Effective Parenting of Young Teens

by Dr. Kimberly Greder & Dr. Melissa Schnurr | Let your child know what you believe and consider important. Use times such as talks about happenings at school, in the news, or on the Internet or a TV show, to talk about your values. (image, Pixabay)

Parenting young teens is no easy task. Parents as well as children must adapt to the pre- and early teens’ rapidly changing bodies and normal behavior changes — growing independence and challenges to authority. No one technique will work for every parent or every child. Here are some strategies to:

  • strengthen your relationship with your young teen
  • deal with problems when they arise
  • help your young teen become a responsible, caring adult
Listen for feelings and praise good behavior.
When your child comes to you with a problem or when he or she expresses strong feelings, try to say something like, “Sounds like you’re feeling….”
It helps the child to know that you want to understand. If your son comes home after school and says, “The teacher is a jerk. He yelled at me in front of everyone,” you might say, “Sounds like you were embarrassed.”
Young teens learn better from praise than from scolding. Praise your child for specific actions he or she has done. If your child does a good job raking the lawn, you might say, “The lawn looks nice. You’ve cleaned under the trees, bagged the leaves, and put the rake away. Thanks for doing such a good job.”
Also, use special privileges and one-on-one time instead of material objects to reward good behavior. For example, if your son complained last week about helping with chores, but this week doesn’t complain and does the work, let him stay up later on the weekend or go on an outing with you.
Keep one-on-one time and family-fun time.
Spending one-on-one time with your son or daughter is a special time and can let your child know you enjoy being together. You might take turns with each child in the family going out for breakfast, playing a board game, or going for     a bike ride together. Also, having fun together as a family builds good feelings that can help you through hard times. Ask your young teen to help plan family events, such as a vacation. He or she could look up information on the Internet about the place you’re going, the route, stops on the way, and features to see.
Use driving time to talk. Most parents of young teens spend time driving their child to practices, lessons, or friends’ homes. Young teens may be more willing to talk on the road than at home. On the way to soccer practice, you might say, “Tell me about school today.”
Talk about values
Let your child know what you believe and consider important. Use times such as talks about happenings at school, in the news, or on the Internet or a TV show, to talk about your values. For example, after watching a TV program in which a passenger was hurt when a drunk character wrecked his car, you might say, “This is why we think it’s best not to drink and drive. How do you  think the character could have handled the situation if this had been real life?”
Use “I” statements
Let your child know how you feel, why you feel this way, and what you want him or her to do. Say, “I feel (state how you feel) when you (state specifically what the child does) because (state why you feel that way). This is what I want you to do (state what behavior you want from the child).” If your daughter forgets to turn off her curling iron, you might say, “I worry when you leave the curling iron on because it could start a fire. Please go turn it off right now.”
Practice reflective listening
When you are working with your child to solve a problem, stop to sum up what he or she has said. This lets your child know you have really heard his or her ideas. Resist the temptation to criticize or lecture. For example, your daughter might say, “I hate the way I look. Everything looks dumb on me.” Perhaps sum up what you heard her say with, “Sounds like you’re pretty frustrated over the way your clothes look on you.”
Wait until you are calm to deal with a problem
Discussing a problem when either you or your child is upset can lead to fighting and more anger. For example, your daughter sasses you when you ask her to clean her room. You become angry, but you tell her you’ll discuss her sassing after you’ve cooled down.
Talk about rules and consequences
Talk about rules and consequences before putting  them into practice. Rules give young teens structure   for living; consequences help them learn from the  rules. Natural consequences let a child learn from what happens naturally. The parent does not scold, lecture, or rescue. For example, if a young teen wants to stay up late to watch the end of a movie, he may be tired  the next morning when he has to wake up and go to school.
Logical consequences are created and should be reasonable, respectful, and related to the rule. For example, when your daughter comes home too late one evening, remind her that the consequence is not going out the next evening.
Solve problems together and follow through with decisions
Work with your child, listen to his/her point of view, brainstorm solutions, and choose options to try. Rather than expect young people to follow your rules without question, engage them in making the rules. When taken seriously, young teens have many good ideas. If your son received a low grade in social studies, discuss ways he might improve his grade — such as finishing homework or asking a teacher for help. Listen to his ideas; don’t lecture.
After agreeing on consequences, follow through by reminding your child about his or her agreement. If your son agreed to empty the garbage after supper, but it’s still under the sink, find him and give a short reminder to take out the garbage.
Consider young teen development
Weigh normal young teen development against poor behavior. Normal changes include wanting more independence, spending more time with friends or alone, and challenging authority. However, young teens need to know that actions such as staying out too late can cause worry. If it bothers you that your child wants to be with friends all the time, note that this is normal and healthy. Plan times that you and your young teen can spend together.
Be an information seeker
It’s never too late to try new solutions to problems with your child. Talk to other parents for ideas and support. Read books on teen development and on the changes parents go through as their children grow up. New knowledge and ideas can help you make more thoughtful and reasoned decisions.
Taken from materials originally prepared by Virginia K. Molgaard, former family life specialist.
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by Kimberly A. Greder, An Iowa State University associate professor in human development and family studies who serves as a human sciences state specialist in family life is being honored for her creativity and productivity in scholarship, teaching, and service for increasing Latino families’ opportunities to improve their health and well-being. Kimberly Greder received the 2016 Rossmann Manatt faculty development award for her work with communities across Iowa to connect Latino immigrant families with resources to bring education through building trust. Greder will use her award funding to support an Iowa expansion of the Rural Families Speak about Health (RFSH) project. The initial project, a study of diverse low-income rural families across 13 states, focuses on increasing the understanding of mental and physical health among rural families. The latest phase of the research will incorporate additional interviews with Latina immigrant mothers in Iowa from the original study, and expand the program into two additional Iowa communities. You can reach Dr. Greder by email, kgreder@iastate.edu.
by Dr. Melissa Deininger is an Associate Professor of French in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Iowa State University. She joined ISU in 2009, after earning her PhD in French Literature and Politics at the University of Pittsburgh. A specialist of the long nineteenth century, Dr. Deininger teaches classes in French history, civilization, literature, and politics. Her research interests include the French Revolution, the Marquis de Sade, cultural production, nation and community formation, and the use of architecture in literature. She has published articles ranging from the Revolution to 21st-century politics in France. She has presented both nationally and internationally on these topics, and is always looking for ways to connect the 18th and 19th centuries to our contemporary world. Dr. Deininger is currently working on a manuscript entitled “La Patrie en danger: France Responds to National Identity Crises,” which deals with how the French try to define themselves as a nation during moments of political crises. You can reach Dr. Deininger by email, mdein@iastate.edu.


Chaste teens significantly less likely to be depressed

Concerned Parents Report | The researchers found that when compared to teens that are not sexually active, teenage boys and girls who are sexually active are significantly less likely to be happy and more likely to feel depressed (images: Pexels).

When compared to teens who are not sexually active, teenage boys and girls who are sexually active are significantly less likely to be happy and more likely to feel depressed. Also, when compared to teens who are not sexually active, teenage boys and girls who are sexually active are significantly more likely to attempt suicide.

According to a study written by The Heritage Foundation, teenage sexual activity is an issue of widespread national concern. Although teen sexual activity has declined in recent years, the overall rate is still high. In 1997, approximately 48 percent of American teenagers of high school age were or had been sexually active. Every day, about 8,000 teenagers in the United States become infected by a sexually transmitted disease. Overall, roughly one-quarter of the nation’s sexually active teens have been infected by a sexually transmitted disease. The problems of pregnancy and out-of-wedlock childbearing are also severe.

In 2000, about 240,000 children were born to girls aged 18 or younger. Nearly all these teenage mothers were unmarried. These mothers and their children have an extremely high probability of long-term poverty and welfare dependence. Less widely known are the psychological and emotional problems associated with teenage sexual activity. This particular study examined the linkage between teenage sexual activity and emotional health. The researchers found that when compared to teens that are not sexually active, teenage boys and girls who are sexually active are significantly less likely to be happy and more likely to feel depressed. They also found that when compared to teens who are not sexually active, teenage boys and girls who are sexually active are significantly more likely to attempt suicide. In addition to its role in promoting teen pregnancy and the current epidemic of STDs, early sexual activity is a substantial factor in undermining the emotional well-being of American teenagers.1

1Sexually Active Teenagers Are More Likely to be Depressed and to Attempt Suicide, The Heritage Foundation, June 2, 2003, pp. 1-8.

10 Things to Remember When ‘Having the Talk’ with Your Kids

Why shouldn't you talk to your kids about sex? Talking with your child about sex is important to help him or her develop healthy attitudes toward sex

The Internet age has made exposure of adult material to kids a dangerous matter. Our culture these days is so saturated with sex we need to have the conversation with them much earlier than in our day.

A study in the journal Pediatrics found that 55% of teens who were exposed to a lot of sexual material in movies, music, and the Internet had intercourse by the age of 16. Compare that with only 6% of teens having sex who rarely saw such imagery in the media. So if you really want to keep your teen from having sex, take monitoring what your child sees and hears very seriously. Your children can graduate high school as virgins if, as a father, you are armed and ready for battle.

Here are 10 things to remember when talking to your kids about sex.
1. It’s inevitable. Someone is going to talk to your child about sex, that’s a given. It should be you. [Tweet This]
2. Have multiple conversations. Keep talking about it. If you keep the lines of communication open, you can affirm what is right and correct the distorted views of sex.
3. Build a foundation as early as possible. Children are naturally curious; curiosity is a good thing. But curiosity without foundational principles leads to confusion.
4. Be ready. Make sure you know where you stand on matters of principle; make sure you have a moral basis for any discussion; make sure you have more information than your child.
5. Answer questions, but avoid browbeating. Questions need to be answered, but they don’t need to be used as openings for one more lecture.
6. What you don’t know will hurt them. You need to know what it is that your kid already knows, so ask.
7. Shaming damages relationships and closes the door to communication. Shame is neither a useful learning tool nor a valid moral intervention.
8. This is Jeopardy, not Wheel of Fortune. If a sex-related word crops up in your kid’s vocabulary, you need to make sure that it is defined accurately and used appropriately; knowing how to spell is not enough.
9. Don’t be naïve. If you thought about it, or did it, or were exposed to it at their age, you can bet, in this day and age, they have been exposed to more.
10. Don’t assume that the media has it right about kids the age of your child. But, don’t assume innocence either. If fact, don’t assume anything. That’s why open communication is the most effective contraceptive available.

Visit allprodad.com for the original article.

Teaching Kids to Love Reading

Randall Beach | Reading is an opening to selfhood but also to citizenship

David Denby (pictured above) could see what Jessica Zelenski was up against. Zelenski, a 10th-grade teacher at New Haven’s Hillhouse High School, stood in front of 24 students from one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods and tried to get them excited about the pleasure of reading a novel.

“Books smell like old people,” sneered one of the students.

“He bellowed it,” Zelenski says with a smile as she recalls that moment. It was one of the many challenging encounters she has dealt with during her 15 years at Hillhouse.

Denby, who had been sitting in the classroom observing that scene for a book he was researching, says he was too stunned to react. He just quietly wrote down what the kid had said.

Two years later, Denby’s book is with us — Lit Up: One Reporter. Three Schools. Twenty-Four Books that Can Change Lives.

Denby, a staff writer at The New Yorker, came to The Study at Yale to talk about his experiences at those three schools for WSHU Public Radio’s Join the Conversation series.

Denby told the large audience, a roomful of readers, that Zelenski, one of the heroes of his book, was in the crowd. “She’s a dynamo teacher,” he said. Denby dedicated the book to Zelenski and the four other teachers he observed.

The two schools he chose besides Hillhouse were on the opposite side of the spectrum: the Beacon School on Manhattan’s upper West Side and Mamaroneck High School in Westchester County, New York.

Here was the central question Denby set out to answer in his book, as he notes during an interview with me before his talk: “How do you turn teenagers on to literature?”

Denby puts it another way: “How do you forge the link to pleasure and need, which makes somebody a reader?”

Denby, who is 72 and grew up loving to read, is alarmed at the prospect teenagers will “disappear into their screens.”

“Kids are reading more words,” he notes. “But a lot of what they read online and on their smartphones is fragmentary. It’s pieces.”

Denby was a movie critic for 45 years. “I love movies. I love being engulfed by the images. But I love more the moment when you sit and read and you pull back from that constant stimulation in our over-stimulated society. With a novel you go inward as you read — inward and outward.”

The “outward” part is as important as the “inward,” Denby believes. “Reading is an opening to selfhood but also to citizenship. It’s how you become a three-dimensional person. I think it’s essential to our civilization. The absence of it would be catastrophic. But I think we’re seeing it already.”

Denby alludes to the Republican presidential battlefield. “I think we’re seeing politically right now the product of an educational system that’s in a lot of trouble, including the ability to think creatively. If more Americans had read Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, they wouldn’t take Donald Trump seriously because they would know about the Duke and the King, two con artists who make promises.”

Denby says Zelenski achieved breakthroughs in her class because she overcame students’ initial resistance to reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird by linking the Alabama characters of the 1930s to their own lives and struggles in New Haven.

“At the beginning of the school year the kids at Hillhouse wouldn’t read,” Denby says. “By the end of the year they were reading Vonnegut and Hemingway.”

When I met Zelenski, a 42-year-old white woman from Wallingford, it was clear how she connects with and engages her students, the large percentage of them African-American or Hispanic. She is indeed a “dynamo.”

Like Denby, Zelenski says, “I’ve been a voracious reader, always.”

In the “Afterword” section of Denby’s book, he returned to Hillhouse in the spring of 2015 to check on Zelenski and the students. She had recently won a teaching award, but he described her as tired and angry, dealing with the school’s controversial structural changes as well as the daily challenges in her classroom.

On that day, Denby asked her if she would ever consider leaving Hillhouse to take a teaching job at an upper-middle-class Connecticut town. She stared at him and replied, “No, never upper-middle-class. Working class only.” Those are the kids she loves.

Zelenski tells me when I raise the subject of moving on, “I’ve been here 15 years. I’m too invested in the community. I don’t want to go anywhere else.”

As to my question of whether she feels optimistic about the future of teenagers being engaged by literature, she says, “I always feel optimistic. That’s how I go in and do what I do. Teenagers don’t change. Once I can trick them into reading something fantastic, I know they’ll follow me anywhere.”

Randall Beach is the longtime columnist for the New Haven Register, where his column appears Fridays and Sundays. He enjoys his New Haven neighborhood, running through the city’s streets and parks and hanging out in its coffee shops. At home he plays his many 1960s and ’70s rock ‘n’ roll albums and CDs.


Girl’s perspective: How to talk to women properly

Here is an insight for men on how to carry on conversation during a date with that special someone (Canamgirl Music photo)

Dear Men of all ages, I am sure that you all have the same question that you ask yourselves on a regular basis, “How can I pick up the ladies?” It is constantly on your mind, not only because you actually want a relationship or even just a date. It is an unwritten code among men. You hold a high place in your own manly society if you are that guy who gets all the girls. Have you ever thought that perhaps this is an issue? How do you think women respond to this knowledge? Do you think it works in your favor? Well gentlemen, I am here to answer all these questions and give you some insight. Not only for your sake, but for the sake of women who are losing faith in men.

Tip #1:Don’t try so hard.
Honestly if you make a couple attempts to get that girl onto the dance floor….to no avail…. it is most likely a wise decision to take a few steps back. Your chances of even a decent conversation will be a lost cause if you continue to push. This tactic becomes extremely annoying, not only that, eventually creepy. Instead, try asking once for that dance, (or whatever it may be) if you are “Shot Down” just wait for another opportunity to approach and strike up a conversation. You are basically still trying quite hard, although to the female species it will be seen as persistent; not pushy. You may actually instill in them a feeling of curiosity to know more.
Tip #2Play hard to get
Usually women are the ones who play hard to get. I can honestly tell you it is because it gives a feeling of being “hot stuff” “worth the chase.” Why not turn the tables?? Allow them to realize what a great catch you are! Pull away ever so slightly, give the woman a time to mull things over and realize how great you are Eventually she will turn up on your caller ID for a change. Trust me, we don’t give up that easily.
Tip #3DON’T be cocky!
There is nothing less attractive than a man who portrays himself as “Gods Gift to Women.” Be modest in conversation, try directing questions towards her, show an interest in her likes, dislikes, career etc. Be an honest gentleman. Tip #4Be truthful in your intentions. Men, please don’t get our hopes up for something more if that is never your intention. If you are just interested in a few casual dates now and again don’t be afraid to tell us. It is better to know that there is no current interest in a committed relationship right off the get go.
We will respect you for it.
Nothing worse than having the wrong idea and then getting hurt in the end. So, to sum things up……You all have moms, sisters, and female friends, pay more attention to the things that they talk about. I’m sure they can be heard complaining about that last date, or how they wish ( the man in question) would speak to them differently. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from those special women in your life, trust me, it will make you no less of a “man.” In fact, to a woman, you will see more of a man than ever!

is a blogger and the publisher of Susie Magazine: Find your soul mate. You may read more here.


Noticias de Ecuador, December 2013 Issue

Rebecca Laudarji

Life in Chicago
For the past two months since I have been back, I have been sharing about Ecuador with supporters and also in the process of raising funds for this coming year. I believe at this point that I have spoken with all my current monthly supporters and thankfully everyone has made the commitment to keep supporting me this coming year. Thank you for your commitment and partnership with Ecuador and what God is doing there. If at any point, something changes and you need to stop giving, increase giving, etc. please call


Prayer Items
-Pray that our students will continue to grow in their relationship with God even in our absence.
– Pray for Miriam and Xavier that they continue to listen to God and go where He is calling them.
-Continue to pray for me as I work on support that God will lead me to those He desires to use and that my relationship with the Lord will be strengthened during this time.
-Pray for the rest of my team as we all trust God to provide for us financially.

-Thank God for safety granted to my parents who were in Nigeria in November for my cousins’ weddings and ministry.
– Thank God for the support he has provided for my teammates and I.
-Thank God for the safe delivery of my friend’s baby boy on November 30th.

Support Update!
I am still in the process of raising funds but God has been faithful in providing and I trust and believe that He will keep doing that until I reach my goal. This coming year my monthly support goal is $2724 and my one time need is $12,032. I have 63% of my monthly amount funded and 21% of the one time amount. I still need $1004 monthly and a one- time amount of $9442 in order to be fully supported. Due to a review of last year’s expenses, my monthly support increased by about 10%. I know that many of you are supporting me monthly or have given one-time gifts in the past and I truly appreciate your support. However, I kindly ask that you pray about helping me meet my new goal by increasing your monthly or one time support. Thank you once again for your partnership in the kingdom ministry and I look forward to talking with you and hearing from you all! I pray that you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What’s happening in Ecuador?
If you remember, I was discipling Miriam who is one of the student leaders on the UG campus. Since Miriam recently decided to work with Cru in her country, she has been praying that God will give her boyfriend Xavier a heart for ministry with Cru in their city. I spoke with Miriam and this is what she told me after she had spoken with Xavier. He told her that he felt God calling him to serve with Cru and she said, “I started to cry not for him but I cried because I knew that God answered my prayers!!! HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!!!!

Miriam and Xavier

Please pray for Miriam and Xavier who are planning to get married next year and work with Cru together after graduating!

Contact information: Email – Rebecca.laudarji[at]cru.org

Our Youth…..the future

ECWA Chicago Youth and pastors

Here is a place for our youth to meet with their peers and connect to share their experiences. Join thousands of smart, youth with similar interest. Whether you are looking for just a friend to hang out with in your Church or city or those far and wide with similar interest, this is the meeting place. Meet a youth like you by choice, not by chance. Connect with a special youth today.