n the face of decreased budgets and increased pressure to improve students’ performance on standardized tests, many schools have reduced the number of field trips they provide to cultural institutions, such as museums and historical sites. Instead, schools have focused on increasing…
Happy World Teachers’ Day (25th October)!
May all your homework be completed, and all your decisions backed by admin.
The first sentence of a book is a handshake, perhaps an embrace. Style and personality are irrelevant. They can be formal or casual. They can be tall or short or fat or thin. They can obey the rules or break them. But they need to contain a charge. A live current, which shocks and illuminates.
Fear, for some parents, is a daily battle. When we bring our infants home, we feel a small tug each time we watch them sleep. A hand on a tiny tummy might simply be a gentle touch or it might be a nervous parent checking breathing. Through their childhoods, we fear falls, illnesses, bad nutrition, and strangers. When they become teens, each time they walk out of the house and get into a vehicle with a friend, we tamp down our fears of accidents, alcohol and drug use, and sex. A late arrival home can send some parents into full blown anxiety.
The media doesn’t help much. A recent Vanity Fair article by Bling Ring author Nancy Jo Sales shows parents a picture of teenage romance in the internet age that is downright terrifying. Ms. Sales relates one anecdote after another asserting that teens are using available media to “hook up” or have sex at astonishingly high rates. The images she portrays barely seem real to most parents, but that doesn’t stop them from being afraid their child is right in the center of the melee.
Certainly parents should be paying attention and should be concerned, but remember, the most important thing to devote your energy to is your teen – NOT what you see in the media. Just because a national magazine or television news program reports a trend, it does not mean every teen is engaged in that trend. It doesn’t mean most teens are involved. Sometimes, it doesn’t even mean there is a real trend afoot.
Your teenager’s involvement in social media is partly in your control. The devices they own and their internet access is up to you. The openness of the relationship you build with your teen is also within your control. Remember these things before you overreact or even react to a news story.
When a trend or teen-related crime is covered, take time to research your concerns. Consider your teen and any behaviors that have caused concern. Are there relationships between your findings and concerns you already have? Or, are your concerns strictly a result of the news story?
In researching the Vanity Fair story, a parent might find that teen pregnancy rates were at an all-time low in 2012 according to the National Center for Health Statistics. This is due, in part, to more effective birth control though rates of sexual activity have not increased according to surveys. In fact, those rates have remained about the same since steadily dropping until 2002. Some crime statistics indicate that violent crime among teens, also, has fallen.
A good way to relieve fears when an alarming “trend” is reported is to talk to your teen. If you are concerned about how social media is affecting your son or daughter in relationships, love, and sex: ask. Assuming the worst based on media reports may lead to defensiveness and anger. In the example of teenage romance in the internet age, parents can also keep up with what their kids are doing online. It’s not always possible to know everything, but keeping an open relationship and paying attention to what’s going on in your own home are positive ways to start.
Rather than letting media reports dictate your fears, show concern in real, proactive ways based on the actual behavior of your teen – not what a “trend” story tells you to fear.