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Posted December 26, 2018 Comments are off |Uncategorized

Bexting the New Teen Trend

A high school in New Jersey reveals a new passtime for its students: “bexting:” placing bets with their bookies via a text message. Is online betting the new rage in schools across the nation? No word out yet that indicates it is, however, the New Jersey students were placing bets with kids in Florida.

Why the need to discuss this issue? First it is illegal, although authorities say that enforcement isn’t their top priority.

Second, the concern is that this type of betting, starting at a young age, will lead to a serious gambling addiction later in life. 

A state hot-line reported that last year it received over 400 calls from students under the age of 21. Their total amount of bets owed pushed $40,000.

What can a you do as a parent?

1. Calmly open the discussion with your teen about gambling. You may want to ask if they ever gamble, or do they know teens who do?  Find out what is true for you teen.

2. Keep the conversation open about respectful use of cell phones and other technology. The whole world is now available to your teen, make sure the two of you are talking about what they are encountering.

3. Use “COAL” as a guideline for having a conversation: Curiousness, Openness, Acceptance and Love. Use COAL to  create a relationship of trust so your teen can tell you the truth about their life.

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Posted December 26, 2018 Comments are off |Uncategorized

Advice From a Parent

Here’s advice from a parent  who wanted to share. Do you feel the same? Comment box at the bottom of the page. Chime in!

Discourage dating until late high school.  Make it clear that boys and girls are better off being friends until they are ready to have a mature friendship that can potentially become romantic.  Emphasize the immaturity of boys (who are almost always younger in maturity anyway) and that they make better friends at this age than boyfriends. 

Encourage your daughter to read books about serious issues like teenage bullying, saving sex until marriage, spiritual books of your faith and buy them for her.  Take her to the bookstore and point out some books that might be enlightening and get her to think about things that matter.  Girls love reading about real life issues and learn great lessons from the stories in the books.

Take your daughter out regularly for lunch; do your nails together; go shopping; go to the movies and any other fun mother/daughter activity you can think of.  Scrap-booking or making jewelry are other fun activities moms and daughters can do together.  Time together offers opportunity for sharing and communication. 

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Posted December 26, 2018 Comments are off |Uncategorized

Teens Get it Wrong 50 of the Time

Adults correctly name facial expressions in a photograph almost 100% of the time. Studies show that teens get them wrong up to 50% of the time. Why the discrepancy and what does it mean for our teen daughters?  And what can you do as a parent? A lot, actually.

Teens use the  limbic region of the brain to make decisions. That’s due to the fact that the “CEO” of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, the part responsible for logical reasoning, future planning, organizing and higher thinking is not fully matured until the late 20′s. The limbic system on the other hand,  is responsible  for what scientists call the four Fs. It’s responsible for fighting, fleeing, feeding and sexual reproduction. You can fill in that F. (Honestly, that’s how the science journals write it up!) The limbic region is all about survival and survival of the species.  The limbic system is not a great reader of facial expressions in others.

Another reason teens don’t do as well as adults may be tied to their use of technology. Some researchers feel that looking at a computer screen for long periods of time is actually eroding the ability to read facial expressions. That is not good news. Reading facial expressions in others is how we feel empathy and connect on meaningful levels with others. The way our brains scan for information on a computer screen is called  Continuous Partial Attention, CPA for short. CPA may be responsible for our weakening ability to read other’s faces. The technology designed to connect us, may be disconnecting us as human beings.

What does all this mean for our daughters? More drama in their lives. Imagine if your daughter looks at someone and she thinks they are angry when really they are sad or frustrated. She will most likely have an inappropriate reaction to the information before her. That causes a lot of drama in our daughters’ social lives. (The limbic system as steering wheel causes other problems…. I’ll post them in the future.)  According to some researchers, CPA is also responsible for our teens dwindling attention span. That too causes problems in many areas.

As a parent, you can help your daughter by explaining the way her teen brain works. Simply understanding that you don’t have all the tools needed to navigate the world properly helps you feel less stressed when you take a wrong turn so to speak. Parents can also help by listening compassionately when their daughter has drama in her social life. It’s best to listen as a neutral observer instead of giving unasked for advice, telling your daughter she shouldn’t feel the way she does, or in any other way make her wrong, or put her down. Ask her what she needs from you and do your best to provide the emotional support she needs.

Parents can also limit technology use. (I know, you are all rolling your eyes!) Put cell phones and computers away for the night. Invite more friends over to have face to face interactions and take the cell phones and computers away. Find ways for your daughter to play, laugh, have fun, and connect with her friends. The teen trend of multi-tasking, that is texting others when they are with friends, does not help them connect with others on a meaningful level.

As technology makes a tighter clutch on all of our lives, parents need to find ways to bring the humanness back into their daughter’s life. If you don’t know how to help engage your daughter in people oriented fun, email me for some free tips. 
Play, by the way, helps your daughter’s brain grow up in a healthy way! 

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