Tween Talk

Teens: Guidelines For a Healthy Relationship

Adults have a hard enough time keeping their relationships healthy. For teenagers, who do not have the skills, insights and experience, it is so much more difficult.

Talk to your teens using the following criteria, as they are guidelines for a healthy relationship. Let them know that these are essential to keep any relationship happy and healthy.

  1. You should feel safe and comfortable expressing your feelings and needs, without fear of being reprimanded or belittled.
  2. You should support each other’s goals, encouraging in a non-competitive, accepting way.
  3. Decisions are made together, with respect given to each other’s opinions. No one person is superior to the other and there is a balance between giving and receiving.
  4. Conflicts are mutually resolved. There is a willingness to compromise so that no one person is left feeling wrong or devalued.
  5. You share common interests and ideals, but are able to pursue outside interests, including friends, hobbies, schooling, etc. There is a balance of closeness and separateness, yet when you are together, you are able to play and have fun.
  6. You maintain your autonomy, so that if you are left alone, you are able to function, taking care of all your responsibilities and commitments easily.

These may seem impossible to fulfill, but they really aren’t that difficult. After all, they are the inalienable rights we all deserve. Everyone needs to feel respected and valued for who they are, without compromise. Just remember that these guidelines are basic and if your teens feel they need to walk on egg shells or are intimidated if they speak their mind, they need to get out of the relationship – NOW!

Written by: Amy Sherman, Author/Dating & Relationship Coach/Therapist

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About the Author

Amy Sherman is a Dating & Relationship Coach and the founder of the Baby Boomers’ Network, a website geared to helping boomers transition through the challenges of midlife. She is the author of “99 Things Women Wished They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 and Yes, 60!” Go to http://www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com for more information.

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The Importance of Youth Exercising

A recent study conducted with women from China shows that during adolescence, participating in a physical activity like team sports and exercise can offer life changing benefits for women. The study’s findings include data from 75,000 women from Shanghai, China and are published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention Journal. The findings are thought to reduce women’s risk of dying from cancer by 16 percent and other causes by 15 percent, as they get older.

Researchers for the study analyzed the amount of exercise the women got in their teens. They found that being active for just 1.3 hours a week positively impacted them as they aged. According to Sarah J. Nechuta, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, “The main finding is that exercise during adolescence is associated with a reduced risk of mortality, or death, in middle aged to older women.”

Even though these results are based on women in China, according to Nechuta they support a critical need to initiate early disease prevention, and the importance of exercise promotion among adolescence. “In general, there is no reason to believe that exercise participation would differ in the effect on women in general regardless of where they live,” Nechuta said.

Other important factors about the study include:

• Age – the women were 40 to 70 years old.
• They were recruited and interviewed from 1996 to 2000 about lifestyle factors and how much they exercised during their teens.
• 5,282 deaths occurred after an average of nearly 13 years of follow-up, including 2,375 deaths from cancer and 1,620 from cardiovascular disease.

Once the data was gathered and analyzed, it was adjusted for socioeconomic factors in adult life. Researchers then noticed that the women who exercised (type of exercise unknown) as teens and adults had a 20 percent lower risk of death from all causes compared to other women. Those playing team sports had a 10 percent lower risk of death from all causes also. “This is the first large prospective study among Asian women to look at adolescent exercise and mortality,” Nechuta said.

Article Credit: Reaney, Patricia (Editing by Baum, Bernadette). “Exercise during teens reaps long-term benefits for women, study shows.” Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/31/us-health-fitness-women-idUSKCN0Q51TL20150731, 31 July 2015. Web. 10 August 2015.

Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Teens Hearing & Noise Levels

Men wearing ear defendersDid you know that May is Better Speech & Hearing Month? A child’s hearing is delicate and very important. “According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in five adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 shows a hearing loss.”

Such hearing loss could possibly be due to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) a loss resulting from earbuds or headphones at unsafe volumes. Fortunately NIHL is preventable if you use protective head gear. The challenge comes in getting younger children and even teens to use the gear every time they want to listen to music.

A large variety of volume-limiting headphones and earbuds have been created to help ensure that listening is safe for children and teens. Samples of ear gear that tops out at 85 dB, a safe level of listening, offering safety includes Califone SoundAlert Headphones ($86), Griffin Technology Crayola MyPhones ($25), Kidz Gear KidzControl ($20-30), and the SMS Audio KidzSafe line of D.I.Y. Earbuds ($20) or D.I.Y Headphones ($30).

In 2010 children’s hearing protection gear seemed to go worldwide when the 1-year old son of pro football player Drew Brees was shown wearing Peltor earmuffs after Brees and the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl. Noise protection products usually list a noise reduction rating (NRR), and used properly, a product with an NRR 12 can offer a 20dB reduction. How is the NRR obtained you may ask? A standard formula measuring the potential of achievable protection is used as a guideline on decibel reduction.

Earplugs for older, more responsible children are important when they attend concerts or sporting events. They may not be in agreement but models with flanges will limit volume, but still give music and speech a clear sound. They basically have a lower NRR than earplugs made out of foam or silicone. You should also look for earplugs with flatter attenuation. This will equally reduce the sound.

“Most earplugs reduce high frequencies more than low, resulting in a muffled sound quality,”  says Joscelyn Martin, Au.D., an instructor in audiology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Parents should also lead by example and use earplugs to mow the lawn, watch sporting events and during other loud, noisy events. Earplugs range in price from $9 to $30, yet they all provide hearing protection when properly fitted.

Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Five Secrets To Parenting Your Teens

Family enjoying meal at homeThe most common concerns parents have with their teens is how to communicate without dealing with power struggles and conflict. There are some positive approaches you can use which will get you the positive results you desire.

The first thing to do is understand the many challenges teens face at this age. There’s peer pressure, fitting in, appearance and popularity, not to mention doing well in school, extra-curricular activities and pleasing mom and dad. There’s a lot expected of teens and unless they have the most appropriate coping skills to handle things, they will fall victim to the pressure and you will suffer their wrath.

The following are 5 effective techniques you can use to keep things positive:

1. Develop a rapport

To develop a rapport with your teen, find something you can appreciate about them, like a talent you admire, a physical trait (beautiful blue eyes) or a unique quality they possess (sensitivity to others) and focus on it. Start your conversation by acknowledging their qualities and how fortunate they are to possess them. It will get the teens in a receptive mood and get you aligned on their side.

2. Listen with empathy

Many arguments can be avoided if you put yourself in their shoes for the moment and perceive the problems through their eyes. Be sincere by letting your teens know that you can appreciate how they feel and can actually feel their pain. If your children know they can trust you with their feelings, they’ll be more inclined to open up.

3. Always be the parent

Teens need guidance and support, but they don’t want to be controlled. Making demands on them only causes them to shut down. It is better to offer suggestions with a good reason behind the suggestion. In that way you will keep the dialogue going and keep their resistance down. Also, speak to your teen in a fair but firm tone, while redefining the expectations and consequences if rules are breached. This will offer consistency and structure and help them be accountable for their actions, attitudes and emotions.

4. Involve your teens

Involve your teens in the solution by encouraging original ideas. Get them thinking and solving problems themselves. This will boost their self-esteem, increase their self-worth, and give them pride in their decision-making abilities.

5. Take a genuine interest in their activities

Know who their friends are, and also what interests them outside of school. You want to show that you truly care about their lives, but that you are not overly intrusive.

Always watch for more serious warning signs that your teen may need more help than you can handle. Watch for changes in behavior (isolation, secrecy, changes in school grades, excessive sadness or depression, anger or violence) and seek immediate help with a mental health professional if needed.

Parents who give their teens the time to grow independently, yet offer encouragement and guidance, will find that their relationship will flourish through these exhaustive and challenging teen years and manifest itself into healthy, happy bonding.

Written by: Amy Sherman, Founder/Author/Relationship & Dating Coach

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About the Author

Amy Sherman is a therapist, relationship & dating coach and author. She wrote the ebook, “Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer’s Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life” and “If Your Teen is Acting Out” Parenting Program. Go to http://www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com for more information.

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How To Teach Tweens & Teens Healthy Habits

Friends showing placardThere are three main things you can do to help teach your tween or teen healthy habits:

1) Be a Role Model

Regardless of the specific type of healthy habit that a parent wants to teach their tween or teen, the most important thing they can do is model them. Therefore if you are trying to inculcate healthy eating habits, let your tweens see you choosing fruits over sweets for dessert and water over soda. If you are trying to teach your teens how to be safe on the road, let them see you buckle up on every trip regardless of its length.

2) Involve Them in the Process

The second thing a parent can do to teach their tween or teen healthy habits is involve them in the habit decision making process. Therefore if you are trying to impress upon your tween the importance of exercising regularly, ensure they accompany you when you go shopping for your running shoes so that they can also choose a pair for themselves. If you are trying to make your teens excited about eating healthily, let them shop and prepare meals for the family once a week. Giving them this responsibility and complementing their delicious dishes will encourage them to continue choosing healthy foods.

3) Teach Them

The third thing a parent can do to teach their tween and teen healthy habits is just that: teach them. This can be done during special mom-tween or dad-teen dates. These rendezvous can include shopping trips to the mall or sporting activities during which the parent can discuss these and other topics. These talks should be enjoyable and avoid direct criticism of the child’s unhealthy habits, since this is usually not effective.

Written by: Marian Kim, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Obesity in Teenagers

unhappy overweight girl cryingThe teenage years are hard enough without facing them as an overweight teen. There are the obvious social and emotional difficulties that an overweight teen faces, but according to an article on www.heathlychildren.org, (“Obesity’s Impact on Teen Health”), there are some serious health issues to be concerned about as well.

The author claims that at least three of four obese teens will develop serious health problems as a result of their weight as they age; conditions such as degenerative arthritis, heart disease, stroke and several forms of cancer are not uncommon later in life. And morbidly obese teens are at risk for a number of health issues as teens, such as pancreatitis, hypertension, excessive insulin production, insulin resistant diabetes, and sleep apnea to name just a few.

Fortunately, the risk of many of these conditions can be eliminated by achieving a healthy weight (done in a healthy manner). A 10 percent weight loss can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, the emotional damage suffered is not as easily remedied. According to the author, “The pervasive societal prejudice against heavy people has been called one of the last acceptable forms of bigotry; in fact, several studies have shown striking similarities between the psychological characteristics of obese teenage girls and victims of racism.”

The author also quotes a Dr. Garry Sigman, director of the division of adolescent medicine at Advocate Lutheran General Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, as saying that overweight teens are much more likely to suffer a negative body image and low self-esteem. This may cause a social withdrawal, which can lead to the use of food as an emotional support, creating a vicious cycle.

Apparently, studies have shown that even well before the teen years (as early as age five), kids begin to form opinions of others based on their weight, and the idea that someone who’s overweight is bad or less desirable can take hold. This attitude can easily lead to taunts and ridicule directed at an overweight teen and bring on feelings of anxiety and depression so Dr. Sigman cautions parents to be aware of, and on the lookout for, symptoms of both.

Written by: Tricia Doane, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Use Your Teen’s Passion To Get ‘Er Done

Waiting roomWhen we are passionate about something, we are motivated to do it. You love photography, so you find time to take pictures. You love football, so you are sure to watch the game every Sunday. Same goes for kids. They love art, so they find time to paint, or they can’t get enough of gymnastics, so they do the splits all over the house and rand-offs in the backyard.

The problem is, there are times when we need to do things we are NOT motivated to do: dump the trash, go to work, do our taxes. The same goes for kids: clean their room, do their homework, practice piano. To motivate the little ones, we can create a sticker chart or another visual way for them to see their progress.

Yet, teens aren’t always so easily persuaded with stickers on a poster. But that doesn’t mean we can’t use the same ideology that we use with our younger offspring. See, the sticker chart is a visual representation that shows our kids that they are reaching a certain goal. If they get ten stickers, they get an ice cream or if they fill out their chart, the family heads to the beach.

The chart doesn’t work if ice cream or the beach aren’t motivating. The motivation drives our children to get the job done when passion wanes. So, we need to do the same for our teens. What motivates them? Do they love graphic novels, but never do their homework, or slough off at their part time job, or never take the dog for a walk? You could dangle a dollar prize in front of them, but that lacks focus.

Tell your teen if he gets his homework in for the next two weeks, you’ll get him some art supplies to draw his own graphic novels, or if he gets a good report from his boss, you’ll take him to Comic-Con.

You need to find your teen’s passion to help him find success in what he’s not passionate about. Once you identify your teen’s passion, use that to motivate him and learn how to navigate through life’s less exciting, but necessary, essentials.

Written by: Leon Scott Baxter, The Dumbest Genius You’ll Ever Meet

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About the Author

Leon Scott Baxter, “America’s Romance Guru” and “The Dumbest Genius You’ll Ever Meet”, is the author of three books and his latest, “Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting” is due out by the end of 2014. He has been married to his college sweetheart for twenty-two years and is the father of two girls, eleven and fifteen.

He’s the founder of CouplesCommittedToLove.com and you can learn more about his take on parenting at SafetyNetters.com.

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Surviving Teenhood

Beautiful  thoughtful young woman, questionsThe primary goal of the teen years is to achieve independence. Other goals include: finding a way to fit in; thinking about a career choice; and for many just making it through high school. For the process of the primary goal to occur, teens will start pulling away from their parents. They will pull away from the parent they are closest to first. Although capable of making decisions, a number of teens are not ready for the adjustment. Maturity levels vary amongst teens.

At this stage in life, teens are responsible for their choices, and although a parent is in part to blame when a teen makes a mistake, the bottom line is you are still responsible. People will make quick assessments of you when you make mistakes. People will also make a quick assessment of you by your appearance. Appearance can serve as a clue to your character and upbringing. It can be confusing when the most colorful dressers come from good families. Appearance may also signal whether you are a troublemaker, what type of work ethic you have, if there is parental involvement, and whether you have solid morals or values. Today there is a general, but limited, acceptance of a teen’s unique appearance, offering an opportunity to redefine a youth’s unusual style as individual, positive exploration and a harmless search for identity.

More and more young adults strive to be successful, some by trying to be a better athlete; a better student; and yes, even a millionaire. Many of them started at a young age with little or no instructions, just a dream. They start with a desire to do or become something and they act upon it. The definition of success lies within the individual. Parental guidance is key.

With the proper strategies in place, your teen can do or become anything he wants. Are you ready to help your teen do what it takes to become successful? Are they prepared to overcome the roadblocks to achieve success?

The first step towards success is to have absolute belief and faith in your teen’s abilities. Rome was not built in one day, and their future will not be formed in one day. Taking each day one step at a time and formulating the right plan of action will help you in creating the life that you both desire. Everything around you begins as a thought. It’s time to put those thoughts into reality.

Think of what you deeply desire in your life or where you want to be a year from now. How about 10 or 20 years from now? What changes have to take place? What do you need to know or learn? What spiritual, emotional, personal, financial, social or physical properties need to be addressed? The clearer you are with each of these dimensions, the sharper your vision. The clearer you are, the easier it will be to focus on making it happen.

Teach your teen that knowing why you want to achieve your goals is powerful. Identify the purpose of your goal to help you instantly recognize why you want that particular goal and whether it’s worth working toward. Knowing why you want something furnishes powerful motivation to see it through to the finish.

Written by: Michele Sfakianos, Registered Nurse & Award-Winning Author

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About the Author

Michele is a registered nurse, award-winning author, leading authority on parenting, speaker and professional copywriter.

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Helping Your Middle Schooler Cope With Change

teenagers studying togetherThe period between grades 6 through 8 is filled with change for your student. This transition may include mood swings and risk-taking for the young person who is barely a teenager, but is looking forward to being an adult soon. Usually too soon, as far as most parents are concerned.

Because your middle schooler is longing for freedom to make their own choices and looking for independence, they may challenge your authority. Not doing homework until the last minute and generally bending the rules means lots of opportunities for conflict.

Be Positive

Make your conversations positive and avoid words like “should,” “have to” and other controlling language. Avoid pointing out their mistakes for them. Offer lots of praise and encouragement. While giving your child the opportunity to make his or her own mistakes, don’t drop out of the picture. Remain involved and interested.

Help With Self-Knowledge

Help your middle school student gain self-knowledge. Time management and disorganization will require your feedback to help him or her understand individual strengths and weaknesses. Help your child deal with procrastination by structuring homework time in blocks of time with short breaks. Negotiate when frustration begins to set in. Suggest trying to concentrate on an activity for five minutes. This will usually be a jumpstart to getting a large portion of work done.

Use Empathy

Although your patience may be stretched when your middle schooler tests your authority, use empathy instead of lectures. Help him or her schedule relaxation, as well as get plenty of restful sleep, between the many activities on the schedule. The difficulties of adjusting to new academic demands will iron themselves out within a short time. Social pressures and the stress of relationships and dating, along with the changes their own bodies are going through, make this period one of distracting emotions and confusion. But by being a concerned and supportive parent, your middle schooler will be more able to handle these challenges.

Written by: Ruby Holder Moseley, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Shh! Don’t Tell Your Teen, But Sleeping More Is Good For Them

teenThe adolescent life is far from easy breezy. Juggling school, homework, sports, a social life, extracurricular activities, body image, personal relationships, multiple social media accounts, and possibly even a part-time job is bound to take a toll on a young person, both mentally and physically. When you add the scientific factor into the equation – raging hormones – it is safe to assume that adolescents’ sleep health is not optimal. Since this is such a critical growth period – mentally, physically, and emotionally – adequate sleep is a pretty big deal, even though teenagers will often argue that they don’t need that much sleep.

Pounds vs. Pillow

A recent study performed among teenagers showed that those who slept less than 8 hours a night and didn’t recover the lost hours of sleep throughout the day, had an increased risk of obesity. Ideally, your teen should go to bed at a decent hour during the week since they must wake up early for school five days a week. On the weekends, however, it is safe to assume that your teen is going to bed later, so it is perfectly acceptable for them to sleep later as well. Drastic changes between minimal sleep and excessive sleep are what negatively affect the metabolism and lead to weight problems.

Sleep is Like a Daily Vitamin

When the body is not allowed ample recovery time from daily activities, the immune system begins to fail. Thus, teenagers who don’t obtain enough sleep are at higher risk of contracting illnesses and diseases. Over time, continuous lack of sleep leads to the appearance of aggressive behavior and the adoption of unhealthy habits – overeating, poor food choices, alcohol abuse, and drug addiction.

The Bedroom-Classroom Relationship

An obvious downfall of inadequate sleep patterns for teenagers is the effect on school performance, both in and out of the classroom. In fact, recent studies have identified a link between lack of sleep and the development of depression or ADHD in adolescents. According to doctors, a teenager should sleep between 8 ½ and 9 ¼ hours per night, which is more than the average number of hours for adults.

Sleep for Safety

Regardless of whether they are strictly pedestrians or also drivers, if they do not sleep enough, teenagers are more prone to accidents. Driving while tired leads to reduced reflexes and poor judgment. The same applies to those on foot – lack of concentration, inability to calculate distances, and slow response time – all of which can trigger accidents.

Tips for Tired Teens

In order to establish a healthy sleep routine for your teenager, considering the following do’s and don’ts:

  • Do not allow brain stimulation in the evenings. This means no television, no computer, no iPad, no video games, and no cell phone right before bedtime.
  • Do allow your teen to sleep in on the weekends, but sleeping all day is not acceptable.
  • Do not allow your adolescent child to eat junk food close to bedtime. If they are hungry, however, choose healthy sleep-inducing items like whole grains, yogurt, and jasmine rice.
  • Do as you preach, which means it is your responsibility as a parent to set a good example and practice the same habits.
  • Do not allow your teenager to consume caffeinated beverages past the afternoon. Energy drinks should be avoided all together.
  • Help your teen identify enjoyable and relaxing activities to do before bedtime, such as reading, meditating, yoga, listening to calming music, painting, taking a leisurely walk, and playing chess.

Written by: Kaity Nakagoshi, Online Community Director & Web Content Manager

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About the Author

This guest post was written by Kaity Nakagoshi, the Online Community Director for Zelen Communications and the Web Content Manager for a physician services directory in Florida. Kaity graduated from the University of South Florida and enjoys writing, tweeting, online shopping, and golf. Some of her favorite healthy things are hot yoga, iced green tea with a drizzle of agave, and homemade flourless banana muffins.

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