We all know that as children get older it can become increasingly difficult to know what is going on in their lives and harder to stay close to them. Spending some quality time with teens might mean you have to make an appointment in their very busy social diaries, but there are ways around this.
So what can you do as a parent to try and make sure that you stay close to your teen as they venture out in the big wide world? It might mean that you have to be a little bit creative, or perhaps even push your own boundaries.
In an ideal world it would be nice for families to sit down together on a regular basis and talk and find out what everyone’s been up to. A family meal is a wonderful opportunity to do this but we know that this isn’t always...
With the summer holidays over many parents will be breathing a sigh of relief. Recent data from lowcostholidays.com found that nearly a third (28%) of young holidaymakers did not take out insurance on their last group holiday, whilst 44% claimed their biggest holiday expenditure is alcohol when away with friends. Worryingly a further 24% claimed that their attitude towards safe sex would be more relaxed on a group holiday.
In light of the data, Family Lives is backing the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Know Before You Go campaign which provides timely advice for parents and young holidaymakers preparing to go on holiday to celebrate school results and the closing of the summer season in popular holiday resorts.
“Group holidays should be about...
With more than a quarter of all secondary school pupils clinically obese and experts predicting a public health time bomb if teenagers don’t increase their fitness levels, many parents tell us that they find it hard to motivate their teenagers to get active. It seems that TV, the internet and computer games are replacing the more physical outdoor activities that young adults once amused themselves with. Also, your teenager may be dealing with social and school pressures which leave little time for exercise.
Why is exercise important?
- Keeping fit and active has a proven link to good health in later life.
- Exercise produces endorphins (chemicals that cause you to feel more content and happy); encouraging your teen to work up a sweat may result in the added...
Many parents of teenagers worry about the influence their children’s friends can have. In fact we carried out some research which found that most parents felt they were not the biggest influence on their teenagers, believing that their peers held that top slot.
Parents worry about what their children learn from their friends and the effects of peer pressure.
“Our son’s out of control, he’s been suspended from school twice, and is in a really bad crowd,” one distraught parent told us.
Parents are concerned that the teenage years can start long before children actually hit 13 and when children reach ten they can seem to grow up very fast, shutting out their parents and wanting to spend more time with their friends.
Then, by the time...
With the media presenting unrealistic images of male and female models and celebrities for teenagers to look up to, body image can become a natural worry for both yourself and your teen. Some teens may worry that they are overweight or too slim, while others aim for a muscular appearance that may not come naturally. Parents have told us that they are becoming more aware of this issue arising in the home and would like some guidance on how they can encourage their teenagers to have a healthy attitude towards body image
Why is body image important?
As teenagers go through changes in their hormones and experience different things, their weight and skin can be affected which can impact on their self-esteem and lead to emotional problems. Teenagers may also be increasingly...
Disabled children usually grow up and go through puberty like any other young person. However, puberty may be early for some and delayed for others and there are some very rare medical conditions which mean that medication might be needed to bring on puberty and its associated changes. As much as possible, disabled young people need to be prepared for the changes to their body before they take place.
Parents often assume that their child’s physical impairment means that they are unable to explore their body or to masturbate. However, quite often they do find a way. Some children and young people masturbate because it helps them to feel warm, relaxed and loved, but young people with learning difficulties sometimes do not understand the difference between private and public. It is...
Nothing stands still - everything changes. Any change, whether happy or sad, planned or unexpected, can lead to difficulties.
Changes can be scary and overwhelming, epecially for young people who do not have the experience to know that they can live through the change and come out on the other side.
Children and young people may find it hard to tell you how they feel. Instead, they are likely to show their feelings by what they do. They may believe that the change or loss is somehow their fault, which can add to the confusion.
Young people may show distress by:
- acting younger than they are, eg going back to wetting the bed
- becoming angry more often than usual
- becoming quiet and withdrawn
- crying more often or...
By Michele O'Connor
- “We have family rules that can’t be broken,” says Karen Sherr, 46, from London, mum to Matthew, 20, Alex, 18, and Emily, 15. “For example, if the boys are driving, they need to be home by midnight as I don’t sleep before then. If they want to stay out later they don’t drive.”
- “I don’t think it’s worth rowing about bed times and what time they get up at weekends,” says Karen. “We agree to differ and I turn a blind eye. But, if they get to bed late, they mustn’t disturb the rest of the family and I certainly don’t tiptoe around in the mornings – even if that means hoovering outside their rooms!”
- “Maggie Carroll, mum to Caoimhe, 21, Cillian, 18 and Niall, 15, says: “They all have their own alarm clocks and I only call once. If they’re late,...
by Michele O'Connor
- Keep lights dim at night to encourage melatonin production.
- Get them out into sunlight in the morning – to switch off melatonin, increasing alertness.
- Curb caffeine, advises The Sleep Council. If sensitive to it, caffeine can reduce the ability to sleep for up to 10 hours after it's consumed. Try a warm milky drink or herbal tea in the evening.
- Avoid stimulating activities like listening to loud music and playing computer games for a few hours before bed.
- Don’t eat too much too late: A overfull stomach will interfere with sleep (But don’t go to bed hungry, either!).
- If stress or exam nerves are triggering insomnia, calming foods like warm milk, lettuce or turkey can help. Or try the herbal...
By Michele O’Connor
It’s a familiar scene: you leave for work in the morning after bellowing yourself hoarse trying to wake your sleeping teenager, who needs to be at school in under an hour. (One reason why they’re comatose could be that they were still up chatting to their friends on Facebook at 2am…)
“My son David almost missed one of his GCSE’s this summer because he just can’t get out of bed in the mornings,” says 38 year old Ellen, from Huddersfield. “I have to leave the house at 7.30 and then I’m worrying the whole time, phoning him every 10 minutes to try and make sure he gets up on time for school. But he’s been late several times because he just can’t wake up.”
There’s no doubting teenagers and their parents have very different body clocks. We tend to get...
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