Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Teens Smoking Cigarettes: Quick Facts

Many parents call me about their teens and sometimes tweens that are lighting up.  We like to say pick and choose issues, and we don’t condone smoking cigarettes – but we can’t panic. 

Continue talking to our kid about how damaging smoking cigarettes is to your body as well as your overall health.  Smoking is not cool – but it is cool to be an educated parent.  More survey's and research is proving today that our kid's are listening to parents and they are the biggest influence on their children.  First and foremost, they have to be a good role model. 

Most people who smoke first light up a cigarette when they’re teens. In fact, 80% of smokers began the habit before they turned 18.

Here are a few quick facts about cigarette smoking, nicotine and tobacco that you may not have heard before. Even if you have, they’re facts that are worth keeping in mind when your friends and relatives light up a cigarette.
  1. Nearly 70% of people who smoke say they wish they could quit.
  2. Teens who smoke cough and wheeze three times more than teens who don’t smoke.
  3. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, lung disease and strokes.
  4. Smokers as young as 18 years old have shown evidence of developing heart disease.
  5. More than 70% of young people who smoke said they wish they hadn’t started doing it.
  6. Smoking a pack of cigarettes each day costs about $1,500 per year — enough money to buy a new computer or Xbox.
  7. Studies show that 43% of people who smoke three or fewer cigarettes a day become addicted to nicotine.
  8. More than 434,000 Americans die each year from smoking-related diseases.
  9. One-third of all new smokers will eventually die from a smoking-related disease.
  10. Nicotine — one of the main ingredients in cigarettes — is a poison.
  11. Nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine.
  12. All tobacco products — that includes cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco — have nicotine in them.
  13. Smoking makes you feel weaker and more tired because it prevents oxygen from reaching your heart.
  14. Smoking decreases your sense of taste and smell, making you enjoy things like flowers and ice cream a little bit less.
  15. Smoking hurts the people around you: More than 53,000 people die each year from secondhand smoke.
  16. Cigarettes have tons of harmful chemicals in them, including ammonia (found in toilet cleaner), carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust) and arsenic (found in rat poison).
  17. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health.
  18. Just days after quitting smoking, a person’s sense of taste and smell returns to normal.
  19. Ten years after quiting smoking, a person’s risk of lung cancer and heart disease returns to that of a non-smoker.
  20. Most teens (about 70%) don’t smoke. Plus, if you make it through your teen years without becoming a smoker, chances are you’ll never become a smoker.
Adapted from “50 Things You Should Know About Tobacco” by Journeyworks Publishing.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Why Teenagers Should Have a Summer Job

Summer is around the corner and the question is common, should your teen get a job?  In some families it is a necessity if they want a cell phone or other gadgets that the parents don't have in their budget.  Personally, I believe a teen should have a job to learn a sense of responsibility.

With shows like “My Super Sweet 16” that glorify teens have extravagant lives and demanding over the top birthday parties we’ve become inundated with the idea that our teens need to be pampered and spoiled beyond reason. This mindset has led to teens believing that they deserve the most expensive clothes, cars, and cell phones, and that these things should just be handed to them on demand. The reality of it, though, is that our teenagers should be learning the importance of working hard for what they want, and one way to impart this lesson and have them reap the benefits of it is by having them work a part-time job.

There are numerous lessons and values teens will learn from working:

1.     Time management:  Having to balance school and work will teach teens early on the importance of prioritizing responsibilities and managing their time. The sooner they learn how to do this the better off they’ll be when they leave for college and eventually branch out into the real world of full-time jobs and responsibilities.
2.     Help build a resume:  Being able to list work experience on a resume will help your teen get ahead of the crowd when it comes time to apply for college or find a full-time job. It will show prospective colleges and employers that your teen is a motivated, hard-working individual and will set them above the people who have no prior work experience.
3.     Financial independence:  There’s a certain satisfaction that is brought about by being able to buy something you want with your own hard-earned money, and having a job that brings in a paycheck will allow teens to learn how to effectively manage their money and rely on themselves and not their parents for different purchases. Learning to manage money is a life skill that everyone needs to have, so learning it early on will only benefit your teenager.
4.     Develop indispensable life skills:  Your teen will learn very quickly the importance of working as a team and having solid communication skills, two talents that are transferrable into almost any industry or experience. The experiences that they have, both good and bad, from a part-time job will help them to become better-rounded as an individual.
5.     Learn the value of hard work:  Unfortunately hard work is becoming more under-valued these days, especially with teens, and it’s important to teach our kids that hard work is a trait to be admired and respected. Learning to work for what you want is an advantageous tool to have.
While your teens may complain about having to get a job initially, it’s likely that they’ll end up thanking you for it in the long run. The lessons they’ll learn from having to work a part-time job are irreplaceable.

Author Bio
Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to nanny service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

College Choices and Options for Your Teenager

Nothing is more difficult as a parent than watching your babies leave the nest.

This moment can happen at any age, but one of the most common associations is on the day they start college courses.

Even if your child will be living at home for a few years when they start school, the beginning of college still marks the beginning of their adult life. So, how do you prepare your kids for the process of choosing a college based on their needs? And, how do you do this while recognizing that this decision is, ultimately, up to your child?

Even though this can feel like a thin tight rope to walk, and you may be more nervous about your child’s choice of college than he or she is, it is still very important to have a discussion with your teen about future college plans. In fact, this conversation can be helpful for you both.

Here are some good tips for going about it:

1. Be realistic about your expectations.  This is probably the most important step parents need to reach in order to have a successful talk with their teen about college. There is nothing wrong about setting high standards for your children and having high hopes for the education that they will pursue after graduation, especially if you intend to pay for it. However, you have to remember that, once they graduate high school, your kids’ lives are technically in their own hands. They will be of the age to make their own decisions and determine their own futures. So, parents need to reach a healthy balance of personal expectations and allowing their children the freedom to follow their own dreams before a conversation can be had.

2. Figure out how they feel.  The next step after you have come to terms with your own expectations is to figure out what your child’s expectations are for him or herself. Starting in on page twenty when your kid has only thought about college to about page four won’t really work. Likewise, falsely assuming your child is starting at square one when, in fact, he or she has been researching schools for months is another way to start the conversation off on the wrong foot. Instead, ask your child how much time they have spent thinking about going to college. Then, ask them what they have been feeling about it. Figure out where your kids are in the process before you carry on with a discussion.

3. Make sure they understand the commitment.  There is more to college than picking a school and signing up. College students are no longer on a high school timetable where they attend school from 8 to 3 every day and have their schedules lined up for them. In college, your child will be responsible for getting himself to class on his own and getting work done in a timely manner without parental supervision. There is also a huge financial commitment involved in enrollment. Once you know your child’s plans, you can discuss with them the realities of those plans and how they mesh with the realities of what your family can provide.

4. Ask what you can do to help.  Instead of becoming a dictator in your child’s college search, simply ask what you can do to help the process. Ultimately, unless your child wants you to choose a school for them, the choice of where to go and what to study is up to your kid, so you should simply act as a form of help and guidance in the process. Let them know that you are there for them, no matter what. If your teenager doesn’t seem to know how to take the first steps toward figuring out college plans, then you can step in and provide a little direction by setting up school visits and looking for information about degree plans.

5. Suggest other sources of guidance.  If your teen is less than enthusiastic about working with you on college plans, you can refer them to someone you trust to provide insight and advice. Try suggesting that they talk to their favorite teacher, a college-aged cousin, or anyone else who has their best interests at heart for help along the way.

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