Tag Archive | Peer Pressure

Back to School: Dealing with Peer Pressure

PeerpressureNo matter what grade your child is entering, from elementary school to college campuses – some kids will be facing the judgment of their peers.

“Peer pressure is not always bad. It can be very good. It can be encouraging. Sometimes a person may not want to choose hi-risk behaviors and may not want to do the wrong thing because they know their friends aren’t into that.”

– Dr. Marilyn Billingsly, pediatrician

It’s conventional wisdom that peer pressure is a powerful force in the lives of kids, especially teenagers. A new University study reminds us that while peer pressure can push kids into risky behavior, it can also help kids do the right thing.

Alex Shillinger is in court facing drug charges. He says he was “worn down” by peer pressure to try marijuana.

“There were constantly people telling me, ‘Come on, just try it, just one time, it’ll be fine,’” says Alex, 18.

On the other hand, because of peer pressure, Ambra says she’s never done drugs or alcohol or had sex.

“Being around people like that, just like myself, it keeps me motivated,” says Ambra, 17.

Peers can be powerful influences, for both goodandbad behavior. A new study from the University of Southern California found that kids were less likely to use drugs if they were in a substance abuse program taught by other kids.

“Peer pressure is not always bad. It can be very good. It can be encouraging. Sometimes a person may not want to choose hi-risk behaviors and may not want to do the wrong thing because they know their friends aren’t into that,” says Dr. Marilyn Billingsly, pediatrician.

Of course, it depends on the friends — and parents have little control over that.

“I think it makes it even more important for parents to know their kids’ friends and the parents of their kids friends and monitor what’s going on with the group of friends,” Dr. Carol Drummond, Ph.D., psychologist.

If you suspect that one of your child’s friends isusing drugs, experts say to make your views on drugs loud and clear and tell your child you’re worried.

“Sometimes your kid will come back and say, ‘Listen, Mom, I know he’s drinking, doing drugs; I am not doing that.’ But at least you’ve gotten a chance to plant that message that you’ve got worries. You’ve got to watch your own child.  And if you feel like you have some concern that your child is making bad decisions, then you need to act aggressively,” says Dr. Judy Wolman, Ph.D., psychologist.

Tips for Parents

  • Peer pressure is not always a bad thing. For example, positive peer pressure can be used to pressure bullies into acting better toward other kids. If enough kids get together, peers can pressure each other into doing what’s right. (Nemours Foundation)
  • Some good behaviors that friends can pressure each other to do include: be honest, be nice, exercise, avoid alcohol, respect others, avoid drugs, work hard, don’t smoke. (National Institutes of Health, NIH)
  • You and your friends can pressure each other into some things that will improve your health and social life and make you feel good about your decisions. (NIH)

References

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
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Teen Depression: 10 Common Causes

Adolescence can be a very turbulent and difficult time, even for the most well-adjusted child. Depression strikes teenagers and adults alike, and can have far-reaching implications when kids suffer from emotional difficulties that they aren’t sure how to manage. After noticing the signs of depression in your teen and helping him to get the treatment he needs, understanding the root of his depression can help to make the situation more manageable for everyone involved.

While this is by no means a comprehensive list of all causes of teen depression, these ten situations can be very common contributing factors to depression.

  1. Academic Stress – Kids are under an enormous amount of pressure to succeed academically, especially as the costs of higher education rise and more families are reliant upon scholarships to help offset the expense. Stressing over classes, grades and tests can cause kids to become depressed, especially if they’re expected to excel at all costs or are beginning to struggle with their course load.
  2. Social Anxiety or Peer Pressure – During adolescence, teenagers are learning how to navigate the complex and unsettling world of social interaction in new and complicated ways. Popularity is important to most teens, and a lack of it can be very upsetting. The appearance of peer pressure to try illicit drugs, drinking or other experimental behavior can also be traumatic for kids that aren’t eager to give in, but are afraid of damaging their reputation through refusal.
  3. Romantic Problems – When kids become teenagers and enter adolescence, romantic entanglements become a much more prominent and influential part of their lives. From breakups to unrequited affection, there are a plethora of ways in which their budding love lives can cause teens to become depressed.
  4. Traumatic Events – The death of a loved one, instances of abuse or other traumatic events can have a very real impact on kids, causing them to become depressed or overly anxious. In the aftermath of a trauma, it’s wise to keep an eye out for any changes in behavior or signs of depression in your teen.
  5. Separating or Divorcing Parents – Divorced or separated parents might be more common for today’s teens than it was in generations past, but that doesn’t mean that the situation has no effect on their emotional well-being. The dissolution of the family unit or even the divorce of a parent and step-parent can be very upsetting for teens, often leading to depression.
  6. Heredity – Some kids are genetically predisposed to suffer from depression. If a parent or close relative has issues with depression, your child may simply be suffering from a cruel trick of heredity that makes him more susceptible.
  7. Family Financial Struggles – Your teenager may not be a breadwinner in your household or responsible for balancing the budget, but that doesn’t mean that she’s unaffected by a precarious financial situation within the family. Knowing that money is tight can be a very upsetting situation for teens, especially if they’re worried about the possibility of losing their home or the standard of living they’re accustomed to.
  8. Physical or Emotional Neglect – Though they may seem like fiercely independent beings that want or need nothing from their parents, teenagers still have emotional and physical needs for attention. The lack of parental attention on either level can lead to feelings of depression.
  9. Low Self-Esteem – Being a teenager isn’t easy on the self-esteem. From a changing body to the appearance of pimples, it can seem as if Mother Nature herself is conspiring against an adolescent to negatively affect her level of self-confidence. When the self-esteem level drops below a certain point, it’s not uncommon for teens to become depressed.
  10. Feelings of Helplessness – Knowing that he’s going to be affected on a personal level by things he has no control over can easily throw your teen into the downward spiral of depression. Feelings of helplessness and powerlessness often go hand in hand with the struggle with depression, and can make the existing condition even more severe.

It’s important that you speak to a medical professional or your teen’s doctor about any concerns you have regarding his emotional wellbeing, especially if you suspect that he’s suffering from depression. Depression is a very real affliction that requires treatment, and is not something that should be addressed without the assistance of a doctor. Your general practitioner or pediatrician should be able to help you determine the best course of action if your child is suffering from depression, including referrals to a specialist or medication.

Source: Babysitting.net

Teen Help Programs: The Internet Search

You have finally reached your wit’s end with your teenager.

You have exhausted all your local resources, your nerves are fried, you have removed all their privileges and nothing is making a difference – you are literally a hostage to your own child!

What now?

It is time for outside help… but you get online and realize first the sticker shock…. (price of programs and schools) then you see all these horror stories – EXACTLY WHO SHOULD YOU BELIEVE?

Your gut!

Years ago I was in your exact spot – and I didn’t listen my gut, and the results were not good, however it had a purpose.  The reason was to be a part of helping parents not make the mistakes I did.

When you get online you will see many toll free numbers going to places unknown.  Usually sales reps that will more than happily give you a list of programs that they believe will be perfect for your child – but how do they know?

Point is – you don’t want a sales rep – you don’t want a marketing arm, you want an owner, a director or someone that will be vested in your child’s recovery and healing process.  Someone that will be held accountable – their reputation will be reflected upon your child’s success.

I created an organization that helps educate parents to better understand the big business of residential therapy.  There are questions parents need to ask, that many don’t think about while they are desperate for help such as when will they be able to speak with their child or visit their child.

I encourage you to visit www.helpyourteens.com and find out more about residential therapy – especially if you are considering the next step.  Don’t wait for a crisis to happen.  Be prepared.

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Start Kids Online Young: 10 Reasons Way This is Important

Let’s face it, the Internet is here to stay!

Much has been made of the potentially hazardous landscape for children that is the internet, and rightly so. Parents do need to be concerned about how their children make use of this valuable tool, and a valuable tool it surely is.

No longer a luxury but a basic necessity that each person will need to familiarize himself with in order to function in our society. That’s why it’s important that new generations become tech savvy at as early an age as is practical.

Let’s look at ten reasons kids should be online at an early age:

  1. Research Tool – For school studies, projects or as a general educational aid, there is just no substitute for the worldwide web. It’s the primary means by which information is disseminated in the 21st century. Kids need to know how to use it as soon as possible.
  2. Social Networking – Like it or not, more of a child’s socializing will occur online with each passing year. It should never fully subjugate personal interaction, of course, but we cannot ignore the significance of the internet in today’s society, especially as it applies to young people.
  3. Getting Acquainted – Like anything else a kid is expected to master, navigating the internet safely should be something that a parent and child can work on together. If a child becomes acclimated to the internet early on under supervision, she will have less chance of stumbling into trouble later out of ignorance or naiveté.
  4. Interest Groups – Your child can benefit from involvement with the right kind of crowds when he meets other kids with similar interests in forums or on websites where they gather and share information.
  5. It Will Demystify the Web – The sooner a child is inducted into cyberspace, the better equipped she will be to incorporate it into her life later as she matures and needs to rely on it more.
  6. It’s a perfect Vehicle For a Child to Discover Interests – and possibly a lifelong vocation. Prior generations could go years without ever having heard about fields of study or interests that might appeal to them. It can be done in a matter of days, if not hours, online.
  7. Education – Beyond its functionality as a study aid, the internet can be an instructional tool for itself as well. That is, children can learn the protocols and hazards related to its use, both in formal training at school and at home with their parents.
  8. Balanced Perspective – The alternative to addressing an area of concern early on – as in the case of sex ed or drugs –  is for a child to learn on his own, via his peers, or at best, through an education that comes too late to avert the consequences of his ignorance. A child with an early introduction to the internet at least starts off with some frame of reference with which to work later.
  9. Cyber-bullying – The unfortunate reality is that a lot of cruelty and mean-spirited behavior is prevalent online. It stands to reason that children who learn to use the internet for social networking at an early age can better identify, with the help of parents and teachers, the situations they should avoid.
  10. E-commerce – Kids will be growing up in a world where conducting business of every kind, from paying utility bills to buying groceries, will be done on the web. They need to learn the ropes as soon as possible.

Source:  Share A Nanny

If your child starts asking to be part of a social network, there is an age appropriate place for them you can consider.

Yourpshere.com is one of the fasting growing social networking sites for kids.  The benefits are endless, their priorities are the safety of your child and their information.  The founder, Mary Kay Hoal, a mother of five children, created Yoursphere.com as well as Yoursphere for Parents which is full of educational materials and information to keep you up-to-date on today’s gadgets and how to keep up with the ever changing privacy settings of the Internet.

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Mother’s and Daughters: Finding the Balance – A Teen Girl’s Survival Guide

Being a mother of a daughter I know firsthand that raising a teenage girl can be a challenge.  Though my daughter’s teen years are a decade behind me, I listen to parents today and I sympathize with the extra burdens they have to endure with the added pressures of technology.  It is not easy.  The one common denominator that doesn’t change is most girls always feel they are never pretty enough, thin enough or fit in.  This needs to stop.  Where does all this low self-worth stem from?  As a parent,  many of use always try to build out kids up – however peer pressure can be so strong.

Here is a fantastic guest post that I think parents will benefit from:

Just Mom and Me: A Teen Girl’s Survival Guide

Mom and daughter relationships are very complicated and multifaceted. Some of them are the best of pals and communicate with each other regularly. Some are forever in the combatant phase. There are some who even steer clear of any kind of clash. But it can be stated without an iota of doubt that there is a whiff of all these traits in almost all relationships.

The million dollar question here is for the mommies, “how to raise your darling daughters into influential girls who are self-confident?” they become adept at making constructive choices regarding their own lives and execute productive actions for others. In spite of being normal girls with their little insecurities, they have a strong will and feel all right about themselves. You should know that these girls will mature sensibly and lead a worthwhile and satiated life.

Acknowledge your family’s most valued ideals

It is very essential to mull over your family ethics and contemplate upon the means by which you will put across these values. Be sure to include suitable examples to corroborate your message in the most appropriate manner. For this you have to constantly keep a check on instances in your daily life to exemplify these ideals you want your daughter to imbibe.

Persuade your daughter to resolve her own issues before settling it yourself

You have to coach your daughter to make her own decisions. She has to be independent and develop her own aptitude to deal with situations. Tell her to deliberate upon more than two approaches to deal with the circumstances and then inquire about likely consequences. You should convince her to make her own decisions for the very dilemma. It is okay even if you do not see things the same way; at least now your daughter has a feeling of control over her life.

Do not let her accomplish by magnitude, creates trouble

Try to make your daughter toil and excel at one thing at a time. Do not become hasty in trying to make them into little mechanical multi-taskers. Yes, this is an extremely competitive world and the motto of survival of the fittest is “the thing” to follow. But give your daughter some space and let her follow her own interests. You are there to guide her of course. Do not register her in infinite activities like dramatics, soccer, art, music etc. the belief that self worth is acquired by who you are and not what you achieve.

Make your daughter work together with other girls

If your daughter works jointly with other a girl of her school and solves her predicaments together, she will excel later in taking big risks and tackle many trials and tribulations in life. Working together makes them have an unbelievable sense of achievement and feeling of proficiency. All this is good for your daughter and good for you in the long run. So the bottom-line is inspire your daughter to take part in team-building activities where everyone works cooperatively to provide solutions to their problems.

Let your daughter be aware of the fact that you love her because of who she is

Do not be over fixated about everything your daughter does. She needs her own space just like you do as a mother. Keep encouraging her to have good habits but never obsess about it too much. It is alright if she takes her own time, everything does not happen overnight. But, show a positive reception for her individuality. Do not keep cribbing about her weight or her looks as she first needs to recognize her inner self. You need to deflate the thought that beauty is just about your appearance. Over obsession about the physical appearance will definitely lead to a lot of insecurities in your daughter’s life.

So, remember this rearing a girl up can be very thrilling and stimulating. Both of you can work it out together and enjoy so many things together. Maintain this bond even when she grows older. She will appreciate it for sure and you will always cherish it forever.

About the author: Alia Haley is a blogger and writer. She loves writing on topics related to wedding, health and luxury. Beside this she is fond of bags. She recently shared an article on designer baby clothes. These days she is busy in writing an article on Teeth whitening kits.

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10 Reasons Parents Should Encourage their Kids to Get Involved in School Sports and Clubs

Times sure have changed when it comes to sports.  It used to be that kids would play sports in school or the occasional little league team.  Kids were allowed to be kids.  Today it seems like parents are enticed to join the rec league to teach the kids to play soccer or volleyball.  That’s great, but then along comes a different coach that tells the parents their kids have a lot of talent and they are wasting it in a rec league.  The parents have a decision to make.

Check out 10 reasons parents find sports clubs for their kids.

  1. Better coaching: There’s nothing wrong with a mom or a dad coaching their kids’ sports team, but there comes a time when the kids have learned everything that mom or dad can teach them and they need a professional.  This is a coach’s only job.  He’s not constantly out of town on business and canceling practice.  The skills that the coach teaches the kids are the skills that will take them to the next level.
  2. Top-level players: If your kid is the best player on the team that’s great, but does it offer him or her any challenges?  Can they play to their potential if the other players aren’t at their level?  When all or most of the players on the team are good players then that encourages each player to become better.  This level of players can be found at a sports club.
  3. More opportunity: College scouts don’t go to high school games anymore to recruit.  They go to tournaments with high-level players such that you would find at a sports club.  Scholarships to college are given to the best players and one way to be the best is to be trained by a professional on a sports club.
  4. Bigger venue: Sports clubs play against other higher-level teams from different sports clubs.  These tournaments are not exclusive, but they might as well be since it’s usually filled with other sports clubs as competitors.
  5. Private coaching: More time is given to each child at a sports club and the coach is available to do private coaching to teach the kids higher and higher skills.
  6. Better practice opportunities: Most sports clubs have team practices twice a week by the time the child reaches the age of 10.  Then there are open skills sessions on other nights where each players can learn and improve their skills.
  7. Competition: Healthy competition between the players for a spot to be a starter gives the players incentive to continue to give it their all every time.  Most rec teams don’t even keep score.  Well, they aren’t supposed to, but I bet every kid and parent there knows what the score is.
  8. Being part of something bigger: Sports clubs have many teams and to keep a club going they have fund raisers and banquets.  The work that is involved in keeping the club going often have a bonding effect so the parents become a family.
  9. Better facilities: Sports clubs have their own fields so you don’t have to fight for a spot to practice at the local park are other place.  Many clubs also offer indoor and outdoor options for some sports.
  10. More stability: Sports clubs have more stability in that if the coach has to leave for some reason or quits the team doesn’t disband.  The club just finds another coach to take the team.  It’s very frustrating to find out at the last minute that your coach isn’t going to continue coaching next season and you don’t know where your kid is going to play next season.

Source:  Change of Address

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Teen Body Image: Celebrities open up about their Eating Disorders

Body image can be as important to teens as who their friends are.  Girls and boys alike can be teased or bullied by others for a variety of reasons, however if a teen feels comfortable in their own skin, the likelihood of them allowing the bullying to hurt them is less likely.  Many teens turn to the celebrities – they look at the pencil thin girls, the guys with six pack abs and hopefully realize most of this is simply Hollywood or photo-shop!  Below is a special guest post by Meg Quinlan.

Celebrities Break Barrier of Shame

Whether they wish for it or not, celebrities are role models. Fans follow them in their work, consume the media that examines their lives, and discuss them online and in real life. Their bad behavior is widely publicized, but what about those that are making a positive difference? These stars, all themselves survivors of eating disorders, are speaking out about their own battle and helping to raise awareness about this serious medical problem. They are making a difference, and are part of the solution to the shame and secrecy preventing many victims of eating disorders from seeking help. Here are their stories.

Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler was a typical overachiever. Bright and talented, she filled her schedule with school, acting, student council, teaching kids and studying for the SATs. During her junior year, after a painful breakup with a boyfriend, she began to focus on losing weight. She says “all of a sudden, I felt like everything in my life was getting out of control, and here was one thing I could control.” She adopted a strict regimen of diet and exercise typical of those with exercise bulimia, her particular eating disorder. Her obsession changed and isolated her: physically, she withered to a skeleton; formerly a social butterfly, she now avoided going out with friends and exercised instead for hours; and she wrote down everything she ate, when she ate it, and when she exercised. She recalls that one day her mother hugged her, then burst into tears because she could feel all of Jamie’s bones. Her turning point came when she realized how unhappy her life had become, and she began five months of therapy to rebuild her confidence and her body. Now author of a book called Wise Girl – What I’ve Learned About Life, Love, and Loss and honored by the National Eating Disorder Association for her work on their behalf, she is resolute but realistic. She says, “The eating disorder is always going to be with me. But what I went through was traumatic enough and enough of a learning experience that I would never fall so deeply again. I’m so much happier now.”

Singer and Disney actress Demi Lovato has been in the news recently, speaking out about her eating disorder and treatment. Bullied in school, she started compulsively overeating at age 8 and soon had anorexia, which by her teenage years had escalated to include self-harm, depression, and bulimia. At 18 years old, her family and management team had an intervention, and she entered a residential treatment center. There she learned healthy ways to cope with her feelings, and resolved to set a good example for her little sister and her young fans that may be dealing with the same issues. Today she considers herself still recovering, and tries to be realistic about her progress, saying “I’m going to mess up, and I’m not going to be perfect, but as long as I try every day to get better and better myself, then I’m one step ahead of where I was before.” She now is working with Seventeen Magazine and the Love is Louder campaign for at-risk girls, and is a spokesperson for Teens Against Bullying.

Dancer, singer, and American Idol judge Paula Abdul began purging in high school, as a way to control her weight in the competitive and body-conscious world of dance. She describes her young self as a perfectionist and an overachiever, and as top honor student, class president and head cheerleader, it looked like she had it all. Yet at only 5’2”, she felt she was at a disadvantage against her fellow cheerleaders and dancers. She describes her bulimia as “a war on my body. Me and my body have been on two separate sides.” She continued this war during her rise to stardom as an L.A. Lakers cheerleader, choreographer, and then singer. After a painful divorce in 1994, she finally came to terms with her eating disorder and checked herself into treatment. Then ashamed, she tried to keep it a secret. Now, she is a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and says “I’m more proud of my recovery than of selling millions of records.”

Aussie rocker Daniel Johns of Silverchair and the Dissociatives began restricting his eating in his teens in an attempt to look ill. He was defying convention at school, wearing makeup and playing in a band, and was getting beaten up by bullies and called gay slurs. As for looking ill and deterring his bullies, “unfortunately it worked,” he says, “because then I was addicted to it and couldn’t start eating again.” Convincing himself that food was poisoned, he wouldn’t go to restaurants, and couldn’t bear the smell, look, or even to be around a discussion of food. He explains that his disorder had nothing to do with body image, and everything to do with a desire for control. “Every time…I felt that my life was out of control…I took control of food intake, because it was the only thing that no one could really take charge of.” He realized how much control he had actually lost when more than one doctor told him he was dying. Anti-depressant medications, along with the support of the people around him and his music, helped free him from the addiction that threatened his life. Later, like many who talk publicly about their addictions, he was criticized for self-promotion, which he dismissed. “When you get letters that say, ‘You’ve helped me admit to anorexia,’ and… ‘I was gonna kill myself until I heard this album,’ that makes people that say, ‘You’re exploiting your problems,’ just seem like such a little speck in the dirt.”

Actress Elisa Donovan was never overweight, but that fact didn’t stop her from increasingly restrictive dieting. She says she thought the more weight she lost, the happier she would be, yet she would only see specific body parts that she thought looked “enormous.” She continued to lose weight until her friends started to express their concern, her hair fell out in clumps, and she fainted several times. After being hospitalized, she finally sought treatment and realized how her disorder had restricted her life-she would never go out for lunch or dinner, and as she says, “I was so unhappy with myself, I didn’t answer my phone.” Speaking out has helped her, as has the desire to be a healthy role model. She advises, “There is no connection between the shape of your body and whether you can succeed, or whether you’re a smart person or a good person.”

Shame and isolation are still barriers that prevent many victims from seeking help. Every survivor of this illness can help others by speaking out, even if they aren’t followed by thousands of fans. Watch for our next installment, where we profile five regular people that have beaten an eating disorder and hear their stories.

For more information about eating disorders or to get help, please visit the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website or call their helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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