How to Unplug Your Kids And Encourage Family Communication

Want to have a better relationship with your kids and teens? Do you find it hard to get their attention when they are staring at a screen? Here are some tips for parents who want to unplug their kids and encourage communication. Limit Screen Time The goal is to place limits on when and where your child or teen can use their computer, tablet, or smartphone. The goal is not to remove those devices from your kids forever. A reasonable amount of screen time can be stimulating and sometimes even educational. Parents need to pick their battles with this one. … Continue reading

Impact of Texting on Grammar

If school hasn’t already started for your child, it is just around the corner for others. Did your child spend any time brushing up on their math skills this summer? How about their grammar? Well if your tween is a regular texter, their grammar skills might be lacking. A new study recently came out that found tweens who use shorthand (also known as tech speak) when texting, are more likely to use improper English, compared to those who don’t text. Let me give you an example of a message that might be sent… R u goin 2 b round ltr … Continue reading

Texting Your Child While in School

During a particularly difficult time for my daughter, she sent me a text one day from school. She needed to tell me something. I responded, she responded, I responded…it turned into a 20 minute “texting” conversation. All of this was while she was in a class. I felt a twinge of guilt. Should I really be texting my daughter while she is in school? I’m sure most parents would say no. But the circumstances wouldn’t allow me to say, “We’ll talk about it later.” The reality is that she may not have been ready to discuss what she was. Now … Continue reading

Dealing with High School Tragedies

Like most of you who have heard about the tragedy in Ohio, my heart has felt broken over the loss of life. Yet another high school shooting, with the death toll now at three. It brings back memories. Not just memories of previous high school shootings—such as Columbine—but memories of my 17-year-old son’s first year of high school. You see, at first it was thought that the shooter in this latest incident was bullied. Since then it has been said he wasn’t “well,” something is psychologically wrong with him. That was the case nearly four years ago when a high … Continue reading

What You Need to Know About Your Texting Teen

If your teenager cannot connect with you on a relationship level or if that relationship is too stressful, painful, or difficult, there are plenty of other places your teen can connect. Even if your relationship is merely strained and not broken altogether, your teen has plenty of options for connection, validation, acceptance, and support apart from you. You are in competition for your teen’s connection. You are competing with peers and with technology because many of those other options for connection are only a cell phone or keypad away. It used to be that you punished a child by sending … Continue reading

Risky Behavior Associated with Texting and Social Networking

I just read in the NY Times that a new study was presented last week by the American Public Health Association in Denver that indicates teens who spend most of their time on social network sites, like Facebook, or texting are at risk for certain behavior problems. The researchers indicated that teens are at a higher risk of unprotected sex, smoking, depression, missing school, eating disorders and substance abuse. This came after the researchers presented questions to about 4,000 students in a variety of high schools in Ohio. The findings showed that approximately one tenth of the students spent at … Continue reading

Worried About Your Kids Sexting?

You’d think that with all of the conversations and warnings going on about sexting, that kids would be less likely to do it and parents would be more aware of what they are doing. (read Sexting: Harmful or Harmless?) Still, Sexting numbers have gone through the roof. In fact, one third of young people have engaged in sexting. The result is bullying, sexual harassment, and often suicide. As bad as sexting is, the torture that follows it is worse. This is why it is in the parents best interest to take steps to prevent teenagers for engaging in sexting. There … Continue reading

Why Schools Are Banning Hoodies

It’s not what you think. Schools are not banning the popular hooded sweatshirts because they are sloppy-looking or they promote gang violence. Rather, school administrators in Kansas have put the kibosh on hoodies with large pockets because an inordinate amount of students have been using the sweatshirt’s “kangaroo pocket” to text others during class. According to reports, cell phone and other PDA abuse by students has forced administrators to revamp the school dress code. Students attending Kansas’ Andale Elementary and St. Mark’s Charter School can still wear sweatshirts, but the fleece tops cannot feature hoods or front pockets. The change … Continue reading

Do You Let Your Child Run Around Naked in Public?

As much of the nation bakes in the hot, sticky summer heat many youngsters have found a simple way to cool off—-strip! This revealing rite of passage was the subject of a recent article in the New York Times. The tongue-in-cheek piece addressed the appropriateness of children running around naked in public places. It also asked, “How much nakedness is too much?” and questioned why seeing a streaking tot is something that raises eyebrows. I smirked numerous times while reading the article because not 24 hours prior I allowed my own preschooler to run around naked at our neighborhood pool. … Continue reading

Brooklyn Schools Hand out Cell Phones

In my previous article, I discussed how the cell phone debate continues with students and now has involved teachers and administrators. While most schools are debating whether or not to allow students to carry cell phones at school, one area is debating giving students cell phones as an incentive. A pilot program in Brooklyn is designed where schools actually give students cell phones as a reward for good grades, attendance, and good behavior. The program is taking place in three of Brooklyn’s middle schools and four of its charter schools. About 2500 students will be receiving cell phones equipped with … Continue reading