How To Prepare Your Teenagers for 3 Less-Publicized Dangers of College Life

college lifeAs a responsible parent, you have already spoken with your teenagers about the dangers of over-drinking, drugs and date rape. Have you also spoken with them about some of the less-publicized dangers of college campuses? How your children eat, how they protect their information and how they deal with stress can drastically shape their college experience and their lives beyond school. Read on to learn how to prepare your teenagers for a healthy, safe college experience.

Dietary Habits

The phrase “Freshman 15″ has become commonplace, but when discussing the challenges around diet at college be aware of focusing on weight gain — especially with young women — for fear of triggering eating disorders or obsessions with exercise.

However, with the abundance of food in dining halls, late night snacks and alcohol that ramps up calories for college-age students, it is important to teach young adults how to fuel themselves in a healthy way.

Consider sharing common-sense tips about eating slowly, realizing how full they are and teaching them how a healthy, well-balanced diet can boost moods and foster healthy brains.

Identity Theft

For your teenager, falling victim to identity theft can be as easy as leaving a purse on the table to say hello to a friend. Off goes your daughter’s credit card, identification and cell phone — and it is very difficult to get life back in order.

Teach your children to regularly use the free credit reports authorized by Federal law on www.annualcreditreport.com. You can get a report from each agency every 12 months for a total of three per year to ensure that all information is correct and up to date.

Another way to protect your credit is to use an identity theft protection program. Companies like Lifelock offer resources to protect against identity theft and fraud using Internet monitoring, credit alerts, address monitoring, intuitive threat detection and more.

Stress

The latest survey from the American Psychological Association (in August 2013) shows that 30 percent of teenagers reported feeling depressed or sad, and 31 percent felt overwhelmed.

It is important for parents and children to know that chronic stress can cause anxiety, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system, leading to obesity, heart disease and depression. New college students will be missing their support systems at home and must develop new habits they can rely on for the rest of their lives.

One of the most effective ways to reduce stress is through physical activity. Encourage your children to get involved in social clubs, get a gym buddy or join intramural sports. Getting involved in activities where they can make friends will help them stick to it.

While it can be difficult to get sleep in college, it is one of the biggest buffers against stress. Encourage teenagers to cut back on TV in the late evening, and not to drink caffeine late in the day.

When stress gets a little too much to handle, ruminating on one’s own is likely to make the problem worse. Encourage your teenagers to write things down — a positive experience, or as a way to step back and examine their behavior — or to reach out and connect with you or a friend.

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The new Bird’s Eye advert makes me so mad!

How can this be communication?

I go to the cinema a lot and as such I get to watch the adverts again and again. There is one advert that makes me want to shout at the screen and I have now noticed it making its way to my TV screen as well. To me, this advert is all that I hate about modern day parenting and people! When I watch it I always turn to my daughter and say, “If I ever speak to you like that you can kill me!”

On the surface this advert looks pretty normal and is promoting family eating and communication, which of course I approve of.

Watch it for yourself and see if you can find any problems…

 

You might have watched it and wondered what is wrong with it. Why has it got Sarah so mad?

[Read more...]

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How to Prepare Your Future Teen Driver

Teens and Driving

teens and driving Getting your driver’s license is a rite of passage. For parents, it can be both a blessing and a curse. Parents look forward to having another driver in the house since it means less “taxi” time for them and more independence for their child. However, it also means additional anxiety and stress on the checkbook.

Below are a few ideas to consider to not only prepare your teen for driving, but also to help ease your nerves:

Set the Example

Most teens are talking about driving long before they even obtain their permits. This is when you should plant the seeds of safety into their brains. Your kids are observing your driving habits long before they are preparing for the permit test. Your politeness to other drivers, your attitude, your speed, and your cell phone use are all setting examples.

Expenses Education

Discuss with your teen the expense of owning and operating a vehicle. Explain what he or she should consider when shopping for a vehicle. Discuss miles per gallon, maintenance costs, and resale value. Average gas, insurance and maintenance costs for a mid-sized sedan are $9,129 per year, according to the American Automobile Association. At minimum wage that could be upwards of 23 hours of work per week.

If you are considering purchasing a car for your teen driver, shop for a car together. To look for quality used cars in your area use a website such as Drivetime.com for local used car inventories. Achieving a GPA of 3.0 or above typically qualifies a teen for lower insurance rates. Discuss with your teen the importance, as well as the savings, of being a good student.

Set Ground Rules

Now is the time to establish the expectations of the responsibility of driving. Before your child is on the road, discuss what behaviors you expect. The American Automobile Association recommends a parent/teen driving contract. The contract lists the responsibilities of the teen driver along with the consequences that will arise from the failure to follow the contract.

Permitted to Drive

Once your teen has obtained a driver’s permit he or she can drive with a licensed driver in the vehicle in most states. Check with your state department of motor vehicles as the laws can vary from state to state. Georgia’s TADRA (Teen and Adult Driver Responsibility Act) requires drivers ages 15-18 to go through an intense three-step process before obtaining a license. This process requires young drivers to complete a driving education course and have 40 hours of driving experience – six of which must be at night. The following six months after obtaining a permit, they cannot drive with anyone in the car that is not a family member. Six months after that, passengers are allowed, but all must be 21 years of age.

Eliminate Distractions

According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting while driving leads to six times more auto accidents than driving while intoxicated. There are devices in the market that will prevent your teen from texting while driving. Aegis Mobility has developed a device that will not allow texting once the device is moving faster than 10 mph. TeenSafer also records driving events so you can see how well your teen is following the rules of the road.

 

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