Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Real Strategy-A Response to Steubenville

A young woman disgusted with the coverage of the Steubenville case, decided to take it into her own hands, literally. She is a film student. She made this simple, yet effective PSA and posted it on youtube. It has already had over 1,000,000 hits. Show it to your teens, boys and girls. This is what they should expect from each other!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Father's Love And Acceptance

This letter was posted on facebook, and became a huge hit for gay and lesbians, parents of gay and lesbians, or people like me, who love seeing a parent show complete unconditional acceptance for who their son is. In this case it is that his son is gay. What a gift this dad gave to his son, who is clearly worried to share this most important part of who he is, to the parents he loves. The worry and anticipation and probable dread of sharing this most intimate detail has probably plagued this young man for some time. How wonderful that his dad took all the fear away.

Maybe what your teen has to share with you is not something as significant as his/her sexuality. Perhaps it may be that they want to quit a sport or musical instrument that has played a significant role in all your lives, and worries that you will judge them harshly and see them as a quitter. Perhaps your son or daughter realizes that they are not ready for college, and need time to figure out some stuff before they commit to such an enormous decision, and worry that you will think they are a loser.

Kids worry .....a lot about what their parents think about them. They sense your expectations for them, and know that sometimes they just won't be able to live up to them, and think that will change what you think and feel about them forever.

Accepting who your kids are can sometimes be hard for parents. We all have hopes and dreams for our kids, sometimes they are our dreams unfulfilled, and we look to our kids to do better, and sometimes we see our kids as reflections of ourselves, and want them to be "just like us." Sometimes they are, and sometimes they are not.

If you sense that your teen has something they need to say to you, but avoid it like the plaque. Like this dad, give them the gift of acceptance.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Teen's And Their Emotional Volcano

Zits Cartoon for Mar/09/2013

Getting caught off guard by the emotional drama of your teen's life can be unsettling. Unsuspecting parents, sitting down for a relaxing night of TV can be rocked by the swear laden screaming tirade heard coming from the vicinity of their teen's bedroom. Here are some possible causes:

  •  Their phone dropped on the floor, and it pissed them off
  • They hate doing their homework, and their text book fell on the floor and it pissed them off.
  • You asked them a question, any question, and it pissed them off.
  • They want to go out and wear their favorite pair of jeans which are scrunched up in  a ball in the corner of the room stained with the ketchup from the burger they ate last weekend. Of course it is your fault the jeans are stained, in the corner of their room, and unwashed. They are pissed off. 
  • They open the refrigerator and there are no more bottles of their favorite, juice, soda, water. You are a terrible parent for not keeping all their supplies up and they are pissed off. 
Ok, get it!! The stupidest things can set off the emotional volcano that is their brain. They have been sucking down life's small hurdles and humiliations all day, and it is whatever that last thing is that makes them blow. Literally. 

Your strategy is to not contribute any more fuel for this raging fire. It may have nothing really to do with you, for a change, but you might have been the last person to speak, and was the spark that set the firestorm off. Rather than letting your feelings get hurt, or get mad because their anger is now focused on you, just give them a shrug, and in the calmest voice you can muster a: " I get you are frustrated, let me know if there is any way I can help" and then leave them alone. Nothing good will come of getting pulled into this probably short-lived tantrum. And frankly, that really is what it is. It just needs to run it's course, without your interference. 
As long as doesn't get bigger, it will probably be over by dinner.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another Teaching Moment From Steubenville

There was an article in my morning newspaper about two girls from Steubenville who were clearly unhappy that the two football players who raped and humiliated a 16 year year old girl were being punished. To help them work through their anger, these two high school girls decided that the victim of the rape should be punished for telling the truth, and threatened her via twitter. Luckily, the tweets were read by a concerned person worried for the safety of the rape victim, and reported these posted threats. The two girls were arrested and charged with intimidation of a victim, telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing.

These are very serious charges, even charged as juveniles, these girls could be sentenced to juvenile detention until age 21. Teens are just not getting it. Threatening to hurt someone is a crime. Threatening to hurt someone on social media is a bad crime. And a crime that can be easily validated. A written record is a written record.

Many teens get caught up in the drama of friendships. Someone talked behind someone's back, someone talked to someone's girlfriend or boyfriend, someone spread rumors about someone else, etc etc etc. Revenge is so easy nowadays, just whip open the phone, or the computer, and put out in the universe the fantasy of what you would like to do to the person who wronged you.

Teens and betrayal has been in issue since the beginning of time. This is not new news. Because teens live in the emotional part of the brain, they do not shrug off these perceived wrongs. In the past you would gossip about it, lie in bed and dream about all the horrible things you would do to this person, and write about it in your diary. But that is as far as it would go. Now with the ability to say it to the world, and humiliate your nemesis in the public twitterverse, a teen can feel enormous satisfaction. Most teens are really just spouting venom with no real intention of doing harm. But in the times we now live in, threats will be taken seriously. Teens will be arrested, and teens will be punished. Please use this story as a teaching lesson. Using this "I get it" moment. "I get you get pissed at people in your life and I know there may be times where you just want to say something on facebook or twitter that is really bad and scary and embarrassing to get back at someone you feel has screwed you. First an "eye for an eye" is a very mean-spirited way to deal with a situation. It brings you down to the level of that jerk, and secondly it can be misinterpreted by anyone reading what you put out there. You are putting your own freedom in jeopardy. Just ask these two girls!"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Teens And Test Anxiety

For those of you who have teens with test anxiety, this article found at the bottom of this page will be a god send. Perhaps PSATs or SATs are in your teen's near future, or your state's school achievement tests, or maybe just a chapter quiz on his/her math or history chapter. Whatever it is, you may be dreading these tests more than your teen, knowing how stressed and anxious your teen gets when any testing situation rears it's ugly head. Well it turns out, that how stressed your teen, or any age kid for that matter gets, has everything to do with biology and genes.

Scientists have isolated a particular gene-COMT that is responsible for maintaining an optimal level of dopamine in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. This is the executive functioning part of the brain, that is responsible for thinking. Some of us have either of one particular variant of this gene, and others of us have a combo of both.

Variant 1 COMT gene clears the dopamine from the brain slowly. Under non-stressful conditions this allows for optimal learning. Usually variant 1 holders are intelligent and good learners. However under stressful situations,when dopamine floods their brain, and it can't clear the dopamine fast enough, these people crumble under stress. Think of a car engine that usually runs very well, but when the engine floods, no go. Some of you may have teens who are extremely good students, study hard and get good grades, but when they are tested, like in an SAT, their scores are much lower that expected, given their consistency of good grades. This COMT is what is responsible, the brain literally is on dopamine overload.

Now the variant 2 COMT gene works just the opposite. It clears the dopamine from the brain very quickly. These are the kinds of learners who are often bored and lackadaisical. But for them, when they are in that same SAT stress-filled situation and the dopamine is flushing through their brain in great quantities, their brain get into high gear and they often do really well in testing situations. Think of mild-mannered Clark Kent who goes into the phone booth and blasts out of it as Superman. For those of you with kids like this, you will see low motivation for the boring repetitive nature of regular school, but get them in a testing situation they do amazing. So maybe you might see, mediocre grades but high test scores.

Some people have a combination of both COMT genes and are just right in the biology department of the brain.

Whew!!!! This is alot of science. Best to read the article below for the full explanation. But I do want to talk about how to use this information with your teens, I am a firm believer that knowledge is power. For those of you who have kids with the Variant 1 COMT- high anxiety stressful situations, just letting them know that there is a brain chemistry factor here may be a huge relief. These kinds of kids can be so hard on themselves when they fail to live up to their own expectations, judging themselves way more harshly than you or their teachers. Helping them to understand that when they get stressed, their brain can't function in the most optimal way. For these kids, it would be helpful to help them develop strategies for decreasing stress prior to these testing situations. Doing visualization exercises, imagining themselves feeling confident and relaxed during testing, or teaching them how to do relaxation breathing before going into a stressful situation. Download a meditation from Itunes they can listen to prior to engaging in a stressful situation. The most important thing is to give them the confidence that this is something they can change and work on and be in control of.

For your variant 2 COMT, it is not the testing situation that is their problem it is the more mundane of daily learning and working to keep their motivation up. You want to keep their brain flooded with dopamine at all times. These are kids who would work very well with incentives, and competitions, helping them to getting excited about something they can win/get after a challenge.

Where ever your kids fall in this continum, giving your kids the information gives them the power to be in control of their brain. And since the stage of Adolescence is all about power and control, it is a perfect match!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Steubenville, Ohio-Lessons For Our Teens On Sexual Safety

For those of you unfamiliar with the Steubenville, Ohio teen rape case, here is what happened. After an alcohol infused night of partying with the Steubenville, Ohio high school football team, an unconscious young teen girl, passed out drunk, was digitally raped, photographed nude, urinated on and otherwise humiliated by scores of teens and was left naked on a basement floor. A record of tweets and pictures taken during the night,and confiscated by the police identified two boys from the football team as the main perpetrators. The case was brought to trial. The girl chose to testify, and yesterday the two boys were convicted as juveniles of rape.

This story has been written about and commentated by every news organization imaginable, and this story is a must read for all parents of teens, and their teens. As ugly and disgusting as this story is to read about, and write about, you must read about and talk about it with your teens. How else can we teach them about sexual safety, and respect, and empathy, then through example. Unfortunately, this is an example of the dark underbelly of teen behavior.

This story began with a party hosted by the teams assistant coach, where alcohol was provided. The young girl was so drunk at this party that she ran outside to vomit, and when her friends tried to help her, she struck out in a drunken haze and the friends retreated, leaving her to her own devices. This girl was taken by some of the boys to another party where her evening of hell began. She has no memory of anything.

Many teens were witness to the rape and humiliation of this girl. Entertained by this side show, the "audience" of teens took pictures and videos, and tweeted gaily about the fun of abusing an almost dead girl. Their words, not mine. Not one person, male or female, stepped in to stop this.

Why why why did no one help?? Here is where the teaching begins.

First, parents please talk to your girls and your boys about what happens when you drink so much that you pass out and lose your memory. Boys do the unthinkable, become abusive and aggressive towards the girls. Why??Because they are not in their right minds, literally. When inhibitions are down, primal adolescent sexual urges take over. And combined with their own fantasies and the images of the porn boys now watch., which is mostly about the degradation of women, they feel free to act out what they feel and what they have been watching on their tiny little screens. Girls, do the unthinkable when they binge drink. They become immune to their ability to set limits and say no to things in their right mind they would never consent too. This is dangerous stuff. It is your job to help them see this.

Where were their friends, why did no one stop this insanity? Humiliation becomes the entertainment of the night. It would take an incredibility strong and confident teen to stand up to their friends. And unfortunately, most teens don't see an alternative plan, and choose to stay quiet. This is where you can help. They need a game plan that allows them to get help while saving face. Yes saving face is a reality. Most teens feel way too vulnerable to take a public stand. But here are some things you can coach them to do in a situation that feels dangerous:

1. Have them text you, and you can make the calls to the police anonymously.

2. Have them gather kids they feel comfortable with and try to change the situation as a group.

3. Have your teens take turns being safety buddies. Just like buddies in the pool at camp, have set times where you check in with your buddy. If anyone is in an unsafe situation, get other friends to help or have your teen text you.

4. You are the safety net. Make sure your teen knows that you will always be available to help them help a friend. If this girl had had this arrangement, someone could have stopped it. Teens are often afraid of getting a parent involved for fear of retribution from their friends. Help them to understand that the guilt they will feel if a friend gets in serious trouble and they do nothing, will be way worse than getting them help.

This is very tough stuff. These were good kids, good students, good friends. But in an alcohol infused environment, with absolutely no adult supervision (remember the asst coach provided the alcohol) anything can and does happen. This is an extreme, but I have talked with many parents who have stories of their kids who have ended up in an emergency room having their stomach pumped, or girls who have been date raped.

This conversation needs to happen with compassion, and understanding, not judgement and threats. Your kids need you!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Facing Fear

I was in LA for a few days and had the opportunity to hang out with a real live horse whisperer. A friend of mine owns an albino horse, which means that the pure white of the horse also extends to her eyes. Albino horses have some vision disability. As a result they can become quite fearful and skittish when they sense something they can't see. And that is why my friend hired a horse whisperer. To help this horse confront her fears and work through them.

Sounds like therapy to me. I watched this guy in action when the horse became fearful of something none of us could see or find an explanation for. The horse would become agitated, and refuse to move forward or backward. The "whisperer" calmly acknowledged the horses fear, but urged with control and calm for her to move forward. His efforts weren't instantaneous, but in time, without anger or frustration from the whisperer, the horse trusted him, and moved on. This process will need to be practiced and repeated by my friend, until her horse believes that with fear can come safety and comfort.

Isn't this a life skill we should try to teach our kids? Teens in particular are faced with so many new challenges and fears; Who am I? Who will I become? Where will I fit in? What will interest me? What is my future? What is my present? As parents we want them to take risks, the safe kind, try new things, meet new people, go on adventures, and get out of their comfort zone. If we give in to their fears, and leave them be, we don't give them our belief that though change is scary, working through it can bring eventual safety, comfort and growth, just like with that beautiful albino horse. Get that horse out of the barn and there is a world to run in and explore.

I worked with a couple once whose daughter's needs were to get out of her community where she felt like a square peg in a round hole. She had passions and interests that could not be supported in the town she lived, but could be if she could get on a train and go into the nearby city. The parents were homebodies, and never much left their community. It was time to get the "horse out of the pasture." In order for the daughter to feel that the bigger world was a safe and accepting place, the parents had to do it first, and show her the way. And because these parents loved their daughter, and "got" that she needed to experience life in a different way, they all became adventurers together, researching opportunities, figuring out transportation, and opening the door to adventure. They were all fearful, but with coaching, and persistence, these parents were able to help their daughter find a new way to feed herself. Once the pasture door was open, and she trusted those who urged her out,  she flew out the barn door!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Four Ways Of Fighting-Part 3

Fight 4

This is perhaps the most upsetting of the fights you will have with your teen. The other 3 are not always fun but they are an expected and normal part of the parent teen relationship. This last fight occurs when your teen has really crossed the line. Something has come out of their mouth that is seriously hurtful and disrespectful. Perhaps they have screamed "I hate you" or has even said f**k you or something similar. This is absolutely not acceptable. Not ever!!!

You might be surprised at first when you start to read the following strategy. Most parents when confronted with sentiments or language like that, scream back " You will not talk to me like that!!!" Except they already have! Parents will often at this point take away anything and everything they think will "teach that kid a lesson." Gone goes the cellphone, the computer. The teen is grounded and who knows what else. The problem with this type of reaction is that it doesn't really address the crux of this type of argument..the relationship.

In this approach, you do the unexpected. After your teens spew, you look them calmly in the eye, and say without yelling:" I can't believe that you would say something like that to me." And that is all you say. And then you turn away and walk away. Your teen will be shocked. They will be expecting an all out battle. But don't allow yourself to be drawn into the fray. Remember teens actually like the fight. I want you to deprive them of that release.

And here is the most important consequence for your teen. Not losing the phone or the computer or being gounded. The next time your teen comes to you and asks for a ride, money, help with homework, needs to get to staples, whatever, and believe me, it will happen, if not that night but the next morning. Your teen needs and gets alot from you, because that is what parents do, they help their kids. But this time you say, calmly and without attitude: You know honey, I would have love to drive you, helped you with, etc today, but when you said (and say back here whatever it is they said) I really don't feel that I want to do that for you today.

It is really important here not to be sarcastic. You don't want to act like a child as in : "you think I am going to help you out in anyway after the way you have been treating me!" Don't do that. What you are teaching your teen by using this approach is that relationships are reciprocal. When you are disrespected and hurt by someone, you don't want to do the things that normally would be acts of kindness and love.

I had a parent do this once after a particularly abusive incident by her teenage daughter. This mother usually drove her daughter to school every morning, even though it was only a mile walk. The mother loved doing this for her daughter because she knew it gave a few extra minutes in that tough early morning time. After a horrible battle the previous evening when the daughter became abusive, the mom decided that she would not drive her daughter to school. In the morning, the daughter had completely forgotten the fight, and was ready for mom to drive. The daughter, seeing that mom was not dressed or moving to the car, the girl said," Mom, I have to get to school, come on." And the mom calmly said: You know honey, I love driving you to school, but last night when you me, I was very hurt and really don't feel like helping you out today."The daughter was stunned. And of course, denied the fight, denied the abuse. I had coached mom, not to say another word. And the daughter left for school. All day long the daughter texted her mom apologizing profusely. It was the first time this mom had taken a stand for herself. And it worked!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The four Ways Of Fighting-Part 2

Fight 3:

More often than not, your teen knows exactly how to push your buttons, and can take you from 0-100 in a nano second. Or maybe you are a bit of a control freak and like to have the last word, in any argument, not just one with your teen. In both cases an argument with your teen gets way out of control. In these situations both parties tend to forget what actually started the fight and have moved onto what a bad parent you are from you teen's point of view or, what an ungrateful, rude disrespectful teen he/she is from your perspective!  There are no winners in this fight, and no resolution.

One of your most important jobs as a parent is to teach your teen crisis resolution skills. The model that you practice in your family, whether duking it out until everybody is either slamming doors or in tears, or avoiding conflict altogether are not productive or healthy ways to resolve conflict. Remember that however your family deals with hot tempers is what your kids will take with them into their relationships outside of your family, with their friends, their lovers, their bosses, their neighbors. So take a good hard look at what you have been modeling and teaching your children about fair fighting.

There are times that everyone loses it even with the best laid plans. You are tired, overworked, stressed to the max and when your teen pushes your buttons, you lose control. I hope this strategy will help you in those situations.

Your first task is to recognize when you have lost it. Are you screaming? Are your veins pulsing out of your neck? This does require some on the spot self-reflection, but trust me, practicing makes it easier. So you are yelling and out of control as is your teen. You recognize this and say as calmly as humanly possible: " We are both out of control, we need to take a break" And that is what you do. Do not tell your teen to leave the room, YOU LEAVE! And don't make the mistake of just moving into another room, your teen will follow you, because they have not gotten the answer they want, and are very motivated to wear you done. Leave the house if you can, walk the dog, get a coffee, sit in your car! If this doesn't seem possible than at least go to your bedroom and close the door. Some teens are relentless and will follow you to your room and barge in trying to get what they are looking for. If your teen is not respecting your boundaries, rather than getting into a fight about "not respecting your boundaries" turn to them and calmly say" " I am going in to take a shower now, and will be getting naked momentarily, hope you don't mind" and now start to disrobe. Your teen will run for the hills, trust me, no teen wants to even think about their parent naked! In either case, take whatever time you need to calm yourself. Then go to your teen and say: " I really would like to hear what you have to say. " And now it is your job to just listen. Don't start back in again with the same lecture you left off with. That will just get the fight going again. Now that your teen has calmed down as well, you might not actually hear the crazy impulsive demands you heard in round one. Maybe there will be some room for compromise now that everyone is listening, and then again maybe not. Maybe as in fight 2, the request is unsafe or unreasonable. In this case do as in fight 2, empathise with their disappointment, give a shoulder shrug, and walk away!

Stay tuned for Part 4 on Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Four Ways Of Fighting-Part 1

Probably the most positive feedback I get from parents attending my seminar is from the segment I do on THE FOUR WAYS OF FIGHTING. Who doesn't have fights with their teen. You do, you do ! I hope today's and tomorrow's blog give you the tools that make this aspect of parenting a teen a little easier.


OK, so sometimes your teen is snarky and sarcastic. They make fun of you, your clothes, your job, your cooking, just like a bully. This actually isn't as mean spirited as it seems. Here is why. Your teen's newly updated brain is now able to perform the skill of analysis. They are literally having thoughts about you they have never had before. Prior to this delightful stage, your child saw you as perfection personified. Sure, you might be unfair sometimes by not letting them eat an extra snack or stay up a little later, but basically, you were their #1! Moving into adolescence and this newer model of brain, they are now capable of seeing all your imperfections and moments of hypocrisy. What fun to see your parents capable of the same kinds of mistakes that you make! And they want to make sure that you know it. Hello sarcasm! You can reframe this by acknowledging that having a teen is like having your very own free, in-house psychologist. Perhaps their "feedback" about you could be helpful. Telling you something about yourself you may be unaware of. Sometimes this feedback just feels mean-spirited and hurtful,  and your react with anger and hurt. "How dare you be so disrespectful" you may chant to your teen. If this is how you  respond to some of these "gotcha" moments, than your teen is getting their thumbs up response. It makes them feel powerful. "I have the power to make the all-powerful parent feel bad...score!"

Instead, fight this sarcasm with humor. Don't give them the power to hurt your feelings. You do not want to give a "bully" any power. Instead, after one of those mean boy/girl comments go to them with a huge hug and say: "You are just so cute when you are trying to be a bully" You want to catch them off guard with your love. But your message really is, "no way buster are you getting away trying to make me feel small!"


There are many times as a parent that you have to say NO to your teen because their request is unsafe or unreasonable. I know there are many other times that you say NO to your teen, but that may be more of the knee-jerk reaction kind, when your teen has caught you off guard, in the middle of something or just so dog tired that you are hoping that NO will be a conversation stopper. I am not talking about that NO. So your teen has asked in their usual impulsive, not having thought through way for permission to go, get or do something. You are clear on this NO. You have no ambivalence what so ever, there is no room for compromise here. So you say NO, and all hell breaks lose. Your teen goes ballistic having already given themselves permission in their own head, and your NO is in direct contradiction to their inner dialogue. This draws you into a defensive and lecturing posture, attempting to give your teen a reasonable rationale for your decision. Let the fighting begin. Unfortunately they stopped listening at NO. 

Instead try this. Because YOU are so clear on your no, you have no need to get defensive. This leaves you free to be on their side by understanding their disappointment. Instead of saying: " Well this is my answer and if you don't like it you can go find another family!" You can say: I get you are pissed at me, 
and you are disappointed. I know it must be hard to see your friends do something that we don't think is safe. I get it." And that my friends is it! Give a shoulder shrug which is the period at the end of your sentence. There really is nothing left to say. You have stated your case, you have empathised and understood their disappointment. Done. Having realistic expectations here is key. When your teen hears NO to something that has been a YES in their head, they will not thank you for your wonderful parenting decision. They will be mad, very mad. Understandably mad. You have crushed their dream of whatever their dream was. Its OK to let them be mad, without having to get mad at them.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Let The College Acceptances and Rejections Begin

Tis the season.....For all of you who have high school seniors, the college acceptance and rejection season is upon you. You are in high anxiety, and your teen is in higher anxiety. This feels like a defining moment for everyone, even though is not. Admission to college is a little like a shell game these days. Sometimes kids get into the colleges they did not expect, and sometimes they get rejected from a school they thought was a sure thing.  Sometimes kids get into what they thought was their dream school, and by the end of the first semester they are miserable, disillusioned, and can't wait to transfer somewhere else.

Your first job is to monitor your own emotional temperature, and manage your own expectations. Where your senior gets in or doesn't get in does not define him or her or YOU. It does does not make them a genius or a loser. It is a moment in time. I have seen kids go to the school of their dreams and fail miserably, and I have seen kids go to their bottom of the list choice and end up happy, and very successful. Once the initial shock, excitement, or disappointment wears off, as it does by summer when you are in buying for the dorm mode, all will be forgotten except for the excitement of starting college...any college!  If you are more excited than, or more disappointed then your teen, you need to tone it down. Your teen is not in the business of having to meet or not meet your expectations and dreams for them. They have enough to contend with dealing with their own feelings. Talk to your partner, talk to your mother, talk to your friends, but don't impose your emotional agenda on your child. That will truly be the best gift you can give them for graduation!

What you can do is that will be helpful to your perspective college freshman is validate whatever feelings they are having. You don't need to try to make it all better, or tell them what you think they should do or go, you just need to understand and be in THEIR moment with them. As In: "I get this must be exciting for you, or disappointing for you,or frustrating for you, etc, etc" Remember that your teen lives in the emotional part of their brain. So whatever the outcome of this college decision process is, your teen will feel first, think later. Give them the time to do that. There are alot of factors that weigh in on the college decision, $$, location, course offerings, distance from home, but there is time to think about all those things later. Give your teen the time to process, and sit with the results. Maybe even a few weeks before you even start talking about it. You might say;" I get how hard this decision will be for you, I know you have a lot to think about. I want to give you time to just digest before we have to really get on the decision making stick. I am happy to talk with you anytime, but I want you to know that I respect your need to think on it. Let me know how I can help."

And finally, please respect your teen's privacy when it comes to sharing the acceptances or rejections. Maybe your teen could care less who knows and will give you permission to tell the world. But some kids are VERY sensitive about this whole process and absolutely do not want their business shared with the masses. Case in point: I was at my gym last week and over heard a discussion between two moms who were spin class acquaintances, not best friends. Both were going down their teen's list of where they were accepted or rejected. I wondered why that seemed so important to two women who didn't even know or care about each other's kids. I know parents are proud when their kids get into schools that make them proud. Often I see those parents starting off the conversation, just so someone will ask them about their kids. Try not to get into the " My kids better than your kid" state of mind. All of our kids are wonderful, and where they get in or don't get in will not change that!