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Posts Tagged ‘High schoolers’

Christmas is less then a week away and I, as usual, have put off getting gifts for my grandchildren right down to the last days. I want to get them something that will teach and benefit them, not just another splashy piece of plastic in its little molded card that will hold their attention only until the next gift is opened.

It’s not easy to find a lasting gift in the newest list of plastic heroes with special powers that are the rage of the 6 to 12-year-old set. Last year Pokeman cards, lost out to Harry Potter books, toys, games, and t-shirts. But Harry Potter might not make the top ten this year. No customers are as fickle as children, so with six days left, who can predict the next best seller.

I remember very few gifts from my own childhood. One or two stand out, but most were broken, lost or in the trash after only a few months. I do remember my Aunt Emily’s card promising me a trip to the Science and Industry Museum in Chicago. She didn’t have a lot of money, so she gave “services.” We went while school was still out for the holidays, and I still remember where we had lunch. I don’t remember any other gift from that Christmas.

Memories of gifts during my teenage years are also a blur except I remember that my older cousin, Harold, picked up Aunt Emily’s idea and took me bowling one year. The next year, he took me back to his old college for a day just to show me what college was all about. I graduated from that school years later.

For our own nieces and nephews, we have taken the hint from Aunt Emily. My wife, Eileen, gave a card to our niece, Ashley, that said, “Good for one lunch and adventure trip with Aunt Eileen.” During lunch at the Smithsonian Ashley said, “This is great. I wish you would always give this kind of gift.”

But lunches, museums and other special trips are not easy gifts to give. Often they don’t make a big impression at first and they may be inconvenient, time-consuming, and costly later on. If you think a regular gift needs to be part of Christmas morning, maybe you could make a secret promise to yourself to give a special “services” gift later on.

Time is the most precious of these gifts we give our children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces. It is truly irreplaceable and the memories will last into their adult years.

So this holiday season consider a gift of your time – time to listen without jumping in with criticism or advice; time to seek out one of the many capabilities or likable characteristics of the children and let them know you found it; time to give over more responsibility so the child-rearing moves along toward adult-rearing; and time to show tolerance so that tolerance will be admired.

For the Christmas morning gift under the tree, my guess is no better than yours, but gifts of time will make the lasting memories.

Dr. McIntire is the author of Teenagers and Parents: 12 Steps to a Better Relationship and Staying Cool and In Control. Contact him through Parentsuccess.com.

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We all hope this problem turns out to be simple and not too serious—maybe a tough homework assignment or a fellow student with bad social skills. We hope it is not the forever life-changing announcement. But you might have a moment of fear since May is Teen Pregnancy Month.

A conversation too short, too fast or with too many family members chiming in is not likely to help. Pick a good time when you can go slow with time to listen in a one-on–one situation.

Make sure your teen gets the facts straight. One teenaged girl told me, “I want to be safe. If I have sex, I always take one of Mom’s pills the next day.” Your daughter has a 1 in 20 chance of becoming pregnant, and both sons and daughters are at three times that risk for sexually transmitted diseases. This is not just a “girl problem.”

Fathers who cause teen pregnancies are usually long out of high school, so caution your teenager daughter about these not-quite-adults and supervise your 18-and-something son on this temptation.

Alcohol is the most common excuse young women give for making the big mistake.

What attitudes should a parent model on this subject?

Take your time on this subject, it may be the most important part of your influence on your son’s or daughter’s future. The New York Times reported last week that the introduction of the pill in the 50’s did not reduce dangerous sexual habits as was first predicted. National rates of teen pregnancies, births, and abortions did not peak in the 50’s but continued upward until the 90’s. Even now West Virginia averages 60 teenage girls per week who have babies.

The pregnancy rate is actually higher than that because many pregnancies end before they are reported and aborted pregnancies (about one third) are not included.

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