Parenting Teen – Ideas

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A call to re-think our obsession with social media

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“Look Up” (see below) was posted by Gary Turk on April 25 2014. By today – May 6 – it has had over 15,250,000 views and 123, 000 likes. Why? Because it cleverly and beautifully resonates with a concern many of us have about way they social media can actually damage society. Our online presence has the potential to damage our capacity to have a significant offline one. This is not to say that Social Media is the devil, it can be a wonderful and beneficial boon of modern technology, it is just to say that it is not harmless or inert. Like everything in life the tool is not the problem it is the way the tool is used.
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Is your child using drugs?

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Teens will be teens. They sleep late, fail a test here and there or get uncharacteristically moody. But what if these behaviors are happening more often than usual, or all at the same time? You know your teen better than anyone, but it is important to know what to look for if you suspect he or she may be abusing medicine.
1. Health concerns. Keep an eye out for changes in your teen’s physical health, like constricted pupils, nausea or vomiting, flushed skin or dizziness. Look further into anything that seems strange.

2. Changes in behavior. The signs of medicine abuse aren’t always physical. Look for changes in behavior – like sudden changes in relationships with their family or friends, anxiety, erratic mood swings or decreased motivation. It’s no secret that teens can be moody, but be on the lookout for drastic differences in the way your child behaves.

3. Home-related signs. If you’ve noticed belongings disappearing around the house, or found some unusual objects appearing – like straws, burnt spoons, aluminum foil or medicine bottles – this could be a sign of medicine abuse. Count – and lock up – the medicine you have in your home and safely dispose of any expired medicine.

4. Trouble in school. Take note of how your teen is doing in school, including any change in homework habits and grades. A rapid drop in grades, loss of interest in schoolwork and complaints from teachers could be indicators that there’s a problem.

5. Things just seem off. You know your child better than anyone and you know when something’s not right. Trust your gut, and talk to your teen about your concerns.
With one in four kids reporting abuse of prescription drugs in their lifetime, it’s important to take action right away if you do suspect medicine abuse. Don’t be afraid to talk – and listen – to your teen, work through things together and get help if necessary.

(From drugfree.org, a U.S.A. based charity dedicated to providing information about the effects and harms of drugs and support for both those who are at risk because of their use of drugs and their families)

Brilliant drug & alcohol resource for parents of teens

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The biggest challenge for parents is often just staying informed about what is really happening in the world of their teens. This is nowhere more true than in the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. Fortunately we have ready and free access to some of the best research in the world, and some of the wisest thinking, right here!
The Australian Drug Foundation provides an excellent set of free resources on its website. From this page you can access research, ideas and a great list of links to support and help agencies. Their page provides access to information and statistics that are current, reputable and – best of all – Australian based.
Their subsite provides all parents and carers need to intiate a conversation with their teens and pre-teens about the use of alcohol and other drugs.
ADF also has resources for young people.

Parenting and school performance are inexorably linked

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“Billions fail to stop slide in world student rankings” The Australian Dec 4 2013
Students performance linked to parental engagementBillions have been spent on facilities and technology for schools, and student performance has gone backwards. Class sizes have diminished, teachers have mandatory ongoing professional development, and student performance has gone backwards. The slide in the ability of Australian school students to learn will continue until someone shines a light on the proverbial pachyderm in this room and we as a nation begin to aggressively deal with it. The primary factor that undermines school based learning in Australia it is the rapid increase of general disengagement by parents in their children’s lives.
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More to life than an ATAR

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HSC students to be reminded 'there are many things more important than the HSC.'

An ATAR says what you achieved at high school; it is essentially only useful for your first year out of school – it will get you into a uni course or into a job. After that your progress is entirely determined by your performance.

In many ways even more important than your ATAR or “leaving certificate” is your reference. This says who you were at high school: it highlights your habits and character, the things that will determine the progress of the whole of your life. This article puts this in perspective from the point of view of a Vice Chancellor
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Don’t, I repeat DON’T text or use a mobile phone while driving

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Such a sad story, but perhaps the glamour and tragedy could be used to make teens think twice. This is a story that every new driver should read.  Model Loses life while talking on phone

Ask.FM – a new danger in social networking

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30 years ago parents checked under mattresses for inappropriate magazines. 15 years ago parents started to take a sneaky look at their child’s text messages and mobile phones were banned in classrooms. 10 years ago we started to track internet browser history and block websites deemed to be unsuitable. Our methods of safeguarding our children have adapted with the technological advancements of our time, that is, until now.
The development of new social media sites and chat tools, along with the widespread use of smart phones and tablets has led to creation of a world unfamiliar and even unknown to most adults. Some may automatically conjure up images of Facebook and scoff at my assumption that you are not aware of the evils of this worldwide phenomenon. You may be shocked to discover that I am actually a supporter of Facebook and believe it can be used constructively in teaching and pastoral care practice. Facebook is not the concern. In fact, Facebook is the least of our worries.

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