Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

The Letter I Wrote To My Teenage Son About Drinking   Leave a comment

Parents,

This is such an important reminder that we have the responsibility to make sure that our kids know the importance of following the law (as well as parents following the law to not provide alcohol to those under 21). I know this may sound harsh, but I find it completely ridiculous that there are weak parents out there who give up and take on the attitude that kids are going to it, so I might as well let them do it at home. What message are we sending our kids? That it’s ok to break the laws we wish to break? Instead, we need to let our kids know that we value them and their safety and health, and that in no way is it acceptable to drink alcohol until they are of legal age.

God has entrusted us to care for and love our children in the best way we can. That is our most important job!

Parents – Stand strong! Don’t compromise your values. Talk to your kids. Don’t give in.

For those parents who have given in – It’s not too late. You’re the parent. Tell your kids you’ve changed your mind and why.

A mom writes a letter about underage drinking and reminds her son of the family values that she holds dear. 

As hard as it is for me to believe this, I’m the mother of a teenager. In fact Tom will be entering 10th grade this September.

The years have gone so fast that I really feel as if one day I was taking pictures of him graduating from our Mommy and Me class, the next day I couldn’t believe he was in the fourth grade, and then bang, he was in high school.

Play dates at friends houses have been replaced by going out for sushi, a movie, or walking around town with his buddies. Alone. No adults watching over them.

Instead of chatting with his friends’ parents over coffee at kitchen tables, we wave to them out of car windows.

A parent discusses drinking alcohol with her teen

The times they are a changin.

Whenever my family or friends ask about Tom and marvel at the fact that he is now a teenager, the subject of alcohol and drugs always seems to come up. As in, how will I handle it when he comes home drunk for the first time? Or what will I do if I find out that he had been using drugs?

[More on binge drinking and the impact on teenage brains here.]

I always find the questions a bit baffling because it’s just assumed that Tom will try these things. In fact the common answer I get from most of my friends and family is that of course he will.

Truth be told, I find this mindset maddening. And if I was a kid today, I would find it really confusing.

From the time Tom was in kindergarten, he has been learning in school that drinking and drugs are dangerous choices. He has read books and been shown movies about how alcohol can affect your judgment and make it easier to engage in other risky behaviors like unprotected sex or driving under the influence.

In eighth grade his health teacher made the whole class write letters addressed to themselves making the promise that they won’t smoke, drink, or have unprotected sex in high school.

Yet so many parents take it as a foregone conclusion that their kids will engage in any manner of risky behavior.

I’ve been accused of living in “La La Land” if I think otherwise. “Kids will be kids,” some say. Others will chime in with, “after all we did it.”

[More on the argument for tolerating teenage drinking here.]

Really? Is this the criteria we are going to base our parenting on?

I get it. My son is growing up, and he’s going to have to make choices for himself.

I want him to spread his wings and discover who he is. And as much as some people think I’m living under a rock, I do know that he is going to make mistakes along the way.

But, I want him to know where I stand on engaging in behaviors that are at best risky and at worst illegal or life threatening.

I never want my son to say that I wasn’t clear about my feelings — so I’m writing them out here, for all to see.

Dear Tom,

The legal drinking age in this country is 21. Please know that Dad and I will never allow you to have alcohol in our house or in our presence until you reach that age. Please also know that no good has ever come from a group of teenagers drinking. It’s a recipe for all kinds of disasters.

If you should choose to drink, you’ll not only be breaking the rules of our house, you’ll be breaking the law.

If you get stopped for driving under the influence, or the police get called to a party where you have been drinking, you may be in a position where we can’t protect you.

Always call me and your dad. ALWAYS. No matter what you have done.

Don’t ever follow up a bad choice with one that’s worse just because you’re afraid of disappointing us or making us angry.

Will we be happy? Of course not. But we would much rather get you and any friend that wants to come with you home safely, then get a call that you are NEVER coming home.

Let me be clear that the fact that we love you and will stand by you does not in any way mean we will stand by while you do things that you know aren’t good for you.

There will be those who will tell you that your parents are being unreasonable and totally unrealistic. Some may tell you that you are a teenager and that it’s a rite of passage to get drunk. They may even regale you with stories of their own youthful mistakes.

Listen to your own heart and trust your gut. Also know there is nothing cool about waking up in your own vomit, or having a DUI before you are 18.

Your father and I are so proud of the man you are becoming. We love you so much that we don’t care if you hate us. That’s our gift to you, we are your parents not your friends.

Always,

Mom

This post originally appeared on My Dishwasher’s Possessed! 

Related:

Teen Brain: What Parents Need to Know

Clean is Sexy and 58 Other Bits of Advice for Young Men

Dear Mom of High School Sophomore 

kathy-head-shot

Kathy Radigan is a writer, blogger, social media addict, mom to three, wife to one and owner of a possessed appliance. She posts a weekly essay each Sunday on her blog, My dishwasher’s possessed!Kathy is a Huffington Post blogger and a frequent contributor to What the Flicka and Scary Mommy.. Her work has also been featured on, Yahoo, Elephant Journal, What to Expect,and other online publications. Kathy lives outside New York City with her family. You can follow her on  Facebook, Twitter

Posted November 14, 2016 by sotpyouth in Drugs/Alcohol, Family

10 Things Teens Won’t Tell You   Leave a comment

10 things teens won’t tell you

Published: Aug 16, 2014 8:11 a.m. ET

The secret and costly life of the American teenager

Chip Wass

1. America will look a lot different when we grow up.

Like every generation of adolescents, today’s teens have habits that are utterly unfamiliar to their parents. The roughly 25 million Americans between the ages of 13 and 18 grew up with Facebook and Netflix. They’re more likely to hang out at Chipotle and Starbucks, and less likely to hang out at the mall, than teens of 20 or even 10 years ago.

But teens’ attitudes are also being shaped by an era where people are less likely to assume that a “typical” American family is straight and white. “They’re the most socially and ethnically diverse of all generations,” says Sharalyn Hartwell, executive director at consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates, which studies teenage demographics. While their parents saw Morgan Freeman as the U.S. president in the 1998 movie “Deep Impact,” modern teens grew up with the real-life Obama White House.

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Ready to live in a nontraditional nation.

Only 55% of Americans 18 and under are Caucasian, compared with 72% of baby boomers, according to Magid. Not coincidentally, teenagers and “tweens” are more comfortable with the country’s changing ethnic balance. Some 47% say they feel positively about the U.S. becoming more ethnically diverse, compared with 32% of boomers.

Teenagers are also growing up in a society where same-sex marriage is more widely accepted, and, as a result, television shows aimed at their age group reflect this new reality, she adds. Disney’s “Good Luck Charlie” featured a same-sex couple, ABC Family’s “The Fosters” is a television show about a family with two moms, and ABC’s prime-time comedy “Modern Family” features a male same-sex couple that wrapped its last season with a wedding.

Today’s teens and tweens are also more likely than earlier generations to be the products of a particularly hands-on style of parenting—one that involves 24/7 online monitoring and more involvement in their education. Demographers and researchers say that such tighter-knit parenting can have an impact on how these teens will perceive the world as they become adults: They’ll be more likely to be realistic about their future and to embrace change—though if the parenting was too claustrophobic or authoritarian, they’ll also be more likely to be rebellious and get along poorly with others.

Also read: 10 things Generation X won’t tell you.

2. We’re one click ahead of you online

Some 95% of teenagers are online compared with around 80% of the overall population, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. In theory, that should make it easier for parents to keep up with them and track their behavior. But teens are light on their feet, and data suggests that teens are quietly fleeing mainstream social sites that have been adopted by their parents

Snapchat

During 2013, the share of teens active on Facebook dropped by 9 percentage points, while on Twitter it dropped 3 points, according to research firm GlobalWebIndex. Teens are gravitating instead to services like Blink and Snapchat, where messages are easier to keep private. “Video apps like Instagram and Vine are also playing a much larger role with this generation,” adds Jeanne Connon, chief marketing officer of FPgirl.com, a marketing firm that analyzes fashion, technology, trends and relationships among young girls. What’s more, teens are adept at hiding apps in folders on their computers or mobile devices to make them more difficult to find.

Parents are doing their best to play catch-up, Connon says, but it’s still an uphill battle. Around 1 in 5 tweens and young teenagers in middle school have received a sexually explicit message or photo, according to a survey of 1,200 middle school students published in July in the “American Academy of Pediatrics.” Those who received such a text were also six times more likely to be sexually active.

Also see: Teens rebel against Facebook.

3. We’re sooo bored…with the shopping mall

Teen-oriented retailers, take note: Shopping may be losing its mystique among the under -18 set. The latest retailing survey by investment bank Piper Jaffray found that the average teenager spent $1,000 on fashion annually, down from $1,300 in 2006, and took 29 shopping trips a year, down from 38 in 2007. For the first time in the survey’s 13-year history, they spent a bigger share of their spending money on food than clothing (20.8% versus 20.7%).

AFP/Getty Images
Online shopping may make the teenage mall-rat an endangered species.

The big issue here is that teenagers are shopping with their tablets and smartphones, rather than in person: 75% of teenage girls and 50% of teenage boys says they prefer shopping online than in-store. (They spend an average of $56.50 per shopping trip when they do make it to a brick-and-mortar store.) “Teens are browsing regularly on their mobile devices, shopping less frequently and engaging with brands on demand,” says Steph Wissink, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray.

Teens’ spending may be waning because their parents are economizing: They remain heavily dependent on the fortunes of their parents, who contribute around 65% of their annual spending, according to the report. And while they do have a penchant for expensive clothing brands, there are only one or two that have a firm hold over them: 19% of male teenagers prefer Nike and the same percentage of female teenagers prefer Lululemon leggings.

4. We do drugs (but not the same ones you did)

Around 36% of high-school students report having used marijuana at least once within the previous 12 months, according to data released in July the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. That’s down from 41% in 1998. The share of teenagers who used alcohol over the past year has declined more sharply, to 51% in 2013 from 68% in 1998.

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Marijuana remains popular with teens, but prescription drug abuse is rising faster.

Use of other drugs, however, have risen slightly: 23% of teens admit to abusing or misusing prescription drugs, at least once in their lifetime, up from 20% five years ago, and one in six report doing so within the past year. Pain medications like Oxycodone and Vicodin and “study drugs” that combat attention-deficit-disorder are among the most commonly abused, according to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. And abuse of human growth hormone (HGH)—often used by athletes seeking to add muscle—has risen among teens to 11% in 2013 from 5% a year earlier.

“They are not doing [these drugs] to get high, they’re doing it because they think they can stay up studying to get better grades, to relax and get fit,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

Also see: Cocaine use is going to pot.

5. We can’t do financial math (but neither can you)

American teens don’t fare so well on the “Program for International Student Assessment,” an international survey of financial literacy conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development every three years. The most recent version, released in July, tested more than 510,000 15-year-olds across 18 countries. Americans scored below average (492 points versus an OECD average of 500 points), finishing behind China (No. 1 with an average of 603 points), Belgium (541), Estonia (529), Australia (526 points) and New Zealand (520).

Why Johnny can’t understand derivatives

Can the U.S. improve financial literacy? We ask Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Experts blame the system—not the students. “Teenagers don’t know about financial literacy because adults have a low level of financial literacy too,” says AnnaMaria Lusardi, a professor of economics and accountancy at George Washington University School of Business. In a 2011 study conducted by Lusardi, only 30% of U.S. adults gave correct answers to three basic questions concerning numeracy, inflation and risk diversification (versus 53% in Germany and 45% in the Netherlands). Nonetheless, 62% of teens say their parents are good financial role models, according to a survey by tax preparers H&R Block.

Some states are making efforts to fill this knowledge gap, introducing more economics and personal finance classes. For the first time, all 50 states and D.C. now include economics in their K-12 standards, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan Council of Economic Education. Still, only 22 states require students to take an economics course as a high school graduation prerequisite, and only six states require the testing of student knowledge in personal finance.

6. Your recession-era stress is contagious

Teens report having stress levels that surpass that of their parents during the school year, a recent survey by the American Psychological Association found. Teens reported stress levels of 5.8 on a 10-point scale, compared with 5.1 for adults; those levels declined to 4.6 for teens during the summer, but that still ranked above the 3.9 score that’s considered normal. One-third of teens reported symptoms of fatigue related to their stress, more than one-quarter said they skipped meals, and some 30% said they felt overwhelmed or depressed.

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School is a drag; parental stress, even more so.

Nearly 40% of parents say their high school kids experience stress, according to a 2013 Harvard School of Public Health Survey conducted for National Public Radio. About one-quarter of high-school students’ parents said homework caused their child a lot of stress, the survey found.

But school is far from the only factor, experts say. Teens pick up coping mechanisms or a lack thereof from their parents, and they’re also more likely to experience parental divorce than children were 20 years ago, says Lynn Bufka, assistant executive director for practice research and policy at the American Psychological Association. The impact of stress over divorce and financial trouble gets passed onto children who may also feel less able to tell their parents or teachers that they’re feeling stressed out, she says. “Often times, they don’t want to add to their parents’ burden,” Bufka says. If a child has a problem turning in homework or lack of attention, she adds, parents should tell teachers what’s going on at home.

One potentially positive sign for college-bound teens: The SAT will undergo a revamp in 2016 in ways the experts say will make it somewhat less demanding.

7. Our hunger for gadgets will cost you billions

Remember when loose-leaf binders and a new backpack were all the school supplies you needed? Parents are set to spend $8.4 billion on back-to-school electronics this year, including computers, tablets and smartphones, up 7% from last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Back-to-school shoppers will spend an average $212.35 per household on electronic items.

Stanislav Komogorov/Shutterstock

Phones are a major driver of this spending: About 27% of teens owned smartphones last year, up from 23% in 2011. Howard Schaffer, vice president of retailing website Offers.com, says these mobile devices are seen as critical by parents because they allow them to keep tabs on their kids via geolocation apps like “Trick or Tracker” or “Connect.”

Some parents say they’re trying to moderate the back-to-school tech spending this year. Only 37% of parents are buying tablets or computers, compared with 61% who will underwrite clothing and 55% who will buy shoes for their kids, according to a survey of 1,000 parents by Offers.com. And 36% say they’ll spend more than $200 per child on technology, down from 45% in 2013; Schaffer says that reflects the fact that computers and smartphones are lasting longer.

Also see: 5 apps for spying on your spouse.

8. We’ll double the price of your car insurance

Adding a teenage driver to a married couple’s car insurance can be a financial tsunami for the typical family. According to a report by insuranceQuotes.com, a division of personal finance site Bankrate.com, adding a male teenager hikes premiums by an average of 92%; while female teen drivers hike premiums by 67%. The good news for parents: The older their child becomes, the lower the premium. The premium hike falls from 96% for 16-year-olds to 58% for 19-year-olds.

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Texting and driving: Bad at any age, particularly troublesome among teens.

The most expensive state to insure a teenage driver is New Hampshire, where the average premium surged 111%. Hawaii is the only state that prohibits age, gender and length of driving experience from affecting car insurance costs, so teen drivers there cost only 17% more to insure on their parents policy.

That said, more families are dodging this bill these days. There are fewer teens on the road, says Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at BankRateInsurance.com. Twenty years ago, 70% of 18-year-olds had their driver’s license, she says, but today only 54% do, due in part to the rising cost of car ownership, increased unemployment among teens, and the increased use of social media (rather than face-to-face time) for teenage socializing.

There are other ways to minimize the financial damage: For example, some cars are cheaper to insure than others. “Choose a model that has a low crash history,” says Russ Rader, spokesman for the Highway Loss Data Institute, which publishes insurance claim data. Larger, heavier family cars such as Toyota Corollas, Ford sedans or Subarus are safer for teens, and their insurance rates reflect that. Many insurance companies offer a “good student” discount for those with B averages or better, adds Phil Reed, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com. “A friend of mine told his teen driver that if he got a B average, he would split his insurance savings with him,” he says. “It was good motivation and a gain for both of them.”

9. We get bullied, even when we’re popular

Teenage movies from “Clueless” (1995) to “Mean Girls” (2004) show the hazards of being on the low end of the status scale at high school. But a recent study offers evidence that popular kids get bullied, too.

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Being popular doesn’t mean they’re safe.

For the paper “Causality of Social Combat: School Networks of Peer Victimization and Their Consequences” (links to pdf), researchers at the University of California and Pennsylvania State University studied 4,200 high-school students across 19 schools. They found that students’ chances of being bullied rise 25% if they move from a group with average popularity to the 95th percentile, beyond which victimization begins to drop. (Popularity was measured based on friendship nominations among students.) Those with higher social status also experienced stronger adverse psychological consequences when bullied—because they felt like they had more to lose. More popular kids may also escape the radar of concerned educators and parents who focus on isolated students. The study also found that females are victimized 30% more often than males and “social isolates” are bullied 23% more often than others.

There has been a major push to combat bullying in recent years, including suicide prevention campaigns such as the LGBT-focused “It gets better” social media effort, which featured videos from sports stars, celebrities and politicians, including President Obama. In 2012, the Department of Education released a free training tool kit aimed at reducing bullying in schools. But 17% of students report being bullied 2 to 3 times a month during a school semester, and 1 in 10 drop out because of bullying, according to DoSomething.org, a nonprofit organization focused on young people and social change.

10. We don’t buy into the American Dream

Like member of other generations, most teens define the American Dream as involving homeownership, educational opportunities, a high standard of living and the likelihood of doing better than the previous generation. But teens are more likely to see that Dream as out of reach. According to a survey by Magid Associates, only 60% of teens and tweens believe in the American Dream compared with 71% of millennials, 64% of Generation Xers and 75% of boomers.

Although most teens are too young to remember 9/11, they’re not too young to recall how their parents struggled during the recession. “They’re influenced by their Gen X parents and older siblings,” Hartwell says. Many Xers were clobbered financially by the housing bubble, while millennials have more college debt than any previous generation of Americans. Older role models are “telling these kids that it’s not going to be better for you just because it should be.”

But that doesn’t necessarily make teens negative or pessimistic, it makes them pragmatic and realistic. “They still have the optimism of youth,” Hartwell says.

Snapchat Capture App – Another reason to guard your children (and yourselves)from SnapChat   Leave a comment

SnapCapture for Snapchat SnapCapture is the most popular solution for easy snapchat saving.Save all the snaps and stories you’d like to keep forever.

Well, if you didn’t believe it before that Snapchat photos don’t really disappear, Take a look at this app. I just saw over on Appbrain.com. It’s an app that can save Snapchat photos: http://www.appbrain.com/app/snapcapture-for-snapchat/de.innovationz.snapcapture.noroot

If you haven’t read about why we must make sure our kids aren’t using Snapchat, check out:

https://greggornation.com/2014/01/01/urgent-parents-i-strongly-recommend-uninstalling-snapchat/

I’m going to leave you with a comment one user made about this new app:

A Google User
Yesterday 5:16 AM

“Yay Great app lol I get to save nudes”

Posted January 28, 2014 by sotpyouth in Family, General, Media, Technology

If you have a daughter, please have her watch this.   Leave a comment

(your sons could benefit from seeing this too) Awesome reminder of who we find our identity in.

Posted September 26, 2013 by sotpyouth in Dating, Family, Main

Three Things You Don’t Know About Your Children and Sex   Leave a comment

Hi Parents,

What follows is a blog post I found written by Anne Marie Miller at annemariemiller.com

http://www.annemariemiller.com/2013/08/19/three-things-you-dont-know-about-your-children-and-sex/

It’s a rather shocking and point blank account of what our children are facing. I encourage you to read this and have that tough conversation that we need to have with our children.

Greg

 

Dear Parents,

Please allow me a quick moment to introduce myself before we go much further. My name is Anne Marie Miller. I’m thirty-three years old. I’m newly married to a wonderful man named Tim. We don’t have any children yet, but we’re planning on it. For the purpose of this letter, you need to know I’m a recovering addict. Pornography was my drug of choice.

I grew up in the church – the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher man with a passion for learning the Bible. I was the honors student; the athlete; the girl who got along with everyone from the weird kids to the popular ones. It was a good life. I was raised in a good home.

It was 1996, I was sixteen, and the Internet was new. After my family moved from a sheltered, conservative life in west Texas to the ethnically and sexually diverse culture of Dallas/Fort Worth, I found myself lonely, curious, and confused.

DSCN4710

Because of the volatile combination of life circumstances: the drastic change of scenery when we moved, my dad’s depression, and a youth pastor who sexually abused me during my junior year of high school, I turned to the Internet for education. I didn’t know what certain words meant or if what the youth pastor was doing to me was good or bad and I was too afraid to ask. What started as an innocent pursuit of knowledge quickly escalated into a coping mechanism.

When I looked at pornography, I felt a feeling of love and safety – at least for a brief moment. But those brief moments of relief disappeared and I was left even more ashamed and confused than when I started. Pornography provided me both an emotional and a sexual release.

For five years I carried this secret. I was twenty-one when I finally opened up to a friend only because she opened up to me first about her struggle with sexual sin.We began a path of healing in 2001 and for the last twelve years, although not a perfect journey, I can say with great confidence God has set me free from that addiction and from the shame that followed. I returned to school to study the science behind addiction and family dynamics.

Over the last six years I’ve had the opportunity to share my story in a variety of venues: thousands of college students, men, women and teens. This summer, I was invited to speak at several camps to both junior high and high school students and it’s without exaggeration when I tell you with each year I counsel students, the numbers and the stories shock me more and more.

There are more students compulsively looking at pornography at younger ages and with greater frequency than ever before.

This summer, by a long stretch, was the “worst” in terms of what secrets I learned students carried. After my last night speaking at my last camp, I retreated to my room and collapsed on the bed face-first. Tim simply laid his hand on my back to comfort me.

https://i1.wp.com/annemariemiller.com/images/2013/08/Screen-Shot-2013-08-17-at-10.54.53-AM.png

I could not logically reconcile in my mind all the confessions I heard over the summer with the children who shared them. While every story was unique in the details, in most situations, there were three common themes that kept surfacing.

  1. Google is the new Sex-Ed: Remember the first time you, as a parent, saw pornography? Likely it was a friend’s parent who had a dirty magazine or maybe you saw something somebody brought to school. Now, when a student hears a word or phrase they don’t understand, they don’t ask you what it means (because they fear getting in trouble). They don’t ask their friends (because they fear being ashamed for not knowing). They ask Google.Google won’t judge them for not knowing. Because of our short attention spans and desire for instant gratification, they don’t click the first link that shows up – they go straight to Google Images. In almost all of the stories I heard, this is how someone was first exposed to pornography – Google Image searching. The average age of first exposure in my experience was 9 years old.Google Sex Image Search
  2. If Your Child was Ever Molested, You Likely Don’t Know: Another extremelycommon theme was children being inappropriately touched, often by close family members or friends. When I was molested at sixteen, I didn’t tell a soul until I was in my twenties. I didn’t tell my own mother until I was twenty-eight. The stigma and shame of being a victim coupled with the trauma that happens with this experience is confusing to a child of any age: our systems weren’t made to process that event. Many things keep children from confessing abuse: being told they’ve made it up or are exaggerating, being a disappointment, and in most cases, getting the other person in trouble. While a child can look at pornography without being abused, children who have been molested by and large look at pornography and act out sexually. 
  3. Your Child is Not the Exception: After speaking with a youth pastor at a camp, he said most parents live with the belief their child is the exception. Your child is not. The camps I went to this summer weren’t camps full of children on life’s fringes that one would stereotypically believe experience these traumatic events or have access to these inappropriate things. You must throw your stereotypes aside. Most of the children at these camps were middle class, mostly churched students.Let me give you a snapshot of a few things I heard from these students:
  • They’ve sent X-rated photos of themselves to their classmates (or received them).
  • They’ve exposed themselves to strangers on the Internet or through sexting.
  • They’ve seen pornography.
  • They’ve read pornography.
  • They’ve watched pornography.
  • The girls compare their bodies to the ones they see in ads at the mall or of actresses and keep those images hidden on their phone (or iPod, or whatever device they have) so they can try to imitate them.
  • They question their sexuality.
  • They’ve masturbated.
  • They know exactly where and in what movies sex scenes are shown and they watch them for sexual gratification.
  • They’ve had a same-sex experience.

And they’re terrified to tell you.

(Update: The focus of this article is on the conversation, not the action, though as parents, you need to be aware of the fact young children are experiencing these things. I feel the need to clarify none of these actions make someone a “bad” person. While this specific list does contain things many people with a Christian background consider to be sin, it is lack of communication that makes this dangerous at this age. Most of us go through exploratory phases before sexual phases: a three year old masturbating because he knows it feels good and a seventeen year old masturbating to porn for a sexual release are two different things. If your child is uninformed or uneducated about things they need to know based on what is appropriate for their age and sexual development, regardless of your beliefs, it leads to shame and self-doubt.)

But maybe you’re right. Maybe your child is the exception. I would argue at this juncture in life, being the exception is as equally dangerous.

At the end of every session I presented I intentionally and clearly directed students to ask me or another leader if they didn’t understand or know what a certain word meant. “Donot go to the Internet and look it up.”

Sure enough, there is always the child who stays behind until everyone leaves and quietly asks what the word “porn” means or if God is angry because that boy or girl from down the street told them it was okay for them to touch them “down there.” There is the child in the back row who leans over to his friend and asks, “what does molest mean?” and the other boy shrugs.

This summer, I am beyond grateful that mature, God-fearing adults were available to answer those questions with grace and tact and maturity; that we were in a setting that was safe for questions and confessions. It was entirely appropriate. Not every child gets that opportunity. Most won’t. Most will find out from the Internet or from a peer who isn’t equipped to provide the correct answer in the correct context.

Parent and Child

As the summer camp season ends, I feel a shift in my heart. For the last six years, I’ve felt a calling to share with students how God has set me free from the shame and actions of my past and that they aren’t alone (because they truly believe they are). One college dean referred to me as “the grenade we’re tossing into our student body to get the conversation of sex started” because they realized how sweeping these topics under the rug caused their students to live trapped and addicted and ashamed. I will continue sharing my testimony in that capacity as long as there is a student in front of me that needs to hear it.

However, I am more aware now more than ever before in my ministry how little parents know about what’s happening. And because I’m not a parent, I feel terribly inadequate in telling you this.

But I can’t not tell you. After seeing the innocence in the eyes of ten year olds who’ve carried secrets nobody, let alone a child, should carry; after hearing some of the most horrific accounts from students I’ve ever heard this year, I cannot go one more day without pleading with you to open up and have these difficult conversations with your children. Would you prefer your son or daughter learn what a “fetish” is from you or from searching Google Images? Talk to them about abuse and yes, even trafficking.

Just this month I met a relative of a girl whose own mother was selling her body from the time she was five until now, when she’s sixteen. This was not in some drug-infested ghetto you’d see on a news story. It was in a very upscale town in a very upscale state known for its nature and beauty and summer houses. Abuse does not discriminate.

Your children need to know. If not for them, maybe for a friend. Maybe they can help bring context or see warning signs.

Ask them what they know. Ask them what they’ve done. Ask them what’s been done to them. Show grace and love. Stay far away from judgment and condemnation. If you feel ill equipped, ask a pastor or counselor for help. If you hear an answer you didn’t expect and your first instinct is to dismiss it – don’t. Find a counselor. Look for resources. Continue following up. If you struggle with this (and let’s admit it, statistically, a lot of us do), get help too.

Do the right thing, the hard thing, for the sake of your children. If we don’t do this now, I am terrified of how the enemy will continue stealing hope and joy from our youngest generation and how they’ll be paralyzed to advance the Kingdom of God as they mature.

We cannot let this happen on our watch.

*Specific details that could identify children have been changed in such a way that it does not affect the story and only protects the children. Mandatory Reporters reported confessions that involved abuse or neglect or situations that indicated a child was in any type of danger by using proper state laws and procedures.

Posted September 6, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, Main, Technology

7 Common Back to School Hassles and Simple Parenting Solutions   Leave a comment

From Dr. Michelle Borba at http://www.micheleborba.com

 

7 Common Back to School Hassles and Simple Parenting Solutions

Posted: August 15th, 2013 by Michele Borba

 

Though back to school should be exciting, parents often describe frantic mornings, hectic evenings, and plain bad memories. Homework wars…lost library books…last-minute assignments…missed buses…sleepy heads…forgotten lunches…missed breakfasts…late starts are just a few of the  common parenting concerns.

The result: stressed parents…and stressed kids.

But it doesn’t have to—nor should it–be that way. There are practical solutions to the most common back-to-school, and hot button parenting hassles.

Not only will implementing those solutions help make the upcoming school year more positive and less stressful for all, but they’ll also help kids learns to be more responsible (which just happens to be a trait of successful students).

You can start making these simple adjustments now so that back to school really is smoother and even a tad bit easier for both you and kids. The real secret: don’t take this challenge on by yourself. Get your kids involved in identifying last year’s reoccurring problem. Believe me, they’ll remember. Then together brainstorm one simple solution that you commit to turning into it into a lifelong family habit. Take on only one solution at a time. Keep implementing it until it becomes a permanent family routine.

Here are the seven most common back-to-school parenting hassles and a few simple solutions to help create a smoother year.

More articles on back to school solutions are listed at the bottom of this blog including these topics: Saying Goodbye to A College-Bound Teen; Easing Kids’ School Jitters, Easing Young Children’s Separation Anxiety, Fitting Into a New School, How to Teach Kids To Make New Friends.

Hassle 1. SLEEPY HEADS (“Just let me sleep five more minutes!”)

If you recall most of last year screaming “Wake Up!!” it’s time for your kids to take ownership. Buy simple-to-use alarm clocks, and teach kids how to set it so you don’t have to be their “Big Ben.”

My favorite alarm for kids who are perpetually late is called Clocky. It gives your kid only one chance to get up, and if you snooze, he literally jumps off the nightstand and wheels around the room. I’m sure there are others but I shared this one on the TODAY show and both Hoda and Kathie Lee loved it.

Also start getting your kid back onto the right “time zone” at least before school starts so he can “ease” into that schedule. See  Helping Kids Sleep Better: The Overlooked and Crucial Key to School Success for more ideas on helping sleepless kids.

And use that oven timer to remind procrastinators that of time constraints. When it dings, you’re in the car – whether the kid is dressed and ready or not. Seriously! That solution only takes one time! Do alert the principal and teacher of your plan. They’ll be happy to help to ensure your child is in his seat and ready to learn.

Hassle 2. BREAKFAST MANIA  (“I don’t have time to eat!”)

If breakfast time is frantic and your kids seem to be missing the “most-important meal,” search for quick, healthy alternatives. Instant oatmeal in a cup, bananas, and juice boxes can be ready to grab-and-go. Extra protein bars can be stashed in backpacks for just-in-case hunger cravings. And put out those bowls and cereal the night before. If you’re really frantic stock your car with extra nutritious goodies. But don’t skip that breakfast!

Hassle 3. MORNING FRANTICNESS (“Where’s my homework?”)

Misplaced library books? “Dad, where’s my backpack?” Can’t find your keys? Identify last year’s one reoccurring nightmare that set off that morning panic attack and then institute one simple solution to cut morning frenzy.  Put a box by the door to “catch” those library books, screw in big hooks for coats, make an extra set of car keys (for your). The key is to turn the new solution into a routine until everyone (even you) adopts the new sanity saver habit.

If lost teacher notes, school notices, or conference schedules was a reoccurring problem, set a new family policy: “Walk in, open your backpack, and put any notes or graded papers in the basket.” Then put a basket near that door, and consistently check it nightly. Tend to those needing your signature, and put them ASAP inside your child’s backpack for next day delivery.

Hassle 4. WHO’S ON FIRST? (“Is it library day, violin, or soccer?”)

If your kids relied on you as their personal manager to recap their schedule, then it’s time to help them get organized. Buy a large white board and grease pens.

Use a different colored pen per child for each child can mark his own weekly music lesson, soccer practice, field trip, sharing day, and spelling test under the date and time.

Then put it in a central spot (such in the kitchen or on the fridge) so everyone instantly knows who goes where.

Photographs or drawings of the event and family member help even the youngest family member keep track of who’s doing what and where.

Hassle 5. WASTED TIME IN CAR POOLS (“Do we have to wait until his game is over?”)

Did you feel more like a taxi cab driver than parent or spend hours waiting in your car for your kid’s lessons to be over? Did your kids resent waiting for the other sibling’s practice to be out? Then set up the inside of your car as a mini-office to utilize that lull time more productively. Hang a shoe sorter over seat back as a toy organizer, have spare books or tapes to listen to, provide a small ice chest to stock with juice boxes and water which turns into a spare desk and  fill a bin with school supplies (pencils, pens, binder paper, flash cards, dictionary, calculator)

For a child to study those spelling words or homework while waiting for a siblings game to be over, stock cookie sheets under the front seat to pull out as an instant desk or tray. The stack perfectly and also make instant desks for kids to do their homework on. P.S. You can also put magnetic letters on the cookie sheet and your younger child can practice spelling on the tray without the letters falling all over the car. Most cookie sheets are magnetic. Be sure the one you use has the feature.

Hassle 6. MISSING TEACHER/COACH NOTES (“Did you sign the teacher’s note?”)

If missing teacher notes, coach memos, scouting policies, school notices, or conference schedules was a reoccurring problem, set a new family policy: “Walk in, open your backpack, and put any notes or graded papers in the basket.” Then put a basket near that door, and consistently check it nightly. Tend to those items needing your signature, and put them ASAP inside your child’s backpack for next day delivery.

Hassle 7. PARENT OVERLOAD (“Come on, Mom! We have to get going!”)

Did you feel like a hamster on a wheel – running in circles, doing it all, and never getting anywhere? This year it may be time to back off just a bit. Here are ideas:

Always rescuing? Then stop. Your kids need to take ownership and stop relying on you as their savior. After all, homework, sports gear, library books are your kid’s responsibility, not yours.

Adopt your new mantra:

“Never do for your kid what your kid can do for himself.”

Then announce it to your kids and stick to it. Do everything? Delegate some of those chores to your kids. Research says kids who do chores are more successful students but also turn out to be more responsible.

Say “yes” too easily? Write “No” on an index card and tape it to your phone. Anytime anyone asks you to take on one more thing, say you’ll have to think about it first and call back. The stall time gives you time to think whether you really want to take bake those cupcakes or drive one more place.

Stressed out? Hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign for a few minutes at the same time each night with a strict rule: No one may disturb you until you remove that sign.

Remember: A happier, less-stressed parent turns out happier, less stressed kids.

So what’s your biggest reoccurring back-to-school hassle? Now is the time to come up with a solution.

Happy back to school!

Michele

Dr. Michele Borba, Parenting Expert

Follow me on twitter @MicheleBorba or my bi-weekly parenting blog, Dr. Borba’s Reality Check. 

– See more at: http://www.micheleborba.com/blog/2013/08/15/solutions-to-7-back-to-school-parenting-hassles/#sthash.8ZU9Nfpw.dpuf

Posted August 19, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, School

Guess What Parents – Snapchat photos have been leaked   Leave a comment

If you recall my post from December 2012 (http://wp.me/p2gSP3-6H) I warned you why should be concerned about a popular app called Snapchat. As a refresher, It’s an app that allows users to take a picture, add some text if they want, and send it off. When the recipient receives it, the picture deletes itself up to 10 seconds after it has been seen.

I came across this article from MSN (you can read it here – http://goo.gl/dZ05C). I have posted it below for your information.

By the way, a lot of your kids are still using Snapchat…Please, to protect them, talk to them about the dangers of Snapchat and let them know that their photos are being leaked.

Be cautious about following any links or going to this website. Although I haven’t been there I assume it is not a pleasant site.

From MSN-

Hey Snapchat users — a website is posting all of your naughty pics

20 hrs ago

Here’s another thing you really should have known. Not only are the photos you sent over Snapchatnot being deleted, they are also being posted on the Internet. Of course they are. The very NSFW Snapchatleaked.com is posting all of your private, supposed-to-delete-after-10-seconds photos for everybody to see. That is, when the website can load again. Due to heavy traffic, it is currently breaking the Internet. Of course it is. According to UK Metro, the site contains mostly pics of “boobs, bums and other body parts,” and has drawn major traffic in the last day. Snapchat users, be ye not so stupid. Keep your boobs and bums away from your smartphone. — By Michaela Gianotti [Source]

Posted May 29, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, Media, Technology

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