by Stephanie Partridge

"Does Your Teen feel they are Good Enough?"

I have been talking to some teens, or actually, I have been listening to some teens.  I wanted to know what was on their minds, what was bothering them, what was impeding their relationships with their parents.

I tried asking my own kids, but they were no help.  They both said, “Mom, I can’t complain.  You listen to us; you respect us, when we tell you something you really hear us.  You trust us, you show us you love us, you are our best friend.  We have no complaints at all!”

Well, that was a big help.

So, I began talking to friends of my kids.  Many of them have said that they wish they could live at my house, wish I could adopt them.  I laughed at the time, but I am not laughing now.  The raw pain I have witnessed as these teenagers have poured their hearts out to me is no laughing matter.  These kids come from all walks of life, all economic stations.  Both boys and girls, these kids have complaints that are universal – can potentially tragic.

One of the big issues that they talk about is never being good enough.  No matter what they do it is never quite good enough.

One 16 year old girl I know well told me how she will spend half of the day cleaning the house while her mother is at work.  She will wash dishes, sweep, mop, clean counters, and scrub everything till it shines (I know, I have seen her work), only to have her mom come home and say, “Where’s dinner?”

All the hard work this girl has done is ignored.READ More on Parenting and Your Teens Self-Esteem

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Raising Happy KidsWe all want to be happy, and we want our kids to be happy as well. That is only natural and there are some concrete steps to take to raise happy children.

Raising Happy Children:

1)      In order to raise a happy child we need to model what we want our children to be. Present a model of a positive respectful adult, treating your partner, teachers, and community leaders in a positive way. Do not make fun of your partner, he or she is a huge part of how a child sees themselves. Even if you do not always agree with what a teacher or school employee does, disagree in a healthy manner. These adults are the anchors in your children’s’ lives. If you treat them well, your child will as well. He will feel good about himself and these people in his life will reflect his attitude back to him.

2)      Your children need to feel confident about the future. Be positive about your job, and do not walk in the front door complaining about the economy and your co workers and boss. Let your kids know that you will have a way to support yourself and them. If you are economizing, remind them that it is a choice to live responsibly, paying the bills before having entertainment. When you need a new job, go ahead and look, but do not make it your child’s problem. Work if you have the opportunity, and value your job, so that you will raise a worker.

3)      Praise your children, but not excessively or extremely. Use specific words of praise. Instead of looking at their picture and saying “What an excellent picture. I love it. You are the best” a better comment would be: “I like your picture, tell me about it. I can see it means a lot to you and that you have talent. I like the red bow you put on the dog.”  The phrase “Tell me about it” lets them know that you want to hear what is important to them.READ More on Raising Happy Kids: 7 Secrets to Raising a Happy Child

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by Aubree Bowen

Flashback: I’m riding in the car with my family.  Through the windows we see an old airplane sweeping across the sky, not a cloud or bird in sight. I hear a chuckle from my step dad in the driver’s seat. “Now there goes a happy guy,” he says.

A deep love and respect for aviation and airplanes has been pumping through my veins since I can remember. Almost my entire family has been involved in that world in some respect, whether you look at my dad, an aviation photographer, or my grandfather, who was an engineer for McDonnell Douglas.  Even my sister and I, who swore we would branch out and do something different, have gotten drawn into professional jobs surrounding airplanes. Aviation has been one of the strongest, neatest bonds to experience in my family…it’s truly an interest that can span across generations and bring families together. My step dad recently passed away from leukemia, and I will always cherish that tie we shared.

My relationships with my family members have been enriched by this common interest. And the more involved I get with aviation, the more I realize just how many people are affected by it. Everyone dreams of flying when they’re a kid…airplanes make it possible. Their freedom and power strike a chord in all of us, no matter what age.

I feel like too few parents realize and expose their kids to the beauty and history behind airplanes, particularly old warbirds. To date, there are over 400 air shows in the US each year. Chances are there’s an air show near you, and a chance to introduce your kids to an important and enthralling part of history. It’s also a chance to give them something to share with other generations of their family.READ More on Mike DA Mustang First Full Episode

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February is Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month. I will be posting several related articles here with information on empowering our daughters, teaching our sons and making sure that our kids are safe (boys get abused too).

The statistics are alarming. It is estimated that an incredible one out of every three teens experiences abuse, often at the hands of a date or “intimate.” Worse, two out of three teens will never report the abuse. As parents, it is our job to ensure our children’s safety, but what do we do when we can’t be with them? The best thing that we can do for our kids is educate them. If we teach them how to protect themselves and how to not only act in a dangerous situation but also how to detect one, we are well on our way to reducing our child’s risk of enduring dating violence.

I have a teenage daughter and I admit, I worry about her. She is the sweetest, kindest child I have ever seen. She is also incredibly innocent. It would be easy for some guy to take advantage of her.

I have endured domestic violence. I am a survivor. She knows this and I do believe that she is stronger because of it. But there are so many kids out there who are enduring teen dating violence and they feel like they have nowhere to turn.READ More on Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month

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by Stephanie Partridge

Parenting is the greatest job anyone can have, but the teen years have a way of sneaking up on you. One day your child is the cute, dimpled, roly poly baby and the next he is the tall, handsome young man asking for the car keys. My daughter turned 18 the other day and my baby is not far behind her. This got me thinking…My life has changed SO MUCH since I had kids. So, here’s my list. These are 25 telltale clues that you are living with a teenager.

  1. There is a room in your house that looks like a disaster zone, but you can barely make out what appears to be a bed and, wait! Is that foot sticking out of the rubble?
  2. Your teen gets dressed to “go out” and you ask if they are going to a costume party.
  3. You have the Urban Dictionary bookmarked.
  4. It is 2 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and you’re still the only one awake.
  5. You can’t remember the last time you saw your house phone, much less found it free so you could use it.
  6. You not only know what “emo,” “metalcore,” “poser” and “screamo” mean, you can use those words in a sentence AND you can give real life examples.
  7. There is a strange noise eminating from your child’s living quarters, a strange, rhythmic growling and odd vibrations. Upon inquiry, you are informed that this is “music.”READ More on Parenting a Teenager: 25 Telltale Clues You Are Living With A Teen

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by Stephanie Partridge

No one ever said that being a parent was easy. Sometimes we get so busy that our children fall to the wayside. Other times, we get so frustrated that we just want to strangle them! My point is, sometimes we just forget to let our kids know just how much they mean to us.

If you haven’t been very expressive to your teen, or you are experiencing a distance, these activities may help bring your teen closer to you. Keep in mind, though, if your teen isn’t accustomed to this type of treatment, they may be apprehensive at first. Don’t give up.

Now, here are some ideas of things we can do. Commit to giving your teen:

1. An Unexpected Card

I do this for my kids when they least expect it. I will leave a card on their pillow or on their computer or even on the fridge. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple “I love you,” “I’m proud of you” or “YOU ROCK!” Notes are also good. I just learned that my kids have kept all of the cards and letters that I have given them over the years.

2. A Hug

Hugs are the greatest. Psychologists say that a 30 second hug is actually healing. It elevates the mood and strengthens the bond between people. Reach out and give your teen a hug. There doesn’t have to be a particular reason or a special occasion, just do it to let them know that you are there for them and that you love them.

3. Praise

Too many times we forget to praise our kids – but we are often quick to criticize them. I praise my daughter and son for doing their chores without my asking them. I thank them for the things that they do (even if I have had to get on to them to get it done). Kids are people too and acknowledgment of the things they do right is very important. If all they ever hear is what they do wrong, they will be less inclined to do anything at all.READ More on Ways to Show your Teen that you Love Them

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by Stephanie Partridge

An estimated twenty percent of teenagers will experience depression at some point before the reach adulthood. Twenty to forty percent of those teens will experience more than on depressive episode within a two year period and an incredible seventy percent will have more than one depressive episode before they reach adulthood. These are very sobering figures, but they should serve to put parents, teachers and others who work with young people on alert. Teen depression is a serious matter, not to be taken lightly. As our teenagers are placed under more and more pressure by a society the moves fast and lives hard, we should keep a watchful eye and be ready to intervene when things get out of hand.

We are all well acquainted with so-called “teenage angst.” Television shows us the “typical” teenager (which really isn't typical at all), dressed in black, a sullen look on their face, lying around doing nothing and we told that this is normal. To some degree, this is normal teenage behavior, but we need to be cognizant of any changes in behavior or habits. Ideally, parents should maintain open lines of communication between themselves and their children, but this is sometimes easier said than done. So let's take this one step at a time, examine depression, its symptoms, it causes, preventative measures and what you, as a parent or influential person in the child's life, can do to help.

Depression or “Just the Blues”?

If we did not have sadness, we could not appreciate happiness. By the same token, if we did not have sadness, we would not have depression. Persistent sadness is one of the most prevalent, common symptoms of depression. Everyone feels sad now and then, including teens. But common sadness is generally a natural emotional response to an upsetting event, such as a death, a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend or failing a test. Sometimes, stress or fatigue can cause someone to feel “down in the mouth.”READ More on Teen Depression: Is it More than “Just the Blues”?

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