Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Parents can help teens manage overscheduling stress –   Leave a comment By Kim Painter

Lauren Biglow, a college freshman, once was one of those high school students with crazy, stressful schedules — high-level academics mixed with sports, clubs, community service, and way too little sleep, real food or unstructured fun.

But her parents, she says, were not part of the problem.

“I would come home overflowing with stress over the fact that I had so many things to do simultaneously. And they would say, ‘This is crazy, listen to yourself. You need to take a breath, re-evaluate and decide what you need to cut down on.’ ”

Biglow says she did cut down, a bit, and ended up taking fewer Advanced Placement (AP) classes than some peers. She dropped one of her three sports. It worked out: The spring graduate of Los Altos High School, in California, is at highly regarded Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted October 14, 2011 by sotpyouth in Family, General, School

What if your teen is a bully?   Leave a comment

It’s the news no parent wants to hear: Their teenage daughter has been sending demeaning e-mails to another girl in her grade or that their son has been regularly harassing another boy in the hall at his school.

While it’s painful and confusing if your child is the victim of bullying, it’s also painful and confusing if your child is the one who is dishing it out. If it’s the latter, what do you do?

Let’s face it, to be confronted with the fact that your kid has been a bully is embarrassing. It’s not just a mark against your child, but a mark against you. You can just imagine what the other parents are saying.

“They always seemed like good parents. But it just goes to show you never know.”

You are mad at your kid for their behaviour, but also at how this behaviour reflects on you. To feel this way is very normal, but many kids of nice, loving parents engage in bullying behaviour. Having a kid who’s a bully does not mean that you have been a bad parent. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted October 11, 2011 by sotpyouth in Family, General, School

2011 Video Music Awards   Leave a comment

In a post from Jonathon McKee, he list four truths that came from the 2011 Video Music Awards shown on MTV. 

Parent’s, we’re not going to stop our children from listening to music that is misguiding, so we should learn about it and instead of ignoring it, embrace it and learn to talk to our children about it.

Read on…

For the most part – and we stress “for the most part” – this was one of the tamer VMAs in recent history. (We’ll elaborate on the few exceptions later.) Also setting this awards show apart from the past were the coolest live performances in recent memory. Lady Gaga opened the show with a strong performance of her hit song, You and I (No question, Gaga is a very talented performer). Taking the stage throughout the remainder of the night would be Pit Bull, Adele, Kanye West and Jay Z, Beyoncé, and Young the Giant. Chris Brown also did a cool dance medley, and Bruno Mars sang a tribute to the recently deceased Amy Winehouse. Finally, Lil Wayne performed at the show’s end. (Umm…he’s one of the exceptions we just mentioned.)

All in all, MTV seemed to place the emphasis on – wait for it – music. Yeah, we were surprised, too. As we watched this year’s music awards show that actually centered on music, we observed four inescapable realities about youth culture. Here they are: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted September 5, 2011 by sotpyouth in General, Media, Music

Drug addiction usually starts before 18   Leave a comment

The top public health problem in the United States is not obesity, as many might guess, says one public policy organization. The National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, also known as CASA, leaves no question as to where it stands on the subject, titling its latest study “Adolescent Substance Use: America’s No. 1 Public Health Problem.”

The report released Wednesday finds that the consumption of alcohol, the use of tobacco and marijuana and the abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise among teens.  That’s not terribly surprising but this might be:  CASA found that 9 out of 10 adult addicts started using before the age of 18,  compared with  1 in 25 Americans who started using these substances at age 21 or older.

Another finding: 75% of high school students have used addictive substances Read the rest of this entry »

Posted July 21, 2011 by sotpyouth in General, School

A miracle, perhaps, but no accident   Leave a comment

Published 05/29/11

Early this month, Lt. Tina Pitner was working her usual shift at Fire Station 35 on Forest Drive.

It was routine except that a paramedic student would be doing one of his required ambulance ride-alongs. The young man checked in, introduced himself and went on his rounds.

When he returned, he put his information folder on Pitner’s desk so she could sign off.

“When I looked down and saw the name on the folder the hair stood up on my arm,” she said last week.

“I said, ‘I know you.’ ” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted July 20, 2011 by sotpyouth in Family, General

"Politeness and Consideration for Others Is Like Investing Pennies and Getting Dollars Back"   Leave a comment

Some food for thought that all of us should remember…

— A little goodwill goes a long way. Small acts of kindness or shows of support don’t take a lot of effort or time, but they do build up a strong “account” you can draw from in the future.

Thomas Sowell, an American economist and columnist, said that “politeness and consideration for others is like investing pennies and getting dollars back.” Do you remember the last time someone did some small, thoughtful thing for you? or paid you a compliment or showed some sign of appreciation? That gesture probably made a very favorable and lasting impression on you.

In both your work and personal life, remember that the little things—a thank you note, an offer of support, a referral—matter a lot in the long run; consideration for others is an investment with a very high ROI.

Posted July 5, 2011 by sotpyouth in General

Teens and Drugs: Rite of Passage or Recipe for Addiction?   Leave a comment

By Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Teen drug use shouldn’t be looked at as a rite of passage but as a public health problem, say experts, and one that has reached “epidemic” levels.

In a new report on drug, alcohol and tobacco use among teens in the U.S., the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University finds that 75% of all high school students have used alcohol, tobacco or either legal or illicit drugs and that 20% of these adolescents are addicted. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted July 5, 2011 by sotpyouth in General, School

Too little, too late against bully tactics   Leave a comment

5 months before the suicide of Phoebe Prince, the town of South Hadley brought in Barbara Coloroso to talk to parents, teachers, and administrators about how to combat bullying in the schools.

Coloroso knows as much about the subject as anyone. She was brought into Columbine after two kids who were bullied decided to get even with guns. She was brought into the Red Lake reservation in Minnesota after a 16-year-old shot seven people dead at the high school where he was bullied.

And she was brought into South Hadley, ahead of the curve, ahead of a tragedy, five months before Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old freshman at South Hadley High, hanged herself after being tormented by a group of girls who just wouldn’t leave her alone. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted May 31, 2011 by sotpyouth in Family, General, School

What Kids (Really) Want – Their Greatest Desire May Surprise – and Change – You   Leave a comment

In ours and our kids busyness (getting our kids to the baseball games, basketball games, softball games, all of those practices, dance, cheerleading practices, karate, gymnastics, church activities, our jobs, our activities am I missing anything?), we fail to give our children what they really desire – Face time and quality conversations.
To be able to spend time and talk with your child about what is happening right in front of you and around you. For example, do you watch Glee with your child and use that to spark conversations (stay tuned for my Glee post)?
The following article really challenged me to take a look at the amount of times I, as a parent, use my time to really talk to my children instead of keeping up with the many TV shows I enjoy, or the amount of time I spend on my laptop  working, or the numerous  things I would be doing otherwise.
I urge you to keep reading and be challenged.
An article from David R. Smith

Every teen wants a cool cell phone. Most want slick cars. Many want the latest video game. No surprise, right? But there’s one thing teenagers want that may surprise you—especially since it doesn’t cost a dime.

But that doesn’t mean it’s gonna be cheap, either.

Disappearing Face Time
If you’re part of a typical American family, you’re constantly strapped for time. Life is busy, work is demanding, and kids participate in every sort of extracurricular activity imaginable. Tag on chores, school, and homework, and you’ve got a recipe for family members living together…yet isolated in silos.

There’s little to no “face time.”

In fact, Dr. Robert Evans, author of Family Matters, notes, “A typical father will spend less than three minutes per day alone with a child who has reached his or her teenage years.”

And this shortfall of face time couldn’t come at a more crucial—or ironic—moment. In a landmark study by the Associated Press and MTV, performed in 2007, researchers discovered that a whopping 73 percent of teens said their mothers and/or fathers made them “happy.” (No, that’s not a typo.) And when asked, “What one thing in life makes you the most happy?” the most frequent answer given was “spending time with family.” (Nope, that’s not a typo, either!)

You might be thinking to yourself: “Yeah, but that was three years ago. The iPhone was invented, and reinvented, several more times since that research was performed. Kids don’t want me around; they want stuff, entertainment, and whatever else my hard-earned money buys.”


In a brand new survey by Family Circle, 25 percent of teens claimed they wanted more time with their parents. In fact, one 16-year-old guy actually said, “I think it’d be cool if my parents worked less, just because I’d get to see them more.”

Granted, 70 percent of the kids interviewed said they were content with the amount of attention they received from their parents, but mark this in your heart: 95 percent of teens are paying very close attention to how much quality time parents spend with them.

So, what should we do this?

Giving Them What They Want
Too often parents give up or give in and just end up giving kids what they want instead of what they need. So, how cool is it—in this regard—that what kids want is actually what they need?

Finally, we can—with some confidence—give them what they want.

As noted previously, what kids want most is not a piece of tech gear or a car or a new article of clothing. That’s good news on the wallet, right?

Sure, but to give kids what they want most of all, we must be willing to pay the price in terms of time.

Parents may have to give their calendars a makeover—or a total overhaul. Perhaps a TV show has to go. Or maybe a hobby or two. Some parents may even have to calculate what all those long hours and overtime pay is actually costing them at home.

Why? Because three minutes a day just doesn’t cut it.

There are no shortcuts, either. Many parents may be tempted to inject themselves in between all that’s going on in their kids’ lives rather than whittle away some intentional face time. For instance, instead of taking the better route of having healthy conversations over meals, we might resort to just sending our kids more text messages each day. (After all, it’s commonly known that kids prefer that system of communication more than any other.)

But texting isn’t the same as good, old-fashioned face time…and our kids know it. Jonathan McKee, in his book CONNECT: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation, contends that “technology is a great tool, but it’s just a tool. Nothing replaces face-to-face relationships.”

Functional Face Time
Creating family face time will look different from house to house. Some families are closer to the target than others. But the results will look very similar for most families: Happier, healthier kids.

My friend Steve—a busy and successful professional—has two kids in college; one boy and one girl. They’re both solid kids. Did they get that way by accident? Are some kids better than others? Are some just easier to raise?

Perhaps it has something to do with Steve’s intentionality and sacrifice.

Every week he and his daughter have a date night; neither his wife nor his son is invited. The two of them go out to dinner (and maybe some ice cream) and just talk. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive. But it’s his dedicated time with her—totally focused on her needs, thoughts, concerns, as well as their relationship.

During those hours each month, Steve talks about following Jesus, what kind of young man she should be looking for in life, her studies, and so forth. He says for him it’s a rich time, but if you talk to his daughter—and I have many times—she lives for those moments with her dad. Those times make her feel very special.

For you parents, if a (whole) night per week sounds impossible to give up—shoot for something more manageable at first. If it’s one night per month, do it. If it’s an uninterrupted dinner hour at home, do that. Whatever you choose to start with, be intentional about setting—and keeping—that incredibly important appointment.

Time is our most precious commodity. Every human being eventually runs out of it, and there’s absolutely nothing we can do to change that.

Yes, this face time with your kids will cost you…but it will be well worth the investment.

Posted April 22, 2011 by sotpyouth in Family, General

I wasn't an angry person until I had teenagers.   Leave a comment

Does it seem like we are typically worn down and our fuses are shorter now that our kids are getting to be teenagers? Are they doing things that you didn’t think a person could be programmed to do? Are their demands getting more and more…well, demanding?


Read on from…


I never saw myself as an angry person until my children became teenagers! Now it seems they are always wearing me down. My husband and I both work hard and there is way too much tension in the home. How can we pull it together?


H.A.L.T. That’s what I have written on a piece of paper on my desk. Hurting… Angry… Lonely… Tired… When I find myself sensing any of the above feelings I know I need to HALT and get some perspective or if left untended my stress level will soar.

If I don’t take care of those needs I find myself making lousy parenting and marriage decisions. Life’s not easy. Parenting isn’t easy. Take time in the midst of your fast paced lifestyle to reduce your tension level. Take a walk. Read a Psalm. Watch a funny movie. Pay attention to your anger before it gets the best of you. If these simple ideas don’t work then by all means do the surgery it takes to reduce your stress load. Notice that I used the word surgery. To make the right decisions you may need to reduce your income, activities, and/or busy lifestyle choices. No easy answers here only difficult decisions. Too many times we look for the quick fix instead of making the necessary decisions our heart and mind tells us to make.

Posted April 18, 2011 by sotpyouth in General, Uncategorized

Facts & Dreams

"Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet." -Victor Hugo