Out of Control Daughter

Your daughter is out of control: frenetic, frenzied and furious. You are frustrated. What do you do?

Your ability to regulate your own brain while your daughter’s brain is locked in a “limbic frenzy,” is the key to parenting success. Your ability to lead and pace your daughter as she melts down, is vital for her to grow the right kinds of neural connections that equip her with more tools to avoid a limbic frenzy in the future.

The limbic system is the area of the brain responsible for the survival of the species. It constantly scans the environment looking for food, a genetically good mating partner, and danger. It is an area of the brain that reacts rather than “thinks clearly and logically.” Teens use this area of the brain as their main steering wheel for life as the area of their brain that makes logical, rational decisions is growing up. That growth will take your child well into their twenties.

As your teen reacts to life from their limbic system, it is vital that you remain steadfast in your perfrontal cortex. That is the area of ration, logical, life and love affirming of the brain. Granted, it isn’t always easy to remain cool and calm in the path of an overwhelmed, angry teen, but it is important to do so.

The more love and patience you can bestow upon your daughter, especially in the times when she seems to not be worthy of it, is the science behind good parenting skills.

When you reach out to your daughter withcalm, respect, logic and love, you help her regulate her frenzied brain. Your brain helps her brain calm down!

We tend to think of the brain as a singular unit. However, there is no “one” brain. There are only brains interacting with other brains, for better or for worse.

When you remain calm and loving in the face of your teen daughter’s furry, your brain reaches out and hugs her brain… more or less. Not only that, but your heart wraps its wings around her heart, and embraces her in a way she feels loved.

Out of control daughter? Be an in control, calm, LOVING mother.

Your daughter will one day thank you for it.

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Sex Talk Too Late

A study reveals parents wait too long to talk about sex. I agree. Our children are exposed to sex much younger these days, and they are engaging in various forms of sexual activity at younger ages. What can a parent do?  One study suggests parents knock off two years from when they think they should talk about sex.  That may be a good rule of thumb, but you may want to talk even sooner than that.

I suggest parents  use what is in the environment around them to talk about sex. One doesn’t have to look very far. An ad showing a sexy woman sitting next to a dog prompted one very young boy to ask his mother, “Will the lady sex the dog?” He understood sexy and sex went together, even if he was unclear on the whole concept.  That little boy’s question was a wonderful teaching moment.

Begin paying attention for those teachable moments!

Most of you reading this blog have teen daughters. I hope you have had the sex talk with them by now. If not, please start today!

Remember to use the COAL technique for listening: Curious, Openness, Acceptance and Love. You don’t want to shame your daughter in any way when you have a conversation about sex. Ask her opinions. Ask what she wants to know. Be as open and honest as you can. 

Knowledge is power. Teens are getting a lot of their knowledge from the Internet. (Google free porn and see for yourself…. go ahead.. I’ll wait) Kids who watch free porn, (and the percentage of teens who do are staggering) aren’t getting a great education about sex. They are only getting an education about porn!

Sex on TV usually shows the excitement, it rarely shows the buying of contraception, the doctor visits sex requires when one become sexually active, or the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy, or even the emotional aftermath of sex. Kids aren’t learning the full truth about sex from TV.  They need to learn it from you!

Many of you have asked me if you should supply your teen with condoms. Does it encourage sex?

I believe that contraception stops teens from getting pregnant. It doesn’t lead them to having sex. They are already biologically primed for the “urge to merge.” With teen pregnancies on the rise, available condoms and the knowledge of their proper use, are desperately needed.

Every family needs to decide  for themselves how they want to handle their teens budding sexuality. But putting your head in the sand and not talking openly and honestly about sex isn’t the way to go. You do your child a big disservice.

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Are You Raising a Criminal

The number of girls who commit violent acts is on the rise. Not a small increase, but a big one. It’s startling to see our tween and teen girls behaving badly.

Mother’s tell me they worry about their daughters being used and abused by boys, yet very few ever voice a concern that maybe they are raising a criminal. No mother wants to think their darling daughter would hurt anyone, yet the number of arrests for voilent crimes committed by teen girls is up.

Mother’s can help by UNDERSTANDING these things: Our culture is going through enormous changes. Technology is changing the way people share information and interact with each other. The media is also changing the way girls view themselves. Relationships are undergoing a huge change as well. It’s a difficult time to say the least. Mothers need to know that solutions to today’s problems aren’t going to go away with a quick fix. The FDA can’t approve any pill to pop for our world’s ailments. Solutions come with love, dedication, and patience.

Mother’s can help their daughter’s by DOING these things: 

1. Heal your own wounds. Mom’s always scratch their heads when I tell them this. Your own private wounds get in the way of seeing your daughter for who she is, being able to reach out to her and support her. If you don’t know what wounds you carry, buy a copy of Laid or Loved? and take the Growing Up Wounds Quiz on page 30.

2. Learn to listen. Most of us do a poor job of listening. We hear the words but we don’t understand what the speaker really wants us to understand. We interrupt, judge, give unasked for advice, and don’t hear the need being expressed. Most of our communication is the expression of a need. Learn to know what your daughter needs from you.

3. Set Limits. Don’t allow technology to take over your family. Make dinner time sacred. Put all the cell phones away, turn off the TV, and share your thoughts with each other. I know moms are stressed to get dinner on the table. Dinner can be a tuna fish sandwich for all I care. Just sit down with each other, and communicate.

4. Play!! Play is one of the ways in which our brains grow! Play has been taken out of our teens lives due to the changes in our schools and the fast track to growing up. But our teens still need to play. Find ways to bring fun and novelty back into your relationship with your teens. If you need help, email me. I’ve helped many families go from dull to delightful!

5. Stay up to date. Keep an ear to the ground as to what’s going on in teen-dom. Google, talk to friends, and talk to your daughter. Learn the new language. Know how virtual social networks affect your daugther. Understand the new media messages she’s being exposed to every day. I know it takes time and effort, but your daughter is worth it.

6. Take time out. Make sure you get the nourishment you need. Find ways to stay calm, grow spiritually, and love yourself. All are important. Of course make sure you eat your veggies, exercise, watch your alcohol intake and get a good nights sleep. Floss!

7. Be a role model. If you want your daughter to grow up into a wonderful woman, guess what? You have to be a wonderful woman. If you are single and men go through your house like you have a revolving door, what message do you give your daughter? If you are married and you fight constantly with your husband, or allow him to abuse you, what message do you send your daughter? There is no perfect parent, but we can all work on the message we pass on to our daughters.

Start with those seven things. I know it’s a lot. Start a journal. Write how you are doing with each of the seven items.  Keep track for a month. At the end of the month, ask your daughter how she feels about your relationship. See if things have improved. See if she feels better about herself because  you are more present. That can help keep her from becoming a statistic in the crime journals.

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Aging Gracefully

Are you settling into middle age as your daughter moves into her teen years? Some mothers have a difficult time watching the glow of their own “blossom” fade as their daughter blooms more every day. Although middle age (and beyond) hold its own magic, it can be hard to watch yourself age. It doesn’t help matters if your daughter is also at the age where she thinks you are suddenly the most annoying, unhip, uncool person on the planet.

I remember watching my daughter at her middle school graduation. She was full of hopes and dreams and looked more grown up than I had ever seen her before. It was the first time I acknowledged I was getting older, and she was turning into a young woman. I remember thinking, “I need to pass the baton to her.” By mentally letting go, and telling myself that she could run with the “baton,” allowed me to step more fully into my own place in the circle of life.

Watching your daughter get the attention you used to receive can be painful. The world is unkind at times to middle aged and older women. Some people say that men get sexier as they age, and women just look tired and worn out. What do you think? It’s important to understand how you feel about aging and how you deal with it effects your relationship with your teenage daughter.

Are you ready to mentally let go of the baton and hand it to your daughter? It’s her time now to step out of the shadows of being a little girl, and grow into the light of being a woman. You still have much to do to take care of her as she goes through the turbulent teen years. I hope you will also take good care of you, and march through middle age proudly.

I’ll be posting tips on aging gracefully and tips on how to deal with a topic many women are afraid to talk about, i.e. jealousy they feel about their daughters youth, beauty, body, boyfriends, etc. If you would like to join in the conversation, please Contact Me. I’ll post some of your thoughts, with your permission of course.
Check back soon.

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ATT Smart Limits

Every day a parent asks me what to do about their teen’s texting. A lot of parents feel their teens are too tethered to technology. I agree with them, to a point. Teens need interaction with each other. It’s how they learn. So having friends on Virtual Social Networks (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc.) is now a normal part of life. (Make sure your child is old enough to handle online experiences before you let them sign up) Texting is here to stay and is fast replacing emails and phone calls. It’s simply too simple to use. We humans are lazy creatures. Teens are going to use technology and use it a lot .What’s too much?

When technology keeps your teen from having time to spend with real friends and real life or interact with the family, it’s time to set limits It’s also a good idea to curtail technology use if your teen is being harassed online. All technology should have time limits that allow a teen to get a good night’s rest. And of course, there are some places where technology just doesn’t belong, such as the dinner table, or certain social functions. Nothing is more embarrassing or rude than your child’s cell phone ringing as they are lowering Uncle Jack into this final resting place. There is a time and a place for everything.

Parents ask me how they can set limits. First, you have to talk and listen to you teen about their technology use. Decide together on some boundaries and stick to them. Parents can always make use of a little known application ATT has. If your teen is an IPhone user, ATT offers a service called Smart Limits. You can control when your child sends or receives texts, and even block numbers they can dial or receive. It’s a good idea to let your teen know  if you are going to use Smart Limits, as no one likes to be dictated as to how they interface with their technology. However, Smart Limits is a smart idea.  ( I haven’t researched other providers so I don’t know what they have available for limit setting.  But you can ask what’s available.)

As a parent, remember that you still have the ability to ask (nicely) for your teen to TIO ~ Turn It Off! Technology use is like the use of anything else. It’s a privilege not a right. Make sure your teen is using it respectfully and carefully.

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