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10 Ways to Make Family Time a Priority Can Make a Difference with Your Teens

Do make family time a priority?

Let’s face it, most parents are working full time, both parents are working or many families are single parent households.  It is hard to find family time, it is harder to find even a night to have dinner together, but it is imperative we make that time.

Parents work to support their families by providing food, shelter and hopefully a comfortable lifestyle. Unfortunately, this usually means both parents are working and the demands of their jobs often take precedence over time spent with their family. The almighty paycheck often takes control forcing the rest of the family into the back seat. It’s easy to lose sight of the reason you’re working so hard to begin with; to provide for your family.

Here are 10 ways to put your family first over work and keep them there.

  1. Family night – A regularly scheduled family night is must. Hopefully this can be done at least once a week. Set aside this special time committed to your family and don’t waiver. Whether you go out or stay home, spending time together is all that matters.
  2. Prioritize – Make a concerted effort to set priorities and write them down. Then when you’re faced with making a decision regarding your family or work, you have guidelines to go by.
  3. Checklist – It’s also a good idea to make a checklist of things you need to do for your family every day. You already know what you need to get done at work, so make it just as important to get your family commitments done also.
  4. Get permission – When faced with a dilemma of work or family, get them to help you make the decision. If you need to work late and miss your daughter’s basket ball game, you’ll feel much less guilty if you have her permission first.
  5. Make rules – Have the whole family make a set of rules and stick by them. Kids need to follow the rules so parents should be held accountable also. Also make sure the punishment fits the crime.
  6. Set boundaries – If a clear cut set of rules won’t work for your situation, at least set some boundaries. Limit the hours of work per week, or a minimum number of days off per month. This way you can have some flexibility with limits.
  7. Reevaluate – If your work is continually taking priority over your family, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your situation. Perhaps you shouldn’t have taken that last promotion or you need to find a job that’s less demanding.
  8. Get your boss involved – Make sure your boss or supervisor knows that family comes first. They’re likely to be more understanding than you think. Almost everyone else has family obligations to contend with, and will only take advantage of workers that let them.
  9. Flex time – If you have a job that doesn’t require you to have set hours, see if you can set up a flexible time schedule. This way you can schedule your job around your family instead of the other way around. It shouldn’t matter what time you’re working as long as you get the job done on time.
  10. Work from home – You may even be able to set it up so you can work from home. If this doesn’t fit with your current employment, maybe you can find other work that does allow you to work from your home. There are endless possibilities for people with the self discipline to do it.

For many people, their job is an important part of their life, but it shouldn’t take priority over family. Finding that balance in your life is so important. There’s only one first birthday and nobody has the promise of tomorrow to do what didn’t get done today. You can never regret the decision to put your family first over work.

Source:  Live In Nanny

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Teens and Finances: How much do they know about Money Management

New study: Teens FLUNK Financial Literacy!

Holidays are here, people are spending money.

What role model are you setting for your kids?

Approximately fifteen hundred high school seniors were recently asked basic facts about personal finance, and the great majority were stumped for answers. The results were not promising for our children’s future:

REALITY CHECK: 95% of teens surveyed scored below a C in financial literacy.

Wonder why? Another survey finds a key reason for teens’ low financial scores:

REALITY CHECK: 80% of all college freshman admit to never having a conversation with their parents about managing their money. What’s more, almost one in four of these same teens say it’s just fine to blow as much as $500 without checking in with their parents.

The findings are hardly a proud parenting moment, but I also hope you are starting to get my drift.

The truth is too many kids are flunking financial literacy and one big reason may be that we’ve failed to teach our children a few essential “money smart lessons.”

If you’re concerned about your kids’ future spending habits, then start your money talk now and there’s no better time than these next few weeks. Newspapers will be filled with coupons and penny savers. Television ads for holidays “deals” will air non-stop. Teen magazines will feature those supposed holiday “in” gadgets and “must have” items. Those are also perfect opportunities to let your kids know that money doesn’t come easy. It’s also the time to review that  you do have clear expectations and limits about your family’s spending during the holidays. Here are a few ways to weave in those crucial money chats over the coming weeks with your kids.

Kids look to us as the example to copy so how are you doing in modeling money smarts to your children? Are your kids seeing you cut out those coupons? Waiting for the right price?

Displaying smart spending habits? Prioritizing your must-haves? Beware that your children learn spending and saving habits from you. How are you doing?

  • Monitor TV Consumption:  Television is the one of the biggest culprits in fueling kids’ spending urges, and commercials are relentless in trying to get kids to buy, buy, buy. Research also shows that media impacts our children’s money attitudes and increases materialism. During the next few weeks those retailers will be pushing products and urging your kids to spend. So beware of those advertisements! Do take time to explain to your kids the real intention of those advertisers.
  • Use Real-Life Examples:  Take your child shopping with you. I dare ya! But when–or if–you do, show him how you compare prices. Explain to her how you look for bargains. Use those outings as teaching moments that do instill good shopping habits.
  • Teach Bargain Hunting:  If your kids are purchasing gifts for siblings (or even you!) get them involved inchecking out those penny saver ads. Have them clip out coupons. Tune your kids into the bargains at those dollar stores. Hit the outlet malls, and don’t overlook thrift stores and even garage sales. And tell them to watch for sales! Grandma will never know if her present was ten dollars less because Johnny waited to buy until sales day.
  • Cut Impulsive Shopping:  Set a household rule that your child must write down any pricier intended purchase, and then postpone buying it for at least twenty-four hours. It’s a great way to teach kids to delay gratification and to “Think” before spending. A younger kid can draw it  on her “wish list.”The wait time could vary from an hour or day to a week or month depending on the  child’s age and maturity.  If your kid loses interest before the time is up, even she will agree that she didn’t really want that item after all.
  • Teach “Wants vs. Needs”:  This is the “Gotta Have It NOW Generation” so a big step in helping today’s kids learn to be smart spenders is teaching the difference between “want it…” vs. “need it.” The trick is to get your kids to assess what they already have that is still in good shape and can be recycled, what’s missing and then what’s really needed is on the “need” list and holiday request list. Now your kids can create a holiday wish list based on real needs not wants to help prioritize spending.
  • Do One Store Shopping to Boost Consumer Skills: Your kids planning to do their own holiday shopping? If so, this is a great way to help teach them consumer skills. Consider choosing just one store that has the best bargains to take the kids this year (like Wall Mart, Target, K-Mart) for their gift-buying. By announcing, “We’re shopping only at this store,” the kids are forced to look for the best bargains in one place and you won’t find yourself driving to multiple stores (and bringing back multiple items). This is also the time for them to bring their coupons and shopping lists. Make sure you also have them compare prices of items so they understand value.
  • Consider After-Holidays Gift Buying:  Seriously! I know more families who realize the best deals are December 26. Those parents set a new rule: “You receive a few items under the tree but wait for that pricier item the day after the holidays.” The kids learn to appreciate the value of a good deal, the parents are grateful to save a ton of money, and the whole family enjoys that day after shopping outing for everyone’s “one special–and better-priced-gift.”

Special contributor:  Parenting Expert, Dr. Michele Borba

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Michele Borba is the author of over 25 parenting books including The Big Book of Parenting Solution

PTA: Why Parents Should Get Involved

“I don’t have time!”

“There are other parents that want to”

“It’s just not for me”

EXCUSES!  When it comes to your child and their education, teachers, schools and communities, parents need to make the time and become interested in an organization that is targeted at making a better academic life for your child.

Concerns about public schools are much in the news, in recent times. Politicians, business leaders, college admissions officials, and academic researchers, have much to say about the quality, or lack thereof, of teaching methods and subject matter. How can a concerned parent make sense of it all and judge whether their child is receiving a proper education?

In the middle of it all, ignored by many and supported by not nearly enough, are local Parent-Teacher Associations. Local PTAs can and should be a valuable resource for any parent with questions, concerns, or ideas about how their children should be taught and cared for by schools.

Got Questions?

If you want to know how your school compares academically with local, state, and national standards, your local PTA can provide that information for you. If you have specific questions about how your child’s classroom operates, and what teaching resources your child’s teachers have available to them, your local PTA can help you obtain the answers you are looking for.

Your local PTA will be happy to provide informational materials, as well as offering you an ear for specific questions about curriculum and available services that you feel are not being addressed adequately by school administrators.

Got Complaints?

All local Parent-Teacher Associations have members that focus on parent concerns about teachers and/or classroom activities. Quite often, these concerns turn out to be based on misconceptions about classroom activities or one-sided reports from students to parents. If, after attempting to raise an issue with a teacher or administrator, a parent still feels the issue is not being properly dealt with, the local PTA can act as arbitrator or information collector in helping to find solutions.

Got Ideas?

If you think that you have ideas that would benefit your school’s ability to educate the kids in your community, the local PTA is a great place to bring your ideas for discussion. As a group, teachers are eager to hear any ideas you may have about helping them work better with your children. A local PTA gives you direct access to teachers ears, whether your ideas are about general teaching or specific issues with teaching your child.

This is, in fact, the major reasons that PTAs were created; to help teachers and parents work together in answering each other’s questions and addressing the education needs of students.

Got Time?

If you have even a few hours per month that you can devote to increasing the quality and responsiveness of your community’s schools, consider volunteering with the local PTA. I’ve heard other parents speak of Parent-Teacher Associations as if they are purely teacher’s advocacy organizations. That’s not the case. Teachers have unions for that sort of thing. PTAs are set up to foster connections between teachers and parents, to address issues of concern and improve the ability of both parents and teachers to help students achieve and grow.

As a parent, you have the opportunity and ability to get in there and be part of the solutions that help both teachers and other parents understand, improve, and grow in their ability to give students the best possible education. Don’t ignore your local PTA. Support it, join it, help it grow and be as effective as possible in this critical and difficult endeavor.

Source:  Babysitters

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Should Your Teen Have A Data Plan on Their Cell Phone?

Does your teen have a data plan on their cell?

Teenagers in today’s society have a wealth of information at their fingertips. Just by using a web-enabled cell phone, they have access to everything the internet has to offer. News outlets across the United States have reported the unseen dangers, but many parents remain unaware of the trouble that can result.

Here are ten reasons you might want to consider canceling your teen’s data plan.

  1. Difficult to Monitor – Despite the parental controls that some service providers offer, a tech-savvy teen can still hide their tracks on a mobile device.
  2. Sexually Inappropriate Content – Not having a data plan makes sending questionable images to another cell phone much more difficult. The lack of online capabilities can greatly reduce the access your teen has to sexually inappropriate content, whether that means pornography or sharing ill-advised photos of themselves.
  3. Bullying – The bullying epidemic among older kids and teens is no secret. Limiting the capabilities of your teen’s cell phone can help protect them from some forms of bullying, or prevent them from being a bully to others.
  4. The Distraction Factor – Today’s teens spend an enormous amount of time using social networking sites from their phones, leaving them completely distracted from the world around them. Not having the ability to access such sites at their fingertips throughout the entirety of their day forces them to interact with their surroundings; everything from their grades to the conversation at the dinner table can improve when there’s no media plan available.
  5. Cheating – Having access to search engines during a difficult test can tempt even the most honest teen. Removing that temptation can help steer your teen away from making a decision that can have an adverse effect on their academic future.
  6. Usage Fees – The charges for data usage can be exorbitant, especially if your teen is downloading music, games and ringtones. Opting to have data usage disabled can save a small fortune, especially if you have more than one teenager on a family plan.
  7. Driving Dangers – While disabling data use doesn’t prevent texting, it can limit the available distractions. Have a talk with your teen driver about the dangers of texting while driving, but it might be a good idea to also consider dropping the data plan from their line for this reason as well.
  8. Peer Pressure and Risky Behavior – Today, everything from nudity to fighting is encouraged among groups of teens, simply for the purpose of recording and sharing the photos and video footage. Limiting the capabilities of your teen’s device can curtail his or her involvement in such risky or illegal behavior.
  9. Spreading of Harmful Rumors and Gossip – Though most wouldn’t use the term “blackmail,” that’s exactly what some teens are doing when they use photos and video caught on a cell phone to torment a classmate. Though disabling your teen’s data usage won’t protect them from being the victim of voyeurism, it will prevent them from sharing embarrassing footage of others.
  10. Too Much Information – Many social networking sites like Facebook offer the ability to “check in” from a mobile device. This publishes the user’s current location, sometimes complete with a map. For naïve teens, this doesn’t seem like an issue, but it can be dangerous if their privacy settings allow strangers to see the information.

Simply restricting your teen’s access to these services won’t keep them safe from the dangers of our high-tech society. It’s imperative to explain your reasons for not allowing mobile web access, and to have a conversation about the behaviors that a cell phone simply documents.

Source: Phone Service

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Benefits of a Stubborn Child

OMG, my child is driving me nuts!

He won’t listen!

She is so rebellious!

Parents of a stubborn child can find it exasperating. They will obstinately refuse to do what they’re told and defy discipline with a steely determination. What most people fail to see is how stubbornness can be a positive attribute. There are many ways headstrong children can have an advantage over the more docile counterparts.

Here are 8 reasons being stubborn can be good for a kid.

  1. Perseverance – A stubborn child is going to be much better at accomplishing difficult tasks because they have perseverance. If at first they don’t succeed they will keep trying until they get the results they desire. From learning to tie their shoes to figuring out a complicated math problem, these kids will doggedly keep trying until they get it done. This is a great advantage over other children who tend to give up easily.
  2. Can’t be bullied – Childhood bullies have gotten to be a big problem, so stubbornness can give a kid the toughness they need to stand up for themselves. No playground bully is going to push them around. The defiance they show to their parents easily translates to other situations, so the local bully doesn’t stand a chance.
  3. Mental fortitude – This toughness will also help kids to develop the strong mental fortitude they need as they grow from childhood to adults. Mental toughness will help them to succeed in many aspects of their lives and make it easier for them to cope with stress or traumatic events. The demands of college, the military or a prestigious career are more easily met by the people who used to be stubborn kids.
  4. Schoolwork – Children who give up easily are going to have a harder time learning difficult problems in their schoolwork than those who are more resolute. Whether this results in getting better grades depends on each child’s mental capabilities, but stubbornness can be an advantage to even learning disabled children. Teachers and parents should encourage stubborn kids to channel their determination into their homework.
  5. Employment – Once kids get old enough to get a job, the stubborn ones will be more likely to find employment and keep it. It takes strong perseverance to find work in a bad economy, especially for teens. If their determination pays off, their employers will be pleased if they apply their stubbornness to their work ethic. Stubborn kids can be good workers.
  6. Sports – Another way a headstrong kid can excel is in sports. What they may lack in physical ability can be made up for with sheer determination. Stubborn kids are very competitive and will not give up until they make the team or are the best in their field. They can channel their obstinacy into succeeding at whatever sport they choose.
  7. Successful career – That successful doctor, lawyer or actor you admire probably used to be a stubborn child. The bullheaded kids are much better equipped to succeed at whatever careers they choose. Their ability to persevere will vault them to the top of the corporate ladder.
  8. Survival – Another reason being stubborn can be good for a kid is pure survival. Whether it’s illness, injury or a natural disaster, those who aren’t willing to give up will overcome any obstacle to survive. Stubbornness is a key element in personal survival.

So the next time you encounter your child’s stubborn streak, turn the negatives into a positive. Parents would be wise to recognize the potential of their bullheaded kids and help them to use their stubbornness to their advantage. By channeling that willful determination, these children are much more likely to succeed in life. In this dog eat dog world, survival of the fittest reigns supreme. The stubborn kids are better equipped to deal with whatever comes their way.

Source:  Find a Babysitter

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Teen Drinking: Alcohol Screening and Intervention for Youth

If you manage the health and well-being of 9- to 18-year-olds, this Guide is for you.

“Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide” is designed to help health care professionals quickly identify youth at risk for alcohol-related problems. NIAAA developed the Guide and Pocket Guide in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, a team of underage drinking researchers and clinical specialists, and practicing health care professionals.

Why use this tool?

  • It can detect risk early: In contrast to other screens that focus on established alcohol problems, this early detection tool aims to help you prevent alcohol-related problems in your patients before they start or address them at an early stage.
  • It’s empirically based: The screening questions and risk scale, developed through primary survey research, are powerful predictors of current and future negative consequences of alcohol use.
  • It’s fast and versatile: The screen consists of just two questions, which can be incorporated easily into patient interviews or pre-visit screening tools across the care spectrum, from annual exams to urgent care.
  • It’s the first tool to include friends’ drinking: The “friends” question will help you identify patients at earlier stages of alcohol involvement and target advice to include the important risk of friends’ drinking.


Download or order the Guide and pocket guide.

You may also be interested in related resources to support you, your patients, and their families

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Gay Teens and Bullying: A Deadly Combination

One in six students will be assaulted so badly at school that medical care will be required. If this were true of the overall student population, Americans would be up in arms and would not rest until the problem is solved. However, since the students being assaulted are homosexual, less attention is paid and fewer solutions are offered. It doesn’t take an online PhDto recognize that schools need to address this serious problem much more directly.

One in six lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered students faces these horrendous assaults based upon his or her perceived lifestyle. Sixty-one percent of LGBT students report not feeling safe at school and 44 percent report being physically harassed based solely upon their perceived sexual orientation. Comparatively, about 25 percent of heterosexual teens report being bullied at school.

Bullying in any form affects students’ ability to concentrate on schoolwork, but all too often LGBT students go to school fearing for their physical safety. This takes such a large emotional toll that sometimes students believe the only way to resolve the turmoil of their lives is to commit suicide.

Between July and September, 2010, four young men — Justin Aaber, age 15; Billy Lucas, age 15; Seth Walsh, age 13; and Asher Brown, age 13 — all committed suicide. These boys’ families said they had been harassed and bullied for being homosexual. Every year many young people like these kill themselves as a result of anti-homosexual bullying. The true number of victims may never be known because they often don’t feel comfortable confiding in adults about the harassment or the reason behind it.

Another tragedy occurred in September, 2011. Jamey Rodemeyer was a 14-year-old boy who’d been harassed at school and online for more than a year. Jamey had received some notoriety for posting a video on the It Gets Better website about how eventually, the harassment and intolerance for being a homosexual would stop, and that young people who are being bullied, particularly for their perceived sexuality, should not give up. Sadly, Jamey’s own stress proved too much for him to bear.
Since the school shootings of the mid-’90s at Columbine, Pearl, Mississippi, Jonesboro, and other places, schools around the nation have put additional emphasis on preventing bullying and stressing tolerance among students. However, the harm done by bullying related to sexual orientation often isn’t addressed in these lessons.

In a 2009 study by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight alliance, only 18 percent of teens who responded to a survey reported the anti-bullying programs in their schools addressed the issue of being bullied for perceived sexual orientation. Experts on bullying believe that if the specific behavior that needs to be addressed isn’t mentioned by name, then it probably won’t be changed. Schools want to remain neutral about sexuality issues for fear of public backlash, but so long as students aren’t explicitly told bullying on the basis of sexuality specifically is unacceptable, such harassment is likely to continue.

California’s anti-bullying program does address anti-homosexual behavior specifically. This law drew considerable fire and controversy because religious and other conservatives believed promoting tolerance of homosexuality is wrong and actually pushing a supposed gay agenda. Nevertheless, in July of 2011 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a new bill that requires California schools to teach about the contributions of sexual minorities. Although not the direct objective of the bill, many anti-bullying advocates hope students will grow more tolerant of the LGBT community through awareness of their historical accomplishments.

Every day, students in America are being bullied because of their perceived sexual orientations. The result is all too often physical harm, whether from assaults by others or at suicidal students’ own hands. America still has a long way to go to ensure liberty and justice for all, even among schoolchildren.

Special contributor:  Elaine Hirsh – She is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and videogames. This makes it difficult to choose  just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead.

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