Thursday, December 28, 2017

The 12 Days Of Vacation...Part 2

On the twelfth day of vacation my teenager gave to me
the back to school of "leave me alone, I'm getting up"

11 moans of vacation is too short

10 straight hours of sleeping

9 texts of "can I stay out a little longer"

8 different plans for New Years Eve

7 hours of playing video games

6 kids sleeping in the basement

5 minutes of peace

4 hugs and thank you's for great gifts and dinners

3 ride requests

2 loads of laundry

and mornings free of "get up you're going to be late."

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The 10 Days Of Vacation!

On the 1st day of vacation 
my teenagers gave to me
a morning free of "get up you're going to be late!

On the 2nd day of vacation 
my teenagers gave to me
2 loads of laundry
 and another morning free of get up you're going to be late

On the 3rd day of vacation my teenager gave to me 
3 ride requests
2 loads of laundry 
and another morning free of get up you're going to be late

On the 4th day of vacation my teenager gave to me
4 hugs and thanks for great gifts and dinners
3 ride requests
2 loads of laundry and 
another morning free of get up you're going to be late

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Holiday Gift For Your Teen: Some Advice From Us Old Folks

A friend shared this article with me recently, and I wished someone had told me this stuff when I was 16. At 66 I might not be able to get to all this but god I want to!!! Sit at your dinner table, bring along this list, and let your kids know that their youth should not be wasted. Carpe Diem!

And also here is my holiday gift to you. I just read yesterday this amazingly funny, smart, and oh so easy to relate to book called Nuclear Family by Susanna Fogel. Susanna is an author, and writes and directs for TV and Film. She has a giant blockbuster coming out this summer that she both wrote and directed staring  actress Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon of Saturday Night Live fame.

It is a novella about Julie, a 30 something who you never meet, but get to know very intimately through the letters she receives from her family and other "things" I don't want to spoil for you. If you are a mother, a father, a daughter, a sister, a grandmother, a friend, or like all of us has been someone's child, you will find yourself and everyone you know in this laugh your ass off book. I sat on the couch yesterday for 3 hours savoring it from cover to cover, laughing out loud and talking to myself. Treat yourself this holiday week. Sit down with coffee or better yet a cocktail and give some joy to yourself!!

Have an amazing and wonderful holiday with your family. Extra hugs and kisses all around!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It's Time For A Talk About Porn

I know this is not a fun topic. But it is a topic that must be discussed. In the olden days (when I was a teen) boys coveted their Playboys, and Penthouses, usually retrieved from their dad's trash. In today's world, those magazines seem so sweet; nude, beautiful, airbrushed, large breasted women..perfection personified. Ah, the days of yore.

Today's porn is live and in-person. As you will see on the video below, 25% of Internet searches are for porn, and I'm sure many of those searches are conducted by teenage boys. Unfortunately, the porn they are watching is not sweet. It is full of women being taunted by men,  and the sex is violent and disrespectful. These video images can shape a young boy into thinking that this is the way girls like sex, demeaning, humiliating and forceful. The number of calls I get from parents of girls who are being harassed sexually by boys is scary. And even scarier is the world we now live in with daily accusations of sexual assault and harassment about the people in our lives who are supposed to be our role models!!

Because of teen's easy access to porn on smartphones, IPADs, and laptops, parents are very much out of the loop. It used to be parents could check the history on their teen's laptop and see what they were up to, at least giving them the opportunity to have a discussion with their teen about the dangers of porn. Masturbation is not one of them. Thinking that women liked to be controlled is one of them. And in the link I have included, porn addiction is another.

Let's not leave girls out of this. A new favorite pass time at sleepovers is to go on sites like chatroullette to watch live, men masturbating. I know, icky!  This is a video social networking site in which you live chat with someone you do not know. Many men are on this site trolling for girls to have video sex with. I have had a number of calls from parents who go down to the basement to bring the girls some food, and lo and behold there is some guy on the computer screen moaning and groaning, and a gaggle of girls egging him on.

If there was ever a time for a sex talk, this is the time. Teens need to hear another side! It is not OK to be exploited, it is not OK to expect a girl to do whatever you want her to do, or for a girl to think she has to do whatever a boy wants. College campus's, high schools AND middle schools are now awash in sexual harrassment cases and date rape. The research is showing that this onslaught of easily accessed porn, unsupervised by parents is behind some of this behavior. This is an uncomfortable topic. But in our current culture we are now learning that respect for women is not something that is a given. It needs to start being taught at a young age, and never stop. It is modeling what goes on your own home, and with your friends, and it is using the daily barrage of news stories as teaching lessons. It is talking and talking and talking until maybe you are blue in the face.

Watch this video with your boys. Talk with them again and again and again.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Failure Is The Best!

Watch first then we'll discuss:

When your teen was a little boy or girl maybe it was falling off the bike a million times, or falling on the ice, learning to tie their shoes, and or even more basic like potty training. Now it's friendships full of betrayal, disappointment at not making the team or the school play, or losing an election and perhaps disappointing you when their performance at school, on the field, or on a stage doesn't live up to your expectations, or maybe the won't get into the college the wanted.

The good news is that depending how the "failure" is framed it can be used as a learning moment, and not a failure moment. A what could I do differently moment, or I'll just have to keep at it moment. Either way, when the hard work pays off, with a new friend they can trust, or a passion that feels fulfilling, or getting past a difficult math problem or english paper, the feeling that peserverance pays off can literally be life altering.

When we protect our kids from pain, we take away the option of growth. The problem is that our kids pain becomes our pain, and it feels unbearable to us, so we want to fix it. It may make us feel better, but your teen may get the message that you don't think they can handle pain and suffering. Our kids are a lot stronger than you might think, maybe even stronger than we are. Give them the chance to fall, to lose, to get the C. From adversity comes strength. And I'm sure you know, adulthood is full of adversity. Prepare them now, so they won't depend on you later to be the fixer.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Power Of Understanding: It Really Works!

Do you ever wonder why your teen's eyes roll back in their head every time you offer an opinion or think you have the answers to all of their problems. Most assuredly you are probably right! But unless you figure out a more effective way to deliver your message than " well you know honey, here is what I would do, and then blah blah blah,"you will undoubtedly walk away from these encounters unhappy.

Before you offer up your opinion, your teen has to first feel that you really do understand what they are dealing with. So for example, if your teen comes back from a practice and rants on and on about the coach and how he/she is an asshole, and never gives them any play, and is so mean and they want to quit, you have several ways to respond. You can say" You are not quitting, you are part of the team, and this is the way it is, suck it up!" Or you could say, " you know what honey, that guy really is an asshole, want me to give him/her a call and see if I can get him/her to give you more playtime." Or you could say, " you know honey, I think you should go up to the coach after practice, and let him know that you feel that he is not giving you enough play, and if he/she is having a problem with you, just let you know so you can work on it." All three of these responses indicate that you know better, and that you have the solution to the problem. While any one of these might take care of the problem, the response from your teen will probably be more like, " NO that's stupid, you don't understand, that's ridiculous, see that's why I never tell you anything.!" And so now you are hurt and mad at them because they think you are stupid, so instead of a warm fuzzy moment, you both stomp away completely unsatisfied with each other. 

Here is an alternative that works literally in every situation. It is what I call an " I get it" moment. Who doesn't want to be understood? We all do. There really is nothing more powerful then when someone "gets you". So in the above situation, rather than offering up an instant solution, you might start with an " I get how this feels really unfair. I get sitting on the bench sucks. What do you think is going on with the coach?"  This approach takes a lot longer, but your teen needs to learn how to process feelings and turn them into action him or herself.  If you give a solution they will tell you that you are stupid, I can almost guarantee it. But if you try to get them to solve the problem, you come out smelling like a rose.

These I get it moments work when your teen breaks curfew or doesn't do their homework, or gets disrespectful towards you, or doesn't take out the garbage, or screams at his/her younger siblings. Literally anywhere anyhow. " I get your brother can be a pain in the ass lets......" rather than "if you hit your brother one more time I'm taking away your phone, your computer..." " I get taking out the garbage is the absolutely last thing you want to be doing, lets figure out...." rather than" I am sick and tired of asking you to take out the garbage, you are lazy and ungrateful." I get you get caught up with your friends and lose track of the time, lets figure out a way...." rather than, you're grounded, I am sick of your excuses. "I get you are pissed off at me, and hate me sometimes, how can we do better?" rather than don't you ever talk to me that way again, I'm taking away your phone!

If you were a teenager which statement would encourage you to talk?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Saying NO May Have Unexpected Consequences

I read a wonderful editorial recently. (see below) Most parents say NO when their teens make one of their many requests because the requests are either unreasonable, unsafe or because parents are tired, worn out and aren't in the mood to deal. But after reading this article it got me to thinking about the times in my life when I got a NO. And many times, that NO forced me to rethink, readjust expectations, and become more creative. For example, when the book I published a few years ago: A Survival Guide To Parenting Teens, Talking To Your Kids About Sexting Drinking Drugs and Other Things That Freak You Out, (see how I put that plug in this blog!) was in it's infant stage, I showed what I thought was a finished manuscript to a big time editor of a big time publisher who I had met socially and who graciously offered to read it. I thought I had hit the holy grail. Hey everyone had told me this publishing thing was hard, and first time out I had my book in someone's hands. Initially the feedback was good, but then I got the "I think we'll pass" email, but with some very sage advice. First I had to lick my wounds. I was disappointed, and had to grieve the hit to my ego. But now I can see that this NO is what made my book something I am really proud of. At the time, I didn't think I had in me, to re-think and re-write, but that NO made me see that I did.

Saying NO doesn't have to be punitive. It can be a gateway to growth. This quote says it all:
Amichay identifies three types of “no”: The one that makes us try harder; the one that inspires us to rethink our visions; and finally, the one that moves us into a different direction. 

So one of those times you say NO to your teen, maybe give them that chance to move in another direction. For example, when they come to you with one of their cockamamie, ridiculous, what are you thinking requests; instead of saying NO this is ridiculous, you can say: " Go back rethink, and come back to me with a more reasonable plan, and let's talk. Make them work just a little bit harder, and think just a little bit more, and maybe then they will get their holy grail YES.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Things Teens Do To Make Their Parents Crazy!!

What is it with these teens anyway? How can they be so self-absorbed, and selfish? How many times have you found yourself saying to your teen: "I ask so little of you, you can't even do this one thing, after all the things I do for you, even just this one thing you can't do?????"

You are right when you say that it doesn't make sense. Cause it doesn't. How hard is it to empty the dishwasher, or bring the basket of freshly washed and folded clothes (which you very nicely did for them) up to their room and put it all away? Obviously not hard. It may be that it is your delivery system of expectations that isn't working. Notes, too easy to ignore, in-person requests, to easy to dismiss..."I'll do it!!!!!!!" But of course they don't. Why? Cause there is really no real motivation to do it. They don't really care about their laundry, until of course they can't find their favorite pair of jeans that you must be hiding somewhere, and now they're late, and it's all your fault!!! Crazy making!

Find a delivery system that will work. Is it a text? Is it an alarm on their phone? Is it a denial of a ride request, money for the weekend, new outfit. As in "gee honey, I'd love to do, take, buy X for you, let me know when you empty the dishwasher. But I will tell you what doesn't work, and that is the yelling, and the lecturing that they only think of themselves. The truth, they do only think about themselves....for now. Your son or daughter does not have a character flaw, you have not spoiled them (unless you have), they are in this moment of time, and they do need your help, just not the yelling kind.