Teens

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We recently polled moms to find out if they had talked with their kids about marijuana. While many said they had, a large number hadn’t or if they had, they felt it was a brief, ineffective conversation. Having the “sex” talk with tweens and teens can be hard, but having the “pot” talk can be just as challenging. Many of the moms we spoke with were sidelined by some of the questions and responses from their kids when they brought up marijuana. Below are three of the most common questions moms were asked by their kids and suggestions from Good To Know Colorado for how you can answer them.

1. Marijuana is all-natural so it’s ok, right?

Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe, especially for teens. Tobacco is “natural” but we all know it’s not safe. Did you know that marijuana smoke has many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke? Smoking marijuana can make it harder to breathe and affect your coordination, lung capacity, and athletic performance. Using marijuana can hurt your brain development too. Studies have shown that teens who use marijuana regularly are more likely to have learning and memory issues. And, marijuana can be habit-forming. It’s harder to stop using marijuana if you start at a young age. So, natural doesn’t equal safe.

2. Which is worse, alcohol or marijuana?

It’s not really about which is worse. Both are illegal for anyone under the age of 21. Both can be harmful when abused, and both have negative health effects. There are consequences to using both as well. If you’re caught with recreational marijuana, you could get charged with a MIP (minor in possession) and face fines, public service hours,misdemeanor/felony charges and even possible loss of your driver’s license. You could also lose your job, get kicked off sports teams, be suspended from school and even lose financial aid for college. It’s not worth it.

3. Why is it okay for you to use marijuana?

I’m an adult. The law says that adults over the age of 21 can use recreational marijuana. The reason for this is that teen brains are not developed enough to handle marijuana. Your brain is still developing until you’re 25-years- old. Using marijuana when you’re a teen has negative health and legal consequences, which could stand in the way of you achieving your dreams.

Many of the moms we spoke with said they felt completely useless once they got into the conversation about marijuana. It’s amazing how teens and tweens can reduce us to mush during these conversations. That’s why Good To Know Colorado also has developed the following tips that can help make the conversation more effective:

Know the Facts: Get informed about the laws, health effects, and negative consequences for youth who use recreational marijuana so you can answer your kids’ questions. Good To Know has lots of information here:http://www.goodtoknowcolorado.com/talk

Choose the Right Time to Chat: I am the queen of starting the conversation at the wrong time. Watch and listen for cues. If you hear a commercial on TV about marijuana, that can serve as a good intro. If your child brings up the topic or if you encounter someone using in public, that can be a doorway as well. Make sure you have enough time to really talk and answer their questions.

Relate to What They Can Lose: If your tween or teen participates in extracurricular activities, they can lose this privilege if they’re caught with marijuana. If your child has a goal of college scholarships or military service, these can be lost as well. Tap into what is at risk and tangible to your child.

State Your Expectations: While you want to maintain an open door for conversation, as the parent you need to make your expectations clear. “I expect you to not use marijuana until you are of legal age,” is a very clear statement.You should also make the negative consequences clear and follow through on these consequences if your child is caught with marijuana.

Keep Talking: While you don’t want to beat a dead horse, you need to repeat this conversation. Experts recommend starting the conversation and continuing it until age 21.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Good To Know campaign is an excellent resource for parents, coaches and teachers to learn about how to talk with kids about not using recreational marijuana. There is so much great information for you to tap into at http://www.goodtoknowcolorado.com/talk. It’s also great for when you get stumped, and trust me you WILL get stumped by some of the questions and arguments you get.

Remember, DON’T STOP having the conversation!

 

Sponsored by: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Good To Know Colorado Campaign.

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Do you struggle with daily bath time? I’m not sure what happened over the last couple of years, but my kids went from loving a good bath to hating bath time.  They are 9 and 12, so I’m sure that has something to do with it. However, they are on the right track with fewer showers a week. Sound crazy, check out the facts.

 

 

 

A chemical engineer from Boston, David Whitlock, has not taken a shower for 12 years. He found that humans don’t need to shower in order to be healthy.  He said that people who shower every day remove good bacteria from their skin.  In fact, the bacteria that causes body odor can be kept in check by the good bacteria you wash off during showers.

He actually came up with a bacterial spray, AO+ Mist, sold by the company AoBiome under the brand Mother Dirt. The company and Whitlock believe the spray could reduce, if not eliminate the need for soap or deodorant and might even eliminate showers!

The good bacterium is called Nitrosomonas genus.  It breaks down ammonia and produces nitric oxide and nitrite which then becomes an antibacterial substance.  This bacterium is found on almost every organism.  Whitlock found that humans were continually washing this good bacteria off their skin and that is what caused the bad bacteria, that causes body odor and other stink, to persist on our bodies.

On top of this exciting news, there are many people who don’t shampoo their hair more than once a week or even once a month. They find their hair retains natural oils and over time is healthier and looks better.

In light of these scientific findings, I’m going to let my boys skip a shower every so often.  They still have to wear their deodorant and wash their face until I can get my hands on some AO+ Mist.

 

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A mom took to social media to tell other parents exactly what gifts Santa should and should not be giving to their children.  This photo definitely riled some parents up and created some good conversations about Christmas, Santa, and gifts.  We want to know what you think.

 

 

 

santarules

Here are some of the comments:

“Parent my child for me, please. I don’t like having difficult discussions with them about the nature of the world, so if you could go ahead and change your Christmas ever so slightly, that would be great.”

“I know I’m not lying to my daughter and future kids about Santa. Presents are from mommy and daddy!”

“I am a mother of 4 children and no we don’t have a lot of money and I don’t agree with this post I try to teach my kids to be thankful for what they have been given and not to worry about what others have “you should only look into others bowls not to see if they have more but to make sure they have enough” they are always going to have to deal with someone having what they don’t so it’s better we teach them to appreciate then to be jealous.”

“Why doesn’t everyone raise their kids the way they want to and have everyone else worry about their own instead of what the neighbors are doing.”

 

The kids in our house are almost too old for Santa, but he always brought the stockings.  Santa wasn’t the primary gift giver, but we celebrated him and enjoyed the idea of Santa.  The last few years we have instituted the four gifts of Christmas: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.  It makes things simple and they know all along our focus is not about the presents.  Of course they still get gifts from other family members as well.

fourgiftsofchristmas

 

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You’ve probably heard about the social media apps students in Colorado used to keep their sexting secret.  Investigators say at least 100 students were involved. I’m pretty sure there were a lot of surprised parents.  While we all like to think we know what our kids are doing, some kids will find a way to keep their secrets. Here is a list of social media apps all parents should know about.

 

 

SNAPCHAT
This app lets users send videos sand photos to people on their friend list.  Users decide if it is a video or image.  It can only be seen a certain amount of times and the user can tell if the viewer saves the chat.  The warning is that anything sent via this app can be saved. Many users believe this is a “safe” app for sexting, but it can be saved and posted anywhere on the internet. For more information on Snapchat click here.

BLENDR 
This social media app allows people to meet using GPS location services.  Users send messages, videos, photos and can rate other users.  Anyone can join and this increases the opportunity for sexual predators to contact and meet up with minors.  As with other apps, this one is prime for sexting.

KIK MESSENGER
This is another instant messenger app that allows users to share videos, pics, and more.  Users don’t use phone numbers, instead they use screen names.  Users can send YouTube videos, memes, and gifs.  Although many teachers are using this app for school, there are no parental controls and no authenticating.  This makes the app a risk for sexual predators and sexting. A common term associated with this app is “kik buddy” which means “sex buddy.”

ASK.FM
Ask.fm is a social networking site used almost completely by teens.  The premise is that users are able to ask and answer questions by users and remain anonymous. Teens have been known to use the app to target other people in derogatory ways.  This is one of the most used apps for cyber-bullying.

YIK YAK
This app is particularly dangerous for users because it is so simple and easy to use.  Users post text-only “yaks” that are a maximum of 200 characters.  The texts are viewed by users in the general area.  That means anyone within a certain distance can read and yak.  The posts are anonymous, but users can connect.  Users have used this app to bully others in the area.  This app is geared toward college students, but many high schoolers are now using it.

VAULT APPS
There are quite a few apps with the word vault in their title.  These apps use fake calculator “front” to allow users to keep pictures, videos, and chats secret from anyone who doesn’t know what to look for.  It is easy for anyone who is looking to find the best app for their platform.

DOWN
This app requires users to connect with Facebook. In the app they categorize their friends as someone they would like to hang with or someone they are “down” to get with.  This app is specifically for sex and finding sex with other users.  Although teens may not actually get “down” with someone, it makes the idea of casual sex normal for users.

 

The bottom line is just being aware can let you, the parent, know what your kids are doing. If you check your kids’ phone regularly you can search for apps by name. Try an open search term like “vault” or “picture locker” to see what your kids are looking at.  Parents can set up a code on their kids’ phone so kids can only buy and download parent approved apps.  Check out CommonSenseMedia for updates and information on helping your kids stay safe on social media.

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No School! The fun only lasts so long and then there are the 265 variations of “I’m Bored!” from the kids. We’ve got a few ideas to help you keep your sanity and keep the kids from dying of boredom. What would you add to our Snow Day Survival Kit?

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Day

Mom, don’t worry, if there is any day to let your kids bingewatch shows and movies, it is a snow day. Check out our list below. Maybe you have a movie in mind and want to see where it is available. Check out Can I Steam It? to see if your favorite show or movie is available on any streaming service or DVD.

Top 10 Kid’s Movies on Netflix for Snow Days

  1. Snow Buddies
  2. Cool Runnings
  3. Zathura
  4. Earth to Echo
  5. Hoodwinked
  6. Thomas & Friends: Merry Winter Wish
  7. Bob the Builder: Snowed Under
  8. Penguins of Madagascar: The Movie
  9. Christmas With the Kranks
  10. Get Santa

Boredom Busters

Make homemade flubber, snow paint, or build a fort! Check out our Boredom Buster Board on Pinterest for more great ideas. One of my favorites is activities to do with LEGO blocks. Build a city, build your dream home, or create a LEGO room.

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Hot Chocolate Recipes

If there is ever a day for hot chocolate, it is a snow day. Check out Pinterest for 1,347,697 variations on hot chocolate. Of course, you can always just buy chocolate milk, warm it up, and throw in a few marshmallows or whipped cream.  It’s a snow day, there is no judgement.

IMG_20141129_015155

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Around 75 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds are carrying a cell phone and most of these are smartphones.  These kids are spending an average of 6 to 9 hours on various devices. Many of these kids are using their phones for texting, social media accounts, and much more.

 

 

 

 

Your child may be using a variety of ways to chat with other people:  Kik, Skype, Snapchat, video game consoles, and of course texting and email.  On top of this, kids are getting smarter and there are various apps, Ghost or Conceal,  they can use to conceal pictures and texting.  These apps look like calculators or clocks. With all this chatting going on, how is a parent to know what is going on in their child’s life?

Sure, we can talk to them, but if your child is like mine the talk happens when they want it to. You can always check their devices, but what if they delete things or have hidden apps? Using a cell phone tracker can help you spot problems like smart phone addiction, sexting, and cyber bullying.  The experts behind these apps recommend telling your child you will be monitoring their phone and talking with them about responsible use.

Here is how TeenSafe, a cell phone tracker works. When your child’s device is connected you will see the GPS location of the phone and the latest calls and messages on the home page.  However, you need your child’s Apple ID and password for an iPhone and Google Play information for Android. Setting it up for an iPhone is fairly simple, but it is a bit more complex for Android.

You can track them and see all their interactions. You can also follow them on social media. You can take their phone and look through it, because more than likely you are paying for it and you are the parent.  One of the perks this program touts is the ability to delete your child’s text messages. Is that really the relationship you want with your child? Deleting text messages your child has received without them knowing can border on manipulation and intrusion.

The bottom line is this, yes, legally you can monitor your child’s phone if they are under 18-years-old. You can see and manipulate their online presence. However, they don’t learn anything unless you are talking with them about their online activity.  This program should be used as a tool and a way to connect with your child. If it isn’t about teaching them responsibility then what will they learn for their future, when you can’t monitor all their online activity?

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Would you like your child to know how to act properly in a business setting? What if I told you this one class could improve their chances during a job interview? This class even offers scholarships and help with college admissions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may have heard of cotillion, but did you know how helpful it actually is for teens? Yes, it is steeped in history and tradition, but it is all about teaching manners and how to act in various social situations.  Cotillion originated in France during the 1700s, but the American South carried on the tradition. Cotillion teaches teens manners and the dances offer them a place to practice their politeness and introduce debutants.  You may be thinking that is all good and well, but what does this have to do with my kids?

Well, it can help your kids with all kinds of social interactions.  Harvard University, Stanford Research Institute and The Carnegie Foundation indicate that over 85% of one’s career success is directly connected to one’s social skills. The JDW Cotillions have two classes for kids in elementary school through high school in the Colorado Springs area: Broadmoor and Colorado Springs Country Club.  The cost varies from $220 – $265 per class, which includes about 5-6 sessions. The classes include lessons on building and sustaining positive relationship, social etiquette concerning non-verbal, verbal, and high-teach means of communication, and proper manners during a three-course sit down dinner.  The students also learn various styles of dances.

Cotillion isn’t for one type of person or social group. Classes include students from different areas of society. One class included a football player who was there because his parents wanted him to learn these manners because they were hoping he would be offered scholarships and be invited to special events.  Then there are the teens who need to learn to put their phone down and interact face to face with people. Some parents send their children because they don’t want them to feel awkward during various social settings.

Overall cotillion is meant to last three years. It starts in 3rd or 4th grade and goes through high school.  It teaches students elocution, how to be a polite guest, how to introduce yourself, greet people, making a proper toast, and so much more.  Many cotillions now teach proper social media etiquette. Students need to realize it isn’t just what they are posting on their private pages, but also what pages and organizations they are affiliating themselves with.  The bottom line is the courtesy and consideration for others matters. Sometimes, parents need a little helps teaching their kids and that is where Cotillion comes in.

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Your child may have had an IEP (Individualized Education Program) since they started school or maybe a teacher just recommended one. Maybe you thought your child needed more help with their education. Here are some of the basic concepts of what an IEP is and how it can help your child.

 

 

An IEP is an Individualized Education Program.  Every student who qualifies for special education services is required to have an IEP.  This highly individualized plan allows everyone who works with the student to be on the same page.

Who needs an IEP?

Kids struggling in school may qualify for support services, allowing them to be taught in a special way, for reasons such as:

  • learning disabilities
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • emotional disorders
  • cognitive challenges
  • autism
  • hearing impairment
  • visual impairment
  • speech or language impairment
  • developmental delay

How is a student deemed eligible for an IEP?

  1. A teacher, parent, or administrator recognizes that a child may need additional help and requests an evaluation.
  2. The child is evaluated in all areas of suspected disability. This includes formal testing, informal testing (daily grades, classroom work), interviews, and observations.  The school’s evaluation team will consider all of this along with observations and interviews.  It is important that parents are a part of this evaluation and their information and insight should be included in the evaluation.
  3. If the child is deemed eligible, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the school is required to write up a plan within 30 days.
  4. The school then conducts an IEP meeting that must include the student’s teacher, parents, and special education teachers.  Parents also have the right to include anyone else in the meeting they believe has expertise or special knowledge of the child.
  5. An IEP plan is laid out and the school decides how to best follow it for the benefit of the student. A copy of the plan is given to all of the child’s teachers and providers.  This is so everyone involved in the educational process knows their roles and responsibilities for making sure the IEP is carried out.  This includes accommodations, modifications, and support that is provided to the child.
  6. The student’s progress is evaluated and sent to the parents.
  7. It is required that everyone meet at least once a year to reevaluate the IEP.  Additional meetings can be held if teachers or parents see a need.
  8. The student is reevaluated every three years to remain eligible for special education services.

What is included in an IEP?

Legally, there are things that must be included in an IEP.

  • A statement of the child’s present level of performance (PLOP)—this is basically how the student is currently doing in school.
  • The child’s annual educational goals
  • Special education supports and services that the school will provide to help the student reach goals
  • Modifications and accommodations the school will provide to help the child make progress
  • If the student will be in special classes or integrated with non disabled students
  • Accommodations for the child when taking standardized tests
  • How and when the school will measure the student’s progress toward annual goals
  • Transition planning that prepares teens for life after high school

 

Parental consent is required at every stage of the IEP process.  

Private schools are not legally required to provide the same services available in public schools.

What services are granted to students with an IEP?

There are many different types of services for special education students. This is a list of possible services your student may require.

  • Audiology services
  • Counseling services
  • Early identification and assessment of disabilities in children
  • Medical services
  • Occupational therapy
  • Orientation and mobility services
  • Parent counseling and training
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological services
  • Recreation
  • Rehabilitation counseling services
  • School health services
  • Social work services in schools
  • Speech-language pathology services
  • Transportation

It is important to note that certain factors can influence services provided. These include, but are not limited to: language barriers, behavioral issues, if the student is blind or deaf, and if there are communication issues.

If the parents do not agree with the IEP there are options:

  • Try to reach an agreement. Parents can talk with school officials about their concerns and try to reach an agreement. Sometimes the agreement can be temporary. For example, the parents and school can agree to try a plan of instruction or a placement for a certain period of time and see how the student does.
  • Ask for mediation. During mediation, the parents and school sit down with someone who is not involved in the disagreement and try to reach an agreement. The school may offer mediation, if it is available as an option for resolving disputes prior to due process.
  • Ask for due process. During a due process hearing, the parents and school personnel appear before an impartial hearing officer and present their sides of the story. The hearing officer decides how to solve the problem. (Note: Mediation must be available at least at the time a due process hearing is requested.)
  • File a complaint with the state education agency. To file a complaint, generally parents write directly to the SEA and say what part of IDEA they believe the school has violated. The agency must resolve the complaint within 60 calendar days. An extension of that time limit is permitted only if exceptional circumstances exist with respect to the complaint.

 

All information was taken from www.2ed.gov

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My son plays video games with friends around the country while skipping with other friends.  My youngest son plays an online game, Terraria, while listening to streaming music. It is no surprise to me that teens and tweens are spending more time on social media and electronic devices than ever before.

 

 

 

What did surprise me was the number of hours the spend every day on their devices.  According to a study by Common Sense Media, teens spend about 9 hours a day on some type of media. Tweens, children 8-12, spend about six hours. Common Sense Media claims this is the first large-scale study to explore tweens and teens’ use of the full range of media.  The study followed about 2,600 kids between the ages of 8 and 18.CSM did not include time students used media for their homework.

Here are some key findings that may surprise you:

  • Social Networkers and Gamers/Computer Users both spend about seven hours a day with screen media
  • Social Networkers spend more than three hours a day using social media and only 44 minutes playing games,
  • Gamers/Computer Users average two and a half hours playing games and 53 minutes on social media.
  • Teens considered “Light users” averaged about 3 and a half hours of media time on a daily basis, Tweens in this category averaged about 2 and half hours.
  • Teen boys spend more time on games, while teen girls spend more time on social media
  • Watching TV and listening to music are the top choices for teens and tweens to spend their time.
  • 53 percent of tweens — kids 8 to 12 — have their own tablet and 67 percent of teens have their own smartphones. Mobile devices account for 41 percent of all screen time for tweens and 46 percent for teens.

Parents say they are more concerned with what the teens and tweens are doing on their devices, more than how much time they spend on their devices.  As a mom to two tweens, I agree with that statement. If they are having fun, interacting with friends, and not watching or playing bad games or TV, I have no problem with them spending 3 or 4 hours on various devices.

Surprisingly, there was a difference in time spent on media compared with the income and education of parents.  Teens in lower income households and households where parents had less education spent more time, about an hour and a half to two hours more, consuming various types of media.

The five takeaways from the study are:

  • The vast diversity of ways young people interact with media—the remarkable variety in their preferences and patterns of use.
  • Underneath all this diversity, tweens and teens today place an enduring value on two media activities in particular: watching TV and listening to music.
  • Young people’s en- gagement with media still consists primarily of consumption rather than creation.
  • The socioeconomic and racial/ethnic differences in children’s media use patterns are inescapable and concerning.
  • Although it almost goes without saying, we are struck anew by the ubiquity of entertainment media in young people’s lives

Kids say that social media connects them. They know what is going on in the world as a whole and their world.  These findings are not necessarily bad things. These kids are digital natives and what they do is considered completely normal for 21st century kids.  For parents, this just means we need to be aware of what our kids are watching, listening to, playing on their game consoles.  

 

 

Teens, Tweens, & Social Media

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Halloween is all about the treats and getting something for free is definitely a treat.  Here are some of the freebies you can score on Halloween this year.  If you see something we’ve missed, send us a message on Facebook or email and let us know so we can add it to the list.

 

 

 

 

IHOP is giving away free “Scary Face Pancakes” on October 30, the day before Halloween, to children 12 and under.

Krispy Kreme is giving all customers who wear their Halloween costumes to the store on Oct. 31 a free doughnut.

Chuck E. Cheese’s wants to give your kids 50 Free Tickets.  Now through October 31, kids who come in costume to Chuck E. Cheese’s will get 50 free tickets per day.

 

We know, these aren’t free, but they are super good deals.

Chipotle is selling $3-dollar “booritos”  There is a  Customers must add “something unnecessary” to their Halloween costumes, as Chipotle attempts to draw attention to the fact that their competitors serve food with “spooky and unnecessary additives.”

Sonic will be selling corn dogs for just 50 cents. You can hit them up during Happy Hour and save a lot while fueling up for trick or treating.

Wendy’s is giving away free Junior Frosties to customers who purchase their Halloween coupon booklet for $1. (Proceeds go to Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.)

Baskin-Robbins is discounting scoops in celebration of their birthday. Enjoy any scoop for $1.31 at participating Baskin-Robbins shops nationwide on Halloween.