by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Tired of your teen sitting at the computer screen all day? While there is no problem with getting some tech time in, your teen should also be exploring things often. My teens and I naturally explore something just about every day. Together, we have become experts on the natural areas we have access to. Enhancing exploration skills in teens helps contribute to problem-solving skills needed throughout life. It also keeps the mind active and can be soothing to the soul. Even if your teen isn't open to the idea at first, you'll likely see her grow into it sooner than you think.
Make the outdoors a part of every day. Spending lots of time outside helps foster imagination skills, which often leads to exploring. Make sure your teen goes outdoors often, preferably every day. Mock treasure hunts and geocaching can make it interesting and help hone important exploration skills. They don't necessarily need to be on a quest every time. Even playing sports, reading a book, or painting a picture outside will help. My teens love to be outside more than in and that's probably mostly due to the fact that being outside is natural in our family.
Take nature walks and hikes often. You may think your teen will not agree to this activity. But teens naturally need to exert energy and explore. This allows for both. They may groan at first, but many teens will likely get more into this once they try it. For motivation, try giving them a camera to snap photos along the way. You can also set specific goals to accomplish. For instance, you can ask your teen to spot specific plants or animals, overcome certain obstacles, or walk a specific distance. When distance is a factor, be sure to increase difficulty. When we first started walking the trails, a mile or so was the goal. Now it is not unusual for my teens and I to walk several times that distance when we take to the trails.
Send them to camp. Many camps, be they daytime or extended stay, offer adventurous activities. Do your research and find one that offers many chances to explore. Camps that are located among nature scenes are the best option for this. For instance, a camp located in the mountains is probably going to be more adventurous on a daily basis than one located in the middle of the city. But don't let them fool you. Make sure that their activities and itinerary line up with what your teen is looking for in terms of exploration.
Visit archaeological sites. We currently live in a state where dinosaurs used to roam freely. Because of this, there are places not far from our house that have live archaeological dig sites. Some of them allow kids to participate in the excavation. If you don't have a dig site near you, you can create mock ones in your backyard. While the real deal is better, teens will enjoy and learn exploration via the mock site as well. If you are creating a mock site, you can change the subject often. For instance, some themes may be Native American artifacts, Egyptian tombs, or '"lost cities."
Go on mountain adventures. Panning for gold is just one of the many exciting adventures that can happen in the mountains. The winding trails can be exciting as well. Skiing, camping, hiking, water rafting, and biking are all activities suitable for adventures in the mountains with teens. The mountains hold many adventures and mysteries just waiting for you and your teen to discover.
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Your teen student is headed to high school. This is the last portion of his schooling, where he prepares for independence. The choices made here will help influence his life path. Should teen students choose their own schedules? As their parents, should we instead be making this choice? While I would certainly like to decide what is likely to give my teens the best head start in life, I still think the final decision is up to them. Here's why.
What if my teen doesn't know what's best? This is a concern many parents have when realizing that their high school student is going to be choosing their own schedule. Talk to your teen about what his life goals and dreams are. Make sure he knows that his schedule should reflect those plans. Also, there should be guidance counselors assigned to each high school student in most schools. If you are homeschooling, you are likely to have some extra influence over the courses your teen student chooses. Either way, your teen needs to know his options and also that you trust him with the choice.
Can a high school student get an easy schedule approved? Some teens may be sneaky and try to take all elective courses. But thankfully, this is not likely to fly with administration. There are certain courses required each semester. So, if your teen ticks off too many classes that are for fun, without selecting any core classes, she's going to have to fix that schedule to get it approved. It may work during senior year if the student has taken all the required courses. But hopefully, the advice given by parents and counselors will instead encourage choices related to the teen's career aspirations.
What if a parent wants the teen to have certain classes? Being too demanding with the choices your teen faces could cause unnecessary pressure. Remember that this is a part of the preparation toward becoming an adult. As parents, our job is not to control everything our kids do. Instead, it is our job to give them the knowledge and confidence to succeed independently. They won't live with us forever. Just like we made difficult choices and learned from our mistakes, our kids need to do the same. Instead of demanding that your teen take specific classes, talk with him about his goals. Go over the class options together and talk about which ones are best suited to his needs. Let him make the ultimate decision himself.
Will a student-created schedule be balanced? Parents often worry that if a high school student is choosing his own schedule, it might not be quite rounded. Fortunately, because most schools require a specific number of core classes and a set amount of electives, it will pretty much even out. The model ay not always be perfect. But most high school students will get to learn what's required, as well as something else directly related to their interests and career options.
Will my teen effectively schedule toward career options? Talking to your teen can help her decide what's best. You may not think she's listening and she may be rolling her eyes, but she does hear you. Because you don't want to be controlling or demanding, there is not an absolute certainty that your teen will make the right choices. But by giving her the knowledge, you put her one step closer to the right choice. By combining your advice, as well as that of the advisor or counselor, your teen should at least be doing something in relation to life goals.
It's scary raising a teenager, knowing that they have the freedom to make choices both good and bad. Providing your children with knowledge and resources is your job as a parent. But if you want them to be best prepared for life, they need to learn on their own how best to apply what you've given them. It's difficult to place such an important decision in the hands of a teenager. But they need to be given that power in order to have the ability to make even tougher decisions later in life.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
"Is my teen daughter ready for a boyfriend" is an inevitable question that parents of girls will have to ponder. How do you know when your teen daughter is actually ready to handle the joys and consequences that come with dating? Readers were asked for their thoughts and personal experiences on the right age, signs a girl is ready, and dealing with first dates. Here's what some of them had to say.
Jolynne Hudnell, 43-year-old mother of twin girls (age 16) responded with these words:
"I don't know if I'm old fashioned or not, but my girls weren't allowed to go on dates alone until they turned 16. Prior to that, they could go if a parent would be present (I would also need to know the parent's name and cell phone number if they had one). They were always expected to answer my text to check on them, or to text me at certain intervals. They also had to be home at a certain time. If the rules were broken, they would not be allowed to go "on a date" again until they started keeping in contact with me again when going out with a group of friends and such.
Since they kept to the rules prior to turning 16, they now can go out on dates without a parent present. But they still have to keep in contact at certain intervals and answer me when I text. They also have to be home on an agreed upon time.
As for old enough to have a boyfriend, a girl is going to have a boyfriend when she wants, even if she just sees him at school. If she is still attending classes and keeping her grades up, I don't really have a problem with it. If she skips class to see the boy, then we have an issue, and may have to notify the school to be sure she attends classes. So far, both girls have been very responsible about following the rules."
Randy Barefoot, successful father of 2 almost independent women answered:
"My 26 year old, married daughter says, "No teenage girl should have a boyfriend." This revelation is astounding because I told her this when she was 15, but she didn't believe me. For the 1st date, the boy should come to the girl's house where he must meet the parents. His arrival should be timed to interrupt Dad cleaning his shotgun.
Seriously, a girls maturity level where boys are concerned can be measured by her motives. If she wants to date because her friends have boyfriends other frivolous reasons, she has no business dating. When her motive is because she has an honest affection for the boy, she's ready to date.
First dates are preferably group activities. My first date with my future wife was when I was 14 and she 15. It was a triple date with my parents, my sister and her fiance. My parents said I could invite a friend. It surprise them when I asked Sharron.
So the short answer is, examine the girl's motives. Open, honest conversations between parent(s) and teen are the key. Just another good reason for real family dinners where people talk instead of watch TV. "
Khara House, who is a teen mentor, had this sage advice:
"I've told more than one teen-aged girl that she wasn't mature enough for a boyfriend. In fact, I've told more than one twenty-something female that she wasn't mature enough for a boyfriend! Being ready for a relationship isn't, after all, about age as much as it is about knowing who you are and what you want, and having the degree of maturity and understanding necessary to pair that with what another person needs and wants.
One question I asked a girl I was mentoring once was, 'If he asked you right now to do something you'd usually never agree to, would you do it?' If the answer is anywhere from 'yes' to the awkward pause before 'no,' I say she isn't ready. For some girls I'd say it comes down to what the girl wants out of the relationship. Why is she so interested in dating this guy? If she doesn't know, or the reason is based on anything other than the foundational things in a relationship-- i.e., saying 'Because he's so hot!' doesn't cut it-- then she might not be ready!
As for the other thing, about getting through first dates ... I suppose 'roll with the punches' isn't particularly sound advice?"
Another successful mother, Lynda Altman gives these suggestions:
"As a parent you have to ask yourself some very hard questions such as does she have accurate information about her body and sexuality? Does she understand the consequences of premarital sex? Does she understand and know how to protect herself from STDs. Has she taken a self defense course so that when she says NO it means NO. This may seem a lot to ask before something as benign as a fist date, but they may come up.
Archaic as it sounds, as parents do you plan to chaperone the first date? Or is it going to be an outing with a group of friends?
A teenage girl is ready to date when she every little thing is not a crisis. When grades are good and behaviors are in control. If she is still going through the 'I hate you' stage, and everything is about rebellion, then she needs more time before she is ready to enter into a potential relationship."
*I originaly published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Socks on the Floor (Poetry)
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Socks on the floor
Shoes by the door
Pants in the hamper
Shirt's getting damper
Getting ready to go
But the toddler says no
Then soils himself
Mischievous like an elf
Teenager's on the phone
Baby starts to moan
You all rush out
In a crying bout
Just like any other morning
*I originally published this parenting poetry via Yahoo Contributor Network
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans network. She is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! Running a network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is her top priority.
While rescuing civilians from boring content and brands, this awesomely crazy family conquers the world, managing Intent-sive Nature while going on Upstream Parenting adventures & lessons, sometimes in an RV. They strive to cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they settle for rescue dogs and cats.
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