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Archive for the ‘Babysitting’ Category

30 Blogs with Tips for Hosting a Fabulous Slumber Party for Tweens

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

If you are planning a slumber party, you might want to consider having a theme for the event. Having a theme makes the sleepover feel more like a party, and you can send out invitations, plan activities and snacks, and set up the sleeping area so that each aspect of the party ties in with the theme. While that may seem like a lot of planning, with the help of these 30 blogs you’ll be throwing a fabulous slumber party for your tween in no time.

Invitations

Create some clever sleeping bag invitations out of fabric or paper to mail out to the guest list. If you don’t have time to make elaborate invitations you can also purchase them. For sleepovers it’s important not to invite too many guests, because things can easily get out of control if there are too many kids. When picking the date for the sleepover, try to plan it on a Friday night so that the kids are tired from a full day of school – you might actually get them to sleep this way!

Activities

Girls love to do makeovers on each other and get manicures and pedicures, so pick up an assortment of make-up and nail polish for the party. Crafts and games, like tie dying shoes or making dream catchers, will also keep the kids busy. Check out these six blogs to find recipes for facial masks, craft ideas and more.

Movie Snacks

What’s a slumber party without tons of snacks? Fill some bowls with different snacks for the kids to eat while watching a movie. Popcorn and granola bars are fun finger foods that are easy to make. Try some of the dressed up popcorn and snack recipes listed in these six blogs.

Clever Sleeping Arrangements

While some people worry that the kids will stay up all night, tweens tend to wind down and go to sleep between midnight and 2 a.m., so make sure that the kids bring their sleeping bags. To add to the fun of sleeping over you can create tents or forts in your family room. Check out the unique ideas in these six blog posts.

Breakfast for a Crowd

Wrap up the party on a tasty note by creating a special breakfast for the kids before they head home. How about a waffle bar where the kids can choose their own toppings? You can also make a casserole ahead of time, baked French toast sticks for them to dip in syrup, and much more. You’ll find tons of breakfast ideas in these six blogs.

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21 Blogs Featuring the Best Puzzles Kids Can Make or Solve

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

From simple shape puzzles as a toddler to the crossword puzzle in the newspaper as an adult, solving puzzles is an activity that’s fun for everyone. Young children can benefit from puzzles because they help them work on their ability to solve problems, apply reason to find a solution and successfully deduce an answer, according to Barbara White, an educator and author of the article Are Jigsaw Puzzles Educational? White also notes that solving puzzles helps physically with hand/eye coordination. These 21 blogs will provide ways to make your own jigsaw puzzles, as well as supply puzzles where your kids can solve logic and work out brain teasers.

Jigsaw

Instead of spending money purchasing jigsaw puzzles at the store – a practice that can get expensive if you only assemble them once – try your hand at making your own puzzles to put together. These seven blogs will provide a variety of ways you can create your own jigsaw puzzles to solve.

Logic

Logic puzzles like Sudoku are a great way to provide a workout for your brain. These puzzles vary in difficulty, so you can start your kids off with the easy ones and slowly increase the level of difficulty as they master each. Learning to solve these types of puzzles lets your child practice critical thinking and reasoning skills according to Deborah Reynolds, an educator certified in K-12 gifted education. The more puzzles a child works on, the more comfortable he will become with the thought process required for solving puzzles. In these seven blogs you will find a variety of logic puzzles that you can provide for your child.

Brain Teasers

You’ve probably heard people say that you have to think outside of the box to solve a problem.  Well, solving brain teasers will train your child’s brain to think outside the box in everything he does, not just when he’s solving a puzzle. Take a look at these seven blogs to find puzzles for you and your kids to try.

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How to Get Siblings to Sleep in the Same Room

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Any parent of two or more children who share a bedroom will probably be very familiar with the issue of sibling rivalry. Although sharing a bedroom seems like a great way to encourage kids to develop stronger relationships, room-sharing can easily become a fiasco due to more confined living quarters, lack of personal space and arguments over the delegation of janitorial tasks and the positioning of personal items. Without a good technique, parents are likely to encounter those piercing complaints teeming with fault-finding and frustration.

Keren Perles, contributor at Education.com, provides some valuable insight regarding the issue of sibling bedroom-sharing. Perles cites the parenting guru and psychotherapist Alyson Schafer, who says that bedroom-sharing helps kids learn to cooperate better by working through conflicts and delegating tasks. Siblings often bond with one another naturally in a more confined space. By sharing a greater quantity of life experiences in the same area, siblings mature together and learn how to manage those challenges that stem from cohabitation. Perles explains that overcoming these conflicts will prove invaluable when the child becomes an adult and encounters roommates, spouses or other living situations that call for cohabitation.

Although there are many positive benefits that stem from bedroom-sharing among siblings, it is not always easy to arrange. Since children are often very different in their personalities, it can be difficult for some siblings to mutually develop peaceful solutions to their conflicts. Thankfully, the experts have concocted some effective methods for parents to use that will help children learn to live in relative peace. Schafer encourages the use of boundaries, such as a curtain or bookcase, to help define rooms. Children are able to mark their own private spaces, which gives them a sense of autonomy and privacy. This is where the infamous “boundary line” tape comes into play. While parents may not wish to place an actual line of masking tape down the length of the floor to divide the room, it might be a good idea to set a boundary so that siblings can feel that they have a special little place all of their own. Children can keep their own belongings on their designated side to prevent squabbles over cleaning responsibilities. Each child will keep his own side of the room clean and return any objects not belonging in the assigned areas.

Lauren Jimeson, contributor at Babble.com, also gives some great advice for parents on sibling room-sharing. Jimeson’s two daughters share a room, so she has compiled an ample list of useful tips concerning successful sibling cohabitation. Jimeson encourages a gradual assimilation of the children into a room together. For example, before the birth of her second child, Jimeson discussed the change with her other daughter to prepare her for the transition. When her daughter was born, Jimeson would then bring the newborn into her daughter’s room and get them used to being with each other in the same space. This helped to naturally make that transition more effective. Although Jimeson provides specific boundaries in the room for each child, she also promotes the use of a common area, which is a special place for the girls to play with their shared toys, and sibling interaction is especially encouraged.

Jo Harris, at Kidspot.com, also provides a brief and highly useful rundown of specific conflicts for children of different ages and how to effectively resolve those conflicts. Younger children should be taught how to treat each other’s property with respect, and staggering sleep times might prove a successful remedy to prevent the children from keeping each other awake. Additionally, extra safety precautions should be taken when a toddler shares a room with a baby. If a school-aged child shares a room with a baby, then the baby’s nap times must be respected, and the older child should be assigned some personal time in his room a few times a day. Finally, giving older children responsibilities to care for their younger siblings in the room is a great way to create a bond and to encourage a positive, healthy sharing of space.

Although sharing a room can pose a challenge for kids, there are many important life lessons that can be learned through this arrangement. Siblings learn to value teamwork and to manage conflict, which are fantastic attributes that prepare children for their futures. They will certainly never forget the special memories that they create with their siblings as they grow and experience life together.

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Top 10 Reasons Siblings Fight and How to Stop Them

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Fights between siblings are so common they are practically a rite of passage of growing up. Even the most well-behaved children fight from time to time, and the fights are often over the silliest things. (Toys, candy, shoes, you name it.) While fighting can be a normal childhood behavior, it can also lead to serious stress, both for the kids and the parents. Too much sibling aggression can lead to depression and anger in children, too. The key to stopping it is figuring out what is causing the fights. Here are the biggest reasons siblings fight:

1. Spending Too Much Time Together
Anytime people spend as much time together as siblings do, arguments are bound to happen. After seeing the same person all day every day, siblings are sometimes simply ready for a break. Sometimes children need a chance to pursue separate activities without brothers or sisters tagging along.

2. They’ve Got Different Personalities
Personality conflicts are another common cause of sibling fighting. When one sibling prefers to play quiet games and the other prefers rambunctious games, someone is bound to not get his or her way. While parents can try to plan activities that all the children will enjoy, sometimes children have to take turns getting their way.

3. They Perceive Favoritism
Whether or not parents and caregivers actually have a favorite child, the children usually think they do. This perceived favoritism can cause children to lash out for attention. Children always know which child gets the most praise, even if parents are unaware of the difference.

4. They Have Difficulty Sharing
Unless parents buy duplicates of every toy that they bring in the house, at some point children are going to have to learn how to share. While this difficulty usually gets easier as the children grow up a bit, it can be a long process.

5. They Have Unequal Privileges

As children get older, they usually get more privileges. Younger children may feel this is unfair, and they may be right. Even within the same family, the age limits for various activities often changes with successive children.

6. They’re Jealous of Each Other

One is better at school while the other is better at sports. One excels in music while the other wins pageants. It is no secret which family members excel at which activities and which do not. Those who do not excel may feel jealous of the praised sibling, even if they excel in other ways.

7. They’re Unable to Handle Disagreements and Frustrations
Sometimes children, young children especially, do not know how to handle disagreements and frustrations. Instead of talking out problems and finding a good solution, siblings will often turn to fighting to get their way.

8. They Lack Boundaries or Personal Space
Whether they are constantly in the baby’s face or reading their older sister’s diary, sometimes children do not understand boundaries or personal space. Sometimes fighting is the only way that children know how to get their siblings to leave them alone.

9. There Are Accidents and Misunderstandings
Not all fighting is the result of a purposeful wrongdoing. A child may accidentally hurt a sibling or take a toy he didn’t know his sibling was still playing with. Rather than talk over the situation, children often turn to fighting to solve the problem.

10. They Need a Safe Person
Families are people that love each other no matter what, and children know this. If a child starts a fight with a friend, he may lose that friend. If he starts a fight with a brother or sister, he can work off some of his aggression without losing a friend. Siblings provide a safe way for children to get out some of their pent-up frustrations.

How to Stop Sibling Fighting

The best way to stop sibling fighting really depends on why the siblings are fighting in the first place, but there are a few general strategies parents can implement to help siblings keep the peace. First of all, parents should cultivate a loving, accepting environment for their children instead of a competitive one. Siblings should be encouraged to support each other and cheer for each other’s successes. Parents should avoid comparing siblings, even if the comparison seems harmless. (This applies to all areas: grades, personality, athletics, etc.) When siblings are busy looking for ways to build up their brothers and sisters, they are not busy finding ways to tear them down.

Secondly, parents and caregivers should teach children how to solve conflicts peacefully and then only intervene when necessary. Children need to be taught skills such as taking turns, asking permission before borrowing others’ possessions, and finding ways to play together peacefully. Once they have been taught how to do this, they should be left mostly alone to practice these skills. If you’re constantly stepping in to be the moderator, children never learn how to solve problems for themselves.

Lastly, parents should set a good example for their children of how to interact appropriately with other people. If parents are constantly yelling at the children, the children will learn to yell. If parents talk negatively about other people, the children will learn to do this as well. By modeling appropriate behavior, parents will teach their children the proper way to behave.

Raising siblings is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. With the right guidance and attitude, you can teach your children not only to stop fighting, but to lean on each other as they grow up.

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24 Blogs with Easy to Make Nature Crafts for Kids

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

In this day and age of technology, sometimes you just need to power everything down and get back to nature with your kids. Nature-themed craft projects are a great way to engage the kids and teach them a little about the world around them. Instead of sacrificing another day to the TV or computer, take the kids on a nature walk one afternoon and have them collect different twigs, leaves, flowers and rocks that they find. Once you arrive back home, use these supplies to create craft projects that highlight the beauty of nature. These 24 blogs will help you get started.

Getting Crafty with Leaves

As you explore the great outdoors, encourage the kids to look closely at the different leaves they see. Each type of leaf will have a different texture and shape. Collect all sorts of leaves on your hikes, and then use those leaves to create different artistic pieces. You’ll find ideas for pictures, suncatchers and more in these six blogs.

Shells and Sand

If you live near a beach or visit one frequently, you may already have a collection of sea glass, shells and sand. If not, be sure to collect as many as you can during your next beach adventure so that you can bring the beach home with you. From crafts as simple as gluing some googly eyes on the shells and making shell friends to more elaborate ones like necklaces, the bloggers in these six posts have come up with several sea shell craft ideas for you to choose from.

Flower Fun

There’s no telling what kinds of flowers you and your child will find while out on your nature hike. From beautiful wild flowers picked fresh from the ground to spent blooms, you’re likely to find an array of flowers to bring home with you. You can keep the flowers fresh until you get home by bringing along a damp paper towel and wrapping the blooms in it. Once home, use these six blog posts for flower craft inspiration.

Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones are probably the simplest things to find during your nature walk, and you’ll likely see a variety that are interesting shapes and colors. Use your imagination as you collect them, and look for animal shapes and different colors in rocks and sticks that branch out in different directions. To get started crafting, read through these six blog posts to find creative ways to use your nature walk finds.

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27 of the Greatest Blogs with Ideas for Planning the Perfect Back-to-School Party

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

When summer ends and school begins again, there are a variety of responses you can expect from both parents and children. Parents are usually excited for the kids to go back to school and to establish a more consistent routine again. Kids, however, typically have mixed feelings about going back. To make the experience a positive one all around, consider inviting your child’s friends over and throwing a back-to-school party to get everyone excited about going back to school.  These 27 blog posts will help you with decorating ideas, party activities and party treats.

Decorations

Spruce up your backyard or house with a few school themed decorations.  You can find many different ideas at the dollar store in the teacher section. Keep the colors bright and cheery. These nine blog entries are full of back-to-school party decoration ideas, and even have some free downloadable print-outs you can use!

Activities

You’ll want to pick out several different activities for the kids to do at the party. Make sure to have a few extra ideas on hand, too; the last thing you want is for the party to break into a free-for-all because the kids ran out of things to do. If you are planning an outdoor party, it’s a good idea to plan some inside games just in case it rains or the kids get too hot.  These nine blog articles will help you plan plenty of activities that the kids will love.

Treats

Sometimes simpler is better when it comes to party snacks and treats. If you are not a baker, you may want to order simple cupcakes and add some printable toppers to tie them into your theme.  Make sandwiches and cut them into special shapes using a large cookie cutter if your party will be near lunchtime.  Treats like crackers and popcorn can be purchased prepackaged and set out in large bowls or individually packaged in cellophane bags with a clever tag.  Check out these nine blog postings to see more clever back-to-school treat ideas.

Back-to-school parties are a great way to get your kids excited about getting back into the school routine.  Instead of dreading the first day of school, the kids can look forward to the back-to-school party and seeing all of their friends again.

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6 Ways to Turn Your Kids Into Avid Readers

Monday, August 26th, 2013

All parents want their children to be a good readers, but it can be tough to know exactly how to make it happen. Independent reading can significantly help when it comes to academic success, but actually getting your kid to read can be a challenge. Maybe they’re afraid of the work, or worried about succeeding. However, turning your kid into an avid reader might be easier than you think. It just takes a little research and preparation, and a willingness to meet them where they are. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Find Out What They Like

This is such a simple step, but it’s one parents might overlook because at the adult level it happens automatically. When you’re looking for a book to read, you never have to stop and wonder what kind of book you actually want; you just know, and so you go get it. Kids, though, need help navigating libraries and bookstores, since the sheer volume of books available can be a little daunting. For a novice reader, it can be hard to know exactly where to start. Chat with your kids about what kind of story they’d like — funny, scary, exciting, etc. — and think about their interests while you’re browsing the stacks with them. By pairing them with a book that speaks directly to their passions, you’ll increase your odds of getting them something they’ll enjoy, and that will make them more eager to come back for more.

Set a Good Example

Kids imitate the behavior they see every day. If you encourage them to read, but you don’t actually model that behavior for them and show them what it looks like to enjoy reading, they won’t believe you when you try to talk about how fun or great reading can be. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to make yourself into a world-class scholar, or that you have to start plowing through “classics” just to try and look good. It does mean that you should develop reading habits that kids can pick up through observation. Read the news online or in print; dig into longform stories and journalism through magazines and apps; curl up with novels, histories or any other genre you enjoy. This takes reading out of the abstract and shows children what it looks like to actually read every day.

Buy Books, Not Toys

If you tell your kids to read more and then turn around and buy them a stack of video games, well, you shouldn’t be surprised how things turn out. Don’t just rely on school libraries, public libraries and trips to the bookstore to stock your home with reading material. Buy your children books as birthday gifts, holiday presents, or for other special occasions to show them how much you value reading. The books then become the kind of special treat they can keep on their shelves and revisit for years, long after they’ve aged out of the fad toy they thought they wanted.

Regulate Screen Time

This is related to the previous point. In order to encourage today’s children to read, it’s imperative that you set reasonable limits on screen time, meaning the amount of their day they spend focused on their phones, computers, tablets and games. How you do this is up to you: maybe you’ve got the TV and computer in a room where you can monitor usage, so you can keep easy visual tabs on what the kids are doing. Additionally, many e-readers and tablets have parental controls that let you block certain programs and content, and even automatically shut down after the child uses a certain feature (e.g., games) for an allotted amount of time. This can be a great way to make sure your kids have the opportunity to read free of distractions. Tablets and e-readers are the good kind of screen time.

Set Aside a Time to Read

Again, it’s all about habits. Read to your children on a regular basis — bedtime’s obviously a favorite — and make literature a part of your lifestyle. Maybe it’s half an hour or an hour in the evenings, or a special family reading time on Sunday afternoons. Whatever works for you. The key is to be consistent and emphasize the value of these shared reading times.

Get an Early Start

The sooner you make books a part of your child’s life, the better. A 2011 study showed that children whose parents read to them at an early age were still showing benefits at age 15, which shows how important it is for long-term development to introduce books as early as possible. Read to your kids regularly, get them books, and teach them from an early age how important — and fun — it is to read. By ingraining the habit early, you can help their academic and social skills for years to come.

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21 Blogs with Info You Need to Know Before Sending Your Kids Off to College

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Everyone always says that your kids will grow up before you know it, but that doesn’t stop most parents from blissfully ignoring the fact that time really does fly. Unfortunately, adulthood will come knocking much sooner than you anticipate, and before long your toddlers will suddenly be young adults going to college. These 21 blog entries will help prepare you for this transition, teaching you all you need to know about paying for school, reducing homesickness and instilling other life skills in  your child so that you can drop him off on campus with the reassurance that you did all you could to prepare him for this big life change.

Money Matters

Paying for college is easily one of the biggest concerns many parents face. Some parents start putting away money shortly after their child is born, others encourage their children to apply for grants and scholarships, and still others leave tuition up to their children. These seven blog articles will help you learn more about saving for college, as well as what other options are out there that can help you and your child handle this big financial investment.

Homesickness

Homesickness is something that nearly every college student will encounter from time to time, however you can help reduce the chances of homesickness for your child by preparing him early. One way you can do this is by sending him off to camp or to visit relatives during the summer. These small experiences away from home will help prepare your child when it’s time to go to college. For more tips to help you and your child deal with homesickness, read these seven blog posts.

Skills to Teach before They Go

It’s not unusual for parents to want to take care of everything for their children, however always handling things for your teen can actually rob them of valuable life skills. Before your kids leave for college, teach them important life skills, such as how to do laundry or cook basic meals. Read through these seven blog posts and figure out what your child already knows and what you may need to teach him before he leaves for school.

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10 Ways to Help Your Child Adjust to Wearing Glasses

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Many common vision problems are easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses, leaving the patient in question with improved sight and better equipped to take on the world. Since patients of the smaller variety are generally not considered ideal candidates for contacts, however, kids are generally restricted to corrective lenses in the form of eyeglasses. At such a delicate time in your child’s life, being forced to wear these oft-maligned accessories can be a downright traumatic experience. With the proper preparation and plenty of patience, however, you can help your child adjust to wearing glasses with minimal fuss or despair. These ten tips can help your little one get used to her glasses in no time, making life easier for everyone involved.

  • Prepare in Advance – There will almost certainly be a period of at least a few days between receiving the news that your child needs glasses and their completion, since the lenses and frames will have to be created and assembled. Use that time to talk about getting used to new glasses, but keep your tone as matter-of-fact as possible.
  • Give Her Some Control Over the Situation – A child will be more eager to wear her glasses when she’s had a bit of control over the situation and can take ownership of her new accessory. Let your child take part in the frame selection process, so that she’s wearing something she likes rather than having glasses she doesn’t care for foisted upon her.
  • Make Putting on Glasses Part of Her Morning Routine – The most difficult part of adjusting to new glasses for many kids is simply remembering to put them on in the morning. Making that task part of the morning routine helps her to get into the habit of wearing her glasses. Remember that the more your child wears her glasses on a consistent basis, the easier it will be for her to accept them as part of her life.
  • Make a Point of Acknowledging Voluntary Wear – If getting your child to wear her glasses proves to be a struggle in the first few days after they arrive, make a point of praising her any time she puts them on of her own volition, without being reminded to do so. Kids need praise and acknowledgment, and your efforts to provide that will pay off in the form of a child who’s more willing to make a point of remembering her eyewear.
  • Don’t Nag! – When your child doesn’t want to wear her glasses and you feel as if you’re constantly reminding her to put them on, it’s not always easy to keep a firm grip on your composure. Nagging, punishments or shouting only cause the wearing of glasses to be surrounded by negative connotations, making everything more difficult for her. Remind your child to put on her glasses, but avoid causing a scene over them.
  • Point Out Pop Culture Icons Who Wear Glasses – What do Superman, Taylor Swift, Harry Potter, Velma from Scooby Doo, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Joe Jonas and Peter Parker have in common? They’ve all been spotted sporting glasses. Pointing out teen stars, pop culture icons and characters who wear glasses can help your child to identify more with not only her glasses, but also the people she admires who share her need for them.
  • Ensure a Proper Fit – You will inevitably have a difficult time helping your child grow accustomed to her new glasses if they’re overly uncomfortable due to an improper fit. Make sure that your child’s glasses fit perfectly and that they are comfortable for her to wear.
  • Get Ready for Teasing – While you may not want to broach the subject with your child before it’s necessary, it’s wise to get yourself ready for the fact that some mean-spirited classmate will inevitably poke fun at her frames. Have a response ready for the first time she comes home in tears after being teased, and make sure that you don’t minimize her feelings in the process.
  • Work With Your Child’s Eye Doctor – One of your most valuable allies in the battle to help your child get used to wearing her glasses will be her eye doctor. Optometrists that work with kids on a regular basis have a slew of tricks up their sleeves for helping kids get excited about wearing their glasses, so don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your child’s doctor.
  • Be Patient – As with most big changes in a child’s life, getting used to new glasses will take time. It’s important that you remain optimistic and keep a firm grip on your patience throughout the process, so that you’re adequately equipped to help the adjustment phase run as smoothly as possible.

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What Teens Need to Know Before Dating

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

One day, your little one is skipping down the sidewalk with her hair in pigtails and a firm grip on a teddy bear. The next, it seems like, she’s bouncing down the stairs on her way to greet her first date. Watching kids grow and mature, especially during the teenage years, can be a bittersweet experience. It can also be the harbinger of the most difficult period of your parenting career. Preparing your child for the world of adult interactions, romantic entanglements and independence isn’t always easy, especially when you’d much rather they stayed small forever. Just as you can’t keep a child from growing into an adult, neither can you stem the tide of romantic attraction and the desire to date. All you can do is hope that you’ve instilled the values that you set out to, and that you’ve adequately prepared your teenager for the complicated and sometimes painful world of dating.

The Friendship Code

There are certain rules that come along with both dating and mature friendships, and they largely go unspoken until one of them is broken. One of the most pervasive and important rules for your teen to know before he starts dating is that the “friendship code” shouldn’t be broken. This code entails everything from dating a friend’s ex to trying to date a friend’s current girlfriend, and everything in between. While you’re trying to instill an inherent respect for the opposite gender, be sure that you also discuss the ways that dating and friendship can become messy, and how certain decisions can have far-reaching implications when it comes to both friendships and romantic relationships.

The Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship

No parent wants to think about their child being the victim of dating violence, but the sobering statistics show that this is one conversation that parents simply must have with their teens before dating becomes an issue. A study published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundations shows that as many as one in three seventh grade students have experienced “psychological dating violence,” and that up to one in six have been the victim of physical dating violence. A different study, headed up by the Liz Claiborne corporation, also shows that less than 25% of teenagers have discussed the subject with their parents. Both teen boys and teen girls need to know that dating violence or emotional abuse is never acceptable and should be aware of the warning signs of an abusive relationship. Once a pattern of accepting abuse is established, it can be a difficult and painful cycle to break. Make sure that your teen starts off on the right foot by ensuring that he’s educated and aware of the issues surrounding teen dating violence and abuse.

The Importance of Boundaries and Respect

Parenting comes with its fair share of awkward conversations and embarrassing situations, but it’s far better to weather that momentary discomfort to educate your teen about boundaries and the importance of respecting them than to send them off into the world of dating with no clear understanding of them. Teens need to know that “no” means no, and that pressuring their significant other into anything they’d rather not do is completely unacceptable behavior. They need to know that anyone who subjects them to such pressure is not a good friend or someone that truly cares about their feelings, and that there’s nothing wrong with breaking off a relationship if their boundaries aren’t being respected.

Popularity is Not a Sound Reason for Dating

At no other time in life is the prospect of popularity or gaining entrance into the “cool crowd” more valued or desperately sought than during the teenage years. Teens may date someone that they have little in common with or little regard for simply to maintain or achieve a position of power in their social circle. Conversely, teens often choose not to date people that they are compatible with and attracted to due to a perceived social stigma attached to dating outside of their circle. Before dating even becomes an issue in your child’s life, be sure that she knows just how irrelevant popularity will be to her in five years, and how much she could potentially miss out on if she’s dating someone solely because they’re popular and capable of affecting her social standing.

Your Expectations and Their Responsibilities

While you may think that your expectations and your teen’s dating responsibilities go without saying, it’s important to realize that your teen only knows what you tell him. Don’t assume that your teenager knows what you expect of him as he starts dating, or what his responsibilities are to both you and his significant other. Communicate the rules and what you expect clearly and concisely, so that there’s no confusion or pleas of ignorance later.

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