Feb 012015
 
ca8d122484c6cd5c04ed702e_640_time

As our kids grow, they become more and more independent. Once they hit the age where they are working their own job and driving a car, it seems like they get farther and farther away from us. It can be a very difficult transition for any parent. We are used to our kids needing us and once they begin to float off on their own, it can be disappointing because we miss them!

When this happens there are a few things you can do to still have some quality time with your teen – the key is to make the time.

Date Night

If you can schedule a date night with your teen, this is one of the best ways to get some of their time. Scheduling it in advance is even better because it can give you both something to look forward to and it is less likely to interfere with other things. Go to a movie, go out to dinner, go to the mall; whatever the activity as long as you both enjoy it then you will enjoy the time together.

Meal Time

If you can even catch 30 minutes to sit down and have a meal together, that time can be priceless. If one of you will be out around dinner time, try to meet somewhere for lunch. Eating a meal together is not just about the food, but about the company and the time you have to chat about your day or upcoming events.

Shopping

It may sound silly, but take your teen grocery or household shopping! If you are heading to the supermarket, chances are that your teen would love to pick out some treats for them or help with meal planning for the family. Or, if you are planning a trip to buy household supplies at Target, bring your teen along and let them browse for other items. A one-hour shopping trip can actually be fun and gives you just that little bit of time together you both need.

Regular TV Show

If a new series is starting up that you are both interested in, try to plan on watching it together each week. This is another one of those scheduled events that you two can look forward to and share.

Exercise

Go for a run, take a walk, or head to the gym. Not only is this a healthy activity, but if you and your teen do it together on a regular basis it will be terrific for you both. Whether you bond over weights or just chat while on the treadmill, use this as an opportunity!

Again, the key to time with your teen is making the time. Find something you both enjoy doing and do it together. Chances are your teen will be just as happy as you that you found that time!

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Nov 232014
 
adf259a2e4ef653392d634ca_640_Thanksgiving

In honor of Thanksgiving, I asked the following questions regarding Thanksgiving traditions and received some terrific responses! As you read through, think about your own holiday traditions and what they mean to you and your family. Feel free to comment at the end of the article!

What family Thanksgiving traditions are most important to you to continue with as well as pass down to your children?

What makes the traditions important to you and why do you want to be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren?

Greg DiVilbiss

Greg DiVilbiss

I am a commercial Real Estate Developer that during the downturn became C.O.O. of a software company. I subsqeuently started a local marketing company. I have been studying personal development since High School (54 now) I meditate regularly. I was married to a woman who developed post partum psychosis and has been institutionalized for years…My blog is about personal development, my companies are real estate and local marketing.

socialwebcafe

socialwebcafe

Encouraging others to persist in positivity. Soon to be psychotherapist/coach in I/O psychology.

joehall

joehall

12 years as a programmer. 7 years as a SEO.

Don Sturgill

Don Sturgill

I help people sell more and stress less. I am a freelance writer, focusing on newsletters, articles, and email marketing. I write. You win.
Q. What family Thanksgiving traditions are most important to you to continue with as well as pass down to your children?

A. Greg DiVilbiss (Partner)

We don’t have a set version of traditions. The thing I like best however is the chance to get to see relatives that I do not see often. Of course there is the food. I value the chance to stop and really think about what I am thankful for and how wonderful it is to be born into a country that has the freedoms we enjoy. Did I mention the food? I love sweet potato casserole with nuts and marshmellows on the top.

A. socialwebcafe (Appreciating The Goodness in Life)

The most meaningful Thanksgiving tradition to me, and to my children, is that of pausing before eating the dinner and each sharing that one thing that they are thankful for this year.  With all of the hustle and bustle in life, just the pausing to share in a non-hurried manner helps all of us to appreciate what we have and to be able to identify ways to give to others who may be in need.  This is something we try to practice daily, but Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to stop and take notice and to realize that all of us have cause to be thankful.

A. joehall (SEO Consultant)

Every year we go around the table before we eat and say one thing that we are thankful for. I remember fondly when I was struggling through school my father said he was thankful for me passing French class! It is a fun way to teach the kids about graditude.

A. Don Sturgill (Writer, Dreamer, Believer)

Each Thanksgiving, we go around the table and say what we are thankful for. Each person says one thing during each round … and the rounds can go on for quite a spell. We sometimes do this during the year, but always on Thanksgiving.

Q. What makes the traditions important to you and why do you want to be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren?

A. Greg DiVilbiss (Partner)

I think the gathering of family, it seems to me that people are getting more and more distanced from each other and they do not feel the connection to their roots. I hope to pass on how important it is to stay close and continue to see each other as grandparents and parents move on to the next chapter in life.

A. socialwebcafe (Appreciating The Goodness in Life)

This tradition is important to me because it is about attitude and putting things into perspective.  In a world that encourages expressing oneself, even complaints, I believe we need to realize the positive in life.  As an elderly friend would say, when I asked him how he was doing, “Vertical and taking nourishment.”  It is funny how that quote put it into perspective for me that sometimes those things which we take for granted are the very things that others view as priceless.  So, Thanksgiving is a checkpoint reminder of paying attention to what really matters, which, in our family is about the positive persistence and focusing on how we can help others rather than how much food we can stuff in our tummies.

A. joehall (SEO Consultant)

I think that we as a culture don’t do enough to give thanks in our everyday lives, so I like the idea of teaching our childern the importance of feeling grateful about the many blessings they have and the warm embrace of their families and friends.

A. Don Sturgill (Writer, Dreamer, Believer)

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks. We get so caught up in life that we don’t often take time to stop and be grateful. I want my family to experience the special blessing that goes with gratitude.

 

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Oct 182014
 

sad photo

Most of us learned about punishment from our own parents or guardians. Some of us employ the same methods while others learned to do differently. So, when your small child or teen does something wrong are you convinced that the punishment you administer fits their crime? Are you too tough? Are you too lenient? How do you feel about the punishments that you give to your kids?

I learned a lot from my mom; she was the one in charge of punishment in my house growing up. It was never “wait until your father gets home” it was “wait until your mother gets home” for me. I grew up in a blended family so-to-speak, with stepdad. So, I assume that is why.

My mom was tough. She was tough on me when I did wrong and especially if I lied. Now that I am a mom I look back on that. Sometimes I think she was too tough and sometimes I think she was just right. But one thing I can say is that I definitely learned from it all and remember it now as I have found at times I need to punish my own daughter.

What I have definitely learned not only from my own mother, but from friends with kids is that the punishment should fit the crime if we are to teach them the lessons they need to learn.

If the punishments are consistently harsh it will not necessarily have the same effect as if they differ according to the wrongful act. After all, the goal is to teach a lesson so that they do not perform the wrongful act again, right?

My opinion is this…a really bad grade or poor performance in school not warranted by history should not invoke a 3-month grounding. At the same time, getting in trouble with the law should invoke a punishment stronger than one night without a cell phone.

Who decides what is too much, not enough, or just right when it comes to punishing our kids? We already know there is no rule book or manual (unfortunately). So then, we are the ones to decide – as parents.

All I can say is that the punishment must fit the crime. Everyone’s view of what is “bad”, “wrong”, or “over the line” is different. But, as parents we must remember that if every punishment is fierce that does not necessarily mean our children will grow up to be “perfect” when making even the smallest of errors.

Everyone needs to make mistakes in order to learn. We all need to learn right from wrong, accountability, responsibility, and how to be an adult.

Standard punishments where every time our kids do something wrong they get the same punishment will definitely not teach them severity of their actions. At the same time doing nothing at all to let our kids know that they have done something wrong and need to “suffer” in some way will certainly never teach them consequences.

What are your thoughts on punishments? Do you have standard punishments and levels of those that you use? Do you come up with your punishments on the fly according to the wrongful act?

Share your thoughts below!

 

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Oct 042014
 
Flowers

As we raise our children we think about what to teach them, how to teach them, and how to reinforce what we have taught them. But, how often do we stop and think about what we have learned as parents as we are guiding our children?

I conducted an interview on MyBlogU where I asked a few questions to get people to think beyond what we might concentrate on as parents…to take a look inside their selves. I received a great response with several honest and sincere answers. I had thought about only publishing a few of those answers per question, but then I thought better of it. I believe that these parents who took the time to ponder the questions and open their thoughts up to others all deserved to have their answers shared.

Here are the three questions I asked followed by everyone’s responses:

 

Q. What is one thing you have learned by being a parent? Not something that you learned from your kids, but something that being a parent has taught you.

A. Chilly_Bang (Never act like own parents were acting, never forget how i was acting as i was a child)

I’ve learned, by god

  1. not to become so as my parents are,
  2. not to act with my children, as my parents were acting with me.
  3. never forget, how it was for me, to be a child,
  4. always to remember, how i was acting by my own in same situations, as i was a child.

A. Philtrate ( The Teaching Escape Guy)

Being a parent taught me patienevery situation from someonce, and how to look at every situation from someone else’s viewpoint. A child’s viewpoint is a great way to look at anything because children are so impressionable that you are automatically careful, you make fewer assumptions and are more tolerant of others

A. Ann Smarty (Founder)

Multi-tasking…. I don’t think I had been able to do SO MANY things at one time before I became mom… I mean my productivity has always been good but being a mom and working on your career and business – these two things at the same time bring your multi-tasking ability to tops. I remember I was writing an article while holding my daughter’s leg for her not to fall from the couch (she was under one year old then)…. Whoever is saying multitasking is bad has never been a working-from-home mom!

A. Anna Fox (Blogger)

I learned to value time! It was a very surprising discovery: How little did I value my time! Those 10 minutes with a cup of coffee thinking of nothing… They used to be taken for granted! And now, being a mom, I don’t miss them (I LOVE being a busy mom) but I’ve learned to really appreciate those 10 minutes of doing nothing!

A. Don Sturgill (Writer)

I was the youngest. My father, brother, and other male members of my extended family teased and badgered me unmercifully. By today’s standards, I was bullied and abused — both physically and mentally. The culture (Appalachian) and era saw it as “toughening me up.”

Malarkey.

Owing to that example, I often catch myself saying something flippant to my boys:

“Zeb, go whine to your Mama.”

“Zach, you are the laziest child I have ever seen.”

I hate it when I do that. My desire is to encourgage them, but it doesn’t always come out that way. I have learned to watch my tongue and strive to speak with love, rather than derision.

A. lifestyleultimatum (A lifestyle Blogger)

Well, this is quite interesting as question, because there are so many things that being a parent teach you that is quite impossible to cover everything, but I think that the first thing I learned is that we are all humans.

One of the things I have always expect from my father and mother, was to see them act always like the perfect parents, but this is not human.

We are the same person since we are kids and we still try to do our best every day, no matter what is the result.

A. Dangerous Lee (Author, Writer, Essayist)

I’ve learned that I do not want more children. I am the single mother of one and my daughter was not planned. Parenting is hard, stressful, sometimes (not literally) shitty work; especially when you’re doing it alone. One has to have all their marbles to be a parent without guilt and I for one am missing a few marbles from the bag.

Q. What is one thing that you learned from your own parents, guardians, grandparents that you now use as a successful parenting tool?

A. Chilly_Bang (Never act like own parents were acting, never forget how i was acting as i was a child)

I learned from my parents, that for succeful parenting i will always try to act on diametrically opposite art, as they were acting with me. And to become successful like parent i will always compare my parental doing with it of my own parents. i must say: it works like a charm;)

A. Philtrate ( The Teaching Escape Guy)

The most important thing I learned from my own parents was to have rules and to enforce those rules. Children want to know what the rules are in every situation, they want to know where the boundaries are so they can try to push them. My own rules are much more elastic than my parents’ ones, but they are only flexible up to a point.

A. Ann Smarty (Founder)

“My kid is always right”… Don’t get me wrong: It’s not that she is always right AT home (she is spoilt enough but not THAT much)… but she has any conflict outside of it, I want her to know whe will always come home and see no opposition: I want to always be on HER side. I think knowing that is important. That’s how I was brought up!

A. Anna Fox (Blogger)

My mom used to say “You’ll understand when you have kids of your own” and I tried to listen to her and really understand. I think that worked really well to saving us from the generation gap. That’s what’s now helping me as well: Sometimes we need to accept the fact that we are different but that doesn’t mean we cannot TRY to understand each other!

A. Don Sturgill (Writer)

My heritage comes from hard working, honest-day’s-work-for-an-honest-day’s-pay folks. My father was the first to leave the homeplace (in the mountains of rural Virginia) to work a day job (as a coalminer). Here is a link to a recent interview about my Appalachian heritage. It was conducted by host, Sarah Campbell, on her Newfoundland radio show: Heritage.

From my family, I learned the value and dignity of manual labor. I hope to pass that knowledge on to my children — but, it is difficult today. We seek to be entertained. We are easily bored. We want soft, comfortable lives and feel cheated if we aren’t being spoonfed. (Or so it seems.)

A. lifestyleultimatum (A lifestyle Blogger)

Patience. I must thank my father for this, because he has been patient with me lots times. Also he teach me to be patient with other people, because you can never know what is the experience of someone else, and what they are living in the very moment, so before to fight try to understand.

Before to judge someone, step into his shoes and walk as much as he does, if you reach such a distance, then you will understand really who he is.

Q. How has becoming a parent changed you as a person? Are you more sensitive? Are you a better problem-solver? Is there something else that you have learned about yourself by being a parent?

A. Philtrate ( The Teaching Escape Guy)

I no longer see things in black & white. As a parent (or is it just getting older?) you have to deal with all kinds of situations where there is no universally recognised right or wrong: You just have to learn to live with shades of grey, even if children do see things in black and white.

A. David Leonhardt (President, THGM )

I think, as a parent, I am now much more patient and accepting of other people and their quirks.  I see so many of my own strengths and weaknesses reflected in my daughters, that it has made me realize how important it is to just accept.  I can see the thread that weaves from my parents, through me, to my daughters.  I understand that much of me was passed down not from my parents, but through my parents from theirs.  And much of what I have passed down to my daughters, will likely be passed through them to my grandchildren (OK, that is assuming a bit at this stage).

A. Ann Smarty (Founder)

Now I know my opinion is not the only one that counts. I am a tougher person than I seem: I have my own opinion that is hard to change but being a parent I understand that being that stubborn is not good for my kid. Sometimes my husband and I don’t agree as to what’s good and what’s bad for her and often I realize I need to listen to others. I mean I still think mom knows best but now I am listening to others  as well :)

A. Anna Fox (Blogger)

I have definitely become more patient! I used to be a classic choleric (in it’s better meaning). I hated being bored. I was hardly ever tired. Now it’s all different. I became patient and I find myself enjoying quiet evenings. I prefer spending time with my family at home to going out. I think being a parent has made me a completely different person!

A. Don Sturgill (Writer)

I didn’t figure Appalachia would play such a prominent part in my answers during this interview … but it sure has. In my poem, Notes From Appalachia, I talk about how I hated my father when I was young … but saw his wisdom reflected in the landscape of our ancestral mountain home.

Now that I AM the parent, I wonder how my children will see me … down the road a ways. We are close now. They KNOW I love them. I hope they can see that my shortcomings are but shadows that will someday be gone.

Parenting — and the great love it engenders — has prompted me to develop a personal desire to change, to be better than myself, better than my father, better than his father … and the hope that my children will be better than me.

A. lifestyleultimatum (A lifestyle Blogger)

Not a better problem solver, maybe more sensitive. But of course be a parent improve my sense of the life. Everything is more difficult, but at the same time everything is easier.

I am father of two and it costs some efforts sometimes, but this make me feel better and complete.

I think that us humans, we are creative animals. All the animal have an instinct, our goal is to create something and the most of the creativity is to give birth to a new life.

———————

If you would like to connect with those who participated in the interview, they have kindly shared their information below. Thanks to all who were gracious enough to participate in my interview!

Chilly_Bang

Philtrate

Philtrate



I am a teacher and have been writing for the past 4 years. I am a life-long reader

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty



I have 7 years of experience in Internet Marketing and blogging. You can find my personal blog at seosmarty.com

Anna Fox

Anna Fox


Don Sturgill

Don Sturgill



Writer, Dreamer, and Believer. Author the most powerful time/life management system on the planet.

lifestyleultimatum

lifestyleultimatum



I am an Blogger on the Italian and English market. On the italian market I built a stable income and now I live in Costa Rica since two years, where I decide to start my new adventure on the English market with my italian experience.
Dangerous Lee

David Leonhardt

David Leonhardt


If you would like to conduct an interview of your own, head over to MyBlogU to find out how!

Do you have thoughts of your own on these questions that you would like to share? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

 

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Sep 212014
 

As our children grow, teaching them the basics of the kitchen and meals that they can cook are both essential. They will eventually move out and have to fend for themselves, so sending them out with a few great, inexpensive meal ideas outside of Ramen Noodles or frozen dinners is necessary.

Rather than just showing them how to make something, having them pitch in with dinners is a terrific way for them to get the hang of making the meals as well as helping out the family!

Meals for Teens

Meals for Teens

In our house, we take turns making dinner. That way, no one person is always responsible since everyone works and deserves a break. Here are a few easy dinners that your teen can prepare:

Healthy Chef’s Salad – this is a great meal idea for any family. Not only is it healthy, but easy to create without any cooking or baking. Simply cut up some lettuce, tomato, and onion, if desired. Layer these ingredients in a large bowl with your favorite salad meat (we use both turkey and diced ham) and shredded cheese. Everyone can then take as much as they like, add their own salad dressing, and top with hard-boiled egg, bacon pieces, or croutons. Healthy and filling!

Simple Spaghetti – instead of cooking a sauce from scratch, let your teen know they can make a very easy spaghetti in a few short steps. Brown a pound of ground beef and drain. Poor in any canned or jarred spaghetti sauce. Add mushrooms, diced onions, or diced green pepper if desired and simmer for an hour. Next comes your family’s favorite type of pasta – simply follow the instructions on the packaging. Easy peasy!

Manwich Sandwich – it is a pretty easy main dish to make and some may prefer homemade, but a can of Hunt’s Manwich can always come in handy! Brown a pound of ground beef and drain. Poor in a can of Manwich, simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, and serve on hamburger buns. Done!

Even different packaged meals can be great for your teen to prepare such as Hamburger Helper, Kraft or Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese, or Zataran’s.

As much as I would love for my daughter to go to culinary school and practice her creations on the family, that is just not going to happen. So, I try to teach her how to make really simple things, that will not cost her a lot after she moves out, but will provide her with something outside of fast food drive-thru-s.

Do you have any easy meals that your kids help create for dinner? If so, please leave a comment to share with others!

 

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Aug 232014
 

Senior picture day is an important day in your teen’s life. It is the first of many fun, new, and exciting adventures your teen will experience as they begin their last year of high school.

Photo by: mooncat, http://www.freeimages.com/photo/836078

Photo by: mooncat, www.freeimages.com/photo/836078

If this is your first time taking a teenage girl to a senior picture photo shoot, here are some tips that will help!

  1. Choose outfits to compliment the backgrounds. There are normally several backgrounds to choose from and most photo shoots will include more than one. Try to choose outfits with colors that accentuate your teen’s features as well as the background. Simpler patterns work well for outdoor scenes where there are normally a lot of colors. Patterned or multi-color clothing works better for minimal or single-color backgrounds.
  1. Choose outfits to compliment your teen’s features. Look at colors that bring out the color of your teen’s eyes and hair color. Try to avoid tops that are too low cut or skirts that are too short because the photographer will pose your teen in a variety of positions. The more flattering the outfit, the better your teen will feel, and the better the pictures will turn out!
  1. Bring an extra outfit. Once you see a background in person instead of in a catalog or online, you and your teen may decide that the chosen outfit does not work as well as you thought it would. Having an extra outfit or two just in case is a safe bet.
  1. Remember the accessories. After choosing the outfits, pick out accessories to accentuate each one. From necklaces and earrings to shoes and belts to handbags and hats, make sure that each outfit has the decorations it needs without overdoing it.
  1. Bring make-up and hair accessories. Whether your teen will do her own make-up and hair or the studio staff will do it for her, bring along some extras. Necessary make-up touch-ups for outdoor scenes or changing up the hairstyle at the last minute are always possible. Be prepared.
  1. Preparing for the day. Be sure that your teen gets plenty of sleep the night before the photo shoot so that her eyes are bright, not puffy. Make sure that you have both eaten before you go and bring along some bottled water.

Finally, have fun! This should be a fun activity for you and your teen. After all, how often does someone (who is not a professional model) get to have a photo shoot? If you are both in good spirits and having a good time, then it will show through in the pictures and be a great day to remember as well!

 

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Aug 092014
 

Most people these days have a GPS system in their car; whether it comes with the car as a built-in option or an after-market system that is installed like a Garmin. Either way, many people have become reliant on these systems to point them in the right direction every time they leave the house and drive into unknown territory.

The thing is, these systems cannot always be relied upon. They can malfunction, not be up-to-date, or simply be wrong. I know, I know, I worry too much….NOT. This can happen and if you rely solely on your GPS to get you where you need to go OR get you home, then you’re putting way too much trust into an electronic device.

freeimages.com, krilm, http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1035921

freeimages.com, user: krilm, http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1035921

That being said, what about your teen drivers? My daughter did not want the GPS when my boyfriend first bought it for her. It was as if she almost felt offended by it. However, it has grown on her so much that now it is her main navigational source affectionately named Michelle.

I have explained to her exactly what I said above – things can happen and if Michelle suddenly cannot help, then what? So, before my teen gets into the car to drive to a place out of town that she has never been, I take a few steps ahead of time to make sure she is prepared AND ease my worry.

  1. Look up the location ahead of time and map it out. Once you obtain directions to the place your teen is driving to, use either Google Maps or even an old fashioned paper map to show them where to go. Simple things like which direction they need to take, how long they can expect to be on a certain highway, what landmarks they may pass are all things that will help them get a general sense of the direction they should be headed and what to look for on their route.
    1.  Try to point out places they are familiar with if possible, for example, “you know the road we take to Grandma’s house? Take that road until you get to the IHOP and then turn right”.
  1. Print off the directions or write them down. This is especially helpful if they have a passenger to assist or if they have to pull over for fear of being lost. Their passenger can follow along and make sure that the GPS is pointing them to the right place. If they are alone and pull over in a safe location to review the directions on paper, they can get a better sense of where they need to be going by looking at a map or set of instructions compared to what they see around them.
    1. I use this often myself just to find out which lane I will need to be in, which way I will be turning, or how long I can expect to be on a specific road.
  1. Make sure their cell phone is fully charged and that they have a car charger. If a situation arises where your teen is really lost, the GPS has failed, or they are just feeling a little panicked it is always best that they have a way to call home for help. Cell phone batteries die a lot quicker when out and about than they do at home. Invest in a car charger if their car is not equipped with one so that they can always call home if needed.

A driving teen can be one of the biggest worries to a parent. When you add to that their venturing to places they have never driven, it is up to you to make sure they have the tools they need to get there safely. Preparation for a trip is something most adults do, so my advice is to teach your teens the same thing. You will both feel better when they arrive incident-free, you will build trust that they can do it themselves, and you will teach them that preparing ahead of time can save a lot of time, worry, and aggravation later.

 

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Aug 252013
 

Many parents provide their children with allowances or make them earn their money by doing chores. This is a great way to teach them about earning money and even spending money on things that they really want. But, do you teach your kids the value of a dollar? Do they know how much is too much to pay for something? Do they know how to shop, bargain shop, or know whether or not the item they want is worth the money?

Photo by: sxc.hu, stock.xchng, knox_x, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1428300

Photo by: sxc.hu, stock.xchng, knox_x, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1428300

This is something that they really do need to know, especially as they grown into an age where they are buying their own things or ready to leave the house.

Here are 5 tips for teaching your kids all of the above:

  1. Spend time with them at the store on pricing items. When you take your kids shopping, talk about prices for the items which you are buying. When you look at a food item, for example, let them know whether or not the price is too high or just right for the product. Explain to them why the price they see may be too high, a great bargain, or just right.
  2. Explain why the money they have earned should be saved and not spent. A tendency for our kids is to buy something right away with the money they have earned from allowances or jobs. But, they also need to know that saving up for something better or for a rainy day is also important.
  3. Lead by example. If you are a big spender or are buying big ticket items every chance you get, your kids will think that is how life is lived. It is great to have nice things – we all way that – but leading our kids to believe that they can just buy, buy, buy will not let them know that bills and obligations need to be paid first. Not everyone can afford to buy everything they see.
  4. Remember the basics and teach them. We all know that when we buy products at the store that tax is added and when we buy online that shipping and sometimes tax is added there as well. Make sure your kids know this and can figure it in when making purchases. Tell them to add on a little each time they choose to buy something at the store for tax and show them when buying online how much that shipping can really be!
  5. Discuss ways to save money on items and shop frugally. This is especially important as your kids are getting ready to leave the nest. Show them the ads you receive in the mail, coupons they can obtain, and discount store prices compared to other stores. Grocery store and home products can be purchased at cheaper stores. Dollar stores and discount grocers can be their best buddies once they move out. Make sure they know where to shop, what is worth the trip, and why!

We as parents and guardians are responsible for teaching our children how to survive out there! Financial aspects of life are no different and responsibility with money is a huge lesson for them. The actual value of a dollar, knowing what is priced well and what is not, how to read the fine print, and not let them overspend is also a part of our jobs. Also, teaching them to be very careful when shopping or buying online is essential these days.

Do you have any tips of your own? Leave us a comment below.

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Jul 212013
 

Whether for business or pleasure, you may find yourself in a situation where you will be gone overnight. You feel that your teen may be ready to stay alone overnight, rather than going to a friend or family member’s home. But, how do you know for sure if they are ready? Is there a certain age that your teen must be in your mind? What do you consider when making the decision to leave them alone?

Let’s take a look at factors that you should consider and questions that you should ask yourself.

  1. Mature.  Is your teen as mature as they should be for their age or are do their actions remind you more of a child? Do their thoughts about situations sound right for their age or do they make you think they have a lot more growing up to do? Your teen should display an appropriate amount of maturity for their age before considering a night alone.
  2. Responsible. Does your teen do the right thing when it comes to safety, choices, and tasks? Can you rely on them to do the right thing in a situation?  Can you rely on your teen to do what is asked and do it correctly? If a situation were to arise where they had to make a decision, you want to feel confident that they will make the right one.
  3. Trustworthy. Trust is a key element to consider. When you leave them alone during the day, do you feel comfortable? Can you trust your teen when they are away from your home – at school, friend’s house, shopping mall, or with the car? How much do you trust your teen to be okay alone for the night? If you think they may throw a party while you are away, then maybe it is not the right time.
  4. History. Does your teen have a history of getting into trouble? Have you had issues leaving them alone during the day? Have you had problems with them that include drugs or alcohol? Have they been in trouble in school or even with the law? Your teen’s history should also come into play and should help you decide whether or not you feel comfortable leaving them alone.

HouseI think as you read this you can agree that age is not as important as the four items listed here. A 15-year old can be more responsible and trustworthy than a 17-year old. A 16-year old can be more mature and have a better history than an 18-year old…and so on. So, take age out of the equation and consider the above traits instead.

When you leave for an overnight trip, you must feel comfortable to leave your teen alone for the night. You need to trust that they will make the right choices, take care of what needs to be taken care of while you are away, and not worry the entire time you are gone that something bad will happen.

If you cannot answer positively to the questions answered above, then it is probably not the right time to leave your teen alone overnight. Wait a while – let them grow and mature, correct their mistakes, prove to you that they can be trusted. If you are unsure, then it is probably too soon.

What are your thoughts? Have you already been through this with your teen and can share some wisdom? Or, are you a parent contemplating this decision right now? Comment below to share your story!

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Jul 132013
 

As lives get busy and children grow up, it can be hard to find the quality time to spend with our children.  Jobs, school, sports practices, recitals, friends…all take up our time.  One thing that I would suggest, especially as our kids turn to teens, is a “date night”.

It does not have to be every week and could even just be once a month, but setting aside one night, few hours, or whatever works for you is a great idea.  Be sure that you plan that time together so that you choose something that both enjoy.

Abby and Sandy Summer 2013

Abby and Sandy Summer 2013

My daughter and I love Mexican cuisine.  So, for our date night we go out to dinner to our favorite Mexican restaurant.  We really take our time and enjoy the dinner.  It has become such a “thing” for us that my daughter does not like anyone else to ever go to that restaurant with us!

Other suggestions for your time together could include a movie, shopping, mini golf, picnic, archade, spa day, or even the beach.

We receive a community paper that lists local classes being offered.  I thought it would be really fun for me and my daughter to take a class together.  Whether it is artistic like pottery or painting or something valuable like self-defense, this is also a great idea.  My daughter has not warmed to this option yet, unfortunately, but I am still trying!

The point is that if you plan a regular date night with your teen then you can both look forward to that special time together, however often it may be.  It is time for just the two of you to reconnect and I know that it really works for my daughter and I.  It is one of those times we use to talk about serious things, girl things, or just laugh with each other.

Do you do something like this with your son or daughter?  Please share your comments and suggestions!

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