The Dark Tunnel of Adolescent Evolution (Part 2): What Does “Staying in The Game” Look Like For Parents?

The Dark Tunnel of Adolescent Evolution (Part 2): What Does “Staying in The Game” Look Like For Parents?

 

As I continue my discussion in video 2 with therapist Amy Frisch, who has been leading groups for teenage girls for twenty years, Amy offers some great advice for parents (none of which will necessarily be easy to follow).

All the different parenting phases in our child's life depending on their age are hard, and here's the deal, it doesn't get easier.” - Amy FrischClick To Tweet

Staying in the game

Staying in the game as she says, can take many forms. The concept that we need to “listen more than we talk,” feels particularly important for all parents of teens, (and Directors of teen summer camps).

For several years at Odyssey Teen Camp I would invite certain adults who I thought had a lot of wisdom to share to come and speak to the teenagers. They were people I wanted to listen to.

I quickly realized teenagers were not all that interested in hearing what these people had to say. I would hear things like “that was so boring” after someone would give a talk I found inspirational, or campers would say, “that speaker was only interested in talking about themselves.”

Listening more than we talk

I’m pretty sure Amy’s advice for us to try to refrain from telling the teenagers in our lives all the things we know and offering our wise advice is probably a good idea.

It’s probably more helpful to tell them about our insecurities, anxieties, and some things we struggle with. That’s probably something they can identify with and may find interesting.

“Consciously Parenting Teens” Video Series

Here’s to listening, more than we talk. I hope you enjoy our short video above. If you haven’t opted-in to see the entire series, here’s the form again to subscribe.

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An invitation

And please do leave a comment below if you would like to add to this conversation. I would love to engage with you and hear your thoughts and stories.

– Adam

The Link Between Technology & Social Anxiety: Why Face-to-Face Engagement is So Important

The Link Between Technology & Social Anxiety: Why Face-to-Face Engagement is So Important

 

In video 5 my 8 part discussion with Amy Frisch, a wonderful therapist who has been leading teenage girls groups for twenty years, she had some truly helpful things to say around social anxiety.

She talks about how stimulating technology can be and how we need to help our teens learn to quiet their central nervous system. I think we sometimes forget that we are human animals and that when it comes to fear and anxiety our reactions are often not much different than other animals.

My takeaway

My favorite takeaway from this short video is when Amy says that today teens consider “hanging out” what they do on Skype or Snapchat. They don’t call each other on the phone and say “come over to my house, hang out, no one’s home.”

I imagine with so much of our communicating being done through our phone, the idea of sitting face to face feels like too much. Too much pressure, too much stress, and maybe even too much intimacy.

“Consciously Parenting Teens” Video Series

I hope you enjoy the video above. If you haven’t opted in to see the full 8 part series, I do encourage you to see it. Amy has a really unique way of presenting ideas. Here’s the form to subscribe.

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An invitation

I would love to continue this discussion with you in the comments below. If  you feel inspired to share your stories or insights, I would love to hear them.

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.

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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.

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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.

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