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Amy Morin

Amy Morin Parenting Teens Blog

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Summer Camp Turns Teens into Entrepreneurs

Tuesday May 27, 2014

Forbes recently shared an article about David Fagan, who runs a summer camp that teaches teens how to become entrepreneurs. For $3,000 teens spend a week learning how to start a successful business.

And there have been some teens who have turned what they learned at summer camp into successful startups. Houston Gunn, a former camp attendee, raised money to write two books and start his own magazine. He's launched a national PR campaign and has received endorsements from the Shark Tank's Barbara Corcoran and Donald Trump. He'll even be returning to camp again this year to talk with other teens.

If your teen isn't likely to find a summer job, or he has always aspired to be an entrepreneur, consider allowing him to open his own business this summer. And if you can't afford to send him to summer camp, there are other ways to support him in his endeavors. Find him a mentor, give him books to read, or help him find ways to turn his ideas into a profitable business.

Read More:
8 Free or Low Cost Businesses Any Teens Can Start
10 Unusual Summer Camps for Teens

Overweight Teens are More Likely to be Rejected by Thin Peers

Thursday May 22, 2014

Health problems aren't the only problems overweight teens experience. A new study by Arizona State University found that overweight teens are likely to be rejected by normal weight peers.

As a result of this peer rejection, many overweight teens seek friendship from other overweight peers only. Unfortunately, the rejection and social issues can be very problematic. Teens with fewer social relationships may experience higher rates of depression.

A teen may be embarrassed to talk about peer rejection or bullying so it's important for parents to be aware of this potential issue, even if teens aren't bringing up the subject first.

Read More:

Study Shows Teens Don't Want to Work

Thursday May 15, 2014

Most teens don't want a summer job, according to recent reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. An estimated 11.4 million teens between the ages of 16 and 19 didn't work in 2013. And of those who weren't working, only 8.3% said they wanted a job.

The number of teens working over the summer has declined since the late 1970s. In 1978, nearly 3 in 4 teens had a job, but as of last year, only about 4 in 10 teens were working.

Not all teens are sleeping all day and lounging at the beach, however. The statistics on summer school show that more teens than ever are taking summer classes. Many other teens are busy with sports, summer camps, and other activities that would interfere with getting a job.

If you're not sure if you want your teen getting a job this summer, check out these 6 benefits teens gain from having a job.

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A 94-Year-Old is Finally Getting Her High School Diploma this Year

Friday May 9, 2014

Genevieve Johnson, a 94-year-old Massachusetts resident, will finally be achieving her life-long dream this year - she's getting her high school diploma. Genevieve was supposed to graduate back in 1936, when the school was still a one room school house. But, it was during the Great Depression, and she had to quit school to find work.

Genevieve always wanted to go back to school but had never had the opportunity. At least not until this year. Her school invited her back to get the two-and-a-half credits she lacked and to their surprise, she took them up on the offer.

Genevieve attended classes with the other students this year. She took English, U.S. History, and an acting class alongside the teenagers. And soon, this senior will be joining the other seniors at the graduation ceremony.

Don't let your teen take high school or graduation for granted. Many people would give anything to have a chance at education. Make sure to remind your teens that a high school diploma is a privilege, not a right.

More about Graduation:

Altruism May Help Teens Ward Off Depression

Monday May 5, 2014

Teens who give to others may be less likely to develop depression, according to a new study supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. The study gave teens a sum of money and they were able to either keep the money, take risks with the money, or give it to others. Researchers studied the brain activity of each teen and found that those who gave the money away activated parts of the brain that are likely to prevent and decrease depression.

Giving to others helps teens feel good about themselves and makes them feel rewarded. Over time, this seems to help their overall well-being and mental health. The teen years can be a critical time because many common mental health issues begin during adolescence. It's important for parents to take be proactive in promoting good mental health.

Create opportunities for your teen to behave in an altruistic manner. Support your teen in volunteering at a local animal shelter, nursing home, or hospital. Or assist your teen in donating money, gently used clothing, or toys to charitable organizations. Get your teen involved in local fundraising events for charity as well.

Helping others doesn't have to be a major event either. Simply encouraging your teen to help an elderly neighbor rake the lawn or walking the dog for a single parent can improve your teen's mental health.

How Will You Keep Your Teen Active During the Summer?

Monday May 5, 2014

For some teens, summer is an active time that includes swimming, sports, and riding bikes. But there are other teens who prefer to sleep late, play video games, or read a book all day. Physical activity is important to teens and often, it's up to parents to help kids get plenty of exercise.

If you're looking for ways to keep your teen active during the summer, here are a few ideas:

1. Sign your teen up for camp. Many communities have both week long overnight camps as well as day camps that introduce teens to a variety of activities.

2. Get active as a family. Go for evening walks, play catch, or go for a day long hike.

3. Set limits on electronics. Don't allow your teen to use the TV, computer, or video game for more than two hours per day.

4. Assign chores that will get your teen moving. Raking the lawn, weeding the garden, and washing the car are just a few chores that involve a fair amount of physical activity.

5. Encourage your teen to explore new interests. Summer can be a great time for teens to try new activities, like kayaking, golf, tennis, dance, skateboarding, or hiking.

Most doctors recommend that teens get at least an hour of physical activity per day. Make sure you role model healthy habits for your teen and incorporate exercise into your summer routine.

Calling a Girl Fat May Increase Her Risk of Obesity

Sunday May 4, 2014

If a young girl gets called fat, she may face a higher risk of becoming obese during her teenage years, according to a new study conducted by UCLA. The study checked the height and weight of girls at age 10 and then again at age 19. Researchers found that the girls who had been told they were fat, by a parent, sibling, friend, classmate, or teacher by age 10 were 1.6 times more likely to be obese by the time they were 19 years old.

In fact, the more times she was called fat, the more likely she was to become obese. Being repeatedly told she was fat increased her chances of gaining weight. Even when the study considered factors, like race, current weight, and other risks, there still appeared to be a link between weight gain and being criticized for their weight.

Co-author Jeffrey Hunger, said, "Simply being called fat may lead to behaviors that later result in obesity." Sometimes the stress associated with the fear of being overweight can actually lead to overeating and may result in obesity.

This study emphasizes the importance of talking to teens about their weight and their health in a proactive and educational manner without shaming or criticizing. Teens often struggle with body image and people certainly don't need to point out potential flaws or emphasize a teen's appearance.

If your teen is overweight, talk to your child's pediatrician and check out these four tools that can help an obese teen.

Alcohol, Prom and Graduation Don't Mix

Friday April 25, 2014

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and it's an important time to remind teens about the dangers of drinking. As the school year begins winding down, and prom and graduation parties begin to take place, this season can be a tempting time for many students to experiment with alcohol and drugs.

Unfortunately, every day the news is filled with news stories about teens who die from drug and alcohol-related deaths. And frighteningly, many of the teens who die from reckless partying, did so with their parents' knowledge. Be a good role model for your teen when it comes to substance abuse. Establish clear rules about drugs and alcohol and keep a watchful eye out for warning signs that your teen may be experimenting with substances.

Teens who experiment with alcohol prior to the age of 15 are 4 times more likely to develop alcohol problems later in life, compared to people who don't drink until age 20 or later. Education and prevention are key factors in helping deter alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse.

Discuss the dangers of drinking and drug use with your teen. Make it clear that you don't approve of underage drinking and discuss the possible consequences of drinking. Offer to help your teen celebrate end of the year festivities with chemical-free age appropriate prom or graduation parties. Make it a safe, yet memorable time of your for your teen.

Read more:

Can You Stand to Look at a Messy Bedroom?

Friday April 25, 2014

As a therapist, I hear lots of parental concerns about teens. But, one of the most common concerns is a teen's messy bedroom. Descriptions that I hear range from "clothes on the floor," all the way to, "health hazard." Although I do see some teens who are meticulous housekeepers, the vast majority aren't overly concerned about the condition of their bedrooms.

I work with parents on determining a course of action. Here are some of the common outcomes:

      The parents decide to close the door so they don't have to see their teen's messy rooms. Often, they strike a deal, "Clean it up on the weekends if you want to go anywhere or leave the house." Otherwise, they leave it up to their teen to do the cleaning and there's no arguing about it.
      The parents can't tolerate knowing there is a messy bedroom in the house. They expect their child's room to be cleaned daily. They don't allow any electronics or free time until the room is cleaned each day after school.
      The parents make room cleaning part of the normal chores. It gets incorporated into the weekly allowance and their teen can't earn money unless the bedroom is clean.

Sometimes there are underlying issues that surface when we talk about cleaning the bedroom. And the most common issue is that the teen has too much stuff. It just isn't possible to get it all put away neatly, because there isn't a place to put it. Before the bedroom can be organized, unused and unwanted items need to be taken out of the room. Once everything has it's place, establish a plan with your teen that both of you can live with. Don't expect perfection, but make sure your teen is learning the basics of housekeeping because it's important for teens to know the skills necessary to become responsible adults.

Read more: How to Decorate a Teen's Bedroom in a Manner that Allows for Self-Expression

Parents Upset that Michelle Obama's Invitation to Graduation will Limit Seats

Monday April 21, 2014

Michelle Obama was invited to give the commencement address to students in Kansas City. However, many people are upset by the first lady's scheduled appearance.

Many of them are concerned that she will attract more people to attend graduation. The ceremony combines five area high schools and takes place in an 8,000-seat arena. However, many parents worry that friends and family won't be able to get a seat. Students have started petitions and parents have urged district officials to reconsider.

Not everyone is just concerned with the seating arrangement. Some parents are upset that the first lady will overshadow the graduates on their big day. They want to ensure that the graduation ceremony focuses on the teens, not the next Presidential election.

This issue brings up a variety of graduation etiquette issues. For many families, a limited number of seats means having to choose which grandparent gets a ticket and which one gets left out. Although graduation should be a time of celebration, unfortunately, it can also bring about a lot of stress for families.

Read more:

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