How to Talk to your Teen

All Articles in the Category ‘How to Talk to your Teen’

Teaching teens compassion around the Holidays

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Compassion is a virtue that some are innately born with, but all of us can learn. Developmentally, teens are wrapped up in their own worlds of friends, social events, and school; they may not actively seek out ways to show compassion, but the holidays are a perfect time of year to practice this virtue. Read full post »

Talking to Your Teen About the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre

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For most parents, the news that 20 children had been murdered at their school felt like a punch in the stomach. Anyone who has a child, no matter what their age, felt a wave of sorrow as they imagined what the parents who lost their sons and daughters are feeling. Dr. Swanson at Seattle Mama Doc and the New York Times both have great posts about discussing the tragedy with younger children (as well as dealing with your own emotions.) I want to address how teens may be feeling, and what to explore with them.

First, sit down and listen. Ask open-ended questions like, “How did you hear about it?”, “How does all this make you feel?”, and “How have your friends reacted?” If you think they’re mature enough, you can ask what everyone in the nation is asking themselves: “Do you think there is any way things like this can be prevented?” Even if you don’t agree with their answer, listen and explore what they’re saying. You might learn something surprising, and even impressive, about how your teen thinks.

Here are tips for addressing reactions your teen might have to this event: Read full post »

Marijuana legalization: what parents can say to their children

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With the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana and marijuana-infused foods and beverages in Washington state this week, and the development of a commercial marijuana market over the next year, parents are asking what they should say to their children.

Since parents are the primary influence on adolescent behavior, even if it may not seem that way, it is important to discuss the new law and what is expected in your family.  High school students who smoke marijuana report that they started between the ages of 13 -14 so conversations need to start early.

First, ask children what they know about marijuana.  This is a good time to correct the many myths about marijuana.  For example, many teenagers tell us that marijuana cures cancer.  This is not true.

Then move on to the facts. Read full post »

Teen Pregnancy, Part 4: Adoption

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One option for pregnant teens is to bear the pregnancy to term, have the baby, and put it up for adoption. 2-3% of teens who are pregnant choose this route. However, the term “adoption” is not as simple as it used to be; there are different types of adoptions available. In this post, we’ll explore resources, basic information, and options for you and your teen to consider.

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Teen Pregnancy, Part 3: Making the Decision

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Pregnant teens have three options when they are pregnant: They can terminate the pregnancy, or they can carry the pregnancy to term and either raise the child or arrange for an adoption. No matter what happens, this is a decision and a time your teen will always remember. You’ll remember it, too.

It’s vital that you never coerce or force your teen into a choice about her pregnancy. Not only will she be left feeling powerless, but she may feel betrayed by you; that’s not something either of you should have to live with. However, your input and guidance may help her through a difficult time. If there is a choice you are hoping she will make, or one that falls in line with the values of your family, tell her, while making it clear that it’s her decision and you will respect the one she makes.
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Teen Pregnancy, Part 2: Young Men and Teen Pregnancy

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Male teenagers who are involved in a teen pregnancy often don’t get much attention. And yet while the young woman bears the physical effects, a pregnancy takes two people. If your teen son is involved in a pregnancy, his reaction may surprise you. He may be expecting to do absolutely nothing regarding this pregnancy and “let her take care of it”, or he may be planning to get married and help raise the child. He may have no idea what he wants. He may feel angry, excited, miserable, joyful, apathetic, guilty, or a confusing combination of emotions. If this pregnancy is unwanted, as many teen pregnancies are, he may be having visions of a “worst case scenario”- whatever that means to him. Read full post »

Teen Pregnancy, Part 1: Getting the News

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Finding out that your teen is pregnant, or has gotten somebody pregnant, is usually quite a shock. There are some situations and cultures in which you’re not shocked, and may be okay with the news, in which case your path will be easier. But many parents find themselves reeling at the news. You may feel angry, sad, hurt, astonished, betrayed, scared, confused, disappointed- or a mix of any of these emotions and more. Your kid pregnant- or fathering a child- and yet they are still a kid. You still pay their bills, and weather their bad moods, and sometimes are still driving them around. How did this happen?

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Talk to your teen about politics

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The media coverage of the presidential election only happens every 4 years so I wanted to talk a bit about voting.  One of the most special characteristics of our country is the right to vote.  Regardless or your political party affiliation, voting is an amazing right that many American’s (women, minorities) had to fight hard for. Even though people under age 18 can’t vote, that doesn’t mean they won’t live with the consequences of this year’s election. Read full post »

Why Teens Choose to Have Sex

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A study came out today, stating that the HPV vaccine does not encourage promiscuous behavior among female teens.

What constitutes promiscuity? Well, the study examined whether girls who received the shot at the recommended age, around 11-12, sought advice for birth control, STD or pregnancy tests, or became pregnant within the next 3 years. There was no significant difference between girls who did and did not get the shot. (Whether or not seeking reproductive health advice or becoming pregnant is accurately labeled as “promiscuity” is up for debate in my book.)

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Cyberbullying: The Story of Amanda Todd

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My 12-year-old cousin shared this video with her mom, who then shared it with me. It is a video made by Amanda Todd, who starting at age 13, suffered constant social torment because of unfortunate online activity and an older man who took advantage of her. She made this video to tell her story of cyberbullying and resulting mental illness and suicide attempts, in the hope it might inspire others or find her a friend. The last line of the Youtube description reads, “I’m still here aren’t I?” Approximately a month later, she committed suicide at 15 years old.

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