Tag Archives: Partnership for A Drug Free America

Talking to your teen about risky behaviors

7 Jun

In No one is perfect: People sometimes fail, moi said:

There are no perfect people, no one has a perfect life and everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, children do not come with instruction manuals, which give specific instructions about how to relate to that particular child. Further, for many situations there is no one and only way to resolve a problem. What people can do is learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. Craig Playstead has assembled a top ten list of mistakes made by parents and they should be used as a starting point in thinking about your parenting style and your family’s dynamic.

1)            Spoiling kids 

2)            Inadequate discipline

3)            Failing to get involved at school

4)            Praising mediocrity

5)            Not giving kids enough responsibility

6)            Not being a good spouse

7)            Setting unreal expectations

8)            Not teaching kids to fend for themselves

9)            Pushing trends on kids

10)           Not following through

Playstead also has some comments about stage parents.

Let kids be kids. Parents shouldn’t push their trends or adult outlook on life on their kids. Just because it was your life’s dream to marry a rich guy doesn’t mean we need to see your 4-year-old daughter in a “Future Trophy Wife” t-shirt. The same goes for the double ear piercing—that’s what you want, not them. Teaching kids about your passions is great, but let them grow up to be who they are. And yes, this goes for you pathetic stage parents as well. It’s hard enough for kids to figure out who they are in the world without you trying to turn them into what you couldn’t be.

Paul Tough has written a very thoughtful New York Times piece about the importance of failure in developing character, not characters.

In What If the Secret to Success Is Failure? Tough writes:

Dominic Randolph can seem a little out of place at Riverdale Country School — which is odd, because he’s the headmaster. Riverdale is one of New York City’s most prestigious private schools, with a 104-year-old campus that looks down grandly on Van Cortlandt Park from the top of a steep hill in the richest part of the Bronx. On the discussion boards of UrbanBaby.com, worked-up moms from the Upper East Side argue over whether Riverdale sends enough seniors to Harvard, Yale and Princeton to be considered truly “TT” (top-tier, in UrbanBabyese), or whether it is more accurately labeled “2T” (second-tier), but it is, certainly, part of the city’s private-school elite, a place members of the establishment send their kids to learn to be members of the establishment. Tuition starts at $38,500 a year, and that’s for prekindergarten.

Randolph, by contrast, comes across as an iconoclast, a disrupter, even a bit of an eccentric. He dresses for work every day in a black suit with a narrow tie, and the outfit, plus his cool demeanor and sweep of graying hair, makes you wonder, when you first meet him, if he might have played sax in a ska band in the ’80s. (The English accent helps.) He is a big thinker, always chasing new ideas, and a conversation with him can feel like a one-man TED conference, dotted with references to the latest work by behavioral psychologists and management gurus and design theorists. When he became headmaster in 2007, he swapped offices with his secretary, giving her the reclusive inner sanctum where previous headmasters sat and remodeling the small outer reception area into his own open-concept work space, its walls covered with whiteboard paint on which he sketches ideas and slogans. One day when I visited, one wall was bare except for a white sheet of paper. On it was printed a single black question mark.

For the headmaster of an intensely competitive school, Randolph, who is 49, is surprisingly skeptical about many of the basic elements of a contemporary high-stakes American education. He did away with Advanced Placement classes in the high school soon after he arrived at Riverdale; he encourages his teachers to limit the homework they assign; and he says that the standardized tests that Riverdale and other private schools require for admission to kindergarten and to middle school are “a patently unfair system” because they evaluate students almost entirely by I.Q. “This push on tests,” he told me, “is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.”

The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is characterthose essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. “Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that….”

Whatever the dream you feel you didn’t realize, remember that was your dream, it may not be your child’s dream. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/no-one-is-perfect-people-sometimes-fail/ Still, parents must talk to their children about life risks.

David Beasley is reporting in the Reuters article, One-third of U.S. teens report texting while driving: CDC:

A new federal study shows dramatic improvement in the driving habits of U.S. high school students, but texting by teenagers behind the wheel is a concern, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

One in three high school students reported they had texted or emailed while driving during the previous 30 days, according to the centers’ 2011 youth risk behavior survey of 15,000 high school students.

The percentage of those who had texted or emailed while driving was higher for upper classmen, with nearly 43 percent of 11th graders and 58 percent of 12th graders saying they had done so in the past month. This is the first time texting questions were included in this survey.

“Texting or emailing while driving a car can have deadly consequences,” said Howell Wechsler, director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.

The CDC did not have statistics on how many teens are killed annually from accidents caused by texting or emailing.

In 2010, auto accidents killed 3,115 teens aged 13-19, the CDC said. That was down 44 percent over the past decade, but auto accidents remain the leading cause of teen deaths.

The centers said the survey revealed more teenagers are wearing seatbelts and fewer are driving after drinking.

Over two decades, the percentage of high school students who never or rarely wore a seatbelt declined from 26 percent to 8 percent, the CDC said.

In 2011, only 8 percent of students said they had driven a car within the past 30 days when they had been drinking alcohol, compared to 17 percent in 1997. The percentage of students who rode with a driver who had been drinking during the previous 30 days dropped from 40 percent to 24 percent…

Nearly 40 percent of students said they had at least one alcoholic drink in the previous 30 days….

http://news.yahoo.com/one-third-u-teens-report-texting-while-driving-221543484–sector.html;_ylt=AsxzGlM8pNbQr9cKMiVPFctPXs8F;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0aGZqaDlwBG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBVU1NGIEVkdWNhdGlvblNTRgRwa2cDNTFkZDYzMDUtZjNmZS0zZjgwLWI0NjMtZmQyZjFlOWE3MDFiBHBvcwMxBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzg0NDJhMjUxLWIwZWUtMTFlMS1iYjlmLWNhMjM4ODFmOGVjNQ–;_ylg=X3oDMTFlamZvM2ZlBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdAMEcHQDc2VjdGlvbnM-;_ylv=3

Many parents want tips about how to talk with their kids about risky behaviors and whether they should spy on their children.

Perhaps the best advice comes from Carleton Kendrick in the Family Education article, Spying on Kids

Staying connected

So how do you make sure your teens are on the straight and narrow? You can’t. And don’t think you can forbid them to experiment with risky behavior. That’s what they’re good at during this stage, along with testing your limits. You can help them stay healthy, safe, and secure by doing the following:

  • Keep communicating with your teens, even if they don’t seem to be listening. Talk about topics that interest them.
  • Respect and ask their opinions.
  • Give them privacy. That doesn’t mean you can’t knock on their door when you want to talk.
  • Set limits on their behavior based on your values and principles. They will grudgingly respect you for this.
  • Continually tell them and show them you believe in who they are rather than what they accomplish.
  • Seek professional help if your teen’s abnormal behaviors last more than three weeks.

A 1997 landmark adolescent health study, which interviewed over 12,000 teenagers, concluded that the single greatest protection against high-risk teenage behavior, like substance abuse and suicide, is a strong emotional connection to a parent. Tough as it may be, you should always try to connect with them. And leave the spying to James Bond. It will only drive away the children you wish to bring closer.

In truth, a close relationship with your child will probably be more effective than spying. Put down that Blackberry, iPhone, and Droid and try connecting with your child. You should not only know who your children’s friends are, but you should know the parents of your children’s friends. Many parents have the house where all the kids hang out because they want to know what is going on with their kids. Often parents volunteer to chauffeur kids because that gives them the opportunity to listen to what kids are talking about. It is important to know the values of the families of your kid’s friends. Do they furnish liquor to underage kids, for example?  How do they feel about teen sex and is their house the place where kids meet for sex?Lisa Frederiksen has written the excellent article, 10 Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex, Drugs & Alcohol which was posted at the Partnership for A Drug-Free America

So, in answer to the question should you spy on your Kids? Depends on the child. Some children are more susceptible to peer pressure and impulsive behavior than others. They will require more and possibly more intrusive direction. Others really are free range children and have the resources and judgment to make good decisions in a variety of circumstances. Even within a family there will be different needs and abilities. The difficulty for parents is to make the appropriate judgments and still give each child the feeling that they have been treated fairly. Still, for some kids, it is not out of line for parents to be snoops, they just might save the child and themselves a lot of heartache.

Related:

What parents need to know about ‘texting’                  https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/what-parents-need-to-know-about-texting/

Children and swearing                                                     https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/children-and-swearing/

Does what is worn in school matter?                  https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/does-what-is-worn-in-school-matter/

Teen dating violence on the rise                       https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/teen-dating-violence-on-the-rise/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

The rich are different: Mercer Island underage drinking

10 Mar

Hemingway is responsible for a famous misquotation of Fitzgerald’s.

According to Hemingway, a conversation between him and Fitzgerald went:

Fitzgerald: The rich are different than you and me.

Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.

Studies are supporting the alleged Fitzgerald view.

Jack Broom is reporting in the Seattle Times article, Mercer Island dad may fight $250 fine for son’s party:

A Mercer Island man who expects to be the first person cited under a city ordinance holding parents responsible for underage drinking in their homes — even if they are away and unaware — says he may go to court to challenge the citation.

“I have a problem with the idea that you can fine someone for someone else’s actions,” said Greg James. “The more I think about it, the more I think it’s kind of a dumb law.”

James said Friday he has not decided whether he will pay the $250 fine, and has not been officially informed that he would be cited.

Police earlier this week said on Feb. 24, officers broke up a party that had drawn about 75 teens to the family’s home in the 7600 block of Southeast 37th Place, and involved large numbers of teens consuming alcohol.

Police said the party would trigger the first use of the ordinance that took effect in January.

James said his 16-year-old son, a junior at Mercer Island High School, had invited seven or eight friends over for pingpong, but word of the gathering quickly spread through cellphones and social media.

“So pretty soon, you have teenagers streaming through the door, and before you know it, you have a big party.” James was taking the family’s three younger siblings skiing at the time.

“Teenagers are teenagers. They’re not the smartest people in the world at that stage….”

Earlier this week, James told a TV reporter that despite his feelings about the law, he would go ahead and pay the fine.

But on Friday, James said he is reconsidering, in part because an attorney he knows told him he doubts the Mercer Island ordinance is constitutional. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017708126_party10m.html

Is the behavior of this father an example of a recent study?

Maia Szalavitz  has an interesting Time article,  Why the Rich Are Less Ethical: They See Greed as Good:

While stereotypes suggest that poor people are more likely to lie and steal, new research finds that it’s actually the wealthy who tend to behave unethically. In a series of experiments — involving everything from dangerous driving to lying in job negotiations and cheating to get a prize — researchers found that, across the board, richer people behaved worse. But, rather than class itself, the authors suggest that it’s views about greed that may largely explain the difference.

In the first two experiments, University of California, Berkeley, psychologists positioned observers at San Francisco intersections to watch for drivers who didn’t wait their turn at lights or yield for pedestrians. The researchers noted the make, age and appearance of cars — a marker for the drivers’ socioeconomic status — as well as the drivers’ gender and approximate age.

If you ever thought that the guy driving a late-model Mercedes is more of a jerk than the one behind the wheel of a battered Honda, you’d be right. Even after controlling for factors like traffic density and the driver’s gender and perceived age (younger men tend to drive faster and often rudely), drivers of the newest, most high-status cars were much more likely to cut other drivers off.

“The drivers of the most expensive vehicles were four times more likely to cut off drivers of lower status vehicles,” says Paul Piff, a doctoral student at Berkeley and lead author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Drivers in fancy cars were also three times more likely than those in beaters to threaten pedestrians by failing to yield when the walkers had the right of way at a crosswalk. So much for the theory that owners of expensive cars try to protect their vehicles from being sullied by common blood!

MORE: The Rich Are Different: More Money, Less Empathy

In five further experiments, researchers looked at moral behavior in more controlled lab settings. The experiments were designed to determine what made people lapse into bad behavior, and how difficult it would be to change it. The results offer some hope in an otherwise bleak picture.

In one study, participants reported their own socioeconomic status and then read descriptions of people stealing or benefiting from things to which they were not entitled. When asked how likely they would be to engage in similar behavior, the richest of 105 undergraduates were more likely admit that they would do so, compared with those from middle-class or lower-class backgrounds. Of course, this finding could simply reflect the fact that the rich are more likely to get away with such things — and therefore may feel more comfortable admitting it — so the researchers also studied actual behavior.

In the next experiment, researchers asked 129 students to compare themselves with those who were either far richer or far poorer than they were. Previous studies have found that this manipulation influences people’s perceptions of class and their own behavior, with those primed to feel wealthy behaving less generously and becoming less sensitive to the emotions of others, regardless of their actual socioeconomic class.

The participants were then offered candy from a jar that they were told would otherwise be given to children in another lab. Those primed to feel rich took more candy than those who were made to feel disadvantaged. Fortunately, there were no children actually waiting for the sweets.

MORE: Study: The Rich Really Are More Selfish

But why would people who feel socially elevated behave less ethically? The next set of experiments sought to examine this question, finding a connection between wealth and positive perceptions of greed. Among adults who were recruited online for one such experiment, those who were wealthier were more likely to lie in a simulated job interview scenario. The participants — acting as managers — were told that their hypothetical applicants would be willing to take a lower salary in exchange for job security. The applicants wanted a two-year contract position, but the managers knew that the available job would last only six months before being eliminated — and that they could get a bonus for negotiating a lower salary. People of high social class were more likely to lie to the job seekers, researchers found.

The reason for this was not necessarily their class, but the fact they agreed with Wall Street‘s Gordon Gekko that greed is good. When the researchers examined the connection between beliefs about greed and unethical behavior, they found that class was no longer a significant variable. In other words, rich people tended to take advantage of others primarily because they saw selfish and greedy behavior as acceptable, not just because they had more money or higher social status.h people are fairly sensitive and just need little reminders.”
http://healthland.time.com/2012/02/28/why-the-rich-are-less-ethical-they-see-greed-as-good/#ixzz1ogreeDSb

Citation:

Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior

  1. Paul K. Piffa,1,
  2. Daniel M. Stancatoa,
  3. Stéphane Côtéb,
  4. Rodolfo Mendoza-Dentona, and
  5. Dacher Keltnera

+ Author Affiliations

  1. aDepartment of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720; and
  2. bRotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3E6
  1. Edited* by Richard E. Nisbett, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, and approved January 26, 2012 (received for review November 8, 2011)

Abstract

Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.

There are some strategies for preventing substance abuse. If this father fights the ticket, he is sending the message that there are not consequences for behavior and with enough money and power you can appear to escape.

Partnership for a Drug Free America has some better strategies in their 6 Parenting Practices Help Reduce the Chance That Your Child Will Develop A Drug or Alcohol Problem:

Here are 6 ways to help you reduce the chance that your teenage child will drink, use drugs or engage in other risky behavior.

Build a Warm & Supportive Relationship with Your Child

Be a Good Role Model When It Comes To Drinking, Taking Medicine & Handling Stress

Know Your Child’s Risk Level

Know Your Child’s Friends

Monitor, Supervise & Set Boundaries

Have Ongoing Conversations & Provide Information About Drugs & Alcohol

http://www.drugfree.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/partnership_6_components_tool_final.pdf

This parent needs to set an example for their child. The wrong place to look for parenting advice is from most practicing attorneys.

Related:

Parents giving liquor to minors: New Mercer Island law                                          https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/parents-giving-liquor-to-minors-new-mercer-island-law/

Underage drinking costs society big-time            https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/underage-drinking-costs-society-big-time/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Talking to kids about sex, early and often

1 Jan

The blog discussed the impact of careless, uninformed, and/or reckless sex in the post, A baby changes everything: Helping parents finish school https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/a-baby-changes-everything-helping-parents-finish-school/ Let’s continue the discussion. Some folks may be great friends, homies, girlfriends, and dudes, but they make lousy parents. Could be they are at a point in their life where they are too selfish to think of anyone other than themselves, they could be busy with school, work, or whatever. No matter the reason, they are not ready and should not be parents. Birth control methods are not 100% effective, but the available options are 100% ineffective in people who are sexually active and not using birth control. So, if you are sexually active and you have not paid a visit to Planned Parenthood or some other agency, then you are not only irresponsible, you are Eeeevil. Why do I say that? You are playing “Russian Roulette” with the life of another human being, the child. You should not ever put yourself in the position of bringing a child into the world that you are unprepared to parent, emotionally, financially, and with a commitment of time. So, if you find yourself in a what do I do moment and are pregnant, you should consider adoption. Before reaching that fork in the road of what to do about an unplanned pregnancy, parents must talk to their children about sex and they must explain their values to their children. They must explain why they have those values as well.

Parents who believe the “head in the sand” method is the best approach will find themselves behind the curve because children will access information about sex on their own. Jan Hoffman writes in the New York Times article, Sex Education Gets Directly to Youths, via Text:

While heading to class last year, Stephanie Cisneros, a Denver-area high school junior, was arguing with a friend about ways that sexually transmitted diseases might be passed along.

Ms. Cisneros knew she could resolve the dispute in class — but not by raising her hand. While her biology teacher lectured about fruit flies, Ms. Cisneros hid her phone underneath her lab table and typed a message to ICYC (In Case You’re Curious), a text-chat program run by Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Soon, her phone buzzed. “There are some STDs you can get from kissing but they are spread more easily during sex,” the reply read. “You can get a STD from oral sex. You should use a condom whenever you have sex.”

Ms. Cisneros said she liked ICYC for its immediacy and confidentiality. “You can ask a random question about sex and you don’t feel it was stupid,” said Ms. Cisneros, now a senior. “Even if it was, they can’t judge you because they don’t know it’s you. And it’s too gross to ask my parents.”

Sex education is a thorny subject for most school systems; only 13 states specify that the medical components of the programs must be accurate. Shrinking budgets and competing academic subjects have helped push it down as a curriculum priority. In reaction, some health organizations and school districts are developing Web sites and texting services as cost-effective ways to reach adolescents in the one classroom where absenteeism is never a problem: the Internet.

In Chicago, teenagers can subscribe to Sex-Ed Loop, a program endorsed by the district that includes weekly automated texts about contraception, relationships and disease prevention. Through Hookup, California teenagers can text their ZIP codes to a number and receive locations for health clinics.

Many services, like Sexetc.org, a national site run by and for teenagers, offer both privacy and communities where adolescents can learn about sexuality and relationships, particularly on mobile devices, eluding parental scrutiny. Services offer links to blogs, interactive games, moderated forums, and Facebook and Twitter pages.

The messages, rendered in teenspeak, can be funny and blunt: for Real Talk, a technology-driven H.I.V. prevention program run by the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York, teenagers made a YouTube video, shouting a refrain from a rap song, “Sport Dat Raincoat,” during which a girl carrying an umbrella is pelted with condoms.

When we ask young people what is the No. 1 way they learn about sex, they say, ‘We Google it,’ ” said Deb Levine, executive director of ISIS Inc., an Oakland, Calif.,-based nonprofit organization that administers texting services and checks content for medical accuracy. “But most of the time, the best information is not coming up in those searches.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/31/us/sex-education-for-teenagers-online-and-in-texts.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

This leads to a question for some parents about whether they should spy on their kids. David Crary, AP national writer has penned the provocative article, Parental Dilemma: Whether to Spy On Their Kids?

Perhaps the best advice comes from Carleton Kendrick in the Family Education article, Spying on Kids

Staying connected

So how do you make sure your teens are on the straight and narrow? You can’t. And don’t think you can forbid them to experiment with risky behavior. That’s what they’re good at during this stage, along with testing your limits. You can help them stay healthy, safe, and secure by doing the following:

  • Keep communicating with your teens, even if they don’t seem to be listening. Talk about topics that interest them.
  • Respect and ask their opinions.
  • Give them privacy. That doesn’t mean you can’t knock on their door when you want to talk.
  • Set limits on their behavior based on your values and principles. They will grudgingly respect you for this.
  • Continually tell them and show them you believe in who they are rather than what they accomplish.
  • Seek professional help if your teen’s abnormal behaviors last more than three weeks.

The key is open communication.

Lisa Frederiksen has written the excellent article, 10 Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex, Drugs & Alcohol which was posted at the Partnership for A Drug-Free America

1. Talk early and talk often about sex. “Teens are thinking about sex from early adolescence and they’re very nervous about it,” explains Elizabeth Schroeder, EdD, MSW, Executive Director, Answer, a national sexuality education organization based at Rutgers University.  “They get a lot of misinformation about sex and what it’s supposed to be like. And as a result they think that if they take drugs, if they drink, that’s going to make them feel less nervous.”

Take this quiz to sharpen your talking skills.

2. Take a moment. What if your teen asks a question that shocks you? Dr. Schroeder suggests saying, “‘You know, that’s a great question.‘ or ‘I gotta tell you, I’m not sure if you’re being serious right now but I need a minute.‘” Then regain your composure and return to the conversation.

Learn how to handle personal questions from your teen like: “How old were you when you first had sex?” and “Have you ever used drugs?”

3. Be the source of accurate information. Beyond many school health classes, teens have lots of questions about drugs, pregnancy, condoms, abstinence and oral sex.

Find out what one mom discovered when she sat in on her daughter’s sex ed class.

4. Explain the consequences. Since teen brains aren’t wired yet for consequential thinking and impulse control, it’s important to have frank discussions with your teens about the ramifications of unprotected sex and the importance of using condoms to prevent the spread of STDs, HIV and unwanted pregnancy.

Find out how to guide your child toward healthy risks instead of dangerous ones.

5. Help your child figure out what’s right and wrong. Teens need — and want– limits.  When it comes to things like sexuality, drugs and alcohol, they want to know what the rules and consequences are.

6. Use teachable moments. Watch TV shows (like “16 and Pregnant,”  “Teen Mom,” “Jersey Shore” and “Greek”), movies, commercials, magazine ads and the news with your teen and ask “What did you think about that?” “What did you notice about how these characters interacted?”  “What did you think about the decisions they made?” For us, one of the best ways to talk about a number of heavy topics was to take a drive — that way we weren’t face-to-face.

7.  Explain yourself. Teens need to hear your rationale and why you feel the way you do. One approach is to talk about sex, drugs and alcohol in the context of your family’s values and beliefs.

One of the most challenging moments for me was when my daughters brought up the subject of intercourse.  I explained that my hope was they would not do it until they were in a committed, mutually caring relationship and that it would be a choice, not an attempt to hold onto a relationship and that it would be mutually satisfying.

8. Talk about “sexting.” Texting sexual images and messages is more prevalent than you may think. Read more.

9. Remember how you felt. I know when I started puberty I had many thoughts, feelings and questions that weren’t discussed in my family. Things like body changes, feelings of attraction, acne, weight gain, emotional confusion and the desire to push your parents away.  I wanted to help my daughters avoid that confusion.  I wanted them to understand early on that puberty is a hardwired, biological change that happens to all humans so they become interested in sex for the purposes of procreation. It’s natural to have impulses and feelings that are part and parcel to puberty. Teens don’t have control over these feelings and impulses, but they do have control over whether they act on them.

10. Persevere. Dr. Schroeder warns that your teenager may not want to talk — he or she may shrug and walk away. “Adolescents are supposed to behave in that way when inside what they’re really saying is ‘Keep talking to me about this. I need to know what you think. I’m trying to figure this out for myself as a teenager and if I don’t get messages from you, then I’m not going to know how to do this,’” she explains.

In truth, a close relationship with your child will probably be more effective than spying. Put down that Blackberry, iPhone, and Droid and try connecting with your child. You should not only know who your children’s friends are, but you should know the parents of your children’s friends. Many parents have the house where all the kids hang out because they want to know what is going on with their kids. Often parents volunteer to chauffeur kids because that gives them the opportunity to listen to what kids are talking about. It is important to know the values of the families of your kid’s friends. Do they furnish liquor to underage kids, for example?  How do they feel about teen sex and is their house the place where kids meet for sex?

So, in answer to the question should you spy on your Kids? Depends on the child. Some children are more susceptible to peer pressure and impulsive behavior than others. They will require more and possibly more intrusive direction. Others really are free range children and have the resources and judgment to make good decisions in a variety of circumstances. Even within a family there will be different needs and abilities. The difficulty for parents is to make the appropriate judgments and still give each child the feeling that they have been treated fairly. Still, for some kids, it is not out of line for parents to be snoops, they just might save the child and themselves a lot of heartache.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©