Addressing Cell Phone and Social Media Issues with Children and Teens

If you are the parent of a cell-phone-toting child or teen then you know first-hand how much of a challenge it can be to limit his or her activity on said phone.

Gone are the days of getting together in the neighborhood to play a game of street hockey or tackle football. No longer are kids interested in getting together for a walk to the park or for a bike ride around the neighborhood.  Kids these days would rather spend time sitting on their phones, either playing games, watching videos, or communicating with friends via various applications.

For some parents, allowing their children unlimited cell phone usage is perfectly fine…for the rest of us, however, too much phone time is concerning.

Below are three simple rules/strategies that parents can put in place to limits their child’s phone and/or social media time while at home (or even while away from home).

  1. A rule that I use at home with my own teen daughter is as follows: Phone time is allowed only during the first fifteen minutes of each hour. For instance, she can be on her phone from the top of the hour until a quarter after.  If she is caught using her phone outside of that time-frame then she forfeits her time for the next hour PLUS she owes 10 minutes of chore time (to be determined by me!).
  2. Another idea is to allow phone usage for an hour in the morning, and hour in the afternoon, and then another hour before bedtime. When the phone is not in use then it should be stored in a neutral location that prevents the child from constantly checking their phone. This arrangement works best during weekends and/or in the summer.
  3. If you want to make sure your kids are following your rules watch best video baby monitor – Parentinn.com where you can get an example of what installing a monitor may be like.

  4. And finally, parents can purchase an app that places limits on their child’s phone. There are apps that can restrict just about anything – times, contacts, which apps can be used, etc. A quick internet search will provide several options to choose from.

So, if you’re the parent of a child or teen that just can’t seem to limit his or her phone usage then perhaps one of the above tips/ideas will help.

Causes of Negative Child Behavior

 

“Why is my child acting this way?” negative child behavior

Parents are likely to ask themselves this very question each and every time their child decides to misbehave or act out. The truth is, though, that there are probably as many answers to that question as there are kids.

With that being said, here is a list of some of the most common factors that cause, or better yet, influence negative child behavior:

BIOLOGICAL INFLUENCES
Brain Dysfunction

Brain Injury

Hormonal Problems

Temperament

Chemical Imbalance

Developmental Disorder

Diet / Nutrition

Learning Disorder

Genetics

PSYCHOLOGICAL INFLUENCES
Lack of Coping Skills

Trauma

Low Self-Esteem

Psychological Disorders (Depression, Conduct Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, etc.)

Response to Dramatic Life Event (divorce, new sibling, etc.)

Low Frustration Tolerance

Poor Choices

Lack of “Conscience”

Personality Disorder

Impulsivity

SOCIOLOGICAL INFLUENCES
Poor Parenting

Negative Peer Influences / Peer Pressure

Media Influences (violence, sex, etc.,)

Poor Role Models

Exposure to Violence

Substance Abuse Problem (could fit into any category)

The list of potential causes or influences of negative child behavior is quite a bit longer than what I was able to list. Parents are powerless with regards to a lot of these factors, but have quite a bit of control with others. The important thing to remember is that all of these issues can be dealt with in one way or another. Seeking the help of a competent and trusted individual is the first step. Patience and persistence are paramount. If you can think of any other factors that belong on our list of causes of child misbehavior, then please contact us with your suggestion.

Parenting Studies Have Shown…

Here is a list of actual parenting-related parenting studiesheadlines ripped straight from the World Wide Web. The headlines document the overall results of various studies related to parenting and/or child discipline. My reason for posting this list of headlines is explained afterwards.

New Study Shows Strict Parenting Can Lead to Drug Abuse

Parents Who Promote Less Rigid Lifestyles for Children Prove More Effective

Strong Bonds With Parents Linked To Better Future Relationships

‘Helicopter’ Parents Have Neurotic Kids, Study Suggests

Depression Likely to Cause Difficulties in Parenting: Study

Children of overbearing parents more likely to go off the rails: UK Study

One in 28 US kids has a parent in prison: study

The longer parents smoke, the more likely their kids will, too: study

Study: Same-sex couples just as good, if not better, at parenting

Parents often spank out of anger and for trivial reasons, real-time study finds

National Study: Mobile Devices Are Changing Parenting, Childhood, And Family Values

Study: ‘Tiger Parenting’ Tough on Kids

Parents on Smartphones Ignore Their Kids, Study Finds

Single-Parent Kids More at Risk

Yelling At Kids Could Be Just As Harmful As Physical Discipline, Study Suggests

Harsh discipline fosters dishonesty in young children, study suggests

The best parents balance discipline with love: study

Parents: Yelling and swearing at teens can backfire

Study: Verbal, Physical Abuse Have Similar Effects On Children

Now for the reason that I posted this list: Do ANY of the “findings” surprise you? I’d say that basically ALL of these studies are simply confirming what any logical, thinking person already knows. I’m­ sure that a lot of time, energy, and effort went into these studies.

Next time, save yourself the time and effort – just ask me and I’ll tell you what your results will be. Okay, so I’m­ really not THAT arrogant. My point is this: I look up a lot of information related to parenting and child discipline because of the websites I run. I come across a lot of these “studies” that basically tell me a lot of what I already know. I would love to come across some more creative studies with some more surprising findings – that’s all. Did any of the above headlines actually surprise YOU?

Q&A: Bickering Children

PROBLEM: Bickering Children!

Hi, I’m Heather.  I have 2 kids, ages 3 1/2 and 6.  My issues with discipline are self-induced. I don’t follow through, and I need some help staying the course.  I don’t want to feel helpless anymore!  My kids have reached a point where almost all they do is fight with each other. Adam is 6 and Katherine is 3 1/2. Katherine is really good at antagonizing her brother, and Adam has a really hard time ignoring her or letting things roll off his back.  I want to nurture their brother/sister bond, but am at a total loss as far as where to start.  Help?

ANSWER:

Hi Heather. Here are some tips for bickering children that you may or may not have already tried:

Find ways to put Adam into a role of “teacher” for Katherine.  Make it fun for him and praise him when he does a good job.  He could teach her age-appropriate topics such as letters, feelings, manners, etc. 

Purchase a toy or activity that they could do together and only allow them to use it when they are playing together nicely.  Supervise them as they play and intervene as necessary.  If problems persist, then take the toy/activity away and try again another day. 

Find ways to get them to work together to accomplish a task.  For instance, you could
have them work together to make cookies then let them each have one if they work well together well. 

Teach positive social skills. Many times, children don’t get along because they don’t know how to or they don’t have the necessary skills to do so.  Practice role-playing various situations and use that activity as a way to reinforce positive social skills. 

Make them feel good about their actions each time they do something nice for the other.  Point it out when possible then give praise.

When both of my daughters antagonize each other or end up bickeringbickering children, I send them both to their rooms and tell them that whoever goes to their room the quickest and the quietest will get out first.  I also tell them that if they both go straight to their rooms and both remain in there quietly, then they both get to come out sooner and at the same time.  This works almost every time.  By the time they get out they forget what they were arguing about in the first place!

I hope that you can use at least a couple of these tips to alleviate the bickering.  Good luck!

The Truly “Mean” Parent: Are You One of Them?

One of the most common themes I hear from parents with unruly children is the fear of being labeled a “mean” parent. Here are few points that these parents don’t seem to understand:

  1. It is okay to set and enforce limits that upset your child.
  2. It is okay for your child to cry… and cry… and cry… and cry… when you set a limit that he or she dislikes.
  3. When your child makes statements such as, “I hate you,” they really mean, “I hate the fact that you have authority over me.”

Too many parents give in to their children because they are worried about being a “mean”P1020049_edited parent. They become anxious and emotional when their children oppose the limits that have been set. As a result, these parents typically do whatever they can to pacify or appease their children. By appeasing their children these parents feel that they can avoid the dreaded label of “mean parent.”

What these parents don’t realize is that the truly “mean” parent is THE ONE WHO GIVES IN. These parents set their children up for future failure. Imagine what it must be like for the child who gets whatever he or she wants just by crying. How successful can these children be when they begin school, work, or a new relationship? These children fail to learn an important and essential trait called self-discipline. Without self-discipline these children will struggle through life. Mean parents are the ones that allow this to happen.

Remember:

If your child is crying because he or she is afraid- be reassuring and understanding.

If your child is crying because he or she is hurt – be nurturing and compassionate.

If your child is crying because his or her feelings are hurt – be comforting and supportive.

If your child is crying because he or she doesn’t like the limits you have set… too bad!

Ways to Avoid Drama in Your Life

dramatic peopleWe all have at least one person in our life that we would consider “high drama.” Regardless of the circumstances, there always seems to be a high degree of misfortune and/or tension that follows this person…like a dark shadow on a sunny day.

What causes all of the drama in this person’s life and how does one go about avoiding such drama?

The following list may not be a comprehensive one, but it lists sever always in which an individual can avoid (or at least minimize) drama in his or her life.

Stay away from toxic people.

Toxic individuals tend to display such behaviors as excessive jealousy or envy, cruelty towards others, general rudeness, inability to manage emotions, manipulating others, “playing the victim,” selfishness, constant blaming of others, and such. These people will suck the life right out of you and leave you drained!

Avoid living a high-risk life.

A high-risk life is full of dangerous and/or reckless behaviors such as using and/or abusing drugs or alcohol, hitchhiking, being promiscuous, breaking the law, hanging with a “bad crowd,” driving recklessly, and such.

Live within your means.

Nothing adds more drama to life than constantly having no money or means to pay for life’s necessities.

Be prepared for emergencies.

Have a plan to deal with potential crises such as being on a date with someone that makes you uncomfortable, residential fire, car breaking down in the middle of nowhere, being followed, etc.

Remain calm when things get rough/Avoid over-reacting to minor incidents.

Over-reacting to a situation will rarely (if ever) help. Remain calm and deal with the situation in a calm and collected manner. Even if sometimes you need to take a nap at some point of the day even if you have to wear a sleeping mask, there some options at Top 9 Best Sleep Masks For 2017 | Say Goodbye to No Sleep – Top9Rated, you need to stay calm, despair cause more conflict and stress.

Pay attention to “red flags.”

If something or someone makes you uncomfortable then always err on the side of caution. Go with your gut!

Don’t “stir the pot.”

Someone that “stirs the pot” is someone that is essentially trying to cause drama. An individual that does this is simply trying to cause unrest, dissent, and…well, trouble!

So there you have it, a short list of ways to avoid drama in your life!

Q&A: Regarding “Entitled” Adult Son

The following is a question that was asked of Chris Theisen, creator of “The Parent Coach Plan” and co-owner of www.BoomerangKidsHelp.com.  This Q&A first appeared in a forum that appeared on the ParentCoachPlan.com website.

Question:  I saw your article and thought perhaps you might help We have a 30 year old son with crones disease. He works for us in a family business and earns 70K/year. He is always asking for money and I want it to stop. The problem is that his Dad and I have a lot of money. We are in our 60’s and are finally spending money we’ve been saving all our lives as we lived very carefully knowing retirement could be hard. The son has a house, three cars and is getting married tomorrow. For his wedding he spent nothing. His girlfriends mother footed the whole bill, we kicked in for the caterer and are giving them 1000 for an airplane ticket for Hawaii. Earlier on we also paid off his second mortgage so he could afford to stay in his house. We also pay his medical bills as crones is expensive. I just don’t know where this ends. My husband says the next issue will be children. Even if his wife stays home to have kids, he makes 70K a year in a small town. He has expensive hobbies and I guess he doesn’t want to give them up. They also do not need 3 brand new cars. I have paid his property taxes twice in the last two years. I’m so tired of his sob stories that I do not want to see or speak to him. He only calls or comes to see us when he wants something. He is a totally selfish and needy to the max. I realize he has never Entitled Adult Child Living at Homelearned to budget. Giving the tax money was done so he wouldn’t lose his house. The medical money us out of guilt. Is 70K enough to live on? One of his last statement was “her parents are giving us a honeymoon and they aren’t as rich as you. You need to pay for some.” He feels we owe him money because we are wealthy and he is not. Where does it end? Because we have money will I always have to give it to my son. Oh, my oldest son has never asked for a penny. It’s really a strain on our family. Top this off with he works about 25 hours a week instead of 40 and he is paid anyway. (again, the crones and I don’t want him to lose his house) I need a shrink I’m sure, but they don’t have any advice on financial matters. I could sure use help…. I keep saying “not one more penny” then another issue arises and I feel guilty.

Answer: Let me first begin by answering your question…yes, 70K is enough to live on…unless, of course, you have a $100K lifestyle. I’m not sure which is worse…the fact that he is obviously taking advantage of you or the fact that you are allowing it to happen. Lessons are never learned when enablers are in charge. I, too, have parents that are wealthy and I feel guilty when they buy me dinner while I’m out visiting them. Your son should feel the same way. I would highly suggest turning your “hand-outs” into “loans.” Next time he asks for money, tell him that you will loan him a reasonable amount of money to help him through his “situation” but only if he signs a written agreement which states the terms of repayment. Do not loan him any more money until the previous loan is repaid. You could even have him do odd jobs to work off the loan (at a fair wage, of course). I’m sorry to say, but you should not be supporting expensive hobbies just because you feel guilty about his disease. Life will go on for him and he will cope. If you continue to give him hand-outs because you feel guilty then he will never learn to be responsible and he will always depend on you (or others). He certainly feels entitled to your money and that is not okay. Even if it means that he has to move into a smaller home (or condo) and sell one of his cars, then so be it. You are creating a monster by continuously giving him hand-outs. When the money stops, he will be forced to figure things out for himself…whether that means getting a second job, spending less money on hobbies, selling a car, or whatever. Good luck and keep me posted. I’d love to hear about what you choose to do and how it turns out.

 

When to Seek Professional Help for Your Child

professional help for childDeciding whether or not your child is in need of psychological, or even psychiatric help, is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Too often, parents refuse or reject the notion of seeking professional help for their behaviorally-challenged children. They instead attribute their child’s troubling behavior as “just a phase” or even deny that there is a problem in the first place, despite evidence to the contrary. Ignoring or denying serious behavior problems can be dangerous and could also be a detriment to a child’s well-being.

How to tell if your child needs help

that your child suffers from a psychological disorder that affects his or her ability to function normally (for instance, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, serious mood swings, or even psychosis). Also seek help if your child appears to have problems with anger. If he or she becomes aggressive, destructive, or reckless when angry, then seeking out a qualified child therapist is certainly recommended. Other reasons for seeking out therapy include: problems with the law, substance abuse problems, dangerous or out-of-control behavior, serious and persistent defiance, and/or any behavior that is a detriment to the family.  Suicidal ideation or attempts should be dealt with immediately and may require an emergency call and/or a trip to the hospital.

What to do if your child needs professional help

There are plenty of options when it comes to seeking professional help for your child. Search online for a therapist that specializes in childhood problems and that has experience dealing with the relevant issues. You can also look into some of the more intensive options such as residential treatment, boot camps, or even hospitalization (if the situation is serious enough). Most of these places can be found online or in the phone book. Other options include utilizing your child’s school counselor or psychologist, joining a support group, or even calling a hot line that deals with the issues confronting you (or your child). Contact your local mental health center and ask for advice if needed. Seeking professional help for your child is nothing to be ashamed of. You might find in your search that there are a lot of other parents out there facing the same problems or issues as you. Waiting for your child to “grow out of the stage” is bordering on neglect. Take action before it is too late.

10 “No-Travel” Things To Do With Your Kids During Spring Break

It’s that time of the year!Spring Break Ideas

Spring Break is undoubtedly a time to look forward to when you are a child or teen looking for a break from the monotony of school. Though as a parent, it might be a bit more distressing due to the planning and financial obligations that go along with arranging a fun-filled Spring Break vacation.

Well, if the finances aren’t there then there’s no need to fret…there are plenty of options to choose from that won’t break the bank (or the odometer)!

Below is a list of 10 things that parents can do with their child (or teen) during Spring Break without needing to travel or spend a lot of money:

  1. Schedule a “Day in the Park.”  Pack a picnic lunch and bring plenty of sports equipment, games, and other fun things to do.  Don’t forget sunscreen and plenty of water.
  2. Spend the day at a local rec center. Rec centers have all kinds of things to do…there’s usually swimming, an open gym, a playground, various “kid-friendly” classes (usually need to sign up in advance), and other activities.
  3. Go for a hike or a “nature walk.”
  4. Go fishing.
  5. Have a garage sale. It isn’t too early to so!  Use the money you make to go shopping or to do an activity later that day.
  6. “Movie Marathon.” This is an especially good idea for when the weather is not cooperating.  Popcorn, candy, warm blankets, etc.
  7. Go on a Tour. Lots of local businesses offer tours of their facilities.  Check online for places in your area that offer such tours.
  8. Have a “Pamper Day” or “Spa Day.” Visit a local spa or simply purchase a few supplies and do your own day of pampering.
  9. Play an organized game or sport. Gather the neighborhood kids (who are also off for Spring Break) and get a game of kickball, soccer, street hockey (or whatever else) going.
  10. Go do a paid activity. It could be mini-golf, laser tag, bowling, a movie, an arcade, or whatever else sounds fun!

Qualities of a Well-Rounded Child

pride in appearanceHere’s a list of qualities that I feel describes a well-rounded child:

He is able to embrace and appreciate “alone time.”

This is a valuable skill that is possessed by less and less children these days.

He is able to delay gratification.

In other words: He is patient!

He is able to see both sides of an issue.

This is a special “skill” that many adults lack!

He appreciates and has a respect for diversity.

He is not bothered in the least bit by people that are “different” than him.

He is vigilant.

He is aware of his surroundings and is alert to potential safety issues and/or concerns. He is observant.

He knows when to “drop it.”

Sometimes arguments just aren’t worth the time and effort that goes into having them. A well-rounded child knows when to drop the issue and how to bow out gracefully.

He is appreciative.

“Thank you” is not something that goes unsaid. He shows his appreciation when appropriate…and that appreciation appears to be genuine.

He is able and willing to put others first.

This one is self-explanatory…and well-rounded children do this without being asked.

He is optimistic.

Instead of dwelling on the negatives, this child looks “at the bright side” of any given situation. He keeps things positive and refrains from negativity.

He learns from his mistakes.

Enough said.

He takes responsibility for his actions.

Rather than making up silly excuses and/or blaming others, this child takes full responsibility for his actions and accepts any repercussions that might result.

He takes good care of his mind and his body.

He eats healthy while keeping junk food to a minimum. He reads and seems to enjoy learning.  He avoids harmful substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.  He gets regular exercise and possibly even plays a sport.  He might even play an instrument or participate in a school club.

He does things in moderation.

Video games don’t rule his day. An endless barrage of sweets isn’t necessary in order for him to make it through the day.  He spends time doing a variety of activities…with a variety of friends. He is able to put his mobile device away for an hour or two at a time without going spastic!  You get the idea!

Can you think of any other qualities that well-rounded children possess?