4 Tips to Help You Get Respect From Your Teenager

One day it happens: your sweet little child turns into a teenager. For many parents, the teenage years are the hardest. Your child has suddenly developed a mind of his own, and if you thought he tested boundaries as a two year old, you won’t believe the kind of boundary testing that goes on during the teenage years. Even though it may seem like your teenager has transformed into an entirely different species, teenagers are not as hard to navigate as it may seem. If you find yourself exclaiming, “Help with my teen!” you are in luck. As an experienced teen psychologist, I have an inside look into teenage behavior and have discovered these simple parenting strategies can help you get respect from your teenager.

Acknowledge His Wants

Just like when your child was a toddler, he simply wants to know he is being heard. Even if he will not get what he is asking for, if he understands that you know what he wants, but it is just not possible because of X, Y, Z, he will be more willing to actually listen to what you are telling him.

Negotiate When Necessary

If you really need your teenager to do something, try making him an offer. Do what you have to do first, then you can do what you want. “You can go to your friend’s party if you clean your room first.” With negotiating, you both get what you want and everybody wins.

Give Him Your Trust

You have spent your child’s entire life teaching him right from wrong; it is important that you give him a chance to prove that he has been listening. If you never let him do anything he wants in fear of him making the wrong choice, he will never have the opportunity to make you proud by making the right choice.

Pick Your Battles

When dealing with a teenager, it is all about using your energy where it matters and letting the small things go. If you fight with him over every little thing, it will just pull you further apart.

If you follow these simple tips, you will soon be saying, “Thanks for the help with my teen! We are now closer than ever!”

Dr. Lazarus is a teen psychologist in Littleton, CO. He specializes in working with teenagers and families to develop healthy relationships.

Parents guide to safe guarding computers for kids

Your kids rely on the Internet every day. As a parent, do you ever wonder how to keep your kids safe while they’re online? Incorporate parenting strategies that include computer safeguards, and help your kids safely surf the Internet.

Block Unsafe Sites

Even if your kids follow safe online practices, they could find dangerous sites by simply misspelling one word during an innocent search. Blocks on your computer help you implement effective parenting strategies and keep your kids safe.

Start by assigning your kids limited user accounts. With a unique log in and individual settings, your children can access age appropriate sites but can’t change parental controls.

To create limited user accounts on a Mac, open the Control Panel and click on System Preferences. Find Parental Controls and add or change the User Information. Under each user, set individual limits on the time your kids spend online, games they can access or sites they see.

Access Parental Controls on Windows through the Control Panel. Click the User Accounts and Family Safety then Parental Controls. Set up individual user accounts then add time limits, program blocks or game blocks for each user.

You’ll also want to safeguard the devices. If possible, set up the computer in a public area of your home, and give your kids cellphones without texting or data capabilities. Install Safe Eyes or another computer blocking tool that prevents your kids from opening inappropriate sites on their devices.

Be Proactive

Your kids are smart, and parenting teens requires you to be proactive. Ask other parents what they are doing? Consult with a tech person or sells software that protects your teen from exposure and temptations.

You’ll also want to learn how to set parental controls and find search history on your kids’ devices. Consider installing a monitoring system like PC Tattletale, and access websites, search and chat history, keystrokes and other information, even if your kids erase it.

Talk to Your Kids

Your kids, especially if they’re teenagers, may resist your efforts to monitor their online activities. Assure your children that while you love them, you also must keep them safe.

An Internet usage contract outlines safe online usage. Both you and your kids agree to acceptable Internet usage and the consequences for breaking the rules.

Keeping kids safe online is important. As soon as they’re old enough to get online, teach your kids how to surf safely. Then establish blocks and be proactive in safeguarding your computer.

Helping my child during a divorce

When you’re going through a divorce, your kids feel strong emotions that are difficult for them to process, understand or express. They may act out or withdraw as they deal with their emotions. They may even try to get you back together. No matter what actions your children display, you can use several parenting strategies to help your kids cope with your divorce.

Explain the Changes

Because of the divorce, life as they know it is about to turn upside down. While you don’t want to keep the truth from them, don’t overwhelm your kids with all the messy details of your divorce. Use age-appropriate language to tell your kids that their parents will no longer be living together. If possible, have this talk before you separate.

Reaffirm Your Love

Your kids may fear that mommy and daddy no longer love them since they no longer love each other. Reaffirm your love in tangible way so your kids feel secure during the changes your family faces.

  • Regularly spend time with each child doing an activity or hobby they enjoy.
  • Try to keep traditions like bedtime stories, weekly dinner out or birthday parties.
  • Act civil to your spouse and never bad mouth the other parent.
  • Take care of yourself so that your able to be the best parent possible
  • Keep adult issues at the adult level and never put your children in the middle
  • Use mediation as a non confrontational approach to resolving the legal divorce quickly

Encourage Communication

In the midst of the divorce, your children may be unable to express their feelings verbally. They may act out, though, with anger, aggression or withdraw.

Help your kids process the divorce with assistance from a child psychologist. He can use art, play and other tools to help your kids express their emotions in a positive way. He can also help your entire family heal emotionally and provide you with parenting strategies.

A divorce isn’t easy on anyone. You and your kids will get through it, though, as you exercise effective parenting strategies that help your kids navigate the changes.

Dr. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist who specializes in helping children and parents work through divorce issues.

Do Video Games Have a Negative Impact on Kids?

Do you ever worry that your child is spending too much time playing video games? If so, you’re not alone.

In light of the recent events in Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado, many concerned parents are questioning the effects that gaming, especially violent games, might have on their kids and seeking out parenting strategies to help them set limits.

While video games have been around in one form or another for more than three decades, today’s games are realistic, sophisticated – and demand an unprecedented level of interaction from players. An increasing number of researchers are exploring games’ influence on developing brains; so far, results indicate that gaming can have both positive and negative effects.

Several studies show that well-designed and educational video games may improve:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Coordination and manual dexterity
  • Collaboration skills
  • Computer literacy

However, research also suggests that games with violent content may increase some kids’ potential for aggressive behavior. This tendency may be especially pronounced in games that reward aggressive acts and, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, include content such as:

  • Killing people or animals
  • Use of alcohol and drugs
  • Criminal activity
  • Disrespect for authority
  • Violence toward women
  • Racial and gender stereotypes
  • Obscene language

Studies show that when children are repeatedly exposed to violence, they may become numb to its effects and be more likely to display aggressive behavior. When children repeat a violent act over and over in a game, it acts as a teaching method, reinforcing that behavior. Kids with behavioral, learning and emotional problems tend to be even more susceptible.

The amount of time children spend playing violent games is also a key factor. A 2004 study found that kids who played violent games for extended periods tended to be more likely to:

As a parent, you can lessen the potential for negative impact by limiting your child’s amount of screen time and minimizing their exposure to violent games. You can also:

  • Ensure that games are age- and developmentally appropriate by checking the ESRB rating and playing them yourself first
  • Talk to your child about what they see and experience while gaming
  • Keep video game equipment out of your child’s bedroom
  • Serve as a gaming role model for your child
  • Network with other parents who are concerned about gaming

If you are concerned about your child’s exposure to violence in video games or worry that they may be addicted to gaming, speaking to a professional may help. A child psychologist or teen psychologist can provide suggestions on setting limits and creating boundaries to help keep your child safe, healthy and happy.