Warnings About the Troubled Teen Industry

Is your teen presenting extremely challenging behavior? If you feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to help your teen, getting professional help is wise.

You love your children and want the best for them. Taking parenting classes can certainly prepare you for handling typical teen challenges. However, sometimes parents and caregivers turn to residential treatment programs designed for troubled teens. This is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States with very little regulation.  The lack of regulation has led to serious abuse and even death of teens.  

Unsilenced.org is exposing some of the serious problems within the troubled teen industry.  Watch this video for a brief overview of the issues.  

Protecting Kids From Social Media Harms

Social media can be a great way for kids to connect with friends, but it can also be a source of stress and anxiety. As parents there's some important information you need to know about social media and the mental health of your kids. 

In May 2023, the U.S. Surgeon General released a report on Social Media and Youth Mental Health that identified several problems with how kids are using social media. The report stated that excessive use of social media can lead to depression, anxiety, and even suicide among teens and young adults. 

Watch this video to understand some of the risks identified in the report plus learn tips on how to keep your kids safer online.  

Create the Perfect Summer Plans for Your Family! 🗺️🚀🌟

What will your kids be doing during summer break? Plan now for fun and engaging activities that will create lasting memories for your family. Figure out how to use this unstructured time for growth rather than trouble!

Monitoring Moods Before And After Digital Activities

Do your kids enjoy spending time on digital activities like playing video games, watching videos or scrolling through Instagram? What do you notice about your kids' feelings and behavior after they've played a video game or been online?

Are they in a better mood or a worse mood? Do they feel more tired or more energized? Do they have difficulty focusing on other things, or do they seem to be able to concentrate better?

Do they get angry or frustrated at little things that would normally not bother them? When the digital activity is leading to a decrease in their well-being, it's time to make a change.

If you want help learning to set healthy limits for your kids, take a Priceless Parenting class. You’ll learn how to help your kids develop a healthy relationship with technology, and you’ll also get support from other parents who are trying to do the same thing.

Leaders Are Contributing to Kids' Gun Deaths

Giving young children access to guns is child abuse. And when that child or someone else dies as a result of that access, it’s murder.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem proudly proclaimed at last Friday's National Rifle Association convention that her almost 2-year-old granddaughter already owns firearms. Noem stated “Now Addie, who you know—soon will need them, I wanna reassure you, she already has a shotgun and she already has a rifle and she’s got a little pony named Sparkles too. So the girl is set up.” Noem's right ... Addie is set up to be killed or kill someone.

The only thing more outrageous than the fact that this happened is how often it does—and how little we do about it. In fact, the gun industry is marketing more guns specifically to children. CNN reports "Guns are the leading cause of death for US children and teens, since surpassing car accidents in 2020."

As parents and guardians, we are responsible for the safety of our children. We can help prevent these accidental deaths by making sure our kids don't have access to guns—and that includes taking steps like keeping them locked away from curious hands.

How can you help kids who are hurting?

When kids are hurting it's important to listen to them and validate their feelings. How have you helped your children feel heard and supported during difficult times? Check out the article "Helping Kids Who Are Hurting" for more ideas.

Moral Values Around Gun Violence

We all learn more from observing people's behavior than listening to their words. Words are easy.  Behavior reveals the truth. 

On March 27th, 2023 a 28-year-old used a semi-automatic rifle to kill three 9-year-olds and three adults at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. After the tragedy, children and parents went to the State Capital in Nashville to demand outlawing semi-automatic rifles. They were protesting for their right to life. 

Tragically Republican-led Tennessee belittled the kids for their protests. Tennessee Republican state William Lamberth spoke to student protestors and said "So you're not going to like my answer. I'm going to say that straight up; it's not about this one gun. If there is a firearm out there that you're comfortable being shot with please show me which one it is."

Really?!?! Lamberth believes it is appropriate to ask kids what type of gun they want to be killed with? What does his behavior tell you about his values? 

Three democratic Tennessee representatives joined thousands of children, teachers, and parents protesting against gun violence outside the Capitol. For their efforts, the Republican-led Tennessee House expelled two black representatives who marched in solidarity, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson. Somehow Tennessee representative Gloria Johnson, a white woman, escaped being expelled. What does their behavior tell you about their values? Racism ... you betcha! 

Your moral values underlie your words and behavior.  These real-life stories are a wonderful way to discuss your values with your kids.  What moral values are you passing on to your children?

Stressed Kids? Finding Real Relief

What behavior lets you know your kids are under stress? Tantrums? Frustrated outbursts? Angry yelling? Running to their room and slamming the door? When kids are under stress, they often choose activities that add to their stress instead of reduce it. You can help them learn healthy ways to handle stress. By tuning into their feelings, they can make wiser choices about what to do to relieve their stress.

Kids Help Scientists In the Great Bird Count

Do your kids love nature and want to protect it? They can help by counting birds this weekend! There's a free app that can help you identify the birds you are seeing or hearing. Entering the birds you see helps build a world-wide database.

Problems From Letting Your Child Use Your Phone

Have you ever let your child use your phone to play a game or watch a video? Listen to this dad's story about what happened when he let his 6-year-old use his phone to play a game.

Letting your kids use your phone may seem like a fine idea right up until you realize how much trouble is easily available. Kids are curious and likely to launch apps other than the one they were originally using. From spending your money to watching porn, kids can get in a lot of trouble using your phone.

Have your kids gotten into trouble using your phone? What happened? How did you respond? Feel free to share your story in the comments below.

Encouraging Words for Parents

You work hard as a parent to do the best for your kids.  For the most part, it is a thankless job.  Watch this video for some encouraging words.  What affirmations would you add? 

Balancing Giving Your Kids Too Much or Too Little

Is there such thing as too much of a good thing? Yes!

How do you know when your kids have crossed the line into the "too much" territory?  Their behavior will be your best clue: 
  • Watching shows that are too scary lead to trouble falling asleep. 
  • Eating too much junk food leads to stomach aches and weight gain.
  • Having too much screen time leads to crankiness. 
  • Owning too much stuff leads to difficulty keeping their room clean. 
  • Participating in too many planned activities leads to feelings of overwhelm. 
You teach your kids by example.  You also teach them by setting limits.  If you try to make your kids happy all the time, you risk not setting healthy limits.  

What is one area you feel your child is in the "too much" territory?  How will you set a limit?  


Social Media's Link To Rising Despair In Kids

Social media plays a role in the rising rates of mental health issues in children.  How big a role it plays is up for debate.  January 6, 2023, the Seattle Public Schools filed a lawsuit against Meta, Facebook, Instagram, Siculus, Snap, TikTok, ByteDance, Alphabet, Google, XXVI Holdings, and YouTube. 

The lawsuit alleges how these companies have built their businesses by exploiting children's vulnerabilities.  It states "Defendants have successfully exploited the vulnerable brains of youth, hooking tens of millions of students across the country into positive feedback loops of excessive use and abuse of Defendants’ social media platforms. Worse, the content Defendants curate and direct to youth is too often harmful and exploitive (e.g., promoting a “corpse bride” diet, eating 300 calories a day, or encouraging self-harm)."

Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, this information is helpful in appreciating the impact social media may be having on your children.  What limits are you setting on your kids use of social media?  You play a major role in teaching your kids to keep themselves mentally healthy. 

Fostering Growth using the Mentoring Parenting Style

What is your normal parenting style?  Do you give your kids orders?  Do you do a lot of things for them that they are capable of doing thems...