An Interview with Randy Loren by Jennifer Shakeel

Teenagers and Money - The importance of money managementThere are times in my profession that I am blessed with the job of interviewing amazing people that are trying to do something incredible to help children and adults. This past week was one of those experiences. I was able to interview Mr. Randy Loren, author of the book Climbing the Money Mountain. This book, his mission really, is to make sure that each and every child in this country leaves high school with a certain level of financial literacy. Our children are the leaders of the future and if we do not equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to manage their lives how can we expect them to manage our country?

My first question to any author is what inspired them to create their latest project. For Mr. Loren it was his own teenage daughters. He had wanted to have a conversation with them about money and finances, and his one daughter, Mandy, who was interested in the topic but not in the conversation told him it would be better if he wrote her a letter and she would read it. His reply was, "How about if I write you a book."

While he was serious, his daughter laughed and told him to go ahead. So he began writing. I should back up for a moment. By profession Mr. Loren is a financial advisor with over 20 years experience helping grown adults sort out their financial matters. I asked him if he would agree with the statement that the reason so many kids are financially illiterate is due to the fact that many adults do not know how to effective manage money and that sometimes it is better to not pass on bad habits and let children figure things out on their own. He did agree.READ More on The Importance of Teaching Our Children Financial Literacy

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passing on the Earth to future generationsSo, what is Green Parenting? Teaching our children to conserve our planets energy and resources has been around for many of us for years now. However, with increased global awareness of our planet Earth’s decline, now more then ever we need to teach our children how to utilize the resources that are already available to them, without creating further harm to the environment. By starting our children out learning how to be friendly to the environment, living in harmony with it, the whole world benefits for future generations to come. So how do you teach your child to be more green conscious? With all the ads on tv as well as in stores, for harsh chemicals of all kinds geared for making life easier, its harder to teach a simpler and more green way of life, but it can be done. READ More on Green Parenting: Raising Environmentally Aware Kids

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girl exploring the outdoors - great summer fun and learning opportunityFor most, the school year is over and summer awaits. What can you do with your kids so that they won't forget everything they learned and have a head start when they return back to school? Well, there are many exciting learning activities and games for the summer months that can keep children of all ages on track academically. It is important to allow children the opportunity to break away a little from the day to day studies and lessons that they experience throughout the school year during the summer months, but that does not mean that they should be permitted to stray completely from their studies. There are several games and activities that can allow children to enjoy their break from school while conveniently sharpening their academic skills as well! Here I will share some of the creative approaches to learning in an enjoyable fashion in June, July, and August!READ More on Exciting Learning Activities and Games for the Summer Months

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by Stephanie Partridge

Depression - Sad Teenage GirlAn 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.READ More on Teen Depression: Is it More than "Just the Blues"?

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Tween Friends

We have all been that awkward age, where we were too old for the little kid things and too young to hang with the teenagers. Yes that lovely age that starts when they are ten and lasts until they are 13. If you don't have children then I am sure you are thinking that is only 3 years, how bad can it be? That would be because you don't have children and you haven't had to experience this age period as a parent.

The goal this week is to offer tips on how you as a parent can survive this wonderful time of adolescences and help your child get through this transitional time.

Tip One: Teach Your Child How to Greet Someone

This may seem completely silly and useless, but have you watched how children at this age meet people. Their heads are down, they are mumbling and if you are lucky they will look in the direction of the person but not really at them. Meeting new people can be tricky, especially at this age because your child doesn't want to be seen as a little kid. Practice greetings with them. Teach them to stand up straight, to make eye contact with the person they are meeting or talking to. Make sure that they speak clearly. This will get them, "What a charming young man/lady," instead of the "what a cute little kid."

Tip Two: Know Your Child

It doesn't matter how old they are, you need to know who your children are friends with, who they are hanging out with and who they are talking to. No one should know your child better then you. This is important for keeping them safe, and encouraging them to make smart decisions as they become teenagers.READ More on Parenting and Surviving the Tween Years

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by Jennifer Shakeel

children hugging outsideI have to admit that when I heard all the controversy over whether students should be allowed to hug each other at school I went to the source for an investigation. I talked to my children, one is in elementary and the other is finishing middle school. I asked them if their schools had a policy against hugging or physical contact and how they felt about it.

My son who is in elementary said that his school did not have a policy that he was aware of. My daughter on the other hand said her school does, but no one follows it. She stated that her and her friends could get away with the “one arm hug.” It was really the “boyfriend-girlfriend hug” that was the major no-no.

Myself, I can not believe that we live in a society that would ban hugging at all. I would like schools to explain to me why they would ban a hug. Now, I can understand that not all hugs are equal. I don’t think school is a place that students need to be groping each other, but I also don’t believe that is an activity that kids should be doing anyway. So I can see saying that any sexual touching is banned. But a hug?

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by Stephanie Partridge

Parenting a teen is no easy matter, especially during their first breakup. The moment I heard my daughter's voice on the other side of my bedroom door, I knew something was wrong. She knocked, waking me. I looked at the clock: 12 am. “Mom,” She said, “I need to talk to you.” Her voice was strained, tight. I could tell that she was struggling to keep it together. Something was wrong. I was out of bed in a heartbeat.

“What's up?” I asked as I opened the door. Her face did not reveal much, but I could see she was upset. Her trembling hand matched her trembling voice as she thrust a cell phone at me.

“Look.” She said.

It took me a moment to process what I was seeing, a text from someone to someone asking for nude photos and promising nude photos in return. My first reaction was that she had encountered some pervert somewhere and he was soliciting her. My mind began forming a plan of action. I wanted to throttle the creep, then it hit me. I KNEW this number, the sender of the text message. I also realized that this was not her phone, but her friend's cell. The picture slowly came into focus. My daughter's boyfriend had sent this text to her friend! I felt the small hairs on the back of my neck bristle as the realization hit me. The boy was a player and my daughter was heartbroken.

What had started out as a joke, two teenage girls sending a random message to my daughter's boyfriend had turned into major drama. A joke had turned into a tragedy. He had responded in a way that neither girl expected. At that midnight hour, the boyfriend had realized his blunder and come over to our house, only to be confronted by my son (also my daughter's best friend and strongest ally) who was not too happy that his sister was hurt by this guy.

Major drama in our house that night. READ More on Parenting Teens: Breakups and Broken Hearts