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?

READ More on To Hug or Not to 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

mom and her newborn babyMany women experience a dip in their level of self confidence once they become a mom. You begin to doubt your ability to be a good mom, you doubt the fact that you are still an attractive vibrant woman, you worry that your husband may find you less attractive… you begin to question exactly who you are a person. This is normal… I know, I say that often in these pregnancy articles. The reason I say that is because it’s true. Wondering why no one ever talks about it then, that is because if you knew all of the changes physically and emotionally that you were going to experience before you got pregnant… you may not want to get pregnant at all. However, most women that have had a baby, once they hear what you are going through will smile in acknowledgement for we have been there too.
There are a multitude of changes that are taking place in your life right now. When you aren’t trying to get some much needed sleep, your mind is buzzing with questions and doubts about who you are now as a woman. Can you possibly be a good mom, wife, friend, professional, and woman? The answer to all of those questions is yes. What you need to do is rebuild your confidence level. Here I am going to give you a few tips on how you can recharge your confidence and be the mom, woman, friend, lover, professional person you want to be.READ More on New Mom Confidence

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by Jennifer Shakeel

happy young teenage girl enjoying the dayThere are children that are born that are just naturally independent, and there are other children that are less independent. As children grow we as parents need to encourage them to be independent. We want to know that when they are grown and on their own that they will be able to take care of themselves. Regardless of how old or young your child is, it is never to early or too late to encourage them to do things on their own.

Idea One: Don’t Give Answers Provide Direction

This applies more to school age children who are coming home with homework. I think it is natural for all children to ask for help with their homework… but to a good chunk of children help means they want you to give them the answers. Part of this is because we as parents want to make things easier for our kids so that they don’t get discouraged. In doing so though, we are taking away their independence.
This doesn’t mean you can’t help them. But only help, provide them direction and don’t give them the answer. For example, “How do you spell _____?” We don’t spell the word for our children. Instead we ask, “How do you think you spell it?”

Idea Two: Encourage Them to Try it On Their Own

Some kids will demand the chance to do things on their own. “Let me do it!” I am sure is something that we have all heard at one time or another. When they want to do it on their own, let them. For example the first time they want to dress themselves for school… or for the day, let them… and then let them wear what they put on. Hopefully it matches, and if it doesn’t then say, “Honey, that doesn’t really match are you sure you want to wear it?” Their answer is going to be yes, and they are going to tell you how it matches… let them wear it. Trust when I tell you that as they get older, you will say more than once to them, “Really, that is what you are wearing today?” I call it the hazards of teenagers and their taste in clothes.

READ More on Parenting Tips: Encouraging Independence

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kids having fun laying in grass in a parkIf you have more than one child, you know that each own has a temperament all their own. There are those kids that are very verbal and interact with others whenever they get together. On the other hand, you have those that are quiet and more reserved, and just want to play by themselves. Even though your child may be born with a preference to be social or not, much of a person’s social ability to interact appropriately with others is based on what they are taught. You, as their parent, have a wonderful opportunity to help your child thrive in social situations. Helping them to succeed socially will give them confidence and the ability to adapt to situations all throughout their lives.
When teaching your child social skills in life, it is important to remember that these skills include many facets. Not only are social skills based on behavior, but also on the child emotions, intellect and ethics. These are all areas that will need to be strengthened as our child grows, so that they will have the ability to interact with others and achieve the goals they set for themselves.
Tip 1: Encourage Emotions
Emotions are a part of every day living, and in experiencing these emotions, children will have to learn what is appropriate and what is not. Some emotions are naturally easier to express than others. Most children can express themselves just fine when they are happy and excited. Once a child gets angry, hurt or rejected, they may not be able to express those emotions in a proper manner. These are times when a parent must reaffirm to the child that these feelings are normal, but there is an appropriate way to handle them. If you teach your child the skills they need to cope with these feelings and emotions, they will be able to be resilient and able to handle the hurts they will encounter in life.READ More on Weekly Parenting Tips – Encouraging Social Interaction

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