Open and honest communication is the ideal, but there is apt to be more than one communication breakdown in the lives of teenagers and parents. I wanted to share a way that one of my daughters and I expressed ourselves during both the difficult and (relatively) not-so-difficult times when she was a teenager and I was a mom.
When my eldest daughter was a junior in high school, she and I went through our darkest time together so far. The word “together” is a misnomer as we were emotionally as far away from one another possible. We were barely speaking and she had moved her things to her dad’s house, a couple blocks away. Away… Read full post »
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of “The Hunger Games” trilogy. Written by Suzanne Collins, it is a series of young adult dystopian novels, set in an Orwellian future society. In the novel, the government sponsors a public spectacle, in which children battle to the death for survival. It is also, in my opinion, a fantastic way to introduce teens to a number of adult themes, particularly those pertaining to powers of government and the media, and their potentials for abuse. It also examines the aftereffects of surviving traumatic situations in a realistic way. (Please note- this review also contains mild spoilers.)
It’s an age-old battle. Your teen’s room is a pit. There are fruit flies hovering around their sock drawer, science experiments that used to be glasses of juice under the bed, papers and clothes scattered across the floor. You say that it’s your house, and you want your teen to take some responsibility and keep their room in a reasonable state. They say it’s their room, they know where everything is, and there’s no point in cleaning it when it will get dirty again.
Many parents are uncomfortable with the idea of transgender identity. They may have been taught that being transgender is a sickness, perverted or immoral. Many parents do not yet know anyone who is transgender. They may react to their child’s disclosure with tremendous discomfort.
The first step in addressing your discomfort is learning more about transgender identities in general and your child in particular. Previous blogs in this series provide much of the information you need. My previous blog includes suggestions for learning about your teen’s experiences and feelings.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read what U.S. Representative Todd Akin said about rape a few days ago. There are many confusing parts of his statement, and one of them was the term “legitimate rape.” This implies that some rape is “not legitimate” and yet still falls under the umbrella of rape. It made me remember Whoopi Goldberg’s “rape-rape” comment from 2009, which I also found confusing as seems to imply that statutory rape is not really rape, as well as the comment last year wherein Toronto police constable Michael Sanguinetti explained that women can help prevent sexual assault by “not dressing like sluts.”
I feel like we, as a society, are still exploring what defines sexual assault and what doesn’t and what it actually means. The examples above may seem like random comments from random people looking to redefine rape, or at least categorize it. But a political figure no less than Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s partner in the presidential race, recently co-sponsored a bill that sought to define rape as “forcible” and “other” (my term, because I don’t know what else you’d call it.) To me, this means that the issue has become mainstream.
So when the country seems to be uncertain as to what constitutes sexual assault, how do we teach our teens about it?
Teen suicide is a topic that is often not discussed or is seen as taboo, yet talking about it and knowing the warning signs can be the difference between life and death. I was thinking of friends who took their own lives this week and was reminded of how much emotional pain teens and young adults may be going through and not telling anyone. The victims can remain quiet about their thoughts of suicide for many reasons: they feel ashamed or worry about being blamed for not ‘snapping out of it,’ they may feel like they are not worthy of another person’s time. For families of those who attempt suicide, they may feel stigmatized or blame themselves.
For teens contemplating suicide and the friends and families who love them, there is hope. Teen suicide is something that we can prevent. Read full post »
One feeling parents of LGB teens often struggle with is the suspicion, hope, or fear that their teen’s sexual orientation is simply a phase that will pass. If your teen has gone through phases of intense identification with a certain group or idea before, it can be worrying to think that your family is coping with this when your teen’s sexuality itself might be just a phase. Last year they were mooning over Justin Bieber, defending political anarchy, and planning on a career in music. This year they’re into Led Zeppelin, the Democratic party, and a future working in finance. Is their sexuality going to follow the same pattern?
The reason why teens can feel strongly, but fleetingly, affiliated to different groups, music, etc., is they are discovering their identity. Things will feel right or wrong for who they are, and they will incorporate what resonates with them into the young adult they are to become. Sexual orientation is not a rock band, but it’s not set in stone either.
This is the second in a series of videos where Dr. Amies-Oelschlager gives advice for parents on how to talk with your teen about sex. In the first video, she goes over statistics and gives tips on how to address your family values, birth control, and uncomfortable questions. In this video, the focus is on how to start this discussion on an age appropriate level with your child.
I was going to only have one post on dating, but there’s so much to cover. Welcome to Part 2 of Part 4! This post is kind of a catch-all for some other common questions parents have when their LGB teen starts dating. The main focus is on ways to ensure that your teen has healthy dating experiences (or at least give it your best shot.)
Sometimes parents feel more hesitant to discuss romantic issues with LGB teens. They may feel like they have less relevant experience, are less familiar with LGB issues, or their teen will care less about what they have to say. But so much about romantic relationships- including a lot of your wisdom and experience- is universal. Your teen does care what you have to say (whether they seem to or not), and they need your love, support, and guidance.
Here are some common questions that parents of LGB teens have, and answers- or at least ideas- to think about.
Gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens are just like heterosexual teens in that they will get crushes, probably date, and hopefully learn a little about themselves in the process. They will discover more about how to function in romantic relationships and what they want in a partner. The feelings, desires, and heartbreak they may encounter are exactly the same that a heterosexual teen would encounter.
However, there will be some differences in their romantic lives, and often parents are not sure how to negotiate these differences.
A big question that often comes up for parents is friendships versus relationships. While your average 15-year-old boy is unlikely to ask if a girl can sleep over (although some do), a gay teen may have many friends of the same sex whom he sees without supervision, talks to behind closed doors, or asks to spend the night in his bedroom. Does that have to change if you now know your teen is attracted to the same sex?
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