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Curbing Teen Stress, Anxiety, and Fear.

Boy are these strange times. 

These past weeks have been nothing short of crazy. As I'm writing this we are a few weeks into the mandated social distancing orders from the government. Some of you are dealing with a loved one diagnosed with COVID-19, a child may have missed a major life event due to the quarantine, and some have been laid off or are struggling financially. 

Life looks different, doesn’t it? We can’t change what is happening with the world, but we CAN change our mindset around it. 

We are all trying to manage fear, stress, anxiety, boredom, disappointment, loneliness, scarcity, and friendships. Many of us are also feeling grief. Grief for what we may have lost.  Jobs, activities, birthday parties, money, commencements, and more.    

Did you know 7 out of 10 American teens say anxiety and depression are major issues kids their age face? That's according to Pew Research Center and it's the number one problem teens...

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The Developmental Need to Feel 'Seen' and Social Media

I recently read an article from Screenagers Filmmaker Delaney Ruston, MD that got me thinking. It was titled "TikTok and The High of an Audience" and posed some interesting questions about what youth get out of massive numbers of followers and views on social media. Teens say (getting views and likes) makes them feel appreciated and being seen feels good. If so many people see what they post, it implies that what they are doing is worth the other person’s time — and that can feel great. 

During adolescence, along with body changes comes major brain development.

Youth begin asking some huge questions: Who Am I? Do I matter? What do I have to offer? Do people like me?  Am I enough?

They answer these questions typically based on input from others. This can become the foundation for their self-confidence and self-worth. When validation comes from others and not from within changes with it can be devastating. 

When we repeatedly compliment...

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Helping Your Children Develop Healthy Friendships


Having strong friendships is an important part of being emotionally healthy. Talk often with your children about how to be a good friend, how to keep good friends, and how to stay emotionally healthy by getting out of friendships that aren't good for them. It's helpful to think about what we are looking for in a good friend and strive to be the friend we want others to be.

Where to start......

1. Model and have talks about the qualities of true friendship and encourage many

Start by making a list together of traits or qualities in true friendship. If your list looks anything like mine it's likely you'll need many different friends to fulfill your friendship needs. Having multiple friendships is helpful when friendships change through life.  You don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of. 

I've put together a few talking points to help you get started.

True friends make you feel...

  • Good...
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Talking to Teens About Peer Pressure


Peer pressure is a bit inevitable, but there are things we can do to close the door on being pressured more than we do.

Making sure your kids know how to say "no" is an important life skill. One that they will need more and more as they get older. Adults play an important role in helping young people develop and practice this skill. These talking tips are sure to help! 

Help kids clarify their values by sharing your own and why you believe what you do. 

If you have values around what is right/wrong, healthy/unhealthy, or safe/unsafe behaviors be sure to share these with your children. It is important to also include why you feel that way. You won't always know if your values and beliefs were heard in the moment but often times they are reflected back later when it counts. 

Be real. Don't exaggerate to instill fear. The truth is often scary enough.

Often times adults exaggerate consequences. If a child knows of an example that contradicts what you are saying, it...

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The Truth about Fear Tactics

Do you remember...

The massive public health campaigns designed to combat smoking? They focused on all the dangers of smoking such as emphysema, heart disease, cancer, and other smoking related diseases that took years of use to cause. I know you've seen these ads and commercials and you may even have one that sticks in your mind.  Here is one I remember when I was a teen. 

These ad campaigns were designed to scare us into not smoking. Do you think they worked? 


It turns out that those campaigns had surprisingly little impact on behavior decisions. What eventually cut smoking rates were two main tactics: substantially raising the cost of cigarettes and placing strong limits on the places where people could smoke. Many bars and restaurants stopped allowing smoking and federal buildings and schools required butts be put out 20 feet away from doors. Of course, continuing to educate about the ill effects of tobacco is important, but if we had just...

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The TALK Kids Want to Have!


Few parents get excited about talking to their kids about sex.

What to say, how much to say and when to say it are just a few of the hesitations. Many parents believe their kids don’t want to discuss the subject with them or that they’ll just learn it from school, from friends, or the internet. The truth is though that kids do want to talk to parents and other trusted adults in their lives about sex and relationships and we might have been getting what conversations they want to have all wrong.  

According to a report from Harvard’s “Making Caring Common” project, 70% of kids surveyed wished they had gotten more information from their parents about managing the emotions of a relationship.

They want guidance on:

  • “how to have a more mature relationship,”
  • “how to deal with breakups,”
  • “how to avoid getting hurt,”
  • “how to compromise in a relationship,”
  • “how to deal with falling out of...
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Teens & Sexting


Rather than being shocked to find that kids are sexting, we should start talking about it from an early age. In this blog find tips on how to get this important conversation started. 

What exactly is sexting?

Sexting is sending or getting sexually explicit or suggestive images, messages, or video on a smartphone or through the Internet.

Sexting includes sending:

  • nude or nearly nude photos or selfies
  • videos that show nudity, sex acts, or simulated sex

How common is it and why is it a BIG deal?

Sexting among teens is on the rise. According to JAMA Pediatrics, almost 27 percent of teens are receiving sextexts and almost 15 percent are sending them and 12% forward them without consent. 

Teens should understand that messages, pictures, or videos sent via the Internet or smartphones are never truly private or anonymous. In seconds they can be out there for all the world to see.

Even if the image, video, or text was only meant for one person, after it's sent or posted, it's out...

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What to Do If You Find Something Disturbing on Your Teen's Phone

I often hear parents struggling with issues concerning their children using technology safely and appropriately. A parent might notice, for example, that their teenager spends a lot of time texting, or frequently insulting others or cursing. Another parent might discover pictures on their teen’s phone or social media of them in their underwear, flashing private parts, or in suggestive poses. Or a parent who shares a tablet with their teen notices that internet history includes searches related to sex or pornographic websites.

Countless parents encounter issues with their children's behavior on their devices and struggle with knowing how to approach things. Many are looking for answers and advice on how to broach certain subjects with their kids, especially if they were snooping or want to make sure they have an appropriate punishment that doesn't create more defiance or space between them. 

It's important we teach teens how to navigate the challenges...

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Myths that STOP Parents from Talking About Sex

Parents often want to know when is the best time to start talking to their kids about "it". However, it is far too easy to hesitate and wait when there are so many myths and facts that get mixed up and make us fearful to get this important conversation started. Should you wait till your child has questions, for school to do it, or for puberty to happen?  

I wanted to address some of the most common concerns that I have heard over the years doing talks that could stop you from having conversations with your kids. Here are the top 10.  

1. Won't talking about sex make kids want to grow up faster?

One hesitation or belief I have heard is that talking about sex makes kids seem older. That they become women or men after "THE Talk" or that it makes them less innocent in some way. This is simply not true. If anything, talking about sexuality early will help keep your child's innocence by protecting them from sexual abuse or exploitation

Sex is an adult...

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Talking to Kids About Consent


With the rise of the Me Too movement and allegations of sexual misconduct against many high-profile figures flooding our current events many parents are wondering how to talk to their kids about consent. It is not as tough of a conversation as you may believe. Here is a quick guide to help you feel confident and get started talking today.

Starting Early With Younger Kids

Helping kids understand consent (permission) early and understand their bodies belong to them makes it much easier to discuss sexual consent as they get older. The behaviors and mindset you help your child create have the power to be carried with them into adulthood. Here are some important lessons to pass on to your kiddos. You've got this parents! 

Begin with teaching children that their bodies belong to them and that a person needs to ask permission before touching their body. This includes hugs, kisses, holding hands, tickling, doctor visits, bathing, bathroom help,...

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