Monday, December 30, 2013

Diamond Ranch Academy Residential Treatment Center

The stress parenting combined with Internet confusion.
As a parent advocate I am always receiving emails and phone calls on a variety of schools and programs from parents and students that have first hand experiences.

My personal experiences are with Carolina Springs Academy that is now closed -- I have heard it is reopened as Seneca Ranch. WWASPS (Worldwide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools) is the umbrella  organization that runs these programs.They also have others in the United States - at last glance there was Red River Academy, LA, Cross Creek, UT, River View, UT, Midwest Academy, IA, and you never know when more will pop-up in different names.

Diamond Ranch Academy, sadly, though I don't have first hand experiences, I am receiving more negative feedback about them.  I wrote about them in June 2012 - and since then it is not getting much better.

After speaking with several parents, that are looking for placement for their struggling teenagers, they encountered the website of Diamond Ranch Academy and were quickly advised their teens were accepted into DRA.

Knowing a bit about these teens, they are all very different, some I would say okay - good fit from the description of the program - others I would definitely question the admissions (not that I am a professional - but I have been working in this industry for over a decade and I do know what I am talking about by now).

I asked one parent who her "sales person" was - and was SHOCKED to find out it was a person that actually used to sell WWASPS programs!  I don't want to use identifying names here - but trust me - I know WWASPS sales people very well - I had a jury trial in Utah and defeated them.

Now I am extremely concerned for any parents considering DRA.  Years earlier they were always considered reputable - why they have stooped to a level of this is beyond me.  I also had a parent share with me there was a second death in September of 2013 that has been kept silent.  I don't know about - but if you are considering this program - you may want to ask and find out about it.


For me, I know there are many excellent programs in our country.  I am not of the mindset that all programs are bad.  This type of information only solidifies that parents need to take their time and do their due diligence before selecting a program.

This is one of the reasons I created Parents Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.) - with helpful hints to guide parents through the big business of teen help.

I don't own, operate or manage any schools or programs - I help educate parents on researching schools and programs.  I also have no connection with Diamond Ranch Academy - - however it seems they are marketing very similar to WWASPS - and that alone scares me.  However that is only my opinion.

I just caution all parents to do your homework - take your time - this is a major financial and emotional decision.  I firmly believe you can't ignore getting your teen help, but take trust your gut.

The moral of this Blog is - if you are considering Diamond Ranch Academy or any program - just be sure you are doing your homework.  Don't ignore getting your teen the help they need, just be sure you are getting them safe and quality help.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Blues and Teenagers: Risks of Teen Suicide

Holiday blues isn't only about adults, teens can struggling with depression too.

Teen suicide is a very real concern.

Sometimes parents will believe that their behavior is typical teen "stuff", but in reality it their child is deeply hurting.

I fully understand that many parents hesitate wanting to consider residential therapy over the holidays, however you have to think about your child's future.  Once Christmas, one New Year's Eve, one  Easter compared to the rest of their life is worth getting your teen's emotional health back.

Some warning signs:
  • Withdrawn, secretive
  • Change of appetitie
  • Change of friends, or no friends 
  • Sadness
  • Poor performance in school: grades are dropping
  • Rage, defiance, disrespectfulness
  • Frequent headaches, stomach aches
  • Check their arms, legs, stomach for scarring (cutting)
  • Check their social media sites for writing about death and other dark comments
Learn more from http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

If you are considering a residential treatment center, please contact Parents Universal Resource Experts.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Teens and Internet Predators

Would you know if your teen or child was being groomed by an online predator?

Did you know:
How can you help protect your kids from online threats?
  •  Communication is key.  Talk to your kids about sexual predators and potential online dangers.
  • Use family safety settings that are built into Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.
  • Follow age limits on social networking websites. Most social networking sites require that users be age 13 and over. If your children are under the recommended age for these sites, do not let them use them.
  • Young children should not use chat rooms—the dangers are too great. As children get older, direct them towards well-monitored kids' chat rooms. Encourage even your teens to use monitored chat rooms.
  • If your children take part in chat rooms, make sure you know which ones they visit and with whom they talk. Monitor the chat areas yourself to see what kind of conversations take place.
  • Instruct your children to never leave the chat room's public area. Many chat rooms offer private areas where users can have one-on-one chats with other users-chat monitors can't read these conversations. These are often referred to as "whisper" areas.
  • Keep the Internet-connected computer in a common area of the house, never in a child's bedroom. It is much more difficult for a predator to establish a relationship with your child if the computer screen is easily visible. Even when the computer is in a public area of your home, sit with your child when they are online.
  • When your children are young, they should share the family email address rather than have their own email accounts. As they get older, you can ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to set up a separate email address, but your children's mail can still reside in your account.
  • Tell your children to never respond to instant messaging or emails from strangers. If your children use computers in places outside your supervision-public library, school, or friends' homes-find out what computer safeguards are used.
  • If all precautions fail and your kids do meet an online predator, don't blame them. The offender always bears full responsibility. Take decisive action to stop your child from any further contact with this person.

How can your kids reduce the risk of being victimized?

There are a number of precautions that kids can take, including:
  • Never downloading images from an unknown source-they could be sexually explicit.
  • Using email filters.
  • Telling an adult immediately if anything that happens online makes them feel uncomfortable or frightened.
  • Choosing a gender-neutral screen name that doesn't contain sexually suggestive words or reveal personal information.
  • Never revealing personal information about themselves (including age and gender) or information about their family to anyone online and not filling out online personal profiles. For more specific rules, see How to help your kids use social websites more safely.
  • Stopping any email communication, instant messaging conversations, or chats if anyone starts to ask questions that are too personal or sexually suggestive.
  • Posting the family online agreement near the computer to remind them to protect their privacy on the Internet.

    Source:  Microsoft

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Seneca Ranch Second Chance Youth Ranch

Be careful where you click into!
I was made aware that the program that used to be Carolina Springs Academy, where my daughter was harmed, was just re-opened as Seneca Ranch in Due West, SC.

As a parent advocate, I encourage parents to do their due diligence when researching programs for their teenager. The Internet is full of wonderful websites and toll-free numbers that will sell you many things.

When it comes to your child, learn to separate the Internet fact from the Internet fiction.  There will always be those forums of slander - former institutionalized kids that believed they were wronged by the system - and many still don't have relationships with their family.

Though I feel for them, I also understand that there are many good programs in our country - as well as a handful of not so good ones.  You will never please everyone, however when you have the same repetitive stories over and over - from different kids at different times from different parts of the country, you seem to start believing something isn't right.  In collaboration with a string of lawsuits filed against them - there is enough smoke that many would thing a fire is about to start.  That is only my opinion.

Learn from my experiences - gain from my knowledge.

Holidays can be a stressful time - don't allow sales people to pressure you into making rash decisions.

It is important to make a decision, but make the best decision for your family.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Teens, Drugs and Online Pharmacies



There was a day you gave birth to a child that you believed was your heart and soul and you would protect that child from all the bad things in this world.  From infancy to toddler to elementary school and hanging that beautiful finger painting artwork up on your refrigerator door, the joy and pride of parenthood kept growing.

Then we start the tweenage era.  That middle-school itch.  The peer pressure, the "where do I belong" and "who will be my friend" in the lunchroom. 

Today life growing up from a child to a tween to a teen is escalated by technology of the digital access that kids have today.  It is like they are growing up in the Jetson generation only hundred times faster.  It is advised that parents should have the "tech talk" with their kids even before the "sex talk."  That is a strong indicator of the importance of how cyber-life has taken over our lives--both young and old.

Drug dealers have figured this out too.  Your teenager can purchase drugs illegally from online pharmacies, unfortunately, rather easily.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people in America die from an overdose of prescription drugs than from heroin and cocaine combined.  This is why organizations like StopMedicineAbuse.org are so important in helping educate parents to the issue of a teen's access to narcotics and other drugs both in your home and online.  

Digital Citizens Alliance released a new study that 31% of students take prescription drugs to get through finals.   That is 1 in 3 students that obtain these drugs without prescription from a doctor.  15% of students have or have a friend that have ordered these drugs online and 71% of these students parents believe it is common for students to share prescription drugs.

Prescription drug use and over the counter medicine use is an issue that we need to take very seriously and it starts from the moment your child is old enough to have their own keypad; whether it comes in the form of a cell phone with a data plan or a computer or tablet.  They are now potentially open targets to online drug dealers in combination with peer pressure.

Most parents know that communication is key to prevention.  Keeping an open dialog with your child is crucial in helping them with peer pressure and making choices that can affect their future.

Let's look at some tips that parents may not be as familiar with:

 Do you know what your teen is saying?  Listen or watch on texts or emails for code words for certain drug lingo. Skittling, Tussing, Skittles, Robo-tripping, Red Devils, Velvet, Triple C, C-C-C-, Robotard are some of the names kids use for cough and cold medication abuse.  Weed, Pot, Ganja, Mary Jane, Grass, Chronic, Buds, Blunt, Hootch, Jive stick, Ace, Spliff, Skunk, Smoke, Dubie, Flower, Zig Zag are all slang for marijuana. Go online for the Teen Drug Slang Dictionary.
 Monitor, monitor, monitor.  Especially if you suspect your teen is using substances, it is imperative you closely monitor their digital activities.  Their computer history, cell phone calls and text messages (and remember, you are paying the bills, you can have the phone as well as their passwords), as well as who they are hanging out with both online and off.
 Leftovers.  Are there empty medicine wrappers or bottles, burn marks on their clothes or rug, ashes, stench, etc in their room or if they own a car, in their car? Teens either take several pills or smash them so all of it is released at once.  Be sure to check all pockets, garbage cans, cars, closets, under beds, etc. for empty wrappers and other evidence of drug use.  Where are your prescription drugs?  Have you counted them lately?
Online pharmacies and YouTube. Online pharmacies are a huge concern for parents of teenagers. RYAN's Cause is a tragic example of how easy it is to obtain illegal drugs online and the deadly consequences.  Did you know that Google was under criminal investigation for aiding and abetting the sale of illegal drugs and eventually paid half a billion dollars to settle the case ? 

Now state Attorneys General are looking into Google's role in continuing to make money from this illegal and dangerous online commerce.   Attorney General Hood said that the violators were easy to find, "On every check we have made, Google's search engine gave us easy access to illegal goods, including websites which offer dangerous drugs without a prescription, counterfeit goods of every description," he said.  Teens are savvy, and so are the drug dealers.  Leave a door open, and they will find a way in. 

Although Google claims to have rectified this issue, Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) alleges that Google is still allowing access to the illegal pharmacies that peddle these drugs through YouTube, which is owned by Google. They say that Google continues to make money from this activity by selling ads to legitimate brands that show up on YouTube.  

Though Google may say that its policies prohibit illegal videos that help teens or others gain access to illegal drugs without prescriptions, the truth is that Google has very little incentive to take down this content that drives traffic to YouTube, especially YouTube mobile.  Bloomberg reported that YouTube revenue tripled in the past six months due to increase mobile advertising sales.   We all know how teens love their cell phones and how much time they spend on YouTube.   

In fact, a recent study said that 93% of teens check YouTube each week.  With a that high of a percentage of teens on YouTube the risk of your teen stumbling on an online pharmacy ad is probably high.  Learn more about this.  It is worth your time.

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Teen Drug Abuse: Out of Reach, Medicine Abuse Through the Eyes of a Teen

"Out of Reach" is a special documentary created by a teen filmmaker who captures the issue of teen prescription drug abuse as it exists in his world. The issues contained in the film are a reflection of this issue across the country. It was created in collaboration with director Tucker Capps (of A&E's "Intervention") and The Partnership at Drugfree.org's Medicine Abuse Project.

With the holiday's around the corner, it is imperative that parents not only know what is in their medicine cabinets, but also be aware of what their parents (grandparents) have in their homes.  As you visit relatives and friends this holiday season, it can also be an opportunity for your teen/tween to scout out a variety of bathrooms and medicine cabinets.

Be an educated parent - you will have safer and healthier kids.

Learn more from The Medicine Abuse Project.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Teen Help: Age of Consent ~ Can Your Teen Sign Themselves Out of Residential Treatment Programs?

No matter what time of the year it is, dealing with a teenager that is pushing the limits and creating friction in your home can be a stressful time.

Compound that with the holidays approaching and knowing there will be time off from school, can be a bit overwhelming.  Will they get into more trouble or will they be busy with constructive projects?  Maybe get a part-time job?

In most cases, my colleague and I hear from parents that are at their wit's end and realize that if they don't intervene the consequences could be serious.

Holiday time is not always the most opportune time of year, however troubled teenagers don't know when to take vacations.

When parents call us for help in searching for residential therapy, many want to try to keep them as close to home as possible.

There are some concerns we express when we speak with the parent about selecting a program as it pertains to the location:
  • Convenience is nice, however the priority is what is best for your child's needs
  • If cost is a factor, sometimes programs are less expensive in other states
  • Staying in a familiar state can sometimes increase the flight risk of your teenager.  He/she knows the state and they have less of a fear of running away and being able to call on a friend to pick them up.
  • Age of consent:  Knowing if you are in a state that your child can legally sign themselves out of a program.
The last issue is very important.

Many attorney's are not even familiar with this.  Parents and most others "assume" that age of consent and age of majority - means at 18 years old you are considered an adult and can make your own legal choices.  It is a fact, at 18 years old you are considered an adult (although many teens may not be acting like one), however for educational purposes, at younger ages - they can are of age to sign themselves out of schools and programs.

HOWEVER - this is not so when it comes to many states in our country with the exception of a few.

Since I am in the state of Florida, I will speak for Florida.  Our age of consent/age of majority is 16.  Any teen can sign themselves out of a school or program at 16 years-old.  If their parent doesn't agree - they will be held with truancy.

In the Carolina's the age of majority is 17 years-old.  If you place your child in a program in NC, and he/she runs away from it.  If they are picked up by law enforcement, they will ask your child how old they are.  If they are 17 years-old or more, they will be advised that they can either have a bus ticket home or go back to the program.  What would your child choose?

You see many programs in the state of Utah.  Why?  Because they have an age of majority of 18.  There are several others states with the same age of consent.

For more information please call us or visit us at www.helpyourteens.com.  We can help you make an educated decision.  Selecting a program/school for your teen is a major financial and emotional decision --- yet sometimes I see parents that spend more time researching an automobile - than they do these programs.

We can help you help your teenager. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Teen Help During the Holidays: Residential Treatment Centers

Making the right choice is not always easy.
A question my colleague and I are frequently asked during this time of the year is, "The holidays are here, should we send our teen into a residential program now or wait until after the holidays are over?"

Parents' Universal Resources Experts has been helping families for over a decade, actually over 12 years now, and the answer hasn't changed.

If you wait for the holidays to be over, you may be risking your teen getting  into further trouble as well as causing more stress and friction during your family holiday season.

As school is out teenagers, if they don't have constructive plans, will sometimes get involved with hanging out in places they shouldn't be with people they shouldn't be with.  Today we are facing a time when many parents are working full-time and it is difficult to monitor our kids 24/7 and nearly impossible to tell them who to pick as their peer group.

We explain to parents, as difficult as it will be missing your child at the holidays, it will only be one Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah --- compared to the rest of your life you will have with a healthy child.  You need to weigh your options.

Giving your teen the gift of a second opportunity of a bright future is the best holiday gift a parent can give - as well as a responsible parent.  Keeping them home is only prolonging the inevitable - it really isn't for them -- it is for you.  And that isn't helping your child.

Think about what is in the best interest of your teen.  The gift of healing and recovery.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Teen Runaway: What Parents Need to Know



I remember those dreadful years raising a defiant teen - and the threat of running away.  When they finally do it, it can be a parent's nightmare.  

If you are currently dealing with a runaway, act immediately. Do not waste any time in utilizing every resource you can to find your child.

The list below details a plan of action and tips for finding help.

Tips For Finding a Runaway
  • Keep an updated phone list with the home and cell numbers of your teen’s friends. Using the phone list, call every one of your teen’s friends. Talk immediately with their parents, not their friends, as teenagers will often stick together and lie for each other. The parent will tell you anything they know, including the last time contact was made between their child and yours. They will also know to keep closer tabs on their own child.
  • Keep an updated photo of your child on hands at all times. With this photo, create one-page flyers including all information about your teen and where they were last seen. Post these flyers everywhere your teen hangs out, as well as anywhere else teenagers in general hang out. Post anywhere they will allow you to.
  • Immediately contact your local police. It is advised that you actually visit the office with a copy of the flyer as well as a good number of color photos of your teen. Speak clearly and act rationally, but make sure that they understand how serious the situation is.
  • Contact the local paper in order to run a missing ad. Also, contact any other printed media available in your area; many will be very willing to help.
  • Contact your local television stations, as well as those in nearby counties. Most stations will be more than happy to run an alert either in the newscast or through the scrolling alert at the bottom of the screen.
  • Contact Runaway Hotline: 1-800-RUNAWAY 1-800-786-2929
Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your “Wits End”. Remain positive and be creative: try to understand why your teen is acting this way, what they are running from and where they might be running. These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents. Visit www.helpyourteens.com.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Transporting Your Teen to a Therapeutic Boarding School

Help your teen arrive safely to get the help they need.
It is a common question, "how will I get my teen to the program, he is refusing to do anything?"

We help parents with struggling teens that are looking to give them a second opportunity at a bright future -- many times this includes a residential treatment center or therapeutic boarding school.

Rarely does their teen want to attend these programs.  By the time the parent calls us, their teenager is usually at the point of defiance, maybe experimenting with drugs, alcohol, sneaking out, failing in school, and possibly worse.

Getting help in not in the teenager's immediate plan - they would prefer to "hang" with their new less than desirable peer group.

With this many parents have had to hire transport services.

Don't panic, like with everything on the Internet - you can find the good and the bad online.

I encourage parents to do their due diligence when it comes to selecting your transport just as you did when you selected your program.

How do you know if they are good services?

Be sure they are licensed and insured to transport teens.  Be sure you can talk to recent parents that have used them, as well as previous students that have been transported by them.  You don't want to use any services that use tactics such as hand-cuffs and duct-tape.

Why am I saying that?  Because you will read online some stories about that and you want to be sure you don't get one of those services.

What are the fees?  

I can't quote that - but it will be usually around $2500 and up.  You are covering transportation (flights and/or gas for driving) for at least 2-3 adults.

Will your child hate you?

Seriously -- short of the kids I spoke with that were transported to the WWASPS programs by the less than ethical people (IMO), I have yet to speak to one student that has had a bad experience.  On the contrary, I have talked to students that have befriended their transports.  I think parents, which is human nature, are fearful that their child will hate them.  I haven't heard of a child hating their parent yet.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information on transports.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Residential Therapy: My teen has been in therapy, why is residential therapy different?

Many parents call us all the time with two scenarios.

1)  My teen refuses to go to a therapist or counselor

or

2)  My teen has been in therapy for years and it hasn't made a difference.  Even has changed therapist several times and nothing changes.

So why will residential treatment make a difference?

Fact is, we don't have a crystal ball but there is definitely a difference.  The one-on-one therapy once a week at home (in a doctor's office) is completely different than being in a therapeutic setting where all your child's activity is geared towards building him up to make better choices and also helping him to reflect on why he was making the negative ones that brought him to where he is now.

Removing your teen from their comfort zone of home and mostly of their peer group can substantially change the way they think and react to situations.  You can finally peel back the layer they have to protect their egos (attitudes) and determine where all this negative behavior was stemming from.

Your teen, right now, is running your household.  Staying out late, defying your rules -- your boundaries -- in many cases, skipping school, maybe smoking pot (okay, maybe it is their friends - not them) -- sneaking out -- BUT - you know they are capable of getting straight A's, they were on a varsity team, they used to be the best dancer, tennis player, LaCrosse player --- what happened?  Oh, it is the friends.... Okay.  We can buy that --- for now.  What happens when there isn't the friends to blame anymore?

Remember parents, your teen is making their own choices, just like it is up to parents to make their choices.

Will residential treatment make a difference?  I don't know - what are your options?  Have you exhausted them?  Do you let your child run the streets?  Drop out of school?  Continue with drugs?  Drinking?

My teen won't go willing?  Well, what teenager will???

Transportation for teens is very normal - and if you read the Internet you may be scared from the horror stories, but if you do your due diligence and locate reputable services that are licensed and insured to transport teens,   you will find there is help out there.  Ask for parent references, talk to students that have been transported by these people - you will soon find that the Internet can be deceptive.

The Internet is a great tool - but remember, it is also a machine and humans can be cruel.  Not everyone wants what is best for everybody. 

If you need help for your family and your teenager, reach out and ask for it.  Trust me, you are not alone.

Learn more, www.helpyourteens.com.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Parenting Teenagers: Ways to Avoid Agruing with Your Teen

Parenting teenager's is not easy.

When you’re raising a teenager, your house can feel like a war-zone that’s scattered with potential land mines masquerading as casual questions. Every interaction can feel like it has the potential to blow up in your respective faces, leaving parents wondering what the safest course of action is in terms of avoiding an argument. During the tumultuous teenage years, these are 10 of the most reliable ways to avoid fighting with your child.
  1. Establish Rational Boundaries – During adolescence, your teen is revisiting the same mindset of early toddlerhood that leaves her looking for ways to test boundaries as a means of asserting her independence from you. Making sure that she knows some boundaries cannot be challenged lays a foundation for calm, rational interaction. Just be sure before you make those rules that you understand your teen’s need for a reasonable amount of independence, and avoid overly harsh authoritarian rules that leave no room for such expression.
  2. Shift Your Perspective – As an adult parent of a teenager, it can be difficult to remember your own battles during the tender years leading up to adulthood. Before flying off of the proverbial handle, try to remember how you felt as a teen, so that you can see things from your own teenager’s perspective.
  3. Refuse to Escalate the Situation – When you’re standing face to face with a raging, screaming teen that pays no heed to the feelings of anyone around her as she expresses her frustration, it’s easy to fall into the trap of shouting right back at her. By maintaining your composure and refusing to let the situation escalate into a full-on altercation, you’re effectively maintaining control of the confrontation without adding fuel to the fire.
  4. Practice Good Listening Skills – Sometimes a teen feels as if he’s not being truly heard and in response will lash out with anger, when all he really wants is to know that his viewpoints and opinions are being listened to. Taking the time to ask your child how he feels and actually listening to the answer he gives can diffuse many arguments before they start.
  5. Create a “No Judgment” Zone for Tricky Discussions – Teenagers face a variety of difficult choices and situations, and those who feel as if they have nowhere to turn for advice due to a fear of parental judgment or punishment can internalize that stress, leading to nasty arguments borne of frustration. Making sure that your child knows she can safely approach you with difficult questions can eliminate that frustration, making for a more peaceful environment within your home.
  6. Know When to Compromise – As a parent, it’s often difficult to admit when you’re being unreasonable and concede an argument, or at least to make compromises when you’ve reached an impasse. Mastering the art of a sane compromise with your teen, however, is the key to keeping a tense discussion from escalating.
  7. Understand When to Walk Away – When you can’t hold on to your temper, it’s okay to walk away. If you ascribe to a philosophy of walking away to let your temper cool, though, it’s essential that you afford your teenager the same respect. Resist the temptation to follow her in order to continue a diatribe; it’ll only lead to an even nastier confrontation.
  8. Actively Avoid Triggers – There are some subjects that bring out a passionate reaction in everyone, and those triggers differ from one person to the next. Your teenager is no different, and you know the things that will upset her before you discuss them. Avoid the subjects you know will upset your child, especially if there’s no real reason for discussing them.
  9. Refuse to Reward the Silent Treatment – The silent treatment is infuriating for anyone, but it’s important that you not reward that behavior from your teen. Attempting to draw him out with false cheerfulness or prodding him to talk will only blow up in your face, so let him stew without interference for a while.
  10. Avoid Drawing Comparisons – Telling your teenager that you never acted the way he does, or illustrating just how much more tolerant of a parent you are because you don’t punish him the way you would have been punished for behaving in such a manner serves absolutely no productive purpose. Remember that your teen is trying to establish himself as a separate entity from you; drawing comparisons, even when you’re just looking for common ground, can ultimately be counterproductive. 
Making a concerted effort to foster an open, honest relationship with your teen can make it easier to avoid the worst arguments, but the occasional disagreement is pretty much par for the course. Rather than dwelling on an argument after it happens, try to think about how you could have handled it differently so that you can apply that knowledge the next time negotiations become tense.

Source:  Babysitting.net

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Tips to Connect With Your Teenager: Family Time

Studies have shown that teens that have families that get together for meals and other activities are less likely to be involved in risky behavior.

In a world where there never seems to be enough time to get everything done, connecting with your kids and forming real, lasting relationships with them can seem more difficult than ever. There are ways to bolster your connection to your kids and find ways of fostering strong relationships, though, even when time is at a premium. These tips can help you make the most of your relationship with your children, laying the groundwork for an environment of love, close bonds and trust.

Turn Screen Time into Family Time
Instead of retiring to separate rooms at the end of the day to zone out in front of different screens, why not take the chance to turn screen time into family time? Arrange regular family movie nights, get invested in an age-appropriate show that everyone in the family can discuss and bring family game night into the 21st century with party-style video games that encourage group participation.

Have Dinner Together Regularly
When everyone has their own practices, school and work demands to attend to, it often seems easier to grab meals where you can and hope that everyone is having reasonably healthy dinners while they’re on their own. However, kids from families who regularly eat meals together at the family table tend to perform better in school, are less likely to be involved in teen pregnancies, are less likely to experiment with drugs, alcohol and smoking and are more likely to finish high school than those who eat alone or in front of the television. Even if you struggle to carve out time for your family meals and rely on pre-packaged convenience food, make a point of having dinner together at the dinner table at least once each week.

Start Your Own Book Club
Books like the Harry Potter franchise and others of their ilk have mass appeal, drawing in and captivating readers of all ages. The next time you decide to pick up a book, why not choose one from your kids’ bookshelves or select a great read from the Young Adult section that your teenager is interested in reading at the same time? When you read the same books, you’ll be able to form your own family version of a book club and find plenty of fodder for conversation at the family table.

Look for Common Ground
If you and your teenager are both fans of classic rock, make a point of trading playlists with one another on a regular basis. Talk to your kids about areas in which you share common ground, and cultivate those interests. When you’re able to talk about hobbies or activities you both share, you’re able to connect on an entirely new level. It’s also a great way to show older kids that you aren’t quite as out of touch as they imagine.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open
More than anything else, knowing that you’re always there to talk and that you truly will listen encourages a strong bond between you and your children. Make sure that your kids know there’s nothing you can’t or won’t talk about with them, and that you’re always available when they’re in need of advice, a sounding board or even just to discuss their day.

Establish a Judgment-Free Zone
Set aside one particular area in your home and call it the “judgment-free zone.” Let this be the area where your kids can come to you with any fears, questions or concerns and where they are able to talk freely, without fear of repercussions or judgmental treatment. Knowing that you’re not going to scold or judge makes it easier for your kids to come to you with difficult situations, which will make your bond that much stronger.

Make Time to Spend Time
Put down your phone, turn off the television and step away from the computer when your child talks to you. Make eye contact, and listen intently. Your kids need to know that they’re the most important part of your life, and that they’re not competing with work or the television for your attention. Make time to spend time with your kids, and leave room in your schedule for one-on-one time with each of your children individually.

Source: Find a Nanny