Talking Through Teens’ Growing Pains

<b>Talking Through Teens’ Growing Pains</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Pop culture tells us that teenagers inevitably transform into hungry, rebellious, secretive monsters. But while it is true that teenagers seek autonomy, it’s not impossible for parents to keep the lines of communication open.

It might seem that you and your teenager have nothing in common — you cringe at their music and wince at their choice of clothes. And yet, with a little effort, you can find activities that will allow you to bond with your teenager. The first step? Accepting that your teen doesn’t want to listen to classical music or putter about in the garden.

“Find out what they want to do,” says Karen Deerwester, the author of “The Entitlement-Free Child,” in an interview with SUCCESS Magazine. “It’s not about what you want to do. With teenagers, it’s about getting into their world.”

Find out what your teen likes, then propose activities centered around that interest. A budding actress might want to see a play, while a sports enthusiast would prefer tickets to a game. If your teen likes your idea, let him or her plan out the details, like what play you will see. Teens need to feel that they have a voice in planning activities.

Actually bonding during that activity might be a little more challenging. Turn off the parenting voice, but don’t try too hard to be their friend — teens want to “hang” with their peers, not mom or dad. In fact, it might be a good idea to allow them to bring a friend. That way, teenagers enjoy their friends’ company while also spending time with their parents.

If activities spark discussion, let your teen talk first. Listen to what they say before you respond, and try not to fix their problems for them. Teenagers need to explore their own interests and face the consequences of their decisions, whether they be good or bad. If teens believe that they can’t talk to their parents, they will lie or manipulate to get what they want.

And do accept that teenagers will need time away from you. “We want to spend more time with them than they do with us, and we have to be respectful of that.” says Ann Corwin, a parenting consultant, child-development educator and the creator of “The Child Connection” DVD. “Try not to take it personally.”

To hear from more experts and get ideas for teenager-parent bonding activities, visit

New VehSmart Helps Teens and Parents Drive Better, Safer

<b>New VehSmart Helps Teens and Parents Drive Better, Safer</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – When teenagers buckle up behind the wheel of a car, parents start to worry. But a new product called VehSmart is going a long way toward providing parents with some peace of mind.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, teenage drivers account for just 10 percent of the U.S. population, yet were involved in 16 percent of all police-reported traffic accidents. Experts attribute many teen accidents to a lack of driving experience.

This does not mean that parents should put their children under house arrest until age 20, and at the same time, they should not allow them to drive completely unsupervised immediately after earning their driver’s license. With the new technology available through VehSmart, a parent can provide multiple levels of assistance to their teen driver -; even if the parent is not in the car with the teenager.

VehSmart uses telematics, a new technology, which combines existing GPS and communications technology to form a hybrid safety and emergency notification system. As an easily installed aftermarket device that, unlike OnStar, is available on all vehicles, VehSmart allows parents to monitor their teen’s driving habits, as well as give them the capability to provide assistance through emergency notification, making it the only product to offer such features.

Through the device, parents can be notified by e-mail or mobile phone as to whether the teenager drives at excessive speeds or enters a preselected restricted area. Parents can use a real-time GPS locator feature to see their teenager’s vehicle on a computer so they can know when and where their teenager drives. With this information, parents can teach safer and more responsible driving behaviors.

Parents can also give their nerves a much-needed rest knowing that VehSmart’s most important feature keeps young drivers within a button’s push of emergency services. Drivers can press VehSmart’s exclusive remote panic button on their key fob when they are in an emergency or feel threatened for any reason. The panic button contacts a 24/7/365 call center. The call center can locate the vehicle immediately via satellite and can call the teen’s cell phone or other prelisted contacts, immediately dispatching roadside assistance or other emergency services as necessary.

For additional information about this one-of-a-kind product or to find purchasing information, visit

Checking Up on Your Teen’s Mental Health

<b>Checking Up on Your Teen’s Mental Health</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Parents know to take their children to the pediatrician for physical checkups, but mental health is as important as physical well-being.

A child’s teenage years can seem stressful. Teenagers enter high school, where they must make new friends. Increased academic and athletic competition can make teens feel inadequate or overwhelmed.

Parents can help their teenagers navigate these difficult years. First, parents should ask their pediatrician to evaluate their teenager’s mental well being. Pediatricians develop close relationships with their patients, so teenagers might feel more comfortable discussing sensitive subjects, like depression, stress and sex, with their doctors instead of their parents.

Teenagers need a trusted adult to speak with, whether that adult be parent, pediatrician, teacher or counselor. Make sure that your teenager knows that stress, sadness and anger are normal, and that talking about her feelings can really help her cope. Remind her of the people who can help her, and tell her that reaching out is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Second, parents should make sure that they’re not putting too much pressure on their teenager. Too-high expectations can often become damaging, but parents should still make sure that their teenagers have strong support systems at home.

“Kids tend to live up, or down, to the expectations of their parents,” says Dr. Renee Jenkins of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Teens who understand what standards are expected of them stand a better chance of setting realistic goals for the future.”

Third, parents should help their teenagers feel empowered to change circumstances for the better. If your teenager says that she feels stressed, help her to identify the source of her stress. Ask your teen to brainstorm about possible solutions to her situation. Discuss the pros and cons of her suggested approaches, making sure to consider future ramifications. Decide on the best course of action.

Parents can help teens learn from their mistakes, gain better judgment and develop stronger senses of identity -; the tools that will help them through the rest of their lives.

For more information on children’s and teens’ mental health, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics at and search for “mental health tips.”