As parents of teenagers, you can think of many things that cause you worry and anguish. Likely near the top of such a list are their interactions with bad teen friends. Years of effective parenting can unravel with a few bad choices made via the influence of negative peers.

Luckily, you have many practical steps you can take to help guide your teenagers through this time when peer influence is at its strongest.

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If you are the parent of a teenager, you’ve probably been asked to “Leave me alone!” — but only after you drop them off at the mall and buy them the latest iPhone. Yep, get used to being to being despised.

As hard as parenting emotional teenagers can be, staying present and keeping the lines of communication free flowing is crucial. A study by the Council of Economic Advisers found that teens who reported not feeling close to their parents were more likely to smoke, drink, abuse drugs and engage in sexual behavior. Yikes! Guess we better figure this thing out.

One of the keys to parenting teenagers with sanity in tact is humor. Laughing about the struggle will not only bring you much-needed stress relief, it will lighten up the whole situation. And if you are looking for ways to laugh your way through the treacherous teenage years, having a repertoire of comebacks is just the thing. Here are six one-liners that will take your teen off guard and might even elicit a laugh or two.

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When you are growing up, your parents are the ones that take care of you. They make sure that you have enough to eat, give you a roof over your head, and are there for you whenever you need to talk to someone who really understands and cares. It seems as if they are going to live forever – and it is hard to imagine the day when they start to slow down or need your help to cope with life.

That’s why it is so surprising when you finally realize that your parents are starting to get on in years. Perhaps they are not as agile as they used to be, or they may find it a bit difficult to handle all of the day’s challenges. When you reach this point, it is often very difficult to know what the best approach to take is. On the one hand, your parents are still your parents, so you don’t want to take control away from them. On the other hand, you want to make sure that they are safe and secure, and it is clear they might not be unless things change.

The single most important thing you can ask yourself is whether your parents are able to continue living in their own home. If they are, this is the best thing for them – it is somewhere they know, it has happy memories, and they will still feel that they are in charge of their lives. Many more people are doing this now as they age – in fact, aging in place is becoming a common trend in the US, and there are lots of resources available to help people who want to do this.

Posted in Living & Lifestyle, Relationships
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To a certain degree, everybody experiences misfortunes that will inevitably lead to things like anxiety, fear and an overall feeling of discontent. As a result, it’s sometimes difficult for people to “let go” of these negative feelings, which in turn has a detrimental long-term affect mentally and emotionally.

In essence, people sometimes use these “misfortunes” as a tool for removing themselves even farther from what could potentially be a positive and healthy mental state. But for those of us that who’ve gone through an adversity (or adversities for that matter) and successfully overcame, you understand the power behind an inherent truth: adversity is and always should be a guidance tool.

What do I mean? Well, it’s simple – Actionable responses to adversities can result in you going in one of two directions: upwards and onwards, or regretfully downward. And although I’d like to entertain the thought that most people succeed in using adversity as a tool for moving forward, it surely does not always happen that way.

Posted in Learning, Personal Growth, Relationships
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Wolves

On my moms’ refrigerator, there is a quote. My older sister put it there many years ago and it stayed. Every time I visit my parents and open the refrigerator, I read it. It says:

“When you get angry, you punish yourself for other people’s stupidity”

I remember myself being very angry as a kid (surprisingly, this was before my teen years). Life just did not work the way I wanted it to work – people did not behave the way I expected them and my actions did not get me where I wanted to be. Life pretty much sucked (I hope it is OK to say “sucked” in a post, because it explains how I felt perfectly).

It took me a while to understand what this quote meant, but when I did, a huge, heavy load came off my young shoulders. Realizing that anger was a poison I was carrying with me was a big revelation – scary, but very relieving. My life has been much happier since.

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News flash

In our time, pressure seems to be everywhere. There is a wealth of information like never before, which means we could find out about anything we wanted, only this takes time, so we look for “drip feeds” that will give us up-to-the-minute updates and we assume our sources do a reasonable job at finding and telling things as they are.

Reality is a bit different, unfortunately. Most of our information feeds are controlled by a fairly small group of huge profit-driven conglomerates, which make their money by selling. To sell well, they need people to “see red”, so they inspire fear via TV news broadcasts, bold newspaper headlines and various other methods.

The result of this is the general view that violent crime is everywhere, that different people cannot live together in harmony and that all too often, the only way to sort things out is to wage war on another ethnic group or country, even at the cost of “friendly” life.

So what can you do?

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Film projector

Picture yourself sitting in an old cinema all by yourself, watching a movie. Turn your head towards the back wall and see there a big window. Behind the window, there is a projection machine. In that machine, a long, wide film is running, a film you have created.

A strong light travels through the film towards the screen. You can see the beam of light getting wider as it travels through the air, showing flickers of colors and movement inside it. Follow the beam of light with your eyes as it keeps on going and getting wider, until you are facing forward and looking at a huge screen, which practically fills your entire fields of vision.

As you look, you become absorbed in the movie, finding yourself emotionally attached to some of the characters, fearing some of the others, hating a few and getting carried away with the story.

Real life is very much the same. We become absorbed in our own story, which we project onto the world. When we interact with other people, we each look at our own “film” and can get into all kinds of trouble.

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The world is full of different people, with whom we have relationships of varying closeness and intimacy. More often than not, we find ourselves in conversation with someone wanting to say something, but saying something completely different, because saying what we think would produce the wrong results. This even happens with our partner sometimes, not to mention the kids.

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Hostile young woman

Absolutely everybody receives some criticism in life. Some of us have the misfortune of growing up with critical parents, while others bump into their first critic at school, but we all have to face criticism at some point, right?

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Emergency switch

If you are like me, you often find yourself in an undesirable mental state, like panic, rage or regret. Having this strong emotion for a long time can create the wrong outcome for you, so you want to stop it, to break out of it, but how?

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