Setting Screen Time Limits For Teens Without Starting World War 3

Setting Screen Time Limits For Teens Without Starting World War 3


 

In this two minute video Lauren Muriello, LPC of  Well Being Therapy Center offers a few strategies for setting screen time limits for teens so that they can do the things they’re supposed to do, like  studying, eating dinner with the family and sleeping at night. 

When setting limits doesn’t work

Once you have clear guidelines about when phones need to be turned off and put away, (say 5:00-7:00 each night for homework and once they go to bed), if your child is not following the guidelines you’ve established, then it may be time to use technology to your advantage.

Rather than spending time arguing, debating, and nagging your teen to get off their phone, Lauren recommends using an app that allows you to turn your child’s phone off. It’s quick and easy. They may not like it, but if you stick to it they will learn to keep the agreements you’ve made around cell phone usage.

Using the app Lauren recommends eliminates the battle. If used consistently and fairly during the agreed upon hours, your teen will “get it.”They may not like it, but they will get it.

Get the phones out of the bedroom

“I recommend talking as a family about when it’s important to have no technology. You should definitely have a clear time at night where the phones are turned off and are charging out of the bedrooms.“ -Lauren Muriello Click To Tweet

Lauren mentions one study which showed that 30% of teenagers wake up in the night to check their phone. In a BBC article, that number is stated even higher at 45%. That’s crazy. What good can come of that? They can potentially read upsetting texts and end up laying in bed when they could be sleeping.

This is all tough stuff stuff to implement, but the key is consistency and walking your talk. That means it’s equally important for us as parents to model the behavior we want our children to follow.

If we want our kids to turn their tech off during family time then we need to do the same. I realize it’s tricky because sometimes parents have real needs to have their technology on, but I do feel that children copy what they see us do more than what we tell them to do. That is a fact.

“Parenting and Digital Technology” Video Series

I do hope you get a chance to watch the video above and opt-in for the whole series. I think there are some some good takeaways sprinkled throughout. If you missed the opt-in form at the end of the video, here it is again.

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Why is It So Hard For Teenagers to Feel Good About Their Appearance and How Parents Can Help?

Why is It So Hard For Teenagers to Feel Good About Their Appearance and How Parents Can Help?

 

In this video Lauren Muriello, LPC of Well Being Therapy Center discusses why it can be so difficult for teenagers to feel o.k. about their physical appearance. She points out the illusions society continually feeds us regarding what people should look like, and reminds us how important it is for parents to help their children understand what’s real and what’s not real.

Look in your own life. Who are the real people in your life? … Your parents, your grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, teachers, friends. This is what real people look like.

 

Teenagers, will always be comparing themselves to others to see how they measure up, but by getting them to think differently about who they are comparing themselves to, maybe we have a chance to help have a more realistic assessment about what people look like, and ultimately help them feel a little better about their own physical being” – Lauren Muriello

Realistic self assessment in adolescents

I love her advice to tell our kids that if they have to compare themselves to anyone, they should choose real people in their lives rather than compare themselves to people they see in the movies or advertisements.

Lauren also stresses the importance for parents to try to deemphasize physical appearance and reemphasize our children’s talents and who they are on the inside. Help them spend more time doing things they enjoy, rather than staring in the mirror picking themselves apart.

I don’t know why it is so hard for anyone, particularly teenage girls, to feel o.k. about their appearance, but we know that advertising companies are not going to help, and Lauren has some practical advice to help parents help their teenagers to give themselves a break when judging their  appearance.

The impact on girls

Today teenage girls are being taught that they can be anything they want. Studies show that today girls feel more empowered to be anything they want more than ever before and they are seizing opportunities closed to previous generations .

They believe they have equal opportunities at school to be leaders, top students, get the jobs they want, etc. but, (and this is a very big but), somehow they are still getting the message that what they look like matters more than anything else they might do. This message is not unique to the U.S.

In an article written by Claire Cain Miller and published in the N.Y. Times on 9/14/18, Miller sites a new nationally representative poll of 1,000 children and adolescents age girls 14 to 19, that showed that while girls feel equal to boys in just about every way, it’s not true when it comes to their bodies.

Three-quarters of those polled felt judged as a sexual object and unsafe as a girl. By far, they felt that society considered physical attractiveness to be the most important physical trait for a girl. It should be noted that surveys have found that not just teenage girls, but adult women also feel the same way.

Deborah Tolman, a psychology professor at the City University of New York who researches adolescent sexuality, said …

This is the contradiction we put in front of girls: You should be confident, and do well in school and do athletics, but your supposed to also be a good sex object at the same time. -Deborah TolmanClick To Tweet

What about boys?

I don’t think boys get a free ride when it comes to their bodies and physical appearance. Teenage boys feel pressure to have the “perfect body,” which is to be both lean and have large muscles.

The number of teen males dissatisfied with their bodies has tripled in the past 25 years and men now account for 1 in 4 eating disorders , 95% of which begin in adolescence.

So, I think everything that Lauren recommends parents do to help their teenage children goes for boys as well as girls.

“Parenting and Digital Technology” Video Series

I do hope you get a chance to watch the video above and opt-in for the whole series. I think there are some some good takeaways sprinkled throughout. If you missed the opt-in form at the end of the video, here it is again.

Enter your email to see the entire 9 part video series with Lauren Muriello, LPC

One short segment will be delivered to your inbox each day for 9 days. Occasional notifications for new videos will follow. Your info is sacred and will never be shared.

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Teen Smart-Phone Usage as a Privilege, Not a Right: Establishing Sensible Restrictions

Teen Smart-Phone Usage as a Privilege, Not a Right: Establishing Sensible Restrictions

 

One thing that becomes very clear when listening to Lauren Muriello, LPC of Well Being Therapy Center talk about the use of technology, is the importance for parents to be very clear with their teens about their rules for cell phone use.

There is no vagueness in what she has to say. You set rules for your child before you give them a phone and then if your teen breaks those rules there are reasonable consequences.

It makes sense, but I imagine plenty of parents are not completely clear with their child about exactly what they expect from them before they give them a phone. This makes it more difficult to take it away when your child does something irresponsible.

Consequences need to be short. We need to give our teenagers the understanding that they did something wrong and the behavior needs to improve, but then we need to give them a chance to do it right. -Lauren Murriello Click To Tweet

How long should you take your child’s phone away as a consequence?

Teenagers may think they can’t live without their cell phones, but I can tell you from experience that they can not only live without them, but that there are plenty of benefits from them being away from their  phones for a while, including the chance to focus on schoolwork, talk to the people next to them, and even relax in ways they may not have in a long time.

Lauren says we should not take away a teen’s phone for months. She thinks that would be excessive. The goal of taking away your teen’s phone, for a day or two is to give them a chance to do it right, to be responsible.

Consequences versus punishment

I think this is the real takeaway. The end game is to teach, but we need to give our kids the space to get it right, to do it again and make better decisions.

This is how we can help build self esteem and closer relationships through disciplining our kids. The discipline is not punitive. The consequences are logical and they are reasonable.

When we lay down consequences as parents, we need to keep site of the higher intention, which is to teach our kids, not only to respect the rules, but that they have the power to get it right. This is very different than a punishment made out of anger.

If you’re interested learning more about the difference between punishment and consequences, you might find this article helpful on empoweringparents.com

“Parenting and Digital Technology” Video Series

I do hope you get a chance to watch the video above and opt-in for the whole series. I think there are some some good takeaways sprinkled throughout. If you missed the opt-in form at the end of the video, here it is again.

Enter your email to see the entire 9 part video series with Lauren Muriello, LPC

One short segment will be delivered to your inbox each day for 9 days. Occasional notifications for new videos will follow. Your info is sacred and will never be shared.

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How Anxiety Can Help Teens Practice For Life Challenges

How Anxiety Can Help Teens Practice For Life Challenges


Getting to the other side of anxiety

In this short video Lauren Muriello, LPC of Well Being Therapy Center talks about how we all experience anxiety and that it is a natural, healthy part of the human condition. This reminds me of I a quote I saw recently that read … 

'The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.' - Max LucadoClick To Tweet

Using fear as a tool

Lauren makes a great point about the importance for parents to try not to shield their teen from the things that might trigger their anxiety, but to let them feel worried and anxious, and to help them “get on the other side of it.” Anxiety is just an emotion like any other. We don’t have to get anxious about feeling anxious.

She discusses the importance for parents to encourage their children not to avoid the things that frighten them. The more we avoid things that make us anxious the more things we find to become anxious about. Avoiding certain things may help us feel less anxious now, but in the long run, that avoidance can make our lives smaller.

Are you contributing to your teen’s anxiety?

Lauren suggests that the higher expectations we may be putting on our children today can add to their stress and anxiety. She reminds us that there is a good chance that the grade our kids get on their AP Biology class will probably not have a very high correlation to the happiness they will experience.

I know that it is very easy as parents to project their own wants and maybe even unfulfilled dreams on to our children. Sometimes it can be a challenge  NOT to pass on our own worries and fears as well, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to relax more and help our teenagers do the same.

“Parenting and Digital Technology” Video Series

I do hope you get a chance to watch the video above and opt-in for the whole series. I think there are some some good takeaways sprinkled throughout. If you missed the opt-in form at the end of the video, here it is again.

Enter your email to see the entire 9 part video series with Lauren Muriello, LPC

One short segment will be delivered to your inbox each day for 9 days. Occasional notifications for new videos will follow. Your info is sacred and will never be shared.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

What’s It Like to Run a Summer Camp with Many Transgender and Gender-Expansive Teens?

What’s It Like to Run a Summer Camp with Many Transgender and Gender-Expansive Teens?

Friends at Odyssey Teen Camp

Twenty years ago I was a middle-aged guy with a corporate job that never felt like a good fit for me. Today, I run an unconventional summer camp where up to one in four teens identifies as transgender or gender non-conforming. The journey has been an unexpected one.

An idea of a camp for teens

In 2002, I started Odyssey Teen Camp as kind of a hippie camp for teens. At first, maybe it was more the staff that were hippies and the campers were typical creative, insecure, sensitive, confused, and wonderful teenagers. I knew nothing about gender pronouns and, if you were to ask me then, I’d probably have said that I thought there were boys or girls and that it was biological.

Shortly before I started camp I was floating around searching for something that would give my life purpose. I was in a men’s support group and, one day, I asked the members, when did they first became so stuck in their anger and sadness? Most of them replied that it started when they were teenagers. I was suddenly struck with an idea: I should spend my time starting a camp for teenage boys. I thought perhaps I could create a place where they could feel safe, free, and encouraged to show their best self. I came up with a catchy tagline, “A great place to be exactly who you are,” rented a space, and we were off.

Watching camp grow

I was plenty naive, knew very little about teenagers and even less about running a camp (you know, Board of Health type stuff). But the kids came and kept coming, and now, nearly two decades later, it’s been a wonderful ride. Naturally, since the day we opened, my original vision of a camp for boys has been replaced with a camp that is 65% girls. I’m not sure what made me think all these boys would be flocking to a camp that featured yoga, dance, and art.

Our staff has always been made up of plenty of people who identify as genderqueer and, within the last few years, more and more teenagers who are coming to camp are uncomfortable and unwilling to be put in a gender box. They are determined to come up with the gender that feels best to them: their true gender self.

At camp, these young people have been able to create a safe new world for themselves, where the judgment and bias they often experience in the real world doesn’t exist, at least for a few weeks. While we offer typical camp activities like art, dance, sports, music, nature, swimming, and boating, there are also many unique Odyssey activities like firewalking, trance dances, sacred geometry, political discussion groups, tarot, henna, and hip-hop appreciation classes.

Creating space for gender-questioning kids

Over time, things at camp have changed. One weekend each summer used to feature a boys and girls day, where we would separate by gender. That stopped making sense for us a few years ago, and now we have a third group for teens who are more comfortable with a gender-expansive group.

I’m not exactly sure what made our camp attractive to so many transgender or gender-questioning teens, but I think it has been a great thing and that they add so much fun, kindness, creativity, vulnerability, and leadership to our community. I am continuously learning how we can best support the LGBTQ+ teen at camp. I am learning that gender stuff is complicated and that a person’s gender is a weaving together of nature, nurture, and culture. I am learning that an individual’s true gender identity has nothing to do with biology and everything to do with what is between their ears.

I’m happy we can create a space for everyone at Odyssey, particularly gender-expansive teenagers. Housing can sometimes feel a little tricky but we work hard to put everyone in a cabin that feels right to them, and despite the fact that we are living in close quarters we are conscious of the needs for privacy when changing, showering, etc.

Showing teens that they are not alone

I think a big source of healing for gender creative teens at camp comes from being with slightly older counselors, many of whom themselves are transgender or identify as genderqueer, and who have lived through a lot of the same feelings these teenagers have. They are kind, loving, empathetic role models who show the younger campers they can live full, rich, and exciting lives as whichever gender feels true to them. It is also helpful for these teenagers to be with other kids their own age who may be sharing similar thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Campers recognize they are not alone, and teenagers in particular benefit from connection and friendship with their peers.

Ultimately, supporting all the transgender and gender creative teenagers who come to camp is no different from what we’ve tried to do for every teenager for the past eighteen years: give them a place where they can feel seen, loved, accepted, respected, and honored for exactly who they are.

Find out about Odyssey Teen Camp

A great place for teens to be exactly who they are in a community that celebrates diversity. 

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