Archives for January 2016

Things Your Teens Are Learning About Life

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Life is hard. Anyone who believes life is easy probably doesn’t have much experience with it. While there are rough patches in life, teenagers can learn a lot about how to deal with them through those experiences. They develop characteristics that can lead them to having better coping skills and an attitude that is much more mature than their peers.

It’s hard to see a teen struggling, though. Knowing they are learning valuable life lessons may make you feel better. If they never have these experiences, they may never be able to deal with life effectively later. This could end up hurting them much more than they are hurting now.

The following are some of the life lessons teens should be learning to help them become successful in life.

Learn Their Identity

When teens face a challenge, they often learn who they are inside. Some of the characteristics they learn about themselves are:

  • Fortitude
  • Stamina
  • Problem-solving skills

After overcoming those challenges, they end up feeling much better about themselves because they are proud of all they did.

Recovering from Failure

Everyone fails, and it happens throughout life. Failure is a good thing, though. It can teach you a lot of things, and so, it can teach teens a lot too.

Failing helps teens lean how to relate to others. When their friends fail, they are able to understand what they are going through and provide support. They end up developing empathy.

Deal with Emotions

Emotions can be strong sometimes, and they need to be dealt with in a certain way, so they don’t get out of control. When teens start feeling these tough emotions, they will often times learn how to manage them as they get through the experience. By the end of the experience, they will assess what they did and how it helped them, or didn’t help them.

Be Thoughtful

Teens are selfish. They don’t usually have a lot of compassion for others. It’s the trials they go through that make them more compassionate towards others. When they experience what other people go through, they are able to feel what others go through. This is when they start to form a support system. They help their friends when they are hurt and then their friends help them. Learning how this type of support system is formed and works will take them far in life.

Forgiving

When something happens between two people, it can be hard to forgive. However, teenagers need to learn how to do it, so they don’t end up being alone someday. During the teen years, there will be a lot of arguments with friends. When they realize arguments aren’t the end of their relationships, they will see they can hold onto people who aren’t always nice to them – they can forgive.

So, when your teen is going through a rough patch in life, don’t jump in front of him or her and take over. Allow your teen to take care of it. The lessons that come out of it will be much more beneficial.

Options for Helping Your Teen Improve Their Grades

Options for Helping Your Teen Improve Their Grades

Your teen is struggling in school, and you aren’t sure what to do. While you don’t want to come down on him too hard, he doesn’t seem to respond to a conversation about the importance of grades. The following tactics might help your teen grasp the lasting impact that his grades will have on his future.

Practical Tips to Boost Teen Grades

  1. Encourage your teen to get enough sleep so that he can stay alert and focused throughout the day. Most teens need an average of nine hours a night, give or take 30 minutes. Decreased sleep will negatively affect his grades and might make him overtired, grumpy and out of sorts.
  2. Send him off to school with a nutritious breakfast so that he has the energy that he needs to face the day. Pack a snack of nuts or fruit to help keep his sugar levels stable and his brain functioning properly throughout the day. Yogurt or even a peanut butter sandwich provide other protein-packed options.
  3. Teach him time-management and organizational strategies. Many teens have a binder or folder for each class. Your son should learn to keep assignments and even other important activities on a paper or electronic calendar in his phone or a tablet so that he can keep on top of his commitments. When he has a big project due, he should break it down into smaller chunks so that he isn’t overwhelmed with trying to complete everything at the last minute.
  4. Discuss his schedule with him and keep tabs on his grades, often accessible through a school website.
  5. Encourage a quiet study zone so that your teen can focus on his work without the distractions of phone, media or other websites.
  6. Research applicable websites online that can supplement your child’s academics.
  7. Look into tutoring. Let’s face it, the academic material is getting tougher by the year as scholastic expectations increase across the board. Parents might not have the time or the knowledge to help their high school student with homework. The teacher might be available to help students before or after school. But even that might not always be enough support. In those situations, a tutor can fill in the gaps. Some schools offer tutoring on campus for students. You can also ask your child’s teacher as he or she might know someone or even tutor on the side. Consider a tutoring center last as these will likely cost the most. Even so, the centers often provide a guarantee of academic improvement.

If these strategies aren’t working, and if your teen is failing his classes, he might not be adapting well to his school. Consider looking into a therapeutic boarding school, which might have the smaller class sizes and individual attention that he needs to successfully complete high school.

How Boys’ Dropout Rates Correlate with Long-Term Success

How Boys’ Dropout Rates Correlate with Long-Term Success

Your son is struggling in school and threatening to drop out, claiming that you don’t need a high school diploma for long-term success. Now, you can point to some hard, cold statistics and prove him wrong. Despite the few who manage to make it big in the world without a high school education, the data shows that boys who stay in school fare much better in society in a number of ways.

The Alarming Statistics across Illinois

A 2011 study in Illinois conducted at Northeastern University provided alarming data on boys’ dropout rates and how they impact the individual along with society as a whole. Some highlights of the study follow:

  • High school dropouts end up costing the community to the tune of about $70,000 during the working years. A person with a high school diploma puts $236,000 into the economy – a difference of more than $300,000.
  • A high school dropout in the state earns $595,000 in his or her lifetime while a high school graduate will rake in about $1,000,000 during the same time. Those who obtain an associate’s degree boost their lifetime earnings to $1,509,000.
  • The higher a person’s education, the greater the likelihood of homeownership. For example, about 46 percent of dropouts in the state own homes while that number jumps to 61 percent for high school graduates and to 70 percent for someone with an associate’s degree.
  • About one in three high school dropouts will collect food stamps. That number drops by almost half to 17.3 percent of those who graduate and then it nearly drops in half again to 8.6 percent for those with an associate’s degree.
  • For males between 18 and 34, high school dropouts accounted for 14.7 percent of those in custody in 2010. That rate dropped to just 3 percent for men who graduated from high school.

The economist who headed up the study further noted that as dropout rates have increased over the past three decades, their earnings during the same time period decreased. He attributes this to a loss of jobs in construction and manufacturing, jobs that traditionally paid well in the past. At the same time, undocumented workers have taken some of those jobs formerly held by unskilled workers. Furthermore, employers seem more unwilling than ever to hire someone without a high school diploma.

National Data on High-School Dropouts

But do the statistics in Illinois apply across the nation? Not surprisingly, the answer is a resounding yes. A study released by Education Week showed that about 75 percent of teens are finishing high school. Even so, about a million students dropped out in 2013.

Options for Teen Boys Who Won’t Attend School

A therapeutic boarding school might serve your son well if he refuses to attend school. The school offers structure yet flexibility that might be just the combination that he needs to motivate him to complete high school.

Tactics for Stopping Your Defiant Teen’s Gaming Addiction

Tactics for Stopping Your Defiant Teen’s Gaming Addiction

Teens and video games – the two seem to go together like popcorn and the movies. But what if your adolescent has become defiant and developed a teen gaming addiction? How should you handle the problem? And do you need to intervene? First, let’s take a look at some background information and then tackle the tough questions about what a possible gaming addiction looks like.

Historical Perspective

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the problem was noted in 1983 when a study reported that video games could be problematic for teens. Some young people even self-reported about their addiction. In the 1990s, gaming addiction was compared with gambling problems as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders. Even so, gambling and compulsive gaming differ from each other clinically, and some experts theorized that the comparison between the two did not provide a proper focus on the issue. Further studies after 2000 showed that as many as 50 percent of teens in some nations could struggle with a gaming addiction, although the baseline standards for the studies were not standardized. Even so, when a young person self-reported an addiction, empirical testing generally confirmed this.

Statistical Information

Furthermore, the American Medical Association released a comprehensive report on teen gaming addiction. Generally, a teen who spends just over six hours online per day could struggle with compulsive gaming. About 18 percent of teens across the nation report that they play at least that long daily. At least one doctor recommends weaning a teen with a problem off the Internet for 90 days. After that, he suggests that the teen meet with an adolescent therapist and continue with alternative activities, such as sports, a social club or involvement in music or the arts.

Steps to Take as a Parent

Gaming addictions can have serious physical, scholastic, social and emotional ramifications. You can take the following steps if your son is facing an addiction.

  1. Sit down for a heart-to-heart conversation. While you don’t want to accuse him, tell him that you are concerned about how much time he spends on games and about his attitude when you attempt to discuss the problem. Show him a list of physical and emotional gaming addiction symptoms, such as
    1. Overly tired
    2. Poor personal hygiene
    3. Carpal tunnel syndrome
    4. Migraines
    5. Restlessness
    6. Lying about gaming
    7. Isolation so that he can play games and
    8. Preoccupation with gaming
  2. Ask if he recognizes any of these signs in himself. Realize that he will likely become defensive. Reassure him of your concern and love. Tell him that you don’t want him to suffer any of the many negative consequences he could face due to a gaming addiction.
  3. Seek professional help from someone with experience in the field.
  4. You might need to set up an intervention for a teen gaming addiction.
  5. Send your son to a treatment program that can address the root issues of the problem.

Are High Schools For Troubled Youth Effective at Helping Your Teen Turn His Life Around?

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As a parent, you want your teenager to become the best person they can be. However, when your teenager starts to struggle with emotional, mental health or behavioral issues, it can quickly slow down their development, life experiences and growth. Many parents turn to specialized high schools, known as therapeutic boarding schools, where their troubled teens can receive full-time structure and guidance on turning their lives around.

What is a Therapeutic Boarding School?

Therapeutic boarding schools are programs that are designed to provide therapy, academic instruction and life skills lessons for troubled teenagers who cannot find success in traditional schools. Often, the troubled teens struggle with home life as well, so removing them from their current environment is actually a good way to give them a chance at a new start. For many families, a therapeutic boarding school is the solution to the problem that they simply don't have the knowledge or resources to handle themselves.

Therapeutic boarding schools are a long-term program, ranging from 9 months to several years. They are heavily regulated by state laws and must provide top level care of students. While the teaching and healing philosophies may differ between schools, the goal is the same--to help troubled teens turn their lives around.

What is a Therapeutic Boarding School Like?

Just as the name implies, therapeutic boarding schools provide regular therapy as well as academic instruction. The best schools have licensed and certified staff members who work with the teens every day to help them get to the root of their emotional, behavioral and mental health issues. This includes licensed therapists who hold group and individual counseling sessions regularly. Certified teachers work with teens in the classroom to repair credits, get to grade level and even earn a high school diploma. Other staff members include house parents, mentors, life skills teachers and administrators. These trained professionals provide the structure and guidance that troubled teens need to go from problematic to promising.

At a therapeutic boarding school, teens learn the best ways to deal with their challenges, find their inner strengths, explore the wider world and make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. In the safe atmosphere of a therapeutic boarding school, teens can overcome their issues with substance abuse , depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, bipolar, eating disorders, adoption or abandonment issues, abuse trauma, and many other conditions. Teens can compare what a positive life can be like versus the negative atmosphere they used to dwell in.

When it’s time for parents to send their troubled teens to a therapeutic boarding school, they are often skeptical as to whether this specialized high school can really help their troubled teens turn their lives around. As long as parents find a school that has a proven history of success, matches their teen's needs, and meets all the state requirements for operation, the chances are very good that they will eventually see their teen transform into a successful young adult.