by Jennifer Shakeel

Some troubled teens turn to drugs - will this happen to your teen?

Some troubled teens turn to drugs - will this happen to your teen?

There are few things that scare me as a parent. One of those scary things is the thought of one of my kids doing drugs then compound that with the fact that it could slip under my nose. We all want to sit there and think that our children wouldn't do something like that. I urge you to take alook at the current national statistics on Adolescent drug abuse, all of which can be found here  You will be shocked at what you see. You will be even more shocked to find out that your own child has tried or is friends with someone that has tried an illicit substance.
The goal of this week's tips then is to offer you ways to spot drug/substance use and how to stop it from occurring at all or again.

Tip One: Know the Signs of Drug Abuse

It is difficult to spot something if you don't know what it is you are looking for. So I want to give you 14 signs that your child is using drugs. Now keep in mind that they do not have to exhibit ALL of these signs, even one or two should be enough for you to be concerned. Here they are:

• Abnormal sustained fatigue or bursts of energy
• Drastic change in mood with no rhythm or reason to it.
• Change in sleep or appetite patterns
• Decline in personal hygiene
• Withdrawal from family activities or decline in adherence to family rules
• Change in friends or loss of interest in typical activities
• Decline in school performance and/or attendance
• Loss of job or irresponsibility during work that is pointed out
• Aggressive behavior
• Unaccounted for blocks of time
• Being caught in lies about whereabouts or events
• Unexplained loss of money or possessions
• Finding drug paraphernalia or noticing a lot of material with drug references
• Legal involvement

Tip Two: Get Involved with Your ChildREAD More on Parenting Tips: Catching and Preventing Adolescent Substance Abuse

Family difficultiesIt seems that everyone is cutting back. More and more people are falling upon hard times. The cost of living keeps rising, people are losing their jobs, getting laid off, having their pay or hours reduced and it seems many people just can't get a break. Even our home has felt the crunch. We recently had our gas cut off. As a single mom raising two teenagers alone, sometimes my paycheck just doesn't go that far. We are moving to a cheaper place in a couple of weeks (to ease our financial burden a bit) so I did not get it turned back on. At this point I really can't anyway.

It was a silly bookkeeping error on my part. Instead of paying the gas company, I accidentally double paid the utilities company. I am making small payments to repay the bill. In the meantime, we have no hot water and can not use our stove/oven. So, it was time for a family meeting. We discussed our situation and came up with a couple of solutions.READ More on Family Matters: When Hard Times Hit your Home

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Young Teen Girl Counting Money

Young Teen Girl Counting Her Money

Recently, More4kids did an interview with an author who writes books on teaching children, particularly teenagers about money. You can read the interview here the interview on teaching kids about money with Randy Loren. I have to say that I learned a lot, I also learned a few things that I was doing wrong and a few things that I was doing correctly. While I don't want to take away from the interview I do want to offer you a few tips on how to make sure that your child understands the value of money.

Tip One: Pay Them an Allowance

I know that there are a number of parents out there that give their children an allowance. Note that my tip is to pay them an allowance. I say pay because they need to understand that money has to be earned, it isn't just given to you because you are cute. You can start paying an allowance when kids are 3 and 4. Trust me when I tell you they understand that money is a good thing. So pick one thing that they can do each day to get paid for. It can be making sure all of their crayons are put away neatly in the box. Just make sure the money is tied to a task.

Tip Two: Teach them Savings

You would be surprised at the number of kids these days that do not know what a piggy bank is. It can be an empty coffee container with a slit cut into the top. Teach your kids that saving is important. Start when they are young. In our house, our children are made to split their money into three equal parts. A third they are to save, a third they can spend on whatever they want and the final third is to be donated to a charity or organization that they feel needs the money. Our son donates to the Nets for Africa because it is important to him that kids don't die, and our oldest daughter donates money to different animal shelters because that is where her passion is.

Tip Three: Talk to Them about Money

My husband and I made the mistake of not telling our kids when money was tight. Kids don't understand the cost of living. That electricity costs money, that food costs money and that the roof over their head costs money. No you don't have to tell them how much each bill is and let them know whether or not you are able to pay your bills on time, but they need to understand that there is a price associated to everything that they have in their life.READ More on Parenting Tips: Making Sure Your Children are Financially Literate

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by Jennifer Shakeel

mom-and-teen-daughterYou know that your child has presented special challenges to you as they have grown. This is true of all kids, however when your child is living with ADHD those challenges can be extreme. No one said that parenting was easy… parenting a child with ADHD is not easy… and parenting a teenager with ADHD can be, well, even more challenging. We all know the lovely teen years. Our children go into the teenage phase, they turn into some unrecognizable species that have their own rules to go by. Depending on the time of the day or some other circumstance, they display their utmost warm love. Then at a flip of a coin, they do not want anything to do with you and think of you, their parents, to be morons. They want you when it is appropriate to them and hold you responsible for ruining everything, including their lives.

We know that they will grow out of it, and that even if they don't want to completely admit, they need us. What is even more important is that you know they need you, and this can be especially true if your child is living with ADHD. Our son has ADHD, was diagnosed in the 2nd grade. Up until I gave in and believed what the specialists were saying… and seeing my baby boy almost give up, and we started him on medication, I had lost count of the number of phone calls from the principal. I had a stack of notes from the teacher. Yes we even had in school and after school suspensions. It wasn't his fault, he needed help… and once he got it, he was a changed boy.READ More on Parenting Teens with ADHD

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15 Low Cost or No Cost Ideas for Spending Time with your Teenager

by Stephanie Partridge

Mom & Teen Son Talking - Time is the best investment in your childYou don't have to spend a fortune to have fun with your family. You can spend quality time together without shelling out lots of money. Too many people think that they have to coordinate a big trip and they focus on saving money for it and planning it, but often that big trip never happens. If it does, the pace is usually so hectic that the family does not really get to spend the quality time together that they had intended. It doesn't have to be that way though. You can start tonight spending quality time with your teen and creating a bond that will last forever. You can start with just the money in your pocket, even if you don't have two dimes to rub together. Try some of these ideas and see if they don't make a difference in your family.

1. Play "Ten Good Things"

Cost: $0
This is a game that my youngest son came up with and it has become a favorite with our family. Each person takes a turn saying ten good things about someone else. For instance, my son may say ten good things about his sister, then she may say ten good things about me and I would say ten good things about my son. What usually happens is that everyone starts jumping in helping to make "the list" of ten good things. It is fun and often surprising when you actually hear the good qualities that others see in you. My kids have told me many things about myself that I did not even realize. Family friends come over to play this with us as well. It is just a fun, wholesome, feel-good game where everyone is a winner.READ More on Bond with your Teen Tonight

by Jennifer Shakeel

Mother and Daughter Hugging - Its hard seeing your child grow upThis article is inspired by the fact that our oldest is almost 15 and this summer everyone seems to want her to come and stay with them… and not for a day or two… but a week or more. Most of the next month, she is only going to be home for about 5 days if I am lucky. Now mind you it doesn't bother her, she is looking forward to going. She is going to get to see old friends and new places. We are happy for her, and we want her to go. At the same time though, we want her to be home. My husband and I miss our kids when they are gone. I know that you have read enough of my writing that you know we are a very close-knit family, always together. So this is a trying time. We want her to have fun… to do that, we have had to start to learn to let go.

So I am going to offer a few ideas to all the parents out there that have a child that is ready to blossom on their own, spread their wings and fly a little… but you are struggling cutting the umbilical cord. I am there with you! Here is how I am surviving.

Parenting Tip One: Realize that You Have Done Your Job

At some point you have to acknowledge the fact that you did a pretty good job of raising a responsible young adult. Yes, I know… chores are still not always done…and there are times that you question if their brain is still asleep on the pillow… but over all they are a good kid… and they deserve the chance to show you what a great job you have done on raising them.READ More on Parenting and Learning to Let Go

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Teen depression, teen suicide, rebellious and ungrateful teens, parents that 'just don't get yet' or understand. We hear these words too often, these are all too common problems, and each side tends to blame the other.

The video you are about to watch should be viewed by both parents and Teens, ideally both at the same time. As a parent, the video took me aback, made me sad, made me angry, and challenged how I communicate with my own kids. It is a very 'in your face' video that challenges and provokes thought.

No matter how good a parent we think we are, we should always be looking at improving our relationship and communication with our kids. And if we are lucky parents that have a great relationship with our kids, maybe we can help those that don't.

Communication, those 'words' we use everyday are so important, those 'words' can easily be taken for granted, yet many times those 'words' can be so misunderstood between parent and child.

As parents we want our children to succeed, but yet, we can push a child away by the words we use. As a teenager, we are wanting more and more independence, but yet, we can easily become confrontational with the words we use when trying to express ourselves. Even though it may have been years since I was a teen, I still remember.READ More on Parent-Teen Communication: Start the Conversation Today!

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