggage that would outweigh even adults.

Now you get online - where can I find help!  I am at my wit's end!!!!

You start to see all these websites, clearing houses, marketing arms, toll free numbers etc... Then just when you think you found a program that can help, you find some very harsh website of disgruntled parents and other kids that attended that program. 

Don't panic.  Look at the sources -is it a reliable source?  Is it a legal case?  Or simply people that have too much time on their hands, have a vengeance after a school  or program and can't move on with life.  Unless you see some legal cases to substantiate these claims - chances are very good that their sole motive is to prevent others from getting help and slam programs. 

It is a fact - just about every school or program in our country (and probably others) have the "good, bad and ugly" about them. You are not in business for years and won't have clients that are not happy with your services.  This is why it is so critical parents do their research.

As a victim of this myself, I have won two jury trials - I have proved that my issues as being a disgruntled parent were justified in a court of law -and that these malicious websites are nothing but a way to deter parents from believing my story or getting my help.  I always tell parents, I am either famous or infamous - depending on the website you find - but in  reality - I have taken it to the justice system and proved that I was being stalked, harassed and worse because the program my daughter was abused at simply wants me gone.

Want to know more - visit and read Wit's End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out of Control Teen.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Specialty Schools and Teen Help Programs - The Research

How is your teen doing in school?
Are you at your wit's end with your teen?  School is back in session and your teen is either not attending classes or decided he doesn't need school anymore - let's just get a GED.  Seriously - that is the way some  teens are thinking now. 

Generations prior, GED's were frowned upon, and usually meant you had a child that was a juvenile delinquent.

Today we have many resources for parents to get their teens back on a positive road, but it takes time, determination and research to find that right program.

They will come under many names such as, Wilderness Programs, Therapeutic Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment Centers, Behavior Modification, Emotional Growth, etc.....  It is important to realize what you are looking at and what you need for your individual teen.

In my prior Blog posts below, I have given you many tips - here are some more:
  • Boot Camps - In my opinion, stay clear of anything punitive.  This is not beneficial to building your child back up to making better choices.  In many cases the teens come out with more anger and resentment than they went in with.   Look for programs with positive stimulation and enrichment programs.
  • Are you dialing toll free numbers that go to marketing arms?  Stay clear.  These are people that are more in tune with programs rather than your teen's emotional needs.  They are paid commission by selling a certain group of programs.  You need to be sure you are speaking with a program directly - the owner is the best one, since that person will be responsible for your child's success - and their reputation is vest on it.
  • Are you on the East Coast and they are telling you that Utah or the West Coast is your only answer?  Not true, there are many good programs are the East Coast.  Of course choosing your program isn't solely based on geographic, however it does make it easier to visit your child - and let your teen know you are involved.  Especially for working parents - traveling to the West Coast from the East is at least a full days trip on both ends - leaving a limited time to visit your child.
More to come.... Visit for more information.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Teen Help Programs - The Research

Coming to the conclusion you are in need of residential treatment for your teen is not an easy admission for any parent.  It is a point of realization that you can no longer help them and by denying them the opportunity of an intervention, you may be enabling them into a dark future.

As my previous Blog post stated, finding the right placement for your teen is a tedious and time consuming job, however extremely necessary.  This is a major financial and emotional step and as a parent, you need to take the reins and be part of this process.

Some thoughts and tips (from my own experiences) are the following:
  • Beware of all these toll free numbers that go to places unknown - are marketing arms for a variety of programs and usually don't have your child's best interest, rather they are suggesting programs or schools that will "pay" for the referral.
  • With this thought- always speak with the owner or the director.  Someone that has a vested interest in your child's recovery since it will reflect on their reputation.  It is always beneficial, if you are working with a local therapist, to have them speak with the program you are considering to find out if it is a good fit.  Remember, if your therapist has recommended residential - this is a step you should take, but sadly there are some therapists that don't recommend residential therapy since it usually means they are losing a client.
  • Are you determined to find a "religious" based program or school?  Convinced that the bible will guide your teen back to you?  Maybe - but remember, "religious based" programs rarely have to meet the same regulations that normal schools and programs do.  A perfect example is where my daughter attended (that abused her and harmed her, while defrauding me): It was called Carolina Springs Academy.  The changed their name to Magnolia Christian School.  Why?  They no longer have to report to DSS.  Read a recent news article.
  • Are you finding all these horror stories online about these types of programs? Remember, you need to take it from the source.  Many of them are disgruntled teens that didn't want to go to a program and obviously attending didn't help them, however the majority is quite different.  To sooth your mind, remember the Internet is full of fact and fiction, sometimes it is different to decipher.  However looking into public records for legitimate lawsuits filed against programs can give you the real answers.  My name is either famous or infamous - but when you look at my past, my court records prove that my stories are accurate and I actually won an $11.3M jury verdict for the slime that was written about me online.  As the jury spoke loudly in the case with WWASPS - I defeated them to keep my story online - - since it was told truthfully as I and many others experienced.
For more information on residential therapy and hints visit

I will have more tips to come..... If you are looking for help ASAP - feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Teen Help Programs and Schools Information

It's not "just pot anymore
The first semester of school is over, now we are on to the final few months - and your teen is debating whether they "want" to finish school?  Excuse me - you mean teens have options?

Believe it or not, yes they do!  In Florida, at the age of 16 your teen can sign themselves out of school - of course they need your consent, however if you don't, truancy charges will linger.

Now what?  Virtual school? Homeschooling? GED?  Who would have thought - generations prior graduating high school was  never an option.  Today is a new world.

Who is in control?
Let's compound this and you suspect or know your teen is using drugs, drinking and seriously mom, it's no big deal?!  Really?

Now they develop an attitude of defiance, start sneaking out, completely disrespectful to your home and your boundaries.....

You find this is getting out-of-control and you realize that you have a limited time to get them help since at the age of 18 you no longer have control.

After exhausting all your local resources, therapy, outpatient programs, support groups - and some even send their teen to a relatives to live, you soon realize you need to take that big step - residential therapy.

You jump online after the sticker shock you find all these disturbing websites about all these so-called teen help programs, you find former students, disgruntled parents (which I was one at one time), as well as enough negative information you stop in your tracks.

I get it - I have been there -I fell for the fraud online - I won a major jury trial proving our experiences were true - even with our horrific experiences,  I still believe parents need  options.

Some of the wealthier ones will  hire an Educational Consultant, believing they are safe with these professionals.  Well, chances are good - you are safe, but are you being spun in the EC Shuffle?  Yes, that is a name some of us call it - they seem to have a cookie-cutter program design - Most clients start in Wilderness (and I can name the top 3 most EC's give out) then they go on to a longer term program.

Hmmm.... why not start and finish at the same place?  Why not find a solid 6-9-12 month program that offers consistency?

Most EC's or programs associated with Wilderness Programs will tell you that the time in the wilderness will break your child down?  Really, I am sure it will - but isn't our teen already broken if we are seeking this help?  Isn't  it time to start working towards building them back up by working through their issues?

Great advice, read today
My best advice to parents is to know this decision to find residential therapy is one of the most difficult many parents need to make.  You should take it lightly or make the decision when you are in crisis.  If you see the road getting bumpy - do your  homework early - so when that urgency hits, you are ready.

Also know this is not about "shipping off" your teen - it is about giving them a second opportunity at a bright future - after all, if you let things continue to escalate - what will be the ending?

My next post will have some hints to finding safe and quality programs.  My experiences and sound opinions - they may be criticized by some - but at the end of the day, I am a parent that has been right where you are, at your wit's end.

For more information visit and checkout the hints and tips there!

Need to learn more about transport services (yes, another step you will hear about) - click here.

More to come....

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Teen Social Networking: Oversharing Can Effect their Future

Is your teenager sharing too much of their information online?

In a recent survey on, 94 percent of readers polled said that teenagers should be more concerned about privacy on the Internet.

Social networking sites, such as Facebook, has become a go-to site for college recruiters as well as employers.  Does your teen know the consequences of posting their party pictures, or language they should only be using privately (if using at all)?

Do you recall a recent Examiner article, Employers now asking for your Facebook link when applying for a job?

Although it can be nearly impossible to control or monitor everything our teens do, it is imperative you stress the importance of the lasting effects that an innocent photo or a questionable action that is posted on your Facebook page can result in - years from now.

Many kids are not able to grasp that two to five years from now is really not a long time.  Like many kids, it seems like forever - so why not post these cool things they are doing.  The problem is, what they consider cool, some may consider crude.

What may seem humorous to you and your friends, could be offensive to others.  Privacy is a gift, and how much you want to give is up to you.  However give with caution!

Order today!
Don't learn the lesson the hard way, "Google Bomb! The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet," a story everyone needs to read.  This case took place in Broward County.

Ironically when our children were young, most taught and encouraged our children to share.  Now we have to redefine sharing and give it boundaries.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Watch the video .

Read more.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Troubled Teens - Teen Help - Parenting at your Wit's End!

It isn't "just pot" anymore.
When it comes to parenting your teenagers it is never too late or too often to talk about the dangers of drug use.

Many parents will ignore the warning signs or make excuses for them, but when reality hits home that your teen is using drugs, it is critical you get involved.  Communication is always key to prevention, however there are times when your teen is no longer listening.  It doesn’t mean you stop talking.

Intervention starts at home. If you suspect drug use, talk to your teen.  If they admit to using drugs, and are determined not to quit or even tell you they can quit if they want, take it to the next level.  Seek out local adolescent therapy or counseling.  In some cases this will be a brickwall but in other situations it can be the beginning of understanding why your teen is turning to substance abuse.

If your teen escalates to a level that is uncontrollable, or simply defiant to all your rules and boundaries – and most importantly, putting your family or themselves at risk - it may be time to think about residential therapy.  Remember, safety matters, and we are talking about the safety and health of your family.

What happens if you suspect that your teen is already using alcohol and drugs? What do you say to them? 

The conversation is the same: parents need to tell their kids that drug and alcohol use by teens is not allowed in your family. The issue won’t go away until you do something. You will simply have to acknowledge that your teen has a problem — your teen is using drugs and that won’t get any better until you take action on your teen’s behalf. It is OK to ask for help. In fact, getting help may make it easier for you to have the conversation.

Practice the conversation ahead of time. You may have to have a couple of “practice runs.” These conversations are not easy but they are worthwhile. Talking it over with your spouse/partner beforehand will help you keep a level head and speak to the issue. (Review some key talking points and practice these sample conversations beforehand.) – Source: Parents: The Anti-Drug

Order today!
Are you considering residential therapy, contact Parents’ Universal Resource Experts for more infomation on this major decision.  It is about the safety of your family and your teenager.  Order Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Parent Stress - Teen Stress - STRESS

Opening the year with my favorite Parenting Expert and good friend, Dr. Michele Borba.  2010 left us on Friday night and if we could leave our stress behind that easily too, life would be so much easier!  Michele Borba posted a fantastic article on STRESS! According to a recent study:  Kids pick up parent’s stress more than we know! Parenting advice to help you keep a lid on your stress–and your family’s–in time for the holidays.

Kids Pick Up Parent Stress

Sure parenting is wonderful. But let’s face it, parenting can be also stressful. You may think that you’re shielding your children from your worries, but a new report released by the American Psychological Association shows we’re not doing such a good job of trying to cover up stress. The report found that 91 percent of 1,136 young people ages 8-17 surveyed cite ways they know parents are stressed, largely by their behavior.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive online in August,reveals that our kids are watching and what they are see and hear in our behavior isn’t all for their best:
34 percent of kids say parents yell
30 percent say parents argue with other people in the household
18 percent say parents are too busy or “don’t have time for me”

How Our Stress Makes Our Kids Feel

But here is the real clincher. The survey revealed how our kids feel when their parent is stressed:
  • Sad (39%)
  • Worried (39%)
  • Frustrated (31%)
  • Annoyed (24%)
  • Helpless (21%)
  • It does not bother me (14%)
  • Angry (13%)
  • Scared (13%)
  • Alone (8%)
  • Other (2%)
Source: American Psychological Association by Frank Pompa, USA TODAY

Our stress is impacting our kids. Two additional reports about that stress buildup are troubling. If you need a little bit more motivation that it’s time to change, read on. Here are just two (of many) that show “happy days” on the home front may be taking a backslide.
Drinking and taking drugs–marijuana and cold and cough syrup–is up amongst teen girls. The top reason girls say they are getting high? (Not good). It’s to reduce stress at home.
An APA report showed teen stress increasing to epidemic levels and call it a “medical health hazard.” Teens say the top reason for the stress: Pressures from home.
The recession, job uncertainty, house foreclosures are just three reasons stress is rising. But the holiday season doesn’t help reduce those heightened levels. More lists. More to do. More cooking.  More pressure. More concern about getting “everything just right.” More worries about money. These next few weeks are also the perfect time to find healthy ways to stop that tension from building in our homes and put a lid on our stress.

7 Tips to Help Put a Lid on Your Stress

Here are seven secrets that help you remain calmer, and keep your household more peaceful. The trick is discovering which one (there’s a hint – just do one) best for you, and then practice it until it becomes a habit. Doing it as a family will help everyone learn how to put a lid on a hot temper. Remember: stress comes before anger. The trick is to reduce that stress so it doesn’t escalate.

Secret 1: Give Yourself a Time-Out. Stress comes right before anger and we usually have only seconds to stop that pressure buildup. So tune into your stress signals (a pounding heart, your clenched fists, the grinding teeth, your raised voice), and then act. “Mommy needs a time-out.” Then turn and walk, sip water slowly, or take deep breaths. Do whatever it takes to get back in control even if you need to lock yourself in your bathroom a few minutes. Then teach your kids to do the same.

A big secret on this one: Create a nonverbal signal (like an umpire uses that signals “Time Out”) and use the hand gesture to show you — or another member — needs a time out. When we’re in stress mode our voice tone goes up a notch (or two) and we’re more likely to do that thing kids hate: y-e-l-l. So try a hand signal. It can be a goldmine with a teen.

Secret 2: Use “Calm Talk.” Lean to say a simple message to yourself to control your temper. “Stop and calm down.” “Stay in control.” Or: “I can handle this.” Choose a phrase, and then rehearse it a few times each day until you can use it. One mom wrote her calm down phrase on a card and stuck it in her diaper bag. (Her baby was a real “mover and shaker” and changing him was a “challenge”). As soon as she opened the bag, she’d see her card. It reminded her to calm down, and so she did.

Secret 3: Take Five (or a 100). My girlfriend reduces her motherhood stress by listening to a soothing CD of rain sounds. Whenever she feels her “Wicked Witch of the North” mode coming on, Sharon quickly retreats to her bedroom, closes the door, turns on the tape, plops on her bed, and zones out—that is, for five minutes. She says those few minutes help her regain control so she feels calmer. Another friend has her mother phone her preschooler at four o’clock each afternoon and keep her daughter occupied, so she can “Take Five” (or ten, twenty? Or whatever it takes!)

Secret 4: Teach: “Stop and Breathe.” The very second you feel you’re losing control, take a deep, slow breath (or two or three). Getting oxygen into your brain is one of the fastest ways to relax. I used this strategy with my kids, they’d remind me when my patience-level was on a nose-dive. “Mom, ‘Stop and breathe’, they’d chime. (Such sweet little helpers. Now if they could only recognize their own stress signs).

Secret 5: Imagine Something Calming. Think of a person or place that helps you feel calm and peaceful—your Honey, that special romantic spot, the beach, your bed. The second you feel your stress building, close your eyes and think of the person or your calm place while breathing slowly. My girlfriend loads her ipod with soothing music and plugs it in when the going gets tough. Find what works!

Secret 6: Do Elevator Breathing. Close your eyes, slowly breath out three times, then imagine you’re in an elevator on the top of a very tall building. Press the button for the first floor and watch the buttons for each level slowly light up as the elevator goes down. As the elevator descends, your stress fades away. Just remember to do it the minute you feel that stress start to mount.

Secret 7: Try Stress Melting. Find the spot in your body where you feel the most tension; perhaps your neck, shoulder muscles, or jaw. Gently close your eyes, concentrate on the spot, tense it up for three or four seconds, and then let it go. While doing so, imagine the stress slowly melting away. Or let those yoga deep breathing exercises you may have practiced kick in.

Anger management isn’t just for moms and dads. Why not get your whole family involved in learning one of these secrets to help them cope with stress and quick tempers? Just choose one strategy, announce your intentions, and show everyone how it works. If you practice it as a family you’ll have not only a calmer you, but a more peaceful household. (Sigh! — and it’s back to Happy Days!) Stress is mounting–for parents and kids. Let’s get serious and find ways to reduce it.

All the best!

Dr. Michele Borba, Parenting Expert

Order her book today - Big Book of Parenting Solutions.  It is the one and only book you will need for many years to come!  I often refer to it as the Big Book of Parenting Recipes!  Michele Borba is our Julia Child  – Number one when it comes to parenting as Julia Child was to cooking!