Sticks and Stones: New Program Designed to Bring Parents and Teenagers Closer

bookSticksStonesThe Sticks & Stones Seven-Week Program bridges the communication gap between parents and teenagers. The Program helps parents and teens learn how to work together to communicate more effectively and build a stronger bond.
Parents are always looking for new and creative ways to get their teens to communicate with them. Author Meaghan Roberts has just released her new program designed specifically to help parents create an environment where teenagers feel comfortable opening up. The Program consists of two eBooks, Sticks & Stones and My Rock. Sticks & Stones is a self-help guide for teens concerning daily issues they deal with such as bullying, self-esteem and peer pressure. The guide is also an e-journal where teens can privately write their thoughts, feelings and questions. The purpose is to create a safe outlet for teens to express themselves. They will read one chapter a week and spend the remainder of the week reflecting and writing about what they learned. My Rock is a supplemental guide that gives parents insight on what their teens are reading each week as well as communicative skills to help facilitate a conversation with their teens. Each week, a day prior to reading a new chapter, parents and teens will meet to discuss what their teens have learned and any questions they have.

The Program is safe, secure and private.
Meaghan developed the Sticks & Stones Seven-Week Program because traditional parenting books offer advice to parents but none to teens. When parents apply the advice, their teens have no idea where the change is coming from. Teenagers are no longer children and can no longer be treated like children. The only way a parent-teen relationship can develop is if both parties are involved. The Sticks & Stones program encourages parents and teens to work together to build trust as well as prepare teens for conversations they will have with their parents.
The Sticks & Stones Program is available only at www.mysticksandstones.com
Contact Information
Meaghan@mysticksandstones.com
www.mysticksandstones.com

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Building Self-Confidence In Your Teenager

SelfWorthHelp! My teen is hanging with the wrong crowd!

This is a common statement from parents when their child is starting down a negative road.

Your child’s self-esteem is an important part of his self-image. It helps him feel he’s worthwhile just as he is and helps him feel good about his choices and decisions. A healthy self esteem doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s something that is nurtured and grown throughout a lifetime, and something that the important people in his life have a chance to help cultivate.

Here are some tips for boosting your child’s self-esteem.

Give your child choices throughout the day. A big part of healthy self-esteem is feeling capable. Offering your child choices about what outfit to wear, what to have for a snack or for lunch, or if he should pick up the play room before or after going to the park will give your child practice making good choices. When offering young children choices, the key is being comfortable with whatever the child chooses. The goal is to help him think about both sides and make a decision that he feels will best satisfy his needs.

Avoid generic praise. Parents want kids to feel good about the things they do and to encourage them to repeat the types of behavior they value. So parents often say things like “Great job!” after everything from finishing vegetables at dinner to putting socks on in the morning to going down the slide at the park. While generic congratulations feel good to a child for a short time, after too many times it becomes meaningless. In fact, congratulating a child for things that don’t require real effort can make a child lose trust in the parent’s honesty.

Use specific praise generously. It’s helpful to a child’s self-esteem to hear from parents and other adults about their accomplishments, both big and small. Instead of using generic praise, let your child know how much you admire and appreciate his specific behavior. Phrases like “I appreciate your help in picking up the play room this afternoon. It means we have more time at the park!” or “Eating your vegetables will help your body grow strong and healthy. I love your willingness to try new things.” or “I’m so proud of how you climbed to the top of the tower. That took strong arms and great balance!” will help your child feel good about his abilities and choices.

Avoid negative labels. Most of the way we communicate with others is based in lifelong habits. Unfortunately some unhealthy habits may find their way into your parenting or caregiving vocabulary. Labeling a child as being mean, lazy, uncoordinated or hyperactive, or calling him a whiner, liar or babyish can negatively affect his self-esteem. Children are sensitive to what the people they love think about them and words can have a huge effect. Choose your words carefully and talk about challenging behaviors or traits in positive terms.

Become a great listener. Giving your child your full attention and truly listening to what he is saying and how he feels is an immediate self-esteem booster. When you turn off your phone, the TV and the computer and fully engage with your child it shows him that you really care about him and that you’re interested in what he has to say. That kind of undivided attention is rarer than it should be these days and will make your child feel valued and loved.

Model healthy self-esteem. Your child looks to you for clues about how to think, act and feel. Make sure you’re sending the right message. Invest in developing your own healthy self-esteem and you’ll be on your way to helping your child develop it too. Have a positive body image, be confident about your abilities, and don’t let petty criticisms from the outside world make you feel bad about yourself and your choices. If you struggle with esteem issues, talk about them with your child in an age appropriate way and show him the steps you’re taking to develop a healthy self-esteem. Showing your child that you’re not perfect, but that you’re working towards being better, gives him the freedom to accept his flaws too.

Teach problem solving skills. Teaching your child how to objectively assess a situation, brainstorm solutions, and put a plan into action is a proactive way of building self-esteem. Children who feel able to handle challenging situations, who recognize that when they get knocked down they can get right back up and try again, and who are confident that every problem has a solution have a strong sense of self-esteem.

Self-esteem is an important part of a child’s healthy emotional development. It acts like a suit of armor for your child, protecting him from many of the bumps and bruises that come with everyday life. It also gives him a strong foundation to build life skills on.

Source: Babysitting Jobs

11 Facts about teens and self esteem are listed on DoSomething.org and are very interesting including:

  • 78% of girls with low self-esteem admit that it is hard to feel good in school when you do not feel good about how you look (compared to 54% of girls with high self-esteem).
  • Teenage boys can be prone to obsessive exercising, binge eating, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, steroid abuse and diet aid abuse.
  • One of the main factors in teen promiscuity is self-esteem. When a teen has little or no self-confidence, he or she will use sex as a means to build confidence.

Do you feel your tween or teen is struggling with low self worth, starting to go down a negative path. Don’t let it escalate. Be proactive and reach out for help. Finding a local adolescent therapist can sometimes help. If it has gone too far, you may have come to a point where residential therapy is the answer. You can visit www.helpyourteens.com.

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What Teens Can Learn from Ashton Kutcher: A Lot!

Parents should take the time to listen to his acceptance speech and have their kids and especially teens listen. There are many lessons in it. Kudos to Ashton Kutcher for taking the time to influence our kids in a positive and REAL direction!

Problem Teens: Residential Therapy and Making that Difficult Decision

Seeking residential help can be daunting online.

Seeking residential help can be daunting online.

Summer is here and some parents will be considering summer camps while others are in the midst of hoping their teenager passed the school year, or had enough credits to graduate. If you are the parent of a teen who is struggling with school and acting out, it can drive you to your wit’s end.

Maybe your once fun-loving teenager who is good looking, intelligent, and has lots of good friends is now talking back to you, staying out late or sneaking out, defiant, and possibly sexually active? On the flip side, your once sweet child might be a teenage misfit who is acting out because of bullying, or is experimenting with sex, drugs, and/or alcohol in a desperate attempt to find acceptance.

What happens when you have a teenager that decides they don’t want to finish high school when they are more than capable? Perhaps they were consistently getting excellent grades and now they are just getting by or failing completely.  From an overachiever to an underachiever.  Or you have the teen that used to be a great athlete, was a popular kid in school–suddenly your child has become withdrawn and is hanging with a group of new peers that are less than desirable.

Is this typical teen behavior?

Possible, but how do you know when it is and when you need to intervene?

As the school year is coming to an end, it is a good time for parents to evaluate where their teen is at both emotionally and academically–especially if they are in High School. These are your final years to make a significant difference in their lives, and get them on a positive road towards their futures. When a child is crying out for help by using illegal substances,  running away, flunking in school, becoming secretive, possibly affiliating with a gang, or displaying other negative behavior it is a parent’s responsibility to get involved, as painful as that is, and seek treatment.

When adolescents reach the point of rebelliousness, many parents will try therapy, and this is a good place to start. But the success of local treatment will depend on the child and how far their behavior has escalated. Unfortunately many parents I have spoken to have reported that the one-hour session once a week–or even twice a week–rarely makes a difference in their teen’s behavior. For many parents there comes a time when residential therapy is taken under serious consideration–especially if drugs and/or alcohol are an issue. It is important to seek outside help, and removing a teen from their environment can be critical in getting them the help they need to heal. This is particularly true when a teen needs to be separated from undesirable peers that are instigating or perpetuating their negative behavior.

Though the majority of teens are unwilling to attend residential treatment, most of them are professionally transported by experts in the field. Parents spend a lot of time and stress about this part of the decision, but hiring a professional in this field can lessen the worries. They are trained to work with at-risk youth and will ask you all about your child before they arrive. In speaking with many parents and teens that have successfully used transports, the feedback is overwhelmingly positive.

At the end of the day, your teen truly wants to feel good about themselves again, too. They want to be that happy child that you remember. Remember, they were once that a good kid, and they can become that good person again.  Being a teenager isn’t easy, and parenting that child when you have reached your wit’s end is a challenge. Knowing you are not alone helps!

Take away tips for parents:

When seeking residential treatment, I always encourage parents to look for three key components that I call the ACE factor:

  • Accredited Academics (Ask to see their accreditation): Education is important, some programs actually don’t offer it.
  • Clinical (Credentialed therapists on staff): Please note–on staff.
  • Enrichment Programs (Animal assisted programs, culinary, fine arts, sports etc): Enrichment Programs are crucial to your child’s program. They will help build self-esteem and stimulate them in a positive direction. Find a program with something your teen is passionate about or used to be passionate prior their path in a negative direction.

I also encourage parents to avoid three red flags:

  • Marketing arms and sales reps (All those toll-free numbers, be careful of who you are really speaking to and what is in the best interest of your child.)
  • Short term programs (Wilderness programs or otherwise, rarely is there a quick fix. Short term program are usually short term results. They usually will then convince you to go into a longer term program after you are there a few weeks–why not just start with one? Consistency is key in recovery. An average program is 6-9-12 months, depending on your child’s needs and the program.)
  • Statistics that show their success rate (I have yet to see any program or school have a third party–objective survey–perform a true statistical report on a program’s success. Success is an individual’s opinion. You have to do your own due diligence and call parent references.)

For more information about researching residential therapy and helpful tips, visit http://www.helpyourteens.com and don’t forget to review the list of questions for schools and programs so you can make an educated decision.

Back to School: Is Your Teen Already Out of Control?

Yes, it is happening again.

We thought maybe a change of schools – maybe a new school year – maybe a fresh start – maybe a new maybe…..

Let’s face it, as parents we hope and pray that our teenager will grow out of that defiant behavior.  This age of entitlement and spoiled rotten brat syndrome is getting worse by the day.

The only refreshing thing is to know you are not alone!  Though it doesn’t make it easier.

One thing I can’t stress enough is parents can’t ignore the warning signs of a teen going down a negative road, especially if they are in their late teens.  Remember once they turn 18 they are no longer in your control – though they may still be living with you, you can’t force them to get help.

If your teen is 16 or 17 years old (especially 17+) and they are spiraling out of control,  it is imperative you seek help for them.  So many times, unfortunately, the once a week therapy session rarely is enough to make a difference at this point.  Usually a teen has been through several therapist – and they won’t even attend.

Don’t be a parent in denial – don’t think it is only marijuana – or it is only because of the friends he/she is hanging with – remember your teen is making the decision to smoke the pot and hang out with those friends.  They are making these bad decisions.

Learn more about getting your teen back on a positive road.  Visit www.helpyourteens.com where we have helped thousands of families since 2001.  There is no shame in admitting your teen is struggling.  We have been there.  Getting help is what responsible parents do.

Third Annual BLUE SHIRT DAY – World Day of Bullying Prevention

Love Our Children USA announced today the Third Annual BLUE SHIRT DAY™ – WORLD DAY OF BULLYING PREVENTION to kickoff  National Bullying Prevention Awareness month during October. The Blue Shirt Day™– World Day of Bullying Prevention is an initiative of STOMP Out Bullying™ to combat bullying and cyberbullying.

This time of year should be an exciting time for students returning to school …learning, seeing old friends and making new ones; but the reality for many is often very different. They’re the victims of bullying at school, on playgrounds and online. They’re afraid to go to school for fear of being bullied.

To signify the importance of National Bullying Prevention Awareness month, STOMP Out Bullying™, a signature program of Love Our Children USA™, created Blue Shirt Day™- World Day of Bullying Prevention which is observed on the first Monday of October. On this day, we ask kids and adults alike to make Monday, October 3rd, the day that bullying prevention is heard around the world by wearing a Blue Shirt in solidarity to STOMP Out Bullying.

With the new school year beginning, this is a call to action for students, schools and workplaces across the country. Hundreds of schools across the country have agreed to participate and many more are expected to join.

This year’s campaign not only offers a newly designed “limited edition” blue shirt, it will create an even greater awareness with a PSA. The PSA will air on major TV and cable networks, as well as online.

Ross Ellis, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of STOMP Out Bullying™ said: “Kids who are intimidated, threatened, or harmed by bullies and cyberbullies often experience low self-esteem and depression. Some take their lives as an alternative. Many do not understand how extreme bullying can get. Parents, teachers and school administrators must use sensitivity in handling these issues. They must also work to make the victims more resilient, as well as working to help change the behavior of the bully. Schools can no longer sweep the issue under the rug.”

STOMP Out Bullying™ offers students a safe haven. From information and resources, to an online area where youths can talk about the issue, to getting involved in social media efforts, signing a petition, raising awareness, Blue Shirt Day and celebrity PSAs and a HelpChat Line for kids and teens who are bullied, cyberbullied and at-risk for suicide, and a soon to be launched area where students can upload videos about their experiences with bullying and why they want to end bullying.

We ask kids, teens and adults to participate BLUE SHIRT DAY™- WORLD DAY OF BULLYING PREVENTION by wearing the STOMP Out Bullying™ “limited edition” blue shirt or wear their own blue shirt.

And from September 29th – October 19th the biggest celebrities will participate in the Fourth Annual STOMP Out Bullying Auction on charitybuzz.com. Some of last year’s celebrities include: Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bill Joel, Bette Midler, Ellen Degeneres, Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Dancing With the Stars and Tom Bergeron, American Idol and a host of other very notable stars.

Ellis said: “We are so grateful to all of our partners joining us in this fight to STOMP Out Bullying. Bullying can be so painful and clearly has played a role in recent suicides across the country. And cyberbullying is in full force with the use of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and other sites popular with kids and teens. This social online cruelty is used by individuals or groups intending to harm our youth. Bullying starts as early as kindergarten. We have to look at prevention as a community issue. It’s up to parents, schools, law enforcement and the students to work together to educate and prevent – putting an end to the violence and to the suicides.

The parents of Scott Walz, Sladjana Vidovic, Phoebe Prince, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, Jesse Logan, Hope Witsell (Florida), Ryan Halligan and all of the others who took their lives know only too well, because they their kids could no longer take the daily torment.

They might be here today if their schools had listened and taken a stand against all forms of bullying.Students should be educated about the harmful effects of bullying and cyberbullying. They can begin by observing and participating in National Bullying Prevention Awareness month and BLUE SHIRT DAY™- WORLD DAY OF BULLYING PREVENTION.

Recent Statistics Show:

  • 1 out of 4 kids is Bullied.
  • Approximately 160000 kids stay home from school each day due to the fear of being bullied
  • 43% of teens, 97% of middle schoolers and 47% of older teens 18-24 are cyberbullied
  • 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school

To learn more about hoe you can help your child handle bullying or if your child is a bully, visit www.stompoutbullying.org.

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After school and Your Daughter

Yes, schools are opening throughout our country and another academic year with the normal peer pressure and stress of being a teenager.

What are you doing after school? Many girls will be hitting a transitional point in their lives in a few weeks. Some will attend new schools, some will be away from home for the first time and others could be leaving their summer loves….

Although women have made gains in education and employment in the equal rights war, they’re still losing the self-esteem war. Girls’ self-esteem peaks when they are about 9 years old, and then takes a nosedive. Although the media, peers, and pop culture influence children, parents still hold more sway than they think when it comes to having an impact on a daughter’s developing self-esteem.

Girls are faced with an onslaught of influences daily- most of them not the ones we’d like. In fact, a national survey of girls’ use of social media released by Girl Scouts of the USA (Who’s That Girl: Self Image in the 21st Century, 2010) finds that girls with low self-esteem are more likely to be susceptible to negative experiences on social networking sites than are girls with high self-esteem.

As parents and mentors, we want to help our daughters develop a strong sense of self, learn about the benefits of a balanced diet and physical activity, develop healthy relationships, promote confidence and well-being among While having fun.

Wondering how to enhance your daughter’s school year? The Girl Scouts’ flourishing new leadership program Journeys is at the core of the nearly 100-year-old organization’s transformation and a key benefit of this latest offering is building a strong sense of self. Building self-esteem does not happen overnight, but research shows that one way to accomplish this is through the development of leadership skills and competencies.

For more information go to www.girscouts.org!

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