All Articles Tagged "teenagers"
By Nicole Williams
Having “the talk” with your teenage daughter about being a teenager can be a little intimidating. It’s no longer just the birds and bees …. now you have to add topics like puberty, boys, hormones, makeup, menstrual cycles, drugs, love, sex…..ahhhhhhh! It can drive a parent to shear insanity, I mean you’ll end up needing a psychiatrist with all the crazy that’s about to go down during some of those chats.
Seriously though, there is one topic that should not only be a positive coming-of-age discussion, but also one that is up-to-date with Generation Z’s sensibility…. and terminology. What I’m talking about is not your mama’s conversation about wearing makeup (which for many of us who were born in the 80’s know as “You’re not wearing makeup cause you ain’t grown!”). If you can relate to that then you were probably born the late 70’s – 80’s and you are now a parent yourself to a teenager daughter somewhere between 13-19 years old and you’re trying to give her those same answers that your mama gave you.
But times have drastically changed and with this new breed of teen spirit, the kids are social-media obsessed, digitally-dependent but fiercely independent, and regulated by reality TV shows who follow frivolous A (to Z) -List celebrities, so you cannot get away with the totally justifiable response of just saying “No” to anything without a thorough explanation. Thanks a lot, social media!
So, how do you have a talk with tech savvy teens who use memes, texts, emojis, hashtags, Snapchat, Instagram posts and internet slang to communicate? You get strategic and learn their lingo. Another adage my mother always used to say, “if you can’t beat ‘em… join ‘em” and in this case having a conversation about makeup may have to include you making a few references to social media stars like Kim Kardashian, beauty vlogger MissyLynn, Kylie Jenner, NikkieTutorials, MsAayliahJay, GlamTwinz334, TTLYTeala, SunKissAlba and Black Chyna to be cool to your kid.
Begin by being aware of who she’s following on social media, like her favorite YouTube beauty tutorials or Instagram accounts, and straight out ask her if she is ready to handle the responsibility of wearing makeup (because if she’s sneaky about it, she’ll be wearing it without your approval or knowledge at all.)
You want your child to have her own voice and to figure out her style with you and not without your input. Instead of avoiding the topic of wearing makeup altogether like our parents did, give her an introduction to the beauty world by taking her to a professional makeup artist to give her the most current and correct advice for how to wear age-appropriate, but trendy makeup. Cause Lord knows you don’t want your baby out here looking crazy rocking fake lashes, contour and a lace-front looking like a baby RuPaul! Without making this too complicated, we wanted to share a few cool AF products that will make your daughter achieve her #beautygoals …..with YOU and her in mind.
If it wasn’t for the fun of jazzing up our witch costume on Halloween night, there was a time when our mothers wouldn’t dare let us step foot outside with anything on our faces beyond some chap stick and a smile (and a face full of Vaseline on those cold winter mornings). Our only other chance of wearing makeup was if we were playing dress-up in grandma’s neatly organized stash of lipstick and eyebrow pencil, and even that could’ve been risky if you had folks who considered those things being an instance of “smelling yourself.” But nowadays, you see more and more little girls caked up with rainbow eyes, painted lips and contoured jawlines. Whether it’s in kid pageants, the hallways of elementary schools, or plastered on social media sites, seeing young ladies with drawn-on faces is all-too common. And social networking has only made it more pervasive.
Do you let your daughter wear makeup?
The pressure to be attractive in a society where long lashes, cat-eyes and flawless skin reigns supreme makes not only little girls, but women in general, feel like makeup is necessary to achieve beauty. So for a little 12 or 13-year-old girl who follows her fav celebs on Instagram or Twitter and gawks at how beautiful she looks with her face made up on a regular, it’s probably hard not to feel obligated to indulge. But as we all know, makeup tends to add not only a certain level of maturity to ones physical appearance, but it can give off a sex appeal not appropriate for children.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across suggested friends on Facebook, or stumbled upon open pages on Instagram of dolled up young ladies who I believed were grown women at first glance, until I read their “About” section or ran through their friend’s list and discovered that they were 14-year-old high school freshmen. Some young ladies may look at makeup as just another accessory to their daily gear, and there are parents who may feel like a little lipstick or eyeliner is harmless for their princess. But there are serious consequences that could result from this big-girl practice that is now being adopted by so many little girls.
Letting your 12-year-old daughter pile it on could lead to unwarranted attention from the wrong types of people (tisk, tisk: pedophiles and stalkers). And girls today may not realize it, but young ladies who wear makeup on a consistent basis also tend to get labeled as “grown,” “fresh,” “promiscuous,” or “fast.” I know when I was in high school, females who walked around all made-up (which were very few) received these labels, and they were usually true.
So, all that said brings me to this question: At what age is it appropriate for young ladies to start wearing makeup? Or should there be an age limit at all? Every parent has different views about this custom, but with the ubiquity of milk-breathed babies packing on makeup to the point where their unrecognizable and looking three times their age, a conversation about this new trend definitely needs to be had.
It’s been a few weeks since we first began to navigate the uncertain and choppy waters of junior high. Sure, we’ve been wading in the waters of tweendom for a while but these last few weeks have been a full-fledged introduction into what lies ahead. The first all school dance last Friday and as I sat in the parking lot waiting for her and listening to the same kind of music that I knew was being played inside the dance, I marveled at the many changes that have occurred in the 20 plus years since I was in junior high school.
For starters, my mother and I did not have the same taste in music. Sure she liked MC Hammer but failed to understand my love for Digital Underground and there I was singing along to the latest. It also dawned on me as kids searched for their parents, phones in hand, that, while familiar, junior high is now a whole new ball game. The access to technology and information is nothing like what my generation had and we thought we were doing it big with pagers. So to save everyone else the shock of what I’ve been going through I’m sharing the seven things that go through your mind when your kid starts junior high.
- What if the girls are mean? Will they make friends?
They didn’t make that movie for nothing! Once upon a time I was 12 and in junior high school with an abundance of other girls who were all going through puberty and therefore off kilter about themselves and thusly took it out on others. Girls can be mean. Not saying they all are but I still remember the sting of a few snide remarks and of course I would do anything to spare my baby girl from that but still, it’s bound to happen. Worse still, it may come from those she thinks are her friends.
- It’s Birds + Bees time.
If you haven’t already done so, you’re going to have to have a real talk or they’re going to learn about sex from strangers. Misinformed strangers at that. Talking about bodily functions with your offspring can be cringe worthy but its better they hear the truth from you than their equally impressionable friends.
- First Day Drama
Will they get lost/ go to the wrong class? – Absolutely. Or not. But most likely. And they will be embarrassed for a brief moment and then recover and get where they need to be, hopefully before the bell rings. I can’t recall a single class from junior high through college where someone didn’t’ end up in the wrong class for a few minutes. If they don’t have a chance to tour the school or get their schedule ahead of time it can be overwhelming
- New parents? Yikes!
I feel like I just got in good with a core group at our elementary school and that took me a few years! Now I have to get to know a whole new crop of folks? Scaaary. The upside is that with this new set of school parents isn’t as in your face as before so it’s easy to not be as involved. Along with new parents at school you’ll be dealing with new parents on the friendship front and now need to learn about them! When will it all end!!??
- All. The Feels.
You will be much more emotional than you thought. Whether it’s your first child or last there is still something that tugs at you when your kid And so will they. The first day of school is rough for all, parents are rushing to get kids to school on time and get first day photos while kids are worried about their potential classmates and teachers. Add the task of switching classes and an entire years’ worth of uncertainty and your once easy going kid is now a walking hormone and the slightest thing can set them off. It’s a bit like living with a toddler again
- Co-Ed Dances.
Long gone are the days of super sweet father/daughter outings and all school events with tons of families and here to stay are the afternoons (possibly evenings) of putting all their home training to use. Dances will now be a seasonal thing and there’s nothing you can do to avoid it. Shaking their groove things without your watchful eye keeping them in line means establishing a level of trust between you and your tween. Thankfully most schools require parental signatures to attend and offer an extensive list of consequences for any violation of the rules.
- You are now officially old. And you know nothing.
Without realizing it you will begin spouting off fabulous lines from your childhood echoing your parents “well, when I was your age…..” mantra and knowing without a doubt your own child is mimicking your own visage at that age while the voice in their head says “she doesn’t get it. She has no idea how I’m feeling. WHY is she still talking?” Life experiences and degrees count for nothing since you now KNOW nothing and could obviously never relate to what they’re going through.
When your teenager first starts driving, it can be one of the most nerve wracking and anxious times for a parent. In addition to hoping that your teen won’t be distracted by their phone or talking in the car, you also want them to drive in a safe vehicle. The U.S. News & World Report, publisher of Best Cars for the Money and Best Cars for Families recently announced the 2016 Best Cars for Teens.
“Having a new driver in the family is both exciting and nerve-wracking,” says Jamie Page Deaton, managing editor of U.S. News Best Cars. “Although it’s expensive, parents should consider investing in newer models because they have many more safety features than cars made just five years ago. The 2016 Best Cars for Teens are some of the safest options on the road, giving parents a little peace of mind.”
According to Trafficsafetymarkting.gov motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 14-18 year olds in the U.S. And in 2014, there were 2,614 teen (15-19 year old) passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes and an estimated 130,000 were injured. And out of those accidents only 25 percent of parents talked to their kids about safe driving. Their “5 to Drive” campaign recommends that parents talk to their teens about wearing a seat belt and avoiding alcohol, too many drivers in the car, phone distractions, and driving too fast. It may also be helpful to show them prevention videos online and statistics on teens who have had accidents from texting or drunk driving.
The list highlights six cars and SUVs that include budget friendly options starting at $20,000 and going up to over $40,000. And to slightly lessen parental worries some of the cars on the list feature parental technology that allows parents to set geographic and speed limits using an app. The top picks from The 2016 Best Cars for Teens have advanced safety features like rearview cameras and parking sensors as well as new technology and top crash test scores.
Chevrolet Sonic-Best Under $20,000
Pros & Cons
+Lively turbocharged engine
+Generous rear-seat and cargo space
+Superior crash test ratings
-Con-Base model’s unimpressive fuel economy
Kia Soul-Best $20,000 to $25,000
Pros & Cons
+Ample cargo and passenger space
+Lots of available features
+Long powertrain warranty
-Sluggish acceleration with base engine
-Low fuel economy for the class
Mazda Mazda3-Best $25,000 to $30,000
Pros & Cons
+Outstanding fuel economy
+Simple infotainment system
-Limited space in the back seats
Hyundai Sonata-Best $30,000 to $35,000
Pros & Cons
+Good fuel economy
+Spacious rear seats
+User-friendly infotainment system
+Good projected reliability
-Trunk opening is a bit narrow
Ford Fusion Hybrid-Best $35,000 to $40,000
Pros & Cons
+Smooth transitions from electric to gas power
-Infotainment system responds slowly
Nissan Murano-Best $40,000 and over
+Very comfortable seats
+User-friendly tech features
+Good fuel economy for a V6 SUV
+Excellent safety ratings
-Limited rearward visibility
-Some alternatives are more athletic
By Neffi Walker
There is no visual more horrifying for me than catching my child in the middle of a sexual act in our home.
Let me explain:
My son has a beautiful girlfriend who I adore. They have been dating for a while, and I understand how it is to be a 21-year-old with raging hormones. But the rule in this house is NO SEX AT ALL…and that includes me (unless I’m married). There is another rule: no drugs under this roof. This is the second time I caught my son and his girlfriend in the act. I lost my mind and threatened to throw everyone out for not obeying the rules. I was so upset at the blatant disrespect of his actions that I needed to leave my house and cool off, so I wouldn’t end up doing bodily harm to someone!
Sexual behavior can be animalistic and reckless or done with feelings of love, longevity and respect. I realized that I didn’t have a conversation with my son about which way he views sex and felt a conversation was in order. I am not the “cool mom.” I am not going to put condoms in a jar and allow girls to come “hang out” with him in his room. I am more of the if-you-have-time-to-hang-out-then-you-have-time-for-work-and-school mom. I am not comfortable knowing that my son is having sex in his room. Nope…can’t do it.
I called him into my room the next day to find out why he made this poor decision once again. This is how the conversation went:
“First off, I wanted to apologize for the way I behaved yesterday towards you and your girlfriend. I said many things I meant, but I shouldn’t have said them out loud. As a parent I have to show restraint even in difficult times, because I would want you to think before you speak. Ok?” I said. He looked shocked and slowly shook his head
“Is this a joke? You are apologizing to me because I broke the rules?” he said.
“No I am apologizing for the way I behaved regardless of the situation. I can’t allow you to take me to a place where I am out of control. Speaking of control, are you in love with your girlfriend?”
“I don’t know, I guess so, maybe,” he responded.
“Let me explain something to you about the responsibility of having sex. I understand that you want to get it on and be very physical due to your hormones raging out of control. But most women see sex differently than men. Your girlfriend loves you; she was still googly-eyed yesterday while I was cussing you both out. She traveled over here to see you and displayed every action indicating she is very interested in you. If you are having sex with her without your heart in it, then do her a favor and stop immediately.”
“What do you mean my heart, Mom? What are you talking about?” he said.
“Women take men “IN” we hold you FIRM and try not to let you go. Do you understand that statement? Women are sensitive creatures who, for the most part, have a direct connection between the vagina and their heart. It is your responsibility as a man to spend your time with those you want to really spend your time with. I don’t want you being a man just slinging your thing at every hole that comes your way. It is irresponsible and it hurts women. It hurts us to know that we have let you “IN” yet, you never wanted to be there for more than that moment. Sex should couple emotion and love; it should be done with thought. I hope you are thinking about her heart, or anyone else’s for that matter, before you give them your penis.”
His attitude during the conversation went from laughing nervously to being pensive. Then he said, “I love her, but I didn’t tell her yet.”
“Ok, well, if you love her, treat her with kindness and use thought. Please don’t be a man whore. I will be disappointed if I spent all this time acting like Mother Teresa around you to find out you are an ultimate whore.”
“Mom, OKAY. I understand; I got you. I am not all over the place; it’s not my way, Not everyone can get this.” He said as he walked away
It was the first conversation I had with him about feelings and what to do with them and how to manage them with sex. He is 21. After I spoke to him, I felt like this should have been something I spoke about all along as I do with my daughter. Raising thoughtful young men who are sexually responsible creates men who have a slimmer chance of treating women like a pieces of meat. In a perfect world, he would take that information and be the best boyfriend/husband the world has ever seen, full of compassion and romantic gestures, sweetly in love with his partner. That is what I wish for him.
What do you think about your children having sex in your house? What message are you sending to them while allowing them freedom to express and grow? I would love to know!
“I want to have the three-letter word with her! It would make me the happiest man in the world!”
“You want a kid? You wanna have a kid with her? You wanna marry her?”
“No, stupid! Not that three-letter word; the other one!”
At the time I’m writing this, it’s been a little over a week since he said that about her; he being a boy who looks to be around 12; her being my 10-year-old daughter, Marley.
We see him every time we go to the park. He’s that kid who you imagine didn’t walk there on his own, but you never see him with or near any adults. You only hear his mouth and his stupid laugh.
Well, maybe it wasn’t stupid before I realized that he talked to Marley’s chest, and not her eyes. The new mounds bouncing around on my daughter’s chest mesmerized him, and he wanted to have the other three-letter word with my daughter—sex (in case you, like he, don’t want to say the actual word).
I wanted to punch Stupid Laugh Boy in the throat. And then smash his coke-bottle glasses. But saner heads prevailed. I did not touch him or his glasses.
I did and will continue to do something ever more fulfilling.
I’ll continue raising both of my daughters to be aware of their right to confidently address any assertions made toward them, particularly when it comes to their bodies.
I look at my oldest girl and I see what other people are seeing, but I also see what she is navigating at this point in her journey. Her breasts are growing. Her legs are lengthening. She’s paying more attention to how I style her locs. Her body is transitioning from a gangly, somewhat awkward form, to a curvy space with parts made visibly strong by way of her growing love for soccer.
And she’s particularly concerned and curious about her new bouncy parts that garner attention from a variety of eyes.
Because we practice Radical Self-Expression, we’ve never shied away from conversations about body awareness in our household. Now, as we manage Marley’s rapid transition, I’m grateful that Kris and I—as her parents—chose that route.
It’s important for parents to recognize that even if you want to stay in the land of age and stage-appropriate introductions to body awareness, sex, and sexuality—the rest of the world is already assigning those subjects to your child in ways you may not have chosen yourself.
So you may as well deliberately take on the primary role in the dissemination and interpretation of that narrative, because the conversations are already being had. On school buses, on playgrounds, at sleepovers, and online.
And if you wait until the “right age,” or whatever you consider to be the “appropriate” time, you might be too late.
By avoiding the topics of body awareness and sexuality, we set our girls up to be ill-equipped to manage their emotions and to confidently express whatever they need to feel both comfortable around and respected by their peers.
And I say our girls because that’s all I know. By no means am I diminishing the need for dialogue on body awareness and sexuality in our boys; I just know less about the process of boys’ physical changes and needs, so I’m sticking to the areas where I can speak from experience.
That experience has been the focus for the past decade of my life, and it comes roller coaster style, complete with sudden turns, belly flops, and plenty opportunities to walk my talk as a woman whose core values include curiosity and self-expression.
As I watch my daughter navigate her new body, I do my best to stay present so that I can be aware of what she might need from me in any given moment.
Notice how I said what she might need instead of what she needs? I don’t presume to already know Marley or her sister, Sage. Sure, I know their tendencies, their habits, and their preferences; but those things are changing.
In parenting, as in many other relationships, we do better when we choose to use what we observe, instead of what we think we know.
For me, that choice is as a result of me starting out with the Should Be’s and being taught by my daughters that they did not appreciate or respond well to that choice. They lash out when I presume, but they share openly when I observe, ask questions, and consider what actually is instead of just what I think should be.
I feel a deep sense of compassion for both of my daughters as they enter this stage. I remember my own body awareness journey and how inadequate it can lead a girl to feel. I fear being too open with my girls in some areas, or too closed off in others, and I end up entangled.
But through it all, I’ve identified some methods to creating support and raising confident, mindful, fully expressed women.
So here are four ways to help her navigate her new journey.
1. Open Dialogue
If your eight-year-old asks you about oral sex, your Should Be filter may cringe at the idea and decide that your child is too young to be exposed to that particular topic.
But we know that elementary school children are fully aware of oral sex. At that age, they’re already mocking what they know or fully engaging.
Were you to choose the Should Be route, you’d be leaving your child with a deficiency in dialogue, causing her to draw on wrong or poorly framed information on the sexual acts.
Consider all the opportunities you’d be leaving for other people—peers, the siblings of peers, and adults—to fill in those answers for your child.
It’s also important to be mindful about punishing your daughter for asking uncomfortable questions.
Unfortunately, when it comes to curiosity around topics of sex, sexuality, and human body, many adults create a narrative of guilt when it comes to children. Why is she thinking about that? What might she do if she knows more about this so early?
You’re not preserving or protecting her by shying away from tough questions. Instead, you’re telling her to search alone, to gather and sort on her own, and to count you out of her list of resources.
Sports help girls to recognize their bodies’ functions and not just its form.
Soccer is helping Marley see her body in new ways. Now she knows what her legs do, and how they help her do something she loves. She knows how different foods cause her to play and to feel. She now understands body as function, and not just form.
Athletic activities can also help your daughter to see just how ridiculous and impossible the notions of beauty that riddle the media can be.
We protect what we respect, and so as they come into the knowing of their bodies and realize what they’re capable of, our girls also increase the urgency around protecting their bodies.
Sports can help our girls recognize and speak up when their bodies are being objectified.They can help them define respect for themselves, and not by what society says should or should not be when it comes to a girl’s or a woman’s body.
My daughters and I look at our bodies together. We literally stand in front of the bathroom mirror, naked, and talk about what we see.
I try to remember to listen more than I talk, and I am honest about my own physical insecurities. I tell them how I nurture myself with communities like See Body: Love Self, and how important it is to celebrate your body with healthy choices.
And when Marley tells me that she’s “weirded out” by her own breasts, or that she caught herself wondering whether her breasts and butt should be smaller or bigger, I don’t chastise her.
Instead, I tell her that it’s normal to questions things, and that I’m proud of her for being willing to express what she thinks about.
Let your daughter see you naked. And encourage her to look at her own naked body. When we take the “newness” out of seeing our naked bodies, we can work at appreciating it just as it is, and we send that message to our girls as well.
4. Documentaries and Books
Marley, Sage, and I have watched Miss Representation (a poignant documentary about media’s portrayal of women, and its impact on young people) several times.
Since then, both girls are constantly asking us “do you notice” questions: Do you notice that in anime and manga that the women always have big breasts that are all pushed up, but they’re supposed to be warriors?! How can they protect their bodies if they’re putting their breasts out like that?”
This leads to dialogue about topics like feminism and sexism in anime and manga, which again, helps her to examine context and make more conscious choices over time about what she takes in.
Actively seek out documentaries, books, and live dialogue around topics that your daughter will no doubt face.
Create a running list of your own go-to resources for open dialogue on body awareness and sexuality, and make time to share them with your daughter.
As parents, our daughters can be either the beneficiaries or the victims of our own experiences.
We have the ability to consistently help our daughters navigate their bodies’ shifts by prioritizing our own mental shifts.
Your own imperfect relationship with your body is exactly what your daughters needs to experience. You can use what you’re learning as you commit to your own healing process.
You can encourage your daughter to speak openly about how she feels as her body changes. You can be compassionate and consistent in your efforts to help her be willing to love her body, to explore sexuality in safe spaces, to define safe spaces, and to speak up when her idea of a safe space for her body is being compromised or threatened in any way.
As a parent, you can make your daughter’s body awareness journey a positive one.
Reprinted with permission from EverydayFeminism.com.
What are you doing to help your pre-teen as she discovers her body’s changes?
Whenever I thought about being a mother, the teenage years were never what I pictured. On the rare occasion I day dreamed about kids it was always as the cute baby or young child. I don’t think it ever occurred to me that those same baby would become a teenager. Now it’s the 21st century and I am the mother of a teenage girl. As if the term teenager isn’t frightening enough along with raging hormones and junior high/middle school relationships I now have to contend with a myriad of distractions and influences that my parents, and theirs before them, never had to consider. Screen time, cell phone usage, eating habits, grades, and cyber bullies, BOYS, and… the rise of the ratchet girl.
Coming up in the 90’s “hoodrats & hoochie mama’s” were all we heard about in the prevalent gangster rap & that was slowly taking over the airwaves and we thought it was all so cool thanks to movies like Boyz N the Hood, Menace II Society, Above The Rim and several others of the same variety. But at the end of the day, we went home and turned on The Cosby Show and A Different World so while the images were there, they weren’t as pervasive as they are now, nor was the message. But then the birth of the million dollar video came about as did the ‘video chick’ caricature and the further exploitation of black women and their sexuality was laid bare for the entire world to admire, admonish, debate over and imitate.
But the rise of the ratchet girl has been stratospheric in the last year and to be honest, I’m sick of it.
It’s not just the images shown in the media, it’s also the clothing sold in stores and how it’s styled on mannequins over sexualizing girls from an early age, and in magazine articles aimed at ‘how to get your crush to notice you’ and ‘are you kissable?’ (Seriously who’s approving this for tweens?) . It’s also shows like Love & Hip-Hop whatever, Teen Mom and the list goes on.
Portraying these women and their lifestyle as some type of aspiration and allowing them to gain celebrity notoriety because of their bad behavior on television and in the media sends a message to young women that the more you act out the more you’re rewarded by society.
And this mama don’t play that. I’m not raising a teenager to be the baddest b*tch. I’m intent on raising a young woman who will grow into a queen that’s going set the world on fire. It also sets the standard that they need to be overly dramatic to be considered interesting or to get their point across which couldn’t be farther from the truth.
So how do I maintain an active presence in her mind without being overbearing? And how do I keep my daughter from becoming enthralled by the ratchet girl lifestyle she sees all around her?
While we’re still new to the teenage game we’ve got a few rules that we govern our house by to keep her on the right path and keep the ratchet from taking over. Here are a few:
- Teach her she is more than her body but she is also not limited by it. This includes her hair and what she wears. When your mom writes about fashion for a living you get a little leeway in the clothing and hair department, but I still have rules and have no problem enforcing them. This also includes keeping the lines of communication about sexuality and those awkward topics open for discussion and consideration.
- Monitor her social media access as well as phone and apps. It may sound like spying but I’d rather not be caught unawares if anything happens. Just because she has access to social media does not mean she gets to be “out there.” It is private, monitored and limited so we feel pretty good about this one.
- Parent like its 1999ish. Seriously. A lot of new age mothers are excited for their daughters to become their ‘best friends’ and I’m like no ma’am. I have my own friend’s thank you and until you are of age I am your parent, not your homegirl. We kick it old school when it comes to parenting and have no problem being the ‘uncool’ parents of the group.
- Investigate her friends. Junior high/high school is not like elementary school where you often see the same parents at school functions and daily drop-off and pick-up. Kids make new friends everyday, so yeah, I check out their online presence to see if the image they project to me is the same they are portraying to the outside world and if not how far they are straying.
- Educate her about her ancestry and where she comes from not only within your family but as woman of color. Teach her about the world in which she currently resides and the one that preceded her existence so she is able to learn from both experiences and chart her course accordingly. Family reading is something we can all benefit from and there are a number of anthologies by African-American authors that paint a beautiful picture of the past and there is a lot to be learned from others experiences and stories that you can’t get from a TV movie.
We realize that as you go through life you try on different personas to see what fits and a lot of times as a teen, those personas don’t jibe with your parent’s vision of you. I get it, I was a teenager too, and we encourage self-expression and creative thought, but we also aren’t in the business of encouraging society’s values over our own.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth between 10 and 19 years of age and the number is increasing. Although it is not always a comfortable topic, it is essential to know the warning signs and to know the right ways to react if you notice them. Parents, friends, teachers, and sometimes even strangers can help play a part when prevention and helping others is a priority in the community.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics these are the reasons the youth suicide rate has increased and some signs to look for:
Why has the youth suicide rate gone so high in recent years?
- It’s easier to get the tools for suicide (Boys often use firearms to kill themselves; girls usually use pills);
- The pressures of modern life are greater;
- Competition for good grades and college admission is stiff; and
- There’s more violence in the newspapers and on television.
Lack of parental interest may be another problem. Many children grow up in divorced households; for others, both of their parents work and their families spend limited time together. According to one study 90 percent of suicidal teen-agers believed their families did not understand them. (However, this is such a common teen-age complaint that other factors are playing a role, too.) Young people also reported that when they tried to tell their parents about their feelings of unhappiness or failure, their mother and father denied or ignored their point of view.
If your teenager has been depressed, you should look closely for suicide signs that he or she might be displaying:
- Has his personality changed dramatically?
- Is he having trouble with a girlfriend (or, for girls, with a boyfriend)? Or is he having trouble getting along with other friends or with parents? Has he withdrawn from people he used to feel close to?
- Is the quality of his schoolwork going down? Has he failed to live up to his own or someone else’s standards (when it comes to school grades, for example)?
- Does he always seem bored, and is he having trouble concentrating?
- Is he acting like a rebel in an unexplained and severe way?
- Is she pregnant and finding it hard to cope with this major life change?
- Has he run away from home?
- Is your teenager abusing drugs and/or alcohol?
- Is she complaining of headaches, stomachaches, etc., that may or may not be real?
- Have his eating or sleeping habits changed?
- Has his or her appearance changed for the worse?
- Is he giving away some of his most prized possessions?
- Is he writing notes or poems about death?
- Does he talk about suicide, even jokingly? Has he said things such as, “That’s the last straw,” “I can’t take it anymore,” or “Nobody cares about me?” (Threatening to kill oneself precedes four out of five suicidal deaths.)
- Has he tried to commit suicide before?
Your daughter seems to spend more time glued to her phone than actually breathing fresh air. Instead of learning that second language you wish she’d study, she’s checking out which Instagram filters show off her new dress the best. Sound familiar? Whether you like it or not, selfies have taken over the social media world.
As a parent, it’s normal to ask yourself why your kids are so obsessed with what’s happening on their Facebook and Instagram feed? And you’re not alone in that worry. A staggering 91 percent of teens having posted photos of themselves online. This modern fascination with the selfies raises some serious concerns for kids and parents alike.
The big question of course is what is this selfie obsession doing to your kids?
Let’s start with the obvious. Selfies reek of narcissism. They are also boldly in your face; often showing your kid in a more grownup light than you (and really they) are potentially ready for. Finally, with cyberstalking becoming more common, it’s hard not to worry about what your teen is up to online.
Overall, there is very little press that shows selfies are painted in anything but a negative light. After all, if she is updating the world about every little detail of her life, how can you trust that she’s staying safe online?
So what’s a parent to do?
Parenting Expert Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein tackles these issues perfectly. In this video she stresses that when it comes to your kid’s selfie habit, the REAL issue lies in the fact that you need to “make the judgment call [of where these photos are shared]. Whether she’s a tween or a teen, [she] may not always have the judgment call really right for herself.”
We couldn’t agree more! Sometimes, teens don’t understand the repercussions of their actions. It’s up to you as her parent to teach your child how to protect herself online.
But don’t worry, it’s not all bad news.
According to the LA Times, there are some hidden perks to taking selfies. After conducting a study, Lev Manovich stated that, “this self photography [are] indicative of a whole new photography movement and a way for individual self-expression.”
He goes on to say that, “It’s almost like a new landscape, or a new thought process: ‘I am a part of this picture.'”
As we see it, it makes total sense that your teen just wants to feel like she belongs. When done right (and by that we mean with discretion and safety in mind) not only are selfies a great way for her to express herself, they make her feel connected to her peers.
The US News backs this up by saying that selfies can help shape your teen’s identity. With the right supervision, selfies can impact your children’s happiness for the better.
So we ask you this: how are you managing your kid’s selfie habit? If you have a great idea for our readers, share it in the comments!
We couldn’t agree more! Sometimes, teens don’t understand the repercussions of their actions. It’s up to you as her parent to teach your child how to protect herself online.
Reprinted with permission from YourTango.com