TECHNOLOGY TUESDAY: I canNOT get my child to get out of bed!

This is one of the top complaints we hear about parents…doesn’t matter the age or gender of the child.  It does, however, matter the time.  School and church days seem to be the worst.  Christmas morning…not so much of a problem...

Over the years, I’ve recommended a variety of techniques.  I don’t believe parents of teenagers should be waking their children any longer, ESPECIALLY parents of high schoolers.  These kids need to be learning the value of time—theirs and yours.  They need to be taking responsibility.  And, as counselors, we’re continually more and more concerned...

Read More

Technology Tuesday: Safeguarding our Kids Just Got Easier!

When we created the blog, our hope was to get as much good information to parents as we could.  We wanted to share what we’re learning from sitting with kids, adolescents and families in our offices every day.   Not a day goes by that we don’t hear a parent voice how overwhelming it feels to parent in the Technology Age.  It’s a daunting task to keep kids safe with so much out there.

We’ve been fortunate to have the great folks at 3N1 Media on our side.  If you’re a Nashville family, you’ve likely heard us recommend 3N1 as a great resource in our community.  They not only provide great service to businesses in our community, but to families as well...

Continued Reading

Read More

Why are American Kids So Spoiled?

An interesting article from The New Yorker discusses the reasons behind why our children might be acting out in their narsassistic ways...  Do any of these scenes sound familiar? 

"A father asked his eight-year-old son five times to please go take a bath or a shower. After the fifth plea went unheeded, the father picked the boy up and carried him into the bathroom. A few minutes later, the kid, still unwashed, wandered into another room to play a video game. 

In another representative encounter, an eight-year-old girl sat down at the dining table. Finding that no silverware had been laid out for her, she demanded, “How am I supposed to eat?” Although the girl clearly knew where the silverware was kept, her father got up to get it for her...


Read More

Insurgent: Spoiler Alert!

Just yesterday, I was talking to a mom and her middle school daughter.  They had been away for the weekend to go through the Passport to Purity content together.  On Saturday evening, they went to see the movie Insurgent.

“Here we were talking about purity, and Tris and Four have sex.  And all I could say to my daughter was, “Well, that wasn’t in the book.  Close your eyes, honey.  We’ll have to talk about this later, too.”


Continue Reading...

Read More

Talking to Teens about Fifty Shades of Grey

By now, we’ve heard a lot of voices ring in about this movie.  Unfortunately, I’ve heard of a few high school girls whose voices are ringing in, as well.  “If there’s one movie I’m planning on sneaking into right now, it’s Fifty Shades of Grey.”

You may remember yourself what that felt like.  Buying a ticket for a non-suspicious movie while acting very suspiciously.  Sitting for just a few minutes, until the movie theater attendant made his exit, and then darting into the movie with the “R” on the marquis.  I have to admit.  I think I snuck into a few movies from time to time—the first one I remember seems to have been about breakdancing with a few curse words thrown in to make it’s rating a little racier.

We’re playing on an entirely different field now.  Breakdancing doesn’t hold a candle to the content of the movie that is being talked and written about constantly these past few weeks. Continue Reading

Read More

Prepping for the Pressure: Giving Tweens the Tools to Say No: Part 2

This is where we, as adults, learn to whisper very loudly.  In our book, Raising Girls, we say that there are three primary reasons kids don’t begin to drink or use drugs. 

1)They have developed their own relationship with Christ that helps them say no. 

2)They have a group of friends who say no together. 

3)They are afraid of what you will say if they say yes.  Our rule of thumb is that all three are important in the life of your child. 

Continue Reading

Read More

Technology Tuesday: Watch Dog

I’m working with a family who has had more than their fair share of technology issues with their children.  Inappropriate pictures, inappropriate texts…you know the drill.

These parents are intentional parents.  They’re committed, first, to the safety of their children.  They’re committed, secondly, to the rhythm we believe is important when parenting teenagers.  

You give them trust, as they earn it, and then take it back when they make a mistake.

You give them consequences and give them a chance again.

You start small and gradually give them more freedom as they prove themselves responsible.

And you make the limits clear at all times. 

Continue Reading

Read More

Technology Tuesday: Video Games: Part 2 - The most popular video game of all time...

The most popular video game of all time...that your child may be playing.

Last week we took a look at some content to consider regarding kids and video games.  This week we’ll look at an article summarizing one of the most frightening games your kids or teens could have exposure to.

This game generated a record-breaking $800 million in first day sales...  READ MORE

Read More

Technology Tuesday: The Perils of Summer and Social Media

 “I took myself off instagram when I was on my family vacation.  I just had to take a break from seeing how much fun everyone else was having.”

A freshman in high school said these words to me this week.  She follows a long line of other girls who have realized the potential impact of social media.  For girls who compare themselves to others (aka all girls), it can become very discouraging.  As we say often in parenting seminars, loneliness doesn’t show up on instagram.  I don’t know that anyone (let’s be honest, adults) looks at social media and thinks, “I really love my life.”  Instead, we look at others’ more fun vacations, happier children and more perfect lives.  What we’re seeing is not reality.  Neither is what your son or daughter sees.  But, he doesn’t have the emotional maturity to know that.  She believes that every friend is having a better summer and getting with friends more than she is.  And, the problem with summer is that there is simply so much time.  They have more hours in the day to look at Instagram and read Tumblr and follow what their friends are doing on pinterest.  It can consume hours of their day and can easily become a lonely substitute for a social life. READ MORE

Read More

Technology Tuesday: Where Is YOUR Teenager?

"Teens have always been a large part of the social media landscape, but while Facebook is still the leader in usage, it is losing ground to a new form of social media that involves sharing photos. Sites like Instagram and Snapchat are growing quickly in popularity among the teen population, signaling a shift in how teens use social media." 

Where is your teen? Where are they spending their time as far as social media goes? It's important to be aware. Take a look at this infographic to see where the trends are currently...READ MORE

Read More

I'm Worried My Child May Have An Eating Disorder...PART 2

We’re glad you joined us as we talk through eating disorders among kids today.  This is an issue we feel passionate about.  It is one of the most addictive struggles a child (or adult) can ever face and there is much you can do as a parent to help:

  1. What you model in your home in regard to food and body image is of the utmost importance.  We tell parents often that your issues are often going to show up in the life of your child.  If you struggle with your own body image or some type of eating disorder, get help—for your sake and theirs. 
  2. Don’t make food an issue around your home.  It is unhealthy to use food as a reward.  But it is also unhealthy to focus on the fact that you are eating healthy all of the time.  Eating disorders manifest themselves in a preoccupation with food and eating.  Don’t further this by being preoccupied by food as a family.  It is important to teach your child healthy eating, but not obsessive healthy eating... READ MORE
Read More

Technology Tuesday: App Alerts

App Alert with 7 dangerous apps…and a few more NOT to let your kids grow on.

Kristin Peaks has written a fantastic article called 7 Dangerous Apps That Parents Need To Know About warning you of some of the newest and most concerning apps for kids…actually, correction—apps that are appealing to kids and concerning to parents.  As counselors, we’re not often black and white on issues.  But we are on a few when it comes to technology.

Read this article and watch out for these apps!  Check your child’s phone for them today.  If they have any installed, have a conversation about why they chose to download them and why they believe it is important to have them on their phone.  And we really mean a conversation…ask them questions and use the conversation as a learning opportunity for both of you.  If your child is an older teenager, make a decision together about whether that particular app has any value for your child’s emotional or social growth.  If he or she is a younger teenager or pre-teen, we can already tell you…there is none.  It is never helpful for a child to have an opportunity to rate someone else. READ MORE

Read More

What Is Your Teenager Doing This Summer?

“I have a new philosophy.  There’s just no point.  There’s no purpose to anything.  So I might as well make things count when I’m young.  Enjoy myself while I can.  That kind of thing.”

The young woman who said these words to me went on to say, “I mean, Christians would say the purpose of life is to ‘Advance the Gospel.’ (She has obviously heard those words several times before).  And I’m a Christian still…sort of.  But that kind of purpose sounds boring to me.”

This 16 year-old was counting down the days till school ended.  She was ready for the summer.  And I was more than concerned about her summer.  More than concerned about her, actually, in general.  As Melissa has told our staff for years, the kids who we need to worry about the most are the kids who don’t believe that their lives matter.  It’s not the ones who are angry so much as the ones who are just nothing.  They don’t feel anything and don’t want to feel anything.  The ones who don’t know purpose.READ MORE

Read More

I'm Worried My Child May Have An Eating Disorder...PART 1

 “I think the problem is that food and I just don’t get along.”

Her struggles with food started right around the age of 11.  As a young girl, she was petite.  She had the body of a little athlete…long legs, flat stomach and teeny muscles.  But, then, as it does in the life of every girl, puberty reared its hormonal head.  At 12, she felt like a different person.  She worried about what other people thought.  She felt insecure.  And, much to her dismay, she believed that she looked “round”.  Her stomach had taken on a new shape, her breasts, her bottom and even her legs were more curvy.  And she hated it.

At 15, she sat in our counseling offices and pointed back to the age of 12 as the onset of a struggle with food that continued to plague her.  “I used to hear all of the time how cute I was.  And then it just stopped.  No one said I was attractive…or little.  No one said anything.”  So, I thought, I must be fat... READ MORE

Read More

A Non-Technological Technology Tuesday!

I have a friend who texts me every Technology Tuesday.  Here’s what she said recently…

Last Tuesday…

“Technology Tuesday makes me feel insufficient.  I’ll stick with the post about toddlers.  I was good at that!”

This past Tuesday…

“It’s Technology Tuesday and I’m already worried…and you haven’t even posted yet.”

She went on to say “I think it’s indicative of our biggest struggle as parents…the loss of control…My inability to know and control what is going on in their technological world overwhelms me and makes me see how not in charge I am…which is a good thing!  But it’s hard to remember that it’s a good thing!  READ MORE

Read More

Technology Tuesday: "Growing up Digital, Wired for Distraction"

This is an article worth reading from the NYTimes...

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — On the eve of a pivotal academic year in Vishal Singh’s life, he faces a stark choice on his bedroom desk: book or computer?

By all rights, Vishal, a bright 17-year-old, should already have finished the book, Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle,” his summer reading assignment. But he has managed 43 pages in two months.

He typically favors FacebookYouTubeand making digital videos. That is the case this August afternoon. Bypassing Vonnegut, he clicks over to YouTube, meaning that tomorrow he will enter his senior year of high school hoping to see an improvement in his grades, but without having completed his only summer homework.

On YouTube, “you can get a whole story in six minutes,” he explains. “A book takes so long. I prefer the immediate gratification.”

Students have always faced distractions and time-wasters. But computers and cellphones, and the constant stream of stimuli they offer, pose a profound new challenge to focusing and learning. READ MORE

Read More

Stress and Consequences for American Teens

Turns out the new data is in, and adolescents have officially passed adults.  The most stressed Americans now are American teenagers.  

The data tells us that teens have 50% less free time than they did a generation ago, get an hour less sleep, and spend 53 hours a week interacting with screen media...

Take a listen to this discussion titled Stress and Consequences for American TeensREAD MORE


Read More

Raising Courageous Daughters (Today's Christian Woman Article by Sissy Goff)

You remember the feeling, don't you? Playing a sport you couldn't really play in PE, trying out for the school musical or the cheerleading squad, or even just having to give a speech in class. The sweaty palms, the nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach, the feeling that all eyes were on you and critiquing everything you said and did.

Losing her voice

Girls are self-conscious. In our seminars with parents, we talk often about how girls lose their voice around middle school. Dove claims that 6 out of 10 girls stop doing what they love because of the way they look. As a counselor who has worked with girls of all ages for more than 20 years, I would say it's also because of who they are—or, more importantly, who they believe themselves to be.

Research suggests that when something goes wrong in a boy's world, he blames someone else. (Moms, unfortunately, that's most often you.) But when something goes wrong in a girl's world, who does she blame? You guessed it, because you did too (and maybe you still do). She blames herself. READ MORE

Read More

Technology Tuesday: Family Media Contracts

We talk often in parenting classes about the importance of technology contracts.  Contracts accomplish several things.  

  1. They clearly outline the terms of having a gadget or media privileges.  It eliminates a child/teen saying “you never said I couldn’t ________________.”   The terms are clear and we’ve agreed to those terms on the front side.  
  2. Contracts are a way of life.  They prepare kids for all of life.  I signed a contract when I purchased my first car, with the mortgage company when I bought my house, with my employer when I took my first job, with AT&T when I purchased my cell phone, and on and on.  Reading, understanding, agreeing to the terms, and acting within those terms will be a part of our kids journeys all throughout their young adult and adult lives. READ MORE
Read More

How to Use Books & Movies to Have Great Conversations With Your Kids

For any of you who've heard us speak before, you know we often use clips from films or television show to illustrate points. We like bringing visuals of the concepts we're talking around, and we've found clips can help bring those concepts to life. 

We use this same philosophy when working with kids and will periodically show scenes to help kids make connections.  We use them at camp, in groups, and with individual kids.  Several of our books include recommendations of films to watch with kids.  They may be stories rich in emotional content, films that invite critical thinking or drive thoughtful and important conversations with our kids.  

Because all three of us love reading and are passionate about literacy, we always recommend having kids read the book before they see the movie.  There is often so much more within the book than can be included in the film.  Furthermore, for some kids, knowing what will happen within the story may make seeing a particular scene within a movie less overwhelming (think Bridge to Terabithia) or scary (Chronicles of Narnia). READ MORE

Read More