The average teen can be rebellious, sullen, moody and mouthy. If you have a teenage child, then at one point or another they are going to talk back.
Rather than being resigned to a life of rudeness, parents should arm themselves with some strategies for open and respectful communication.
Anthony E. Wolf author of Get Out Of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl To The Mall?: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager, offers these tips:
- Disengage, don’t lecture. When the backtalk is just rude, or hurtful, simply disengage from your teen and do not respond. When you ignore harsh backtalk, kids will learn to tone it down and be more respectful if they want any sort of response from you.
- Water off a duck’s back. Don’t let your teen’s tone rattle you. Simply repeat your request in a calmer tone to teach your teen to respond in a more respectful manner.
- Show that you are flexible. Listen to your teen’s point of view, and on occasion change your mind about the ground rules.
- Put it in context: Differentiate between backtalk at home and backtalk in society. Remember that teenagers are developing their identities. When they back talk at home it’s about testing the boundaries of self-expression. If they back talk to teachers, your friends, or to other parents then it’s rude.
It may seem that your teen is out of hand talking back and asserting their needs, but your teen is actually just developing the skills they need to be assertive and stand up for what they believe in later on. Your job is to make sure that they can accomplish this and still be respectful to others, and to you.
Read more Teens talking back? Just ignore them
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Staying au courant with the ongoing in your teen’s life can be challenging, especially since teens can be notoriously difficult to talk to. Short, one-word responses such as “nothing” is the norm to questions like “How was your day?” and “what’s new?”
A recent article in the local paper told of how one parent discovered a way to open the lines of communication with her teen. She signed up for the popular social networking site Facebook as a way of staying in the loop with her children’s lives.
Facebook began in 2004 at Harvard University as a tool for creating student profiles and performing classmate searches. By 2005, it became accessible to most colleges, universities, and even high schools in the US. It opened up to the general public late 2006. Since then, Facebook has been in the media spotlight frequently surrounded by issues of privacy, a hot topic in the age of identity theft.
Privacy issues aside, the mom reports that Facebook has opened the door to communicating with her teenage daughter. The status updates and photos give the mom helpful conversation starters, and now they actually have discussions that go beyond the monosyllabic grunts she used to get to her inquiries into her daughter’s life.
Facebook—more than a social networking site, it just may be the technology that helps parents to bridge the generational and conversational divide. As author Patrick White notes in the article Facebook: watching the watchers, family dynamics may never be the same.
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Amid the welter of decibel-topping noise generated by violent and intense computer games, the Internet, TV and loud music shrieking from the stereo, I wondered whatever happened to a carefree childhood?
As I watch my neighbors hustle their bleary-eyed children from competitive dance to nightly karate to little league and 5 am ice rink calls and scheduled play times, I really wonder.
I wonder whatever happened to swinging from a rope? Or swimming in an inner tube? Hopscotch? Tag? Hula hoops? Marbles?
Whatever happened to a lazy, carefree summer days at the park and nights lying on your back in a field listening to crickets and just staring up at the stars?
I wonder about the joy of a childhood free of cares: the calm that precedes the onset of adolescent concerns.
Recently I came across an article ‘The lost art of childhood’ by Alex Williams of the New York Times in which he described what he calls a “burgeoning interest in old fashioned games” and unstructured play.
He says the field is growing because many “are spurred by concerns that a decline in traditional play robs the imagination and inhibits social interaction”.
You can’t underestimate the important role of free, unstructured time and play in a child’s development. Yes, there is a time for school and learning and physical education, but in the growth and integration of the child’s cognitive and processing skills, the brain needs activity and time that is exploratory and without strict boundaries. While video games may be fun, they employ a level of intensity and mental engagement that doesn’t encourage creative and imaginative thinking.
Perhaps the best indicator of a renewed interest in “play for play’s sake” is reflected in the skyrocketing sales of The Dangerous Book for Boys (Collins) by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden. It’s a deliberately nostalgic-style evocation of a simpler childhood, including such boyish skills as making a tree house, skipping stones, and crafting paper airplanes. Almost as soon as it was published, it rose to the number two spot on the best seller lists.
It seems parents are beginning to understand that a busier child is not necessarily a happy child.
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“Mom, I need an iPod for school”
If your child came home and told you that he needed an iPod for school, you’d probably be pretty suspicious. But this is just the sort of thing that your child may be telling you in the near future.
Duke University has repurposed music-playing iPods to function in the classroom. Since 2004, all incoming freshmen have received iPods to supplement their course work. This pilot project explores the potential of multimedia devices as educational supports. So far, the project has been well received.
The iPods are used to supplement course material by allowing faculty and students to:
- Post and download lecture notes
- Access course support materials like videos, images and Podcasts
- Record oral exams
- Have an easily portable, accessible, and transferable way to access notes
Student and teachers alike take training classes that cover both proper use of the device as well as responsible usage of the technology—a key point since critics say that multimedia devices in the classroom create new ways for students to cheat.
Read more about how Duke University is using iPods here.
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In the first part of this series we looked at why students might cheat on exams. There is a lot of pressure to succeed especially in the higher grades as college or university looms near.
But more than just pressure, if your child has been caught cheating on a test or exam, it can usually be traced back to inadequate study skills. And it’s little wonder since study skills are rarely taught in school.
But there are plenty of other reasons why students might cheat.
Here are some of the main reasons students cheat:
- They are unmotivated
- They have gaps in their learning skills
- They are unable to make lasting connections in the subject matter
- They have trouble developing a fundamental understanding of course material.
- They have poor exam preparation techniques.
The best way to avoid cheating is to help your child develop better study skills. Try these 6 tips:
- Hire a tutor.
- Enroll in a program that focuses on study skills.
- Create a study schedule, and review steps involved.
- Use a school agenda.
- Talk to your child about cheating and school pressure.
- Stay involved.
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