Monday, December 3, 2012

Taking a Holiday with Your Teens this Christmas

It's been a while since my last post on here - 2012 turned into a pretty exciting year, and many things ended up getting put on hold. Thank you to everyone who sent e-mails asking about my blog posts...and if the blog was still alive. My new years resolution will be to try and keep this site updated more regularly. Fingers crossed! :)

Last year, I had a very successful campaign when I set out to help give parents advice about taking a holiday with their teens over the Christmas break. What started with some Facebook Posts, ended up with magazine and newspaper articles, and finally a spot on national TV. To say the least, many people heard about it, and what's more is many took on, challenged my advice, put it into practice, perfected it, and for the most part (or at least the stories I heard), it helped!

So coming up to Christmas this year, I'm revisiting the topic.

Here's a link to one of last year's publicized articles:

Reading it now, there's not much I would change, and that is what's relevant; inter-generational relationships and ways to minimize conflict between generations is always relevant, because it's inevitable.

But I'd love to hear your thoughts about the article - do you agree? Have you taken on any of this advice in the past? How did it pan out?

Until 2013 dear readers. Merry Christmas, and have a great entrance into the New Year!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Eradicating Teenage Binge Drinking from Our Culture

This week, I spoke on Breakfast about what parents can do to help support their teens and minimize the binge drinking culture. We’ve had a great conversation that sparked up on my Facebook Page and Profile – many young people and organisations had 2 cent to put in as to why teen binge drinking is such a problem, so here’s a few of my ideas…

Alcohol Consumption needs to stop being Glamourized by Adults

Every week on my Facebook News Feed, I see at least a couple of adults post up something about having a drink as soon as they leave work, or something along the lines of ‘It’s wine-o’clock, bring out the drinks!’. What kind of message is that supposed to be sending kids? It’s no secret that kids and teenagers want to grow up as fast as possible, and if drinking alcohol may make them look older, why wouldn’t they want to do it? Whatever kind of family you have, whether you enjoy some alcohol with your dinner or not, the idea of drinking in the home can cause negative effects, especially if done to excess.

Having said that, the way you parent your teens is totally up to you. If you think it’s smart to give your teens a glass of wine with dinner, or tell them that alcohol is the devil is totally up to you, because it won’t affect the next point…

Every Teenager will almost inevitably come across alcohol
The greatest test for parents is not how their teens act when they’re around, but how they act when the parents aren’t around. It all comes down to the way you parented your teen, and whether they can withstand peer pressure, want to try alcohol for the heck of it, or whatever, but at the end of the day it does come down to personal preferences. A teen might go out and get so wasted that they will decide to never touch the stuff again. It happens, but very rarely. The parenting part of this is to let your teens know about the dangers of alcohol, but also give them the unconditional support if they end up in trouble. If they call you at 3am in the morning, needing you to pick them up, it’s not the time to play it cool – help them out, because next time, it might be a matter of life or death, and they may be too scared to ask you for help. As long as you have stated your opinions around alcohol, and have warned them about the effects, when they give you that phone call, they will already be feeling they are letting you down, and trust me, it’s a horrible feeling.

Do Not Buy Alcohol for Your Teens
Even if they are of age, why buy it for them if they should be the ones with the job, to afford these life luxuries? By buying them alcohol, you’re basically saying you’re OK with them getting wasted, no matter how much of it you buy. Terrible, terrible idea, and really, not a very smart way to parent. Seriously.

How do you tackle the issue of teenage binge drinking in your home?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Encouraging Positive Self-Esteem in Pre-Teens

As posted & published in Voxy

The pre-teen years, is arguably one of the most hardest times in a child’s life. Their age says they are expected to start acting like adults, but still have many child-like restrictions.

Although a lot of my work is based on the teen years, over the last decade, we’ve seen a great rise in pre-teens trying to copy-cat teenage behaviour. Revealing clothing, experimental phases, and conflicts with parents are all teenage-inspired actions, that pre-teens are starting to show, which have never existed before.

Let’s dissect what healthy self-esteem looks like. Healthy self-esteem shows a person is in their comfort zone as a human being. It means they take care of themselves – whether through clothing choices, a healthy diet, or how they compare themselves to their peers.

The obvious self-esteem issue for girls, and one that is starting to affect boys too is inevitably their weight, which often stems on into teenage-hood and their adult lives. Looking at the glass half-empty, I must mention things like obesity, bulimia and anorexia. These seem to be common household terms these days, which shows the need to teach girls about the value of their temple of a body is greater than ever. Of course, looking at all the Photoshopped photos of beautiful Size Minus-10 models in magazines cannot be healthy, so there’s two approaches I’ve heard of and practice when speaking to girls about weight issues.

Pamela Marker was the New Zealand Girlfriend Magazine Editor a few years back. I was never fond of girly magazines growing up, because just like any other girl, I would fall into depression after seeing the skinny models showing off what I didn’t have (i.e. a stick figure), which would motivate me enough to do a massive two hour workout, after which celebratory pizza was always in order. Obviously it was not a healthy option.
What made me look twice at Girlfriend magazine after Pamela came onto the team was her strive to help girls gain better self esteem – not destroy it. They would have the occasional model in there, but always tried to keep Photoshop to a minimum. The technique Pamela often used when speaking to girls was showing them the ‘before’ and ‘after’ Photoshop photos. No girl could feel bad after seeing how much graphical work goes into making one photo of a model. Think the famous Dove Video that went viral, which showed how a normal-looking woman was transformed into an intensified photo, to the point where if you saw the actual person on the street, you wouldn’t recognize them in a million years.

Paula Abdul, after admitting her bulimia issues in her youth suggests every girl should lie down on a large piece of paper and have a friend outline her. When you stand up, basically, you see that you’re actually not fat like you think, in fact, it gives you a newly found confidence.

Although having a healthy self-esteem is not only about weight, but it’s definitely a starting point. The hype of gym memberships (yes, pre-teens are starting to go to the gym now!!), whether you look fat in a top, whether you haven’t been kissed because you’re ‘fat’…all these first world problems derive from a healthy outlook on your physical appearance.

Eva-Maria's recently published second book 'Shush, You!' features more quick tips about, among other things, how to help your preteens and teens understand the importance of a healthy self-esteem, so make sure you check it out here.

What are some of the ways you’ve found to help your pre-teen see their physical beauty?